Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TaeKwonDo Intel


The actual background of modern TaeKwonDo can be traced to just after the Korean Liberation in 1944. Various martial art schools were immediately formed, free of restrictions, incorporating centuries old teaching traditions with a desire to produce a truly indigenous Korean Art, with the largest style commonly termed as TangSooDo or “Way of the China Hand”. Unfortunately, due to the circumstances at the time, the majority of the styles taught were in actuality Japanese Shotokan. Most of the patterns and techniques were taken directly from Japanese KarateDo. This, while being understandable, given the long occupation of Korea by the Empire of the Rising Sun, did not sit easily with the majority of the Masters, who craved a more “Korean” identity and character.

Before we proceed, there are 2 important points to consider: firstly, virtually ALL the founding members of the great Kwans were certified and proficient mostly in Japanese Karate (mainly Shotokan, itself a spin-off from its predecessor, Okinawan Shorin-Ryu) which they naturally used as their platform or “kernel” for their individual styles. These founding Masters included LEE Won Kuk (ChungDoKwan); Yoon Byung In (ChangMooKwan); HO Byung Sik (SongMooKwan); CHOI Hong Hi (OhDoKwan) and even arguably LEE Hwang Kee (MooDukKwan). While some of the masters may have had knowledge of other arts (e.g. Judo, Kendo, etc.) these were also ALL virtually Japanese, with Karate as the main essence.

The second important point to note is that the main source of the Karate learnt is from the introducers of Okinawan Karate to Japan, and their knowledge base. The main introducer of Karate to Japan was Ginchen Funakoshi, whose instructor was Itosu Yasutsune, a Shorin-Ryu master in Okinawa. Itosu himself was a school teacher, and wanted a system of Karate that could be taught safely to elementary level school children. This system could be referred to as a “dumbed down” version of classical Karate, and was promoted via a platform known as the Pinan Kata which consisted of 5 forms which were created from combining and modularizing 2 older forms called Kushanku (Korean: KongSangKoon) and ChiangNan (Korean: JaeNam). This made the system taught simpler, safer and easier to teach. Of course other innovations were incorporated to enable the execution of this simplified system of Karate like the method used to form a striking fist for children as opposed to adults. Another direct link now nearly lost) would be the traditional beginner patterns used by the old schools called “Kicho” (1-3). It can thus be argued that classical TKD has its direct roots from simplified Japanese Karate which was itself developed from a system to teach elementary school children.

The five largest martial art gym systems at the time were: ChungDoKwan™ (the oldest and most established), JiDoKwan, MooDukKwan (most related to TangSooDo and then the subsequent name change to SooBakDo), ChangMooKwan and SongMooKwan.

A brief description of each major Kwan (over 200 were consolidated into 9 + 1 Kwans, with 5 original and outstanding ones) is as follows:

ChungDoKwan™ (CDK) was founded by GM LEE, Won Kuk in 1944. He received instruction directly from Ginchen Funakoshi Sensei, founder of Japanese Karate. Noted graduates of CDK include Uhm Woon Kyu, Nam Tae Hee, Han Cha Kyo, Kim Bong Sik, Jhoon Rhee and Choi Hong Hi (ITF). CDK has the dual distinction of giving GM Choi his first known TKD (4th Dan) certification as well as his only rejection (6th Dan). CDK means “School of the Blue Wave”.

JiDoKwan (JDK) was originally named Chosun YunMooKwan KongSoo Do Bu, and was founded by GM CHUN, Sang Sup who studied judo and Karate. It specializes in sparring, and noted graduates include Bae Young Kee, Lee Chong Woo, Lee Kyo Yoon and Kim Bok Nam. JDK means “Wisdom Way School”.

MooDukKwan or “Institute of Martial Virtue” (MDK) was founded around 1947 by GM LEE, Hwang Kee. Lee studied Karate and some Chinese fighting systems, and originally taught (unsuccessfully) under the name of HwaSooDo. He then received GM Lee Won Kuk’s (CDK) permission to teach under the name TangSooDo, and the rest is history. MDK was called the “Railroad Dojang” due to its proximity with the YongSan Railroad Station. Some notable graduates were Kim Woon Chang, Hong Chong Soo, Yoo Kwa Young, Kin In Suk and Hwang Jin Tae.

