Why do we wear uniforms?

There are several reasons for wearing a Dobok (doh bock) when we practice Tae Kwon Do. Among these are:

  1. They’re practical, and designed for martial arts use, much more so than “workout” clothes or street clothes.
  2. They honor the traditions of the people who created and fostered Tae Kwon Do.
  3. Putting one on says “I take this seriously, and I’m ready to train.”
  4. No matter what our situation outside the dojang, how much money we have or how prestigious a position in life, we all wear the same uniform. The only status we have in club is acknowledged by the color of the belt we wear, and everyone earns that for themselves.

What about jewelry and watches, hats, scarves, etc?

You may not wear jewelry or watches in the dojang, partly because it’s unsafe, and partly because those things are considered disrespectful. Again, we are not in the dojang to show off. If you have a permanent piece of jewelry (a piercing) that can’t be easily removed, you must tape or bandage it down. No hats other than religious coverings will be worn. Bandanas are acceptable.

What color or style of uniform should I wear?

The appropriate color is white. This is especially important during belt tests, whether testing or judging. Black belts have the option of mixing black and white tops and bottoms. The choice is entirely up to you. We have no preference. However, females wearing a traditional style top MUST wear a suitable undergarment (T-shirt, etc). If you already own a black or colored uniform, you may wear it for practice. But if you plan on testing for rank with us, you will be expected to obtain a white uniform at some point, since white is the required color for testing.

What if I forget my uniform? Or just forget to bring my belt? May I still practice?

Yes, you may still practice, but you will line up at the end of the last row after the white belts, with people in street clothes. You must have a complete uniform to line up in the position your rank should occupy in line.

I’ve seen people wearing t-shirts during workouts. What’s that about?

In hot weather, in lieu of a dobok top you may wear either a plain white t-shirt, or (preferably) a TKD @ IU t-shirt and be considered in uniform. Check with the instructor beforehand to make sure it’s appropriate. This does NOT apply to promotion tests.

Why do some people get to wear shoes when we workout?

Though not strictly traditional, there are shoes made especially for TKD practice.


When should I bow?

Bow when you enter the dojang (training room) and before you exit. Bow to an instructor on greeting and parting, bow in line when instructed to. General rule of thumb is, if in doubt, go ahead and bow. Better safe than sorry.

How do I address my fellow TKD folks?

Always err on the side of politeness, rather than being too casual. Those higher than you in rank are to be addressed as Ma’am and Sir, but its most polite to address everyone as Ma’am or Sir.

When people from different schools come here to train, they sometimes seem to do things differently than us. Is this wrong?

Different systems of Tae Kwon Do have different rules and types of etiquette. Many students are confused by the different styles, and don’t realize that it’s okay to be different, but that respect is a rule/ideal in ALL styles.

Promotion Tests and Judging

How often are promotion tests held?

Generally twice each semester for ranks up through brown belt. After that you’re expected to wait at least one full semester between each rank.

Who may judge at a promotion exam?

Beginning at the purple belt rank, you may volunteer to judge. Judging is an honor, a privilege, and a duty to those below you in rank, and to those above you who donate their own time at your promotion test. We are grateful for your participation. After purple belt you must be at least 2 ranks higher than the rank someone is testing for if you wish to judge their test. All tests must be arranged with the permission of an instructor, either for a class or for club. IF YOU ARE GOING TO BE JUDGING A PROMOTION EXAM IT’S IMPORTANT THAT YOU WEAR A FULL, CLEAN UNIFORM.

If you have never judged before, you will get a briefing before the test. If you still have questions, please ask an instructor.


What’s the difference between the forms we use and the forms practiced by other schools/systems?

Briefly, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) have their own forms. Our forms, the Palgues, are older than either the WTF or ITF forms. Other forms systems have names like Pyong Ahn, Tae Geuks, etc.

May I learn forms beyond those required for my next promotion?

It’s not good practice to learn a more advanced form until you have a very good grasp on the next form for your promotion. No matter how well you think you can do a form, there’s always room for improvement. This is an area where haste really does make waste.


I’d like to spar. Do I need special equipment? Must I hold a specific rank?

Club does not require a specific rank for permission to spar, but you will be evaluated by an instructor as to whether you have the needed skill level to safely participate. You MUST bring a mouthpiece and (for males) a protective cup to be allowed to spar. There will be no exceptions.

Demo Team

What is the demo team and how can I be part of it?

The Demo Team is a group of volunteers that have a set demonstration routine that they perform as an outreach program to show people what TKD is and introduce them to the club. Spirit of Sport, high schools, and children’s classes are all venues where the Demo Team has performed. There are no requirements other than that you be a regularly attending club member. White belts are as welcome as black belts. A member who participates in at least one “live” demo in front of an audience earns a “Demo Team TKD” patch and the right to wear it on their upper right sleeve.

Preparing for Black Belt Testing

What is Kunja and why do I have to know anything about it?

If you’re a brown belt in Ji Do Kwan TKD here at IU and you’ve never heard the term Kunja, something is amiss. There’s a very good definition of it in the class textbook and on several web pages. The requirements are that you must research the meaning and concept of Kunja and then write a paper detailing how it applies to you, your training in TKD and in your life in general. Before you test for red belt you must turn in an outline of your paper. Before your 1st Kup (temp) test you must turn in a rough draft. 30 DAYS before your black belt test you must turn in a 10-40 page paper. Electronic copies must be e-mailed as an attachment to both Master Thomas and Mr. Bruner. Your paper will be distributed to and read by your judges.

Is there an attendance requirement for promotion to black belt?

You must maintain regular attendance in club, especially for the last 2 semesters before you plan on testing. If you can’t attend club practices you’ll be obligated to show the panel that you have been practicing regularly outside of club.

How do I get one of those embroidered belts that some club members wear?

IU TKD @ IU is honored to present an embroidered belt to qualifying black belts who have trained and tested at IU. See an instructor or a club officer for details on how you can earn one for yourself.

The belt test sheet lists “demonstrated teaching” as a requirement. What does this mean?

In our system, teaching experience is a critical criteria for promotion to black belt. This can be acquired by several means. Most people opt to take SPH K485, a 1-credit hour class which allows you to be an assistant instructor in an IU martial arts class. You may do this 3 times for credit. Another method is to assist the club instructors by working with new or lower ranked students in club. If you are unable to sign up or attend the SPH K485 class, the club will make teaching time available for you during regular practice, and will require you to lead a portion (or all) of one club practice prior to your black belt test. You may also be asked to demonstrate teaching of a technique or concept during your black belt test.

What’s a pre-test and why do I have to take one?

Pre-tests are required for black belt candidates, and are strongly encouraged for red and red/black candidates as well. The test(s) will be used by the Chief Instructor to determine whether you are ready to test for promotion, or if you should wait.