The Cycle of the Seasons
The SHMA belt system begins at White belt and continues into the higher ranks of Black Belt. Each colour represents a stage of achievement and symbolises the cycle of the seasons. This reflects the oriental philosophy: “That which is born must grow, reach maturity, die and leave behind the seeds of a new birth.”

The White & Yellow belt

Is the beginning  of life’s cycle, and represents the seed as it lies beneath the snow in winter.

The Orange belt

Represents the sun as it warms the earth to prepare for new growth in spring.

The Green belt

Represents the new plant that has begun to grow as summer arrives.

The Blue belt

Represents the nourishment received from the sky and water as the plant prepares to flower in late summer.

The Red belt

Represents life’s energy as the plant begins to bloom and ripen in early fall.

The Cho Dan Bo belt

Represents the mature plant. The Cho Dan Bo student is a candidate for Black Belt and now must prepare for the final step in the first life cycle.

The Black Belt

Represents Maturity, Respect and Honour and is the final stage of one’s life cycle and the beginning of the next.

Reaching this goal starts the student on the path towards true mastery in the ranks of Black Belt.

The seed lay nestled in the earth’s warm embrace as snow coated the exposed ground above. The lands had succumbed to the grip of winter but the protected seed radiated potential, power, energy and life. Yet through the layers of time, the energy born of the sun slowly and gradually warms the earth more and more, stealing away all traces of winter as the absence of this cold season unveils the next season, Spring.
The new season carries the promise of growth as the sun beckons the seed to break free of its almost lethargic hibernation. Struggling, with visible efficacy, the seed opens as a small green limb strains to pierce the earth’s hold and bask in the glory of the sun, deeply drinking in its rejuvenating energy.
Spring makes way for summer as the cycle of seasons presses on and the little plant continues to grow. but now more components become evident in the process of growth as the plant is soon found to rely not only on the sun’s energy but the sky and water as well. As the sky and water prove to be key factors in the growth process as well, the plant continues to prosper and grow in size. Yet as the plant grows upward and outward, its roots grow also as the roots help to deeply anchor in and support the plant. And then finally, the plant shines forth life’s vibrant energy as the plant erupts into a full beauty by blooming and ripening. 
In this season now of early fall, the plant is on the edge of total maturity. Ultimately, the plant becomes fully mature and initiates its preparation for the final step in the first cycle of life. This seed, this life cycle, however, are merely symbols. Symbols representing students and the path they follow in Tang Soo Do Karate as I myself have come to realize that I possess the honour of having been a “seed” and following the cycle’s path also. I have now reached the point that as a sincere student of Tang Soo Do, I must prepare for the next cycle of life which is found in the form of a Black Belt. 
Written By:
Mr. Chris Alfonzo. 
Manna's Martial Arts, USA
Black Belt No.136-0190

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