Promotion / Certificate Information

The world of martial arts is steeped in tradition. Most schools and styles have a system of acknowledging and honoring rank determined by levels of technique and seniority. One of the primary purposes of the USHF’s existence is to promote and to provide a system of Rank Requirements.

The USHF Board of Examiners has established a rank requirement curriculum for our associate schools.  These are requirements that have been established as a bare minimum for rank advancement within the USHF affiliated schools.

Each school is encouraged to use these requirements as a guideline for establishing their own rank requirements.  We highly encourage schools to include concepts and techniques from other systems and arts to supplement these requirements based on the needs of their respective students.

For each belt rank the student must demonstrate proficiency in the required techniques for that rank. In addition, students are required to be prepared to demonstrate any or all techniques for ALL previous ranks. The previous ranks are the foundations for the next.

If you are a USHF School, in good standing, the USHF has Kup Certificates available for purchase. To purchase USHF Kup certificates, school dues must be current and and updated roster must be on file. Kup certificates are sold in packets of 25 and cost $50 ($2 / certificate). The certificates come with traditional, official USHF chop stamps, as well as two Board of Examiners signatures. Place orders by emailing the USHF Secretary at We’ll work out the details via email after you place your order.

Hapkido 8th Kup-Yellow Belt

Hapkido 7th Kup-Orange Belt

Hapkido 6th Kup- Green Belt

Hapkido 5th Kup – Purple Belt

Hapkido 4th Kup – Blue Belt

Hapkido 3rd Kup – Brown Belt

Hapkido 2nd Kup – Red Belt

Hapkido 1st Kup – Temporary Black Belt / Red and Black Belt

1st Dan – Black Belt

USHF Schools are not required to use these belt sheets but they have been provided in case you would like to use them.

Promotion of students to Dan (Black Belt) ranks will be with approval of the Board of Examiners of the USHF.

Rank reciprocity: Students from any Hapkido school (whether USHF or not) will be recognized at their currently held non-graded (kup) rank but must pass USHF standards for any and all subsequent promotions in our system.

Dan rank recognition is the domain of the USHF Board of Examiners.

Eligibility for Promotion to 2nd Dan and above, within USHF

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Approval of Board of Examiners – All candidates must be approved by a vote of the Board of Examiners.  The BoE will base their decision on the criteria listed below.

Time in Rank – The candidate must have been promoted to their current rank a number of years ago equal to or more than the rank desired (e.g. to be promoted to 4th dan, the candidate must have been a 3rd dan for at least 4 years)

Promotion Portfolio – Candidates must submit a portfolio detailing their personal growth, training, teaching, service, and outreach accomplishments since their last promotion.  To make this process more objective, points are assigned for various activities (outlined below).  To be promoted, a candidate must accumulate a number of points equal to their current rank x 4.

Current Rank Points Needed for Promotion Desired Rank
1 4 2
2 8 3
3 12 4
4 16 5
5 20 6
6 24 7


Below are some examples of activities that count towards promotion.  If there are other activities you believe should count in your favor, feel free to contact the USHF Board of Examiners (

Promotion Portfolios must be submitted to the Board of Examiners at least thirty (30) days before the annual Spring or Fall seminar so that members can evaluate the materials and ask questions before voting at the seminar.


Personal Growth in the Arts


Activity Point Value Maximum Points Claimable Evidence Needed
Active Student at a USHF School 1 point/year Current Dan rank Head instructor vouches to BoE
USHF Seminar Paricipation 1 point/ seminar Current Dan rank Certificate of attendance, photos, etc.
Written Paper submitted and reviewed by BoE 1 point/paper Current Dan rank BoE confirms that it has been reviewed and deemed acceptable
Seminar in other Art 1 point/ seminar Current Dan rank Certificate of attendance, photos, etc.
Physical Hapkido Test 1 point 1 Head instructor vouches to BoE

Service and Outreach in the Arts


Activity Point Value Maximum Points Claimable Evidence Needed
BoG/BoEx Officer Position 1 point/year served No maximum BoG/BoE minutes of election
Committee Lead for a BoG/BoE Committee 1 point/year served No maximum BoG/BoE minutes of nomination
Teach USHF techniques/curriculum at a non USHF school (includes Self-Defense seminars) 1 point/ seminar Current Dan rank Head instructor of host school/promoter certifies the event, photos of event, promotional materials from event, etc.
Head Instructor at USHF School 1 point/year Current Dan rank School roster on file with USHF, assumes school is caught up on dues/paperwork
Organize full day Hapkido Seminar for USHF (not including annual Fall/Spring seminars) 3 points/ seminar No maximum Promoter should notify an officer of the BoE in advance of the seminar

Teaching and Presentation


Activity Point Value Maximum Points Claimable Evidence Needed
Presentation at USHF Seminar 1 point/ presentation Current Dan rank Seminar agenda, promotional materials, photos, etc.
Active Hapkido instructor at a USHF School 1 point/year Current Dan rank Head of school vouches to BoE
Creation of instructional materials (book, video, etc.) of a relevant topic to USHF (up to two people can claim credit for collaboration) 3 points/book or video BoE acceptance of said material

Click here to print this info as a PDF.