The 24 Patterns of Taekwon-Do
What is a Pattern (Tul)?
A Taekwon-Do pattern is a choreographed sequence of fundamental movements in an imaginary fight against one attacker or several. The execution of the movements requires the application of the Theory of Power. Correct breathing generates internal energy, which increases power.
Why do we perform Patterns?
We practise patterns to Improve our Tae Kwon-Do techniques, to develop sparring techniques, to improve flexibility of movement, develop muscles, balance and breath control. They also enable us to acquire techniques which cannot be obtained from other forms of training.
Why are there twenty four Patterns?
The reason for twenty four patterns in Taekwon-Do is because the founder, Major General Choi Hong Hi, