A specific colored belt is awarded to a student based upon his or her meeting the minimum requirements for the belt and for his or her demonstration of skills during a test that are substantially improved from his or her last belt test. Belts are awarded to students based on improvement of their own personal skills. For this reason, belts give only a rough estimate of a student's actual Taekwondo skills. One red belt student may display extraordinary skills in comparison to another red belt student. It may appear that the lesser skilled red belt does not deserve the red belt, when in actuality, he or she trained an extraordinary number of hours and showed great progress to earn the belt in comparison to the more skilled red belt who was able to easily learn the skills in short time.
The final goal of Taekwondo is supposed to be the "perfection of human character." However, many times this goal is forgotten. If you listen to Taekwondo students talk to each other, you would think the goal to Taekwondo is to make everyone a superb sparring competitor. If a student goes to every tournament and loses every match, some feel the student do not deserve his or her present rank and should not be promoted. However, a student who persists and continues to improve his or her skills, is always congratulatory to the winners, and cheers for teammates, is more deserving of promotion than a superb fighter who is self-congratulatory and neglects others. Rank is determined by many factors, having a true "Taekwondo spirit" is foremost among them.
Anyone who is willing to make the commitment of time and effort may learn Taekwondo and advance through the belt system. For some, advancement may take longer than for others due time conflicts with other phases of life, money problems, physical differences, physical or mental disabilities, or injuries. However, since belt advancement is awarded on personal improvement, anyone who preservers may reach the black belt level. The secret to earning a Taekwondo black belt is simple—commitment and perseverance.