A great public misconception is that all black belt holders are experts. This is understandable since the public's knowledge of the martial arts comes mostly from motion pictures and television. This is compounded by the fact that some novice black belt holders advertise themselves as experts, and, eventually, even convince themselves they are experts.
First degree black belt (first dan) is only the beginning of another stage in the training of a Taekwondo student. Until this point, the student has merely been building a foundation. It will be many years before the final structure is completed. The job of building the structure lies ahead, but, if a firm foundation has been laid, the building process will be less difficult.
A diligent student may attain first dan in about 2-3 years of continuous training. This is the equivalent of an associate of arts college degree. Much more training and many more dan promotions are required before reaching the Ph.D. level (master ranks) and being considered an authority on Taekwondo.