ChangMooKwan (CMK) or YMCA KwonBup Bu was founded in 1946 by GM YOON, Byung In who was adept in both Chinese systems and Japanese Karate where he received a 5th Dan. Noted graduates were GM Lee Nam Suk (previous Head, passed away in 2002), GM Kim Soon Bae (current Head), Hong Jung Pyo and Park Chul Hee.

SongMooKan (SMK) or “School of the Martial Pine” was founded by GM RO, Byung Jik, in 1946. GM Ro was a martial art adept who trained together with CDK founder GM Lee. He stressed power executions of both kicks and punches. Graduates included Lee Young Sup, Kang Won Sik, Lee Hwae Soon and Kim Hong Bin.

OhDoKwan (ODK) or “My Way Gym” was founded by GM CHOI, Hong Hi, as the military equivalent of CDK. It was not an original Kwan. In fact, it actually encouraged and received many CDK members, helping Choi to extend his influence. The Kwan itself was actually run by one of CDK’s top instructors, GM Nam Tae Hee.

The term TaeKwonDo can either mean the “Way of Foot and Fist Fighting” or “Way of (smashing with) the Foot and Fist”. The name was chosen at a ‘highest-level only’ meeting of Korean Masters, Military, and Government officials, around 1953, to promote an image of a cohesive and united indigenous Korean National Martial Art. Implementation of TKD unity was notorious slow with shifting loyalties and many hidden agendas. The first National Governing Body was called DaeHan KongSooDo, then DaeHan TaeSooDo, then finally DaeHan TaeKwonDo (Korea or National TaeKwondo Association), but always fighting political battles with the DaeHan TangSooDo!

The first international body of TaeKwonDo, the International TaeKwonDo Federation (ITF), was formed around 1966, with Choi Hong Hi as its President. It subsequently moved to Canada, then Austria, and after the demise of CHOI in 2002, split between his son, Jung Hwa, in Canada, Tran in Austria and Ung in North Korea. This was sadly mainly attributed to politics.

Again, Great GM LEE, Hwang Kee (MDK), also passed away in 2002. His legacy lives on in at least 3 distinct bodies; the TKDMDK, now part of the KTA (WTF), the original TSDMDK, now split around the world, and SooBakDo MDK, now led by his son.

Great GM LEE, Won Kuk (CDK) also passed away in early 2003.

In order to ensure that only correct and true Korean TaeKwonDo be promoted world-wide, the World TaeKwonDo Federation (WTF) was formed in 1973, with its headquarters being permanently located at the KukKiWon (KKW) in Korea. The KukkiWon means “National Sports Institute”, and was originally named the Korea TaeKwonDo Dojang or DaeHan TaeKwonDo Hyop Hwe Chang Ang Dojang. On February 6th, 1973, its name was changed to the World TaeKwonDo Headquarters or SaeGye TaeKwonDo BonBu.

On the 20th May 1976, the KTA officially eliminated the names of the Kwans and replaced them with numbers, i.e.:

#1, SongMooKwan;

#2, HanMooKwan;

#3, ChangMooKwan;

#4, MooDukKwan;

#5, OhDoKwan;

#6, KangDukKwan;

#7, JungDoKwan;

#8, JiDoKwan;

#9, ChungDoKwan™

#10, KwanRiKwan.

A notable point is that there was a 10th Kwan (#10), termed KwanRiKwan or Administrative Managing Kwan. This was done to cater for many MDK members who were separated from that Kwan. How the actual numbers were assigned is still not clear.

Kwan unification steps began in earnest in 1977, and were driven mainly by LEE, Chong Woo (JiDoKwan), LEE, Byung Ro and KANG Won Sik (both of ChongBonKwan). The Kwan system was effectively ended 18 months later, on 07 August, 1978.

