Belt Ranks

The following table outlines the belt ranks through the rank of black belt. When you enter Sheya's Hapkido as a white belt you learn the first 24 motions. After you've learned them you practice them many times. When you are ready, you test for promotion by demonstrating all 24 motions on your test partner. With your new belt comes a new set of motions, and the process repeats.

Belt Motions Comments

White Belt 24 White belt motions originate from grabs of the wrist, and of the sleeve of the gi jacket, anywhere from the wrist up to the top of the shoulder. The white belt motions introduce a wide variety of techniques that reappear in later ranks. The completion of the first motion comes to be known as the "standard takedown." The principle underlying number eight white belt is the basis of many higher motions. The final motion in this rank is the student's first opportunity to flip his partner.

Green Belt 56 Green belt motions originate from grabs of the gi jacket lapels, grabs of the belt, and choke holds. Green belt contains a range of motions. There are several pain/compliance techniques, but there are also several "connection" motions where the student controls his partner simply by extending his partner's center. Green belt also introduces head spins and wrist manipulations.

Yellow Belt 68 Yellow belt motions originate from front grabs of both wrists. Yellow belt is best known for its eleven flips and throws. Head spins and wrist manipulations are revisited, but most of the motions are new. Other motions include fulcrums, laterals, and foot hooks. In yellow belt you begin to feel the subtle aspects of this martial art, and you make use of the tumbling and falling techniques you've devoted so much time to learning.

1st Degree Red Belt 53 First degree red belt motions originate from rear grabs of the belt and of the lapels of the gi jacket. The motions all involve escaping your partner's grasp and gaining control of him, either by joint-locking or throwing him to the mat. Hip throws and wrist crank throws are introduced for the first time. In all red belt motion your partner is grabbing you from behind. Not being able to see your partner helps you realize that you must be connected to him to do the motion.

2cd Degree Red Belt 50 Second degree red belt motions originate from rear grabs around the chest, and rear grabs of both wrists. Many of the chest grab motions are similar to those in the previous rank, but here your partner has his wrists locked together, making escape more difficult. The rear grabs of both wrists require coordinated motion of your arms and hips to extend your partner and then either control him or flip him. All of these motions are performed blindfolded during the test to further emphasize reliance on feeling connected to your partner.

1st Degree Brown Belt 57 First degree brown belt motions originate from punches. You learn five soft blocks, each with several different endings. Many of these endings are familiar from the previous ranks. The real issue in brown belt is proper punch blocking. If you execute the punch block correctly, you block the punch, allow your partner to extend, and you feel connected to him. A proper block puts you in a position that allows you to finish the motion. Brown belt also introduces groundfighting for the first time.

2cd Degree Brown Belt 51 Second degree brown belt motions originate from punches. You learn several new motions off of soft blocks. You also revisit some of the flips from yellow belt, learning how to get to those positions from punch blocks. What really sets second brown apart is the introduction of staff motion, belt motion (rope motion or rag motion), and kicks. It's more difficult to feel connected with an inanimate object between you and your partner. Kicks play a role in a couple of motions in lower ranks, but this is the first rank in which the kick is the heart of the motion.

3rd Degree Brown Belt 50 Third degree brown belt motions originate from kicks, and knife attacks. The kick motions are totaly new, while the knife motions contain elements from previous hand techniques. The knife motions are particularly sensitive to proper execution.

As a black belt candidate, the third degree brown belt acts as an assistant instructor for one of the classes. This helps the class and it also gives the candidate an opportunity to review and practice the motions from the lower ranks.

1st Degree Black Belt 100 Black belt instructors test for promotion by performing all 418 motions in the lower belts. This process takes several sessions to complete. A Hapkido black belt has competence in many motions, but is actually a beginner, there is a lot more to learn. First degree black belt introduces multiple attackers and cane motion, as well as additional empty hand technques against punches and knife attacks.

2cd Degree Black Belt tbd More still to come.