Gup Shim Sa (Color Belt Test)

Gup Shim Sa June 2010

Earlier this month, we had our end of the school year Gup Shim Sa or color belt grading.  For the first time in our young academy’s life, we had the full spectrum to show.  There were students testing for the very first time, others testing for orange, green, and red belt.  There were even the first group of dan candidates who will test next May for their dan (black belt equivalent).

Soo Bahk Do only has 5 colors:  white, orange, green, red, and midnight blue and each color represents a season.  At each level, your skill level and learning should reflect the specific season.  White begins with winter, orange is a transition time between winter and spring with green belt representing the full season of spring.  Red symbolizes summer and midnight blue represents autumn, a fruitful result of training.  Below are a few fun videos that will give you an idea of the progression that takes place over the years as a student ripens and matures in the art.

Daphne Mitchie — Red Belt Test

The Moo Do values have several important meanings in my life. For example, Moo Do values include Pyang Ahn, awareness, The Eight Concepts, and discipline. Pyang Ahn means peaceful confidence. To me, awareness means being aware of my weapon, where I am, and where I need to be. The Eight Key Concepts to me include the following: Yong Gi-courage, Chung Shin Tong Il-concentration, and Wan Gup-speed control. To me, discipline means following directions and working hard.

I apply Pyang Ahn when I am swimming. When I am swimming I am peaceful, but still confident in myself. I apply awareness when I am in a very busy place by being conscious of where I am, those who are around me, and the environment that I am in. When I apply The Eight Key Concepts, I am training Soo Bahk. I apply Yong Gi when I am sparring someone taller than I am. I apply Chong Shin Tong Il when I am meditating. I apply Wan Gup when I am doing a form. I apply discipline when I am working hard.  I am trying really hard to get my Red Belt. These concepts have helped me get to the next rank.

April 2009 Gup Shim Sa

Congratulations to everyone who has earned their next promotion.  You all did a superb job and I couldn’t be prouder.  This was our largest test yet. Candidates ranged from taking their first test to achieving their orange, green and red belts.  This was the first time Wasatch Martial Arts has promoted a red belt.  I’ve posted a few pictures of the test for you to enjoy:



Skylar, Cate, and Ethan

Johnny and Grant





Kyok Pa





Tiger Tot Test


Yesterday was our Tiger Tot test.  Some of the students were unable to attend, but 4 of them were there testing.  They did a fabulous job.  I couldn’t be prouder.  I especially enjoyed seeing them demonstrate Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu.  They really caught on to the first part of the form and are right on track to be able to continue learning more of it.  I’m sure the parents were just as proud (maybe even more) of each of them.  It was a pretty stressful experience for a 4, 5, or 6 year old.

Gup Shim Sa April 1

The next Gup Shim Sa (color belt test) will be held April 1st.  The kids test will be at 4:00 pm and the adults at 6:00 pm.  This will be a very important test for many of you who will be changing color belts.  It is imperative that you practice at home and seriously prepare for this test.  I will be holding a pre-evaluation on March 25 and 26.  If you need an essay (all green belt and red belt candidates only), it is due on March 25 or 26.  You will know that day whether or not you will be testing.

You have a few resources at your disposal to prepare you for your test:

  • Instructional Guide DVDs (if you don’t have one, you can still order one)
  • Visit my website and review your testing requirements:
  • Come to all of the classes
  • Ask your seniors for help
  • Ask me to set up a private class with you

Here are the expectations for a passing grade:

  • Memorize the required forms, one steps, and wrist grabs (where applicable)
  • Green belt candidates and above successfully break their board on the FIRST attempt
  • Demonstrate through words and ACTION, our moo do philosophy.  This testing cycle we discussed ACTION PHILOSOPHY.  Each student should be able to explain and demonstrate the meaning of action philosophy.
  • Demonstrate a proper understanding of discipline, respect, and effort.

Beyond the general expectations, here is the performance level I anticipate for each level:

White Belt Expectations:

  • Complete Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu.
  • Understands proper hand positioning on blocks and punches.

Orange Belt Expectations:

  • Demonstrates proper fist, elbow, hip, knee, foot, and eye awareness in all hand and foot techniques
  • Proper stances
  • Proper protocol in class (bowing, etc)

Green Belt Expectations:

  • Utilizes proper huri (use of  hip) in all techniques.
  • Understands proper weapon and weapon to target

Red Belt Expectations:

  • Demonstrates proper distance and speed control.
  • Utilizes proper huri (with good snap)
  • Understands neh gong techniques

I hope this list helps.  For specific requirements, please see the testing requirements list on  my website.  If any student or parent has a question about expectation or would like some additional help, don’t hesitate to contact me.  I will do everything in my power to empower you for success!

In closing, I want to address something.  I know we often emphasize testing and rank advancement and I believe that progress is very important in life.  If we are not progressing we are regressing.  Nothing in the universe is stationary.  With that in mind, I hope you will try and focus on the journey rather than the destination.  The journey of learning and progressing is the real treat, not the prize at the end (the test).  Whether you test on April 1st or not is irrelevant as long as you are working towards improvement, which  I know you all are doing.  We are all unique individuals with unique circumstances.  So let’s do our best, but realize we will all get there at our own pace.

Gup Shim Sa – December 2008

Congratulations students! Last night marked our 6th Gup Shim Sa and the first ever adult shim sa. I was very proud of everyone’s performance.

A couple of highlights include the white belts demonstrating their hyung. I commented that their performance was one of the best I’ve seen from white belts. Congratulations Cate, Ethan, and Johnny.

The orange belts did a great job as well. Eoghan’s elbow break was one of the cleanest breaks of the test where he was a prime example of striking through the target. In fact, he almost hit the holder.

The adult test was very strong as well and I saw improvement from everyone. What was very enjoyable was the dinner we shared together in celebration. We went to a Korean restaurant and experienced Korean culture at its finest. Their was Kalbi, Japchae, Kimchi, and many other flavorful dishes. I believe we grew together in friendship as a result of the experience.

Returning to the test, Our senior students, the green belts were a real treat to watch. Their sparring was clean and effective. But more than their physical performance, I was impressed by their mental discipline and moo do philosophy.

Sarah was in a cast and Olyvia just got out of a sling. This did not prevent an impressive demonstration from the both of them. The rest had to break a full one-inch pine board. I think everyone was nervous since their breaking hadn’t been consistent.

In the end, Elle and Jacob broke their board. The rest did not. At the end of their test, I saw true moo do discipline in many of them as they grabbed a board and had their parents hold for them. Many continually hit their board repeatedly until their board broke. I was very proud and impressed by their determination. I expected them to leave at that point since they had passed their test.

They would not. Instead, one by one, they turned towards those who hadn’t broken yet and gave them friendly support and encouragement…the epidemy of moo do philosophy and a sign of great leadership.

In retrospect, what a blessing it was that most of these green belts did not initially break. Some still have not. Out of this, character has been defined. And our philosophy put into action. As an instructor, I couldn’t be prouder.

If any students or parents have pictures, please send them to me so I can place them on this page. I welcome you to also comment on your feelings about the test.