Symbolism Theory. The color indicates the rank of the wearer but it is also symbolizes other aspects of eastern philosophy. Belt colors are steeped in tradition. The colors of black, red, and blue denoted the various levels of Korean hierarchy during the Koguryo and Silla Dynasties. Red represents the highest ranks and positions of officials in politics, government, military, and religion. It is the "king's" color and the color of Popes and Cardinals. Diplomats wear red bands across their shoulders and red is used on flags of different nations and on ribbons used for military awards. Some martial art styles consider the red belt as the highest color of achievement.
The color white also had great significance in Korean history. When Tangun, the son of Hwanung, founded Korea under the name of Choson, the name was based on the spirit of worshiping the sun (symbolizing brightness/whiteness). In some religions, a white garment signifies a sinless life. The color white symbolizes birth or beginning, whereas, the color black symbolizes the end. The colors white and black are also linked to the philosophy of Um (Yin)-Yang: the theory of opposites opposing each other while still working in harmony, such as the sun and moon, day and night, and beginning and end. Um-Yang is the ultimate explanation of cosmic order. It explains how everything in the universe both acts and reacts to everything else. White belt students are the opposite of black belt students in Taekwondo knowledge and ability but white and black belts work in concert to increase each other’s knowledge and ability. In the Taekwondo belt system, the colored belts between white and black belts attempt to link the two together in a meaningful way