Prior to the establishment of the KukKiWon, all regular TaeKwonDo affairs were still carried out by the main gyms via the Korea TaeKwonDo Association. After a period, while divested of their main administrative powers, the main gyms still had the right to issue WTF Dan grades to deserving practitioners besides National Governing Bodies around the World. This was in recognition of their contributions to the development of TaeKwonDo, and unique in the set up of the WTF.

Other than the above, only individuals specially appointed (by minimum 6th Dan rank) as Master Instructors and registered direct with the KukKiWon had this authority. These days, only the KukKiWon has the power and authority to issue WTF Dan certificates for international recognition, via either National Governing Bodies or KukKiWon registered Master Instructors’ recommendations. Having said that, there is a distinct movement back to traditional TKD, away from the sport or KukKi TKD, and this can be traced back to the KTA.

TaeKwonDo today, under the WTF, is practiced in over 175 countries, and is rapidly being accepted as a full Olympic sport. It is Korea’s national sport, and over 75% of all Koreans are versed in this art. It is capable of being practiced by persons of all ages, from 6 years to 80 years, and by either sex. Regular training has been scientifically proven to increase suppleness, posture, oxygen flow, reflexes, strength, muscle and bone structure, general constitution levels and mental health. It has also demonstrated abilities to automatically improve character, in terms of patience, discipline and understanding of our environment and fellow humans. While other TaeKwonDo styles exist, notably ITF, and 1st, 2nd and even 3rd generation splinter groups of the former, it is only the WTF that has a continuous research and development maintenance growth program for continued safe development and official recognition of various ranking achievements.

Progress in TaeKwonDo is a constantly progressive process, and is reflected by various ranks or grades, denoted firstly by Geup grades (usually 10 in number, but sometimes from as low as 5 to as high as 15) and secondly by Dan grades (Black 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. to 10th Dan). The average time from beginner to the Black Belt (basic level of overall proficiency) based on twice or thrice weekly training should be approximately three to four years, depending on the individual’s input. Assistant instructors (Cho Ryo) can be appointed at Blue or Red belt levels; instructors (Boo Sa Nim) at 1st and 2nd Dan, Senior Instructors (Sa Boom Nim) at 3rd and 4th Dan, Master Instructors (Kwan Jang Nim) at 5th, 6th and 7th Dan, and Grand Masters from 8th, 9th and 10th Dan. Junior Black Belt holders (under eighteen years old) are called Pooms (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th).

The combat characteristics of TaeKwonDo are short but powerful bursts of explosive power, in mostly linear or angular directions, with some circular ones. The primary weapons are the feet, with a good percentage of attacks done utilizing jumping or skipping techniques. The feet are preferred over the hands because of the advantages of greater distance mastery (reach) and potential power generation (weight of attacking tool multiplied by distance traveled to target impact, speed being constant). Also, as an art, it is much more difficult to physically master utilizing the feet as attacking/defensive tools than any other part of the body. TaeKwonDo practitioners gather from all over the globe every 2 years to participate in the bi-yearly World Championships. TaeKwonDo (under the WTF) is also a sporting event under the following recognized governing umbrella organizations – G.A.I.S.F., C.I.S.M., F.I.S.U., O.C.A., O.D.E.P.A., and is a full sporting event at some of the most prestigious international sport events, e.g.: World Games, Pan American Games, World Cup, Pan African Games, Asian Games and the Olympics.

TaeKwonDo Patterns

TaeKwonDo patterns consist of stances, blocks, strikes, punches and kicks arranged in a meaningful order in response to attacks from multiple imaginary assailants attacking from several directions. The patterns were formerly the only means available to transmit the essence of the art to students; this was because until the twentieth century, free sparring as we know it today (with rules and protective equipment), did not exist. Balance, focus, co-ordination, correct breath control and self-discipline emerge as benefits of continued pattern practice. Patterns are also known as Hyung, Tul, Kata, Poomse, etc. in the continuing evolution of TaeKwonDo.

