Hapkido Ranking System

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There are two apparent levels of the gradation with Hapkido:

The Kub or pupil degrees: Depending upon the Hapkido style and organization is there are different numbers of Kubs. They vary between 7-11 ranks of Kubs. In some systems there is its an own belt color for each Kub, in other systems several Kubs have the same belt colors. Unfortunately an uniform standard, which belt color belongs to which Kub does not exist.

Usually one begins with a white belt, afterwards the belt color darkens from Kub to Kub. The levels of the Kubs are counted reverse, i.e.. 11, 10, 9, 8……… The 11. Kub is the first pupil degree, the 1. Kub the last pupil degree before that 1. Dan. The tutorial of the pupil degrees contains the basic elements of Hapkido. These are usually, defense against: Seize the hand, the clothes, fist attack, kick attack, knife attack, seize choking attack, etc.. Additionally the base kicks are taught.

The Dan or master degrees: Also the Dan degrees are divided into 1-9 respectively of 1-10, whereby here however will be counted from 1 to 9 respectively 10. Which means: after the Kub one receives the
1. Dan, then the 2. Dan and so on…In most systems the Dan degrees are subdivided into: 1.-2. Dan, teacher (saw bum nim)
3.-4. Dan, main teacher (chung saw nim)
5.-7. Dan master (kwan jang nim)
8.-10. Dan grand master (chong kwan jang nim)
Within systems, that allow technique exams only up to the 4 Dan the definition Mater will be used already.. Dan have, starting from these the designation master are already used. Some systems also define the 1. to 3 Dan as master pupils.

The 9. or. 10. Dan is reserved to the founder (DO joo nim) of a system. For Dan degrees there are no different belt colors, the belt is black. Some systems indicate the different Dan degrees by yellow strips on the belt. The number of strips indicates the Dan gradation. E.G. 4 strips correspond to the 4. Dan. Starting from the Dan degrees weapon techniques, attack techniques and improving defense techniques are usually trained. Depending on the system tests are held up to 4. or. 5. Dan, Dan degrees beyond that are usually lent.

Often also the clothing give information on the graduation. In some systems one wears a black trouser instead of a white one after the 2 Kub or there are additionally black strips on the belts. With other systems jackets with patterns are worn starting from the 1. Dan or the color of the pattern changes in order to stand out against the pupils’ degrees.  In addition, in some systems the Dan degrees are marked by black braids on the jacket and trouser. There are numerous of such variations.

However, all systems have one thing in common: whether student or master, Hapkido can be studied all life long.

This is an example for the structure of the Hapkido ranking system. Every pupil degree (9. to 1. Kub) contains 25-35 basic techniques. The master degrees contain about 200-300 techniques each. Dependent from style and organisation, the structure of the ranking system will vary.

  • 9. Kub
    Defense against parallel, front wrist grabbing with one hand:
    Dan Jun breathing, hand exemption, punch and chop, joint locking, throws
  • 8. Kub
    Defense against diagonal, front wrist grabbing with one hand:
    hand exemption, punch and chop, joint locking, throws, 25 basic kicks
  • 7. Kub
    Defense against front clothes grabbing with one hand in following areas: All parts of the arm, shoulder, collar, lapel, belt
  • 6. Kub
    Defense against back rear grab in following areas:
    shoulder, arm, embrace, nelson, wrist
  •  5. Kub
    Defense against punches:
    dodge, punch and chop, joint locking, throws, kicks
  •  4. Kub
    Defense against kicks:
    dodge, punch and chop, joint locking, throws, kicks
  • 3. Kub
    Defense against knife attacks from front, above, inside, rear:
    dodge, punch and chop, joint locking, throws, kicks
  • 2. Kub
    Defense against attempted choking: dodge, punch and chop, joint locking, throws.  special kicks, punch and chop techniques (from this Kub the white pants will be swap to black ones)
  • 1. Kub
    Defense against choking
    punch and chop, joint locking, throws, combination kicks,  jumping kicks, punch and chop techniques

Master Degrees:

  • 1. Dan
    Attacking techniques:
    punch and chop, joint locking, throws, combination kicks,  jumping kicks, punch and chop techniques
  • 2. Dan
    One- and two- hand techniques, defense against punch, defense against kicks, defense in sitting and lying position, short stick techniques, kick techniques, punch techniques
  • 3. Dan
    Short stick, long stick, cane, special breaking test, special foot and hand techniques and some more stuff
  • 4. Dan
    Short stick, long stick, chair techniques,rope techniques, special foot and hand techniques and some more stuff
  • 5. Dan
    Is awarded
  • 6. Dan
    Is awarded
  • 7. Dan
    Is awarded
  • 8. Dan
    Is awarded
  • 9. Dan
    Is awarded
  • 10. Dan
    Reserved for the founder of a style