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Uniform Requirements and Explanations

Welcome to Leadership Martial Arts Training!

The purpose of this article is to familize the new student of the uniform requirements in class and the belt ranking system.

Beginning with Summer, lasting through Labor Day, informal uniforms are authorized in class. This uniform is the black ATA pants and our Taekwondo t-shirt. The black uniform for our Leadership Program  and the red for our CIT’s are also appropriate for class workouts. Our Informal Uniforms are also authorized for Saturday and Sparring classes.

The white ATA uniform or dobok is always appropriate for workouts and events. Martial arts students should take pride in their white uniforms. A well-cleaned and -displayed dobok can add an air of sophistication to one’s appearance. As such, one should take care of one’s dobok to present the best possible image in class, at tournaments, and other events at which you represent the school. Doboks should be hung up nicely on a hanger or folded when they’re not being used, even when they’re dirty.

Keep your dobok clean. As a color belt student who attends class twice a week, you will likely need your dobok for more than two years and even longer if your attendance is less frequent. Since doboks are mostly white, wash it in warm water. Hot water will cause colors to run or fade. Use low heat when drying your dobok, because in the dryer is where most of the shrinkage will occur. Heavier-weight doboks tend to hold their size, but too much improper washing and drying will cause discoloration, unusual wear, or faster deterioration of your dobok. The ATA Tigers uniform or the BBC screen printed uniforms should not be dry-cleaned.  The competition weight uniforms endure dry-cleaning quite well.

Other clothing

These other items are suggested to complement your dobok:

A plain, white short-sleeved T-shirt or tank top are recommended for women and girls. Men and boys are also allowed to wear a plain white T-shirt beneath their dobok. Pants are not allowed beneath the dobok pants. Along with the obvious distracting appearance issues, they can restrict a student’s movement so that he or she would not be able to fully participate in class. Along with the loose fit’s being unrestrictive for one’s working out, they also allow air to flow next to the body, keeping a student cool.

While bare feet are always acceptable at taekwondo events (and mandatory for class unless otherwise stated or approved by your instructor), one might wish to wear athletic shoes (“sneakers”) for comfort. The shoes (and socks) should be as plain and white as possible. Sandals, clogs, flats, moccasins, slippers, and similar footwear are not allowed, nor is anything with a raised heel. Also, many taekwondo events, such as tournaments, take place on gym floors, and one should not wear “street shoes” at these events. Shoes and socks should be taken off when one is participating in a class or competing in a tournament.

Jewelry should be removed before performing in a tournament or training in a class. It is a safety considerarion for not only yourself but your fellow students as well. Wedding rings are allowed in class as long as there are no stones.

Uniform and Patches

Patch placement on ATA Uniform
Patch placement on ATA Uniform
  1. ATA patch: Given when starting a basic or higher program
  2. Belt: All students begin as white belts. Students advance through orange and yellow in full steps. At purple, students then slow their advance as they become intermediate students, advancing a half belt at each testing.
  3. Progress stripes: The ATA K4K stripe system includes 7 stripes in total:
    Progress Stripes

    four colored, representing the ATA Life Skills Program, and the three black stickers, representing the ATA Physical Progress of the student. The colored stickers are positioned on the left side of the belt, while the black stickers are positioned on the right side of the belt.

  4. Black Belt Club patch: Given when starting the Black Belt Club.
  5. Leadership patch: Given when starting Leadership Team. Black Belts replace their Black Belt Club patch with another leadership patch.
  6. Instructor collar: Given when one joins the instructor training program.  As one moves upward through the certification program ranks, more of the red is replaced by black. School owners have a 1-1/2-inch wide collar; otherwise, the ribbons are 1 inch wide.
  7. Judging chevrons: Earned by Black Belts, they signify permission to judge at tournaments and the level at which they can judge.
  8. Black pant stripe: Fourth-degree or higher Black Belts wear a black stripe down the outside of their pants legs.
  9. Back lettering: For Black Belt Club and non-collared students, “TAEKWONDO,” the ATA logo, and the city or state of the student’s school is shown. For collared students, the lettering and patches are embroidered. Across the top is “TAEKWONDO” or championship patches; along the bottom is the student’s name.

Belt And Rank System

Along with your uniform, your belt is a symbol of your journey as a student through taekwondo. In fact, as a color belt student, your belt will change more often than your uniform. The most obvious change will occur as you rise through the color belts, but less obvious changes will be due to red honor stripes or black progress stripes. Adornments are not allowed on black belts.

Belt ranking in ATA

One of the tenets of martial arts, including taekwondo, is a balance between the body and the mind. This balance is illustrated by the ends of one’s belt: The ends of the belt should hang in equal lengths to illustrate the balance.

Belts should be tied snugly about the waist, but not too tight to restrict movement. They should not be so lose as to hang on the hips.

One should keep one’s belt from touching the ground. To do so shows disrespect to the belt, the uniform, and the progress one has made in this martial art. Master Brown likes to tie his belt with one knot to pack or put away.

Caring for your belt includes not washing your belt. In the history of martial arts, the darkening of one’s belt represents the knowledge one has accumulated as a student. Washing a belt “washes away” this knowledge. The belts used in our organization will not hold up well under washing because they’re not built to be washed.

 Belt stripes

As you work out with other students at the academy, you might notice that some belts have a black stripe across their middle, some have a gold stripe, and some have no stripe. The stripe (or lack thereof) indicates the program the student is in and their progress within that program and grade. The Black stripe indicates Black Belt Club. The Yellow stripe designates someone in the Leadership Program. From white through green, advancement will be by a full step (belt), then half belts through purple and red.

About the Author

Michael Brown is a eighth degree black belt in Taekwondo. He has been serving his community in self defense training for over 30 years. Michael enjoys working with Military, law enforcement and civilians.  He is also a certified instructor under both Krav Maga Worldwide and Warrior Krav Maga. Michael is a two time world champion in sparring and a former Captain in the United States Marine Corps. He is also a firearm safety expert. Michael trains individuals in both concealed and carry techniques and in handgun safety. He enjoys teaching alongside his wife Kimberly and son Michael. They have a goal to help you to become combat ready. Teaching you skills that will enable you to be the ‘First Responder’ for your family.

Leadership Martial Arts & Krav Maga serves the communities of: Fayetteville, Hope Mills, Spring Lake and Linden NC