Each pattern has its own distinct essence and character. Each is understood in terms of an organic whole rather than as an assortment of separate techniques. There is an inherent unity to each poomse, which is ultimately perceived and understood by each student automatically as he gains fluency and mastery of each poomse. It is impossible for the student to understand the art of TaeKwonDo without thorough knowledge of patterns.

Pattern practice is considered highly crucial by most traditional TKD Masters. It comprises at least 30% to up to 40% of testing requirement for promotion to higher rank. Forms are introduced in ascending order of complexity as the student’s ability prepares him to understand and absorb them. A beginner or junior who rushes to attempt and learn advanced forms without proper procedure cannot hope to comprehend them as he would not have correctly understood the ones appropriate to his level.

Constant training in patterns will do more than just improve the students’ fitness levels and understanding of the technical aspects of TKD. Training also improves the mind and spirit. It helps the student overcome human tendencies to be complacent, lazy and to be unfocused. Patterns enable us to fuse the mind, body and spirit into one integrated entity.

There is NO TKD without Patterns.

The predecessor of TKD as we know it today was TangSooDo (TSD). Their sets of patterns are given the family name of “Pyung Ahn” or “Peace and Happiness”. The Pyung Ahn Hyung (PAH) is a prime example of a group of forms having great diversity, being adopted and in use with hundreds of styles of recognized martial arts.

Pyung Ahn is the common Korean pronunciation for the Chinese characters for this series, which in Okinawan translates to “Pin Yi”. These hyung were first created around 1901 by GM Itsou Yatsutsune, an Okinawan ShorinRyu Karate master. Itsou, a schoolteacher, wanted to create a safe method to introduce and promote martial arts for children at the elementary school level. He thus combined 2 older existing sets of forms, KuShanKu (KongSangKoon) and ChiangNam (JaeNam) into 5 distinct forms. This new system he named “Pinan Kata”.

The Pinan forms were initially introduced into Japan by Itsou’s senior students, notably GM Mabuni Kenwa (founder of ShitoRyu) and GM Ginchin Funakoshi, (founder of Shotokan). Funakoshi would also change the forms slightly, and rename them “Heian”. These Masters would then teach these forms to resident Koreans who would later return to Korea with this knowledge. Some of the more notable Koreans were LEE, Won Kuk (ChungDoKwan™), YOON, Byung In (ChangMooKwan) and CHOI, Hong Hi (OhDoKwan).

Detailed data on their descriptions have been difficult for me to source accurately and re-confirm from alternative sources, but what I have is as follows:

For the Geup grades, they have 2 series of patterns, the “Kicho” and the “Pyung Ahn”. The lower black belt or Dan series are sometimes referred to as the Naihanchi and Passai (or Bassai) series.

Geup levels:

KeeCho Il Bo,

KeeCho Ee Bo,

KeeCho Sam Bo.

Pyung Ahn Cho Dan,

Pyung Ahn Ee Dan,

Pyung Ahn Sam Dan,

Pyung Ahn Sa Dan,

Pyung Ahn Oh Dan.

Dan Levels:

1st Dan:

Naihanchi Cho Dan, Naihanchi Ee Dan, JinDo.

2nd Dan:

Naihanchi Sam Dan, LoHi.

3rd Dan:

KongSangKun, JitDeh.

4th Dan:

WangSoo, SeiShan.

5th Dan:

Jion, O Ship SaBoDai.

6th Dan:


7th Dan:

SoRim JangKwon

8th Dan:



In the ITF family, the current terminology for patterns is “Tul”, although they were originally called “Hyung”. The original name for the ITF family of patterns is called “Chong Hon”, although they are commonly referred to as the “Chon Ji” series, named after the first pattern. There were originally 9 basic (Geup) patterns and 11 advanced (Dan) patterns, although through the years, the sequencing and content of various patterns have been changed.

Chon Ji means “Heaven and Earth”. It symbolized the oriental new as to the creation of the world or beginning of human history. It is thus the initial form of the series. The pattern has 19 movements, consisting of 2 mirror parts, one to represent Heaven, the other Earth.

Dan Gun is named to honor the legendary founder of ancient Korea, circa 2333 BC. It has 21 movements.

