Color belts denote the level of ability and indicate the rank of the wearer. Our rank levels start with the beginner, who wears the white belt. One and two green stripe levels are attained before the green belt, which is achieved after approximately one year's training. Next are two levels of brown stripes, the brown belt, followed by two levels of black stripes, and the black belt.
Our Cuong Nhu levels each tell a story. Earning the ranks is as the life cycle of a tree. The white belt is the seed or gemma -- the beginning. When the young tree breaks ground and develops its first tender branches and leaves, this represents the green stripes and green belt. As the tree matures and becomes firmly rooted, it develops strong bark and becomes stronger -- this is represented by the brown stripes and brown belt. The black stripes are like the tree starting to flower and produce other seeds. Finally the seeds are sown and the cycle begins anew. This is why it is often said that at the black belt level you truly become a beginner.