Do San represents the pseudonym of the Korea patriot Ahn Chang-Ho (1876 – 1938). Its 24 movements represent his life, to which he devoted to advancing the education of the peoples of Korea and the then independence movement.

Won Hyo is the recorded name of the venerated monk who introduced the teaching and virtues of Buddhism to Korea during the Silla Dynasty, circa 686 AD. It comprises of 28 movements.

Yul Gok is again a pseudonym. It represents a legendary philosopher and scholar, Yil (1536 – 1584), who is also known as the Confucius of Korea. The 38 movements of the form refer to his birth place on the 38th latitude, while the form diagram represents the word “Scholar”.

Joong Gun is named after the Korean patriot Ahn Joong-Gun. Ahn assassinated ITO Hiro-Zumi, the first Japanese Governor General of Korea. The 32 movements represents Ahn’s age at the time of his execution in Lui-Shung prison (1910).

Toi Gay is the pen name of the 16th century scholar Yi Hwang who was an authority on neo Confucianism. The form’s 37 movements refer to his birth place on the 37th latitude, while the form outline describes the word “scholar”.

Hwa Rang is named after the Silla Dynasty Hwa Rang youth movement of the 7th century. The 29 movements however refer to the ROK 29th Infantry Division, where TaeKwonDo as it was originally called was conceived and developed.

Choong Moo was the common name of Admiral Yi Soon-Sin of the Lee Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armored sea craft (KoBukSon) in 1592. The form ends with a left hand attack to symbolize his inappropriate death and its circumstances.

Kwang Gae is the 1st Dan Black Belt pattern, and is named after Kwang Gae Toh Wang, a famous 19th century ruler of the Koguryo Dynasty. He regained lost territories including a large part of Manchuria. The 39 movements refer to the first two figures of the year he ascended to the throne, i.e. 391 AD.

Po-Eun was the first original 2nd Dan pattern. It represents Chong Mong-Chu (1400 AD), a famous poet, whose most well known poem is “I would not serve a second master though I might be crucified a hundred times”. It has 36 movements.

Gae Back is thought to be the second 2nd Dan pattern. It has 44 movements, and is named after a famous General, Gae-Back, of the Back Je Dynasty.

Choong Jang is thought to be the one of the original 3rd Dan pattern. It has 52 movements, and refers to General Kim Duk Ryang who lived during the Lee Dynasty. The pattern ends with a left hand attack to symbolize his untimely death at age 27 while in prison.

Ul Ji is thought to be the second 3rd Dan pattern, and is named after General Ul-Ji Moon Duk, who defended Korea against a 1 million strong army in 612 AD by employing guerrilla hit and run tactics. The 42 movements denote the author’s age when he designed the pattern.

Se Jong is believed to be an original 4th Dan pattern, and denotes a legendary King, Se-Jong, who invented the Korea alphabet in 1443. The 24 movements refer to the 24 letters of the alphabet.

Choi Yong is thought to be the second 4th Dan pattern; and is named after General Choi Yong, the 14th century CinC of the Koryo Dynasty. His subordinate officers executed him.

Yoo Sin is thought to be one of the 5th Dan patterns. The pattern has 68 movements, and is named after General Kim Yoo Sin of the Silla Dynasty.

Ko Dang is thought to be the second 5th Dan pattern.

Sam IL is thought to be one of the 6th Dan patterns. It represents the beginning of the Korean Independence Movement that started on March 1, 1919. The 33 movements symbolize the 33 original patriots of the Movement.

Tong IL is believed to be the second 6th Dan pattern, and the last of the original series. It has 56 movements, and denotes the re-unification of Korea.


The following were added by General Choi from the 1970’s, and are not original:

- Moon-Moo

- Yom-Gae

- So-San

- Eui-Am

- Joo-Che


TaeGuek 1 to 8 are required for promotion to 1st Dan under the WTF system of TaeKwonDo. “Tae’ means ‘bigness’ while ‘Guek’ means ‘eternity’. Thus, TaeGuek has no form, no beginning, and no ending. Nevertheless, everything is believed to come from TaeGuek (oriental philosophy); i.e. it is something that contains the essence of everything. Out of TaeGuek are derived eight major branches of philosophical theories. TaeGuek Poomse 1 to 8 is based on these theories. Movement lines of these theories are represented by special symbols, or PalGae, and students must move along these lines.

TaeGuek 1 applies action of Keon of Palgae. Keon represents Heaven and Light; heaven giving us rain, and the sun giving us light, making life. Therefore, Keon is the beginning of everything on earth and the source of creation. In analogy, TaeGeuk begins with Keon, namely the Heaven. There are 18 sequences to this poomse.

TaeGuek 2 is a series of actions applying the principle of Tae of Palgae, which can be called Joyfulness. This is the state in which one’s mind is kept firm and ostensive appears gentle so that happiness and good virtue prevail. Accordingly, all actions should be performed gently but forcefully. There are 18 sequences to this poomse.

TaeGuek 3 concerns actions applying the principle of Ri of Palgae. The representing symbol means Fire and Sun. What distinguishes man from animal is that man knows how to use fire. Fire gives man light, warmth, enthusiasm, security and hope. Accordingly, all actions should be performed with variety and with passion. There are 20 sequences to this poomse.

TaeGuek 4 has a series of actions applying the principle of Jin of Palgae. Jin symbolizes Thunder. Thunder and Lighting are objects of fear and trembling. This principle suggests that we should act calmly and bravely even in the face of danger and great fear. For, at the end of the fiercest storm, blue skies and bright sunlight will emerge again. There are 20 sequences to this poomse.

TaeGuek 5 applies actions applying the Seon principle of Palgae. Seon symbolizes Wind. While there are such terrible winds like typhoon, tornadoes and hurricanes, by nature, wind is gentle. A spring breeze softly caresses a slowly swaying weeping willow. Wind symbolizes the humble state of mind. It expresses repetitive good-natured actions. Actions proceed sometimes gently, as in a breeze, but sometimes forcefully as in a storm. There are 20 sequences to this poomse.

TaeGuek 6 actions apply the principle of Gam of Palgae, symbolizing Water. Water is both liquid and formless. It never loses its nature, and will always flow downward. This principle teaches us the lesson that we can overcome difficulties and hardship if we go forward with self-confidence. Water is all encompassing, equalizing both within and without. There are 23 sequences to this poomse.

TaeGuek 7 actions apply the Gan principle of Palgae. Gan means “top stop” and symbolizes a Mountain. We should stop when we should, and go forward when we must; movement and stopping should match with time and order to achieve things. A mountain never moves. Man must learn the stability of the mountain. We should not act hastily; although rapid actions seem fine, we must know when and where to stop. There are 25 sequences to this poomse.

TaeGuek 8 actions apply the Gon principle of Palgae. Gon symbolizes the Earth, which is the source of life. Things take life from it and grow on it, drawing limitless energy from it. The earth is where the creative force of heaven is embodied. There are 24 sequences to this poomse.

KORYO is the name of an ancient dynasty (918 AD – 1392 AD) in Korea. The English word ‘Korea’ is originated from the name of “koryo” dynasty. Koryo’s legacy to the Korean people is very significant. Koryo men invented metal type for the first time in the world (1234 AD), more than 2 centuries before Johannes Guttenberg (1398 AD -–1468 AD), and also created the famous Koryo ceramics. Moreover, they showed great fortitude by persistently defeating the aggression of Mongolians who were sweeping the known world at the time.

The application of the spirit of Koryo men into the movement of TaeKwonDo is poomse “Koryo”. Consequently, every motion is the presentation of the strong conviction and with which Koryo men held in check the Mongolians. Koryo is the first of 9 official black belt patterns of the WTF; there are 30 sequences to this poomse.

KEUMGANG has the original meaning of “being too strong to be broken”. Also, in Buddhism, what can break off every agony of mind with the combination of wisdom and virtue is called “Keumgang”. The Korean people have named the most beautiful mountain in the Korean peninsula Keumgang-San which is located in the Taebaek range of mountains, and call diamond, the hardest known substance, Keumgang-Seok. Accordingly, Keumgang in TaeKwonDo means movement based on spiritual strength that is as beautiful and majestic as the Diamond Mountains, and as hard and adamant as the diamond.

Keumgang poomse is the official 2nd Dan black belt pattern of the WTF; movement should reflect the majestic spirit of the Diamond mountain range. There are 27 sequences to this poomse.

TAEBAEK (MOUNTAIN) background stems from the mythological story about the founding of Korea that says that about four thousand three hundred years ago, legendary Dangoon founded the nation for the first time in Taebaek, present day Mount Baekdoo, which is regarded as the grandest and loftiest mountain in Korea. It is also regarded as the symbol of Korea. Every motion of this poomse should be displayed not only precisely and nimbly, but also with rigor and a determined will. Poomse Taebaek is the official 3rd Dan black belt pattern of the WTF; it has 26 sequences.

PYONGWON: the living lot of human beings is the plain. Fertile and vast plains give us food. It has also been the place where human life has been lived and carried on for time immemorial. A great open plain stretching out endlessly gives us a feeling of majesty that is different from what we feel on a mountain or the sea. The application of the providence of the plain which is blessed with abundance and grace as well as boundless vastness into the movement of TaeKwonDo is poomse “Pyongwon” (plain).

Pyongwon poomse is the first official WTF pattern for 4th Dan black belt level; its core is to be found in the potential strength and flexibility as well as in the majestic spirit of the vast plain. There are 25 sequences in this pattern, which symbolizes a plain.

SIPJIN (Decimal): The Decimal system is the standard numerical value of ten, hundred, thousand, million, billion and so on. In this sense 10 is the symbolic figure which means endless development and growth. Growth is always affected by systematic and orderly rule. The life of poomse Sipjin lies in the supreme change and orderly discipline of the decimal system. Stability is sought in every change of movement. Sipjin poomse is the second official 4th Dan WTF black belt pattern; it has 31 sequences, and symbolizes the decimal.

JITAE (Earth): According to oriental belief, all living things come from and return to the earth. The earth is indeed the origin and terminal of life. Living things as well as all the natural phenomena of the earth originate mainly from the changes and form of the earth. Poomse “Jitae” is the movement which applies these features and properties of the earth. The key point of this poomse lies in the movements which are derived from the harmony of willing power and strong muscles, just as the universal mind of the earth lies in the implicitness and vigor of life. Poomse Jitae is the first official 5th Dan black belt pattern of the WTF, and has 28 sequences.

CHEONKWON (Sky): From ancient times, Orientals have believed and worshipped the sky as the ruler of the universe and of human beings. Moreover, this belief extends to giving the sky powers of creation and control over all natural things. The infinite sky may be seen as a mysterious and profound world of imagination in the eyes of finite human beings. This poomse is composed of the motions which are full of piety and vitality as a man looks up at the sky. There are 27 sequences in this second official WTF 5th Dan black belt pattern.

HANSOO (Water): Water is universally viewed as a source of life. Trickles form streams, leading to tributaries, to rivers and finally to the sea – all from a single drop. Water may be quiet but also wild; it also adapts perfectly to any container.

The application of such nature of water, i.e. the fluidity and strong quality and adaptability is found in TaeKwonDo movements, especially in this poomse. This is the first official WTF 6th Dan black belt pattern; there are 27 sequences.

ILYO (Oneness): In Buddhism, the state of spiritual cultivation is said to “Ilyo” (oneness), in which the body and the mind, the spirit and the substance are unified into oneness. It means that one derives the state of pure mind from profound faith, namely the state in which one has discarded all worldly desires. The ultimate ideal of TaeKwonDo is in this state of Ilyo. In this state of mentality or “nirvana”, one overcomes ego. The final goal TaeKwonDo pursues is indeed a discipline in which we concentrate attention on every movement, shaking off all worldly thoughts and obsession. Ilyo poomse is the second official 6th Dan WTF black belt pattern; it has 24 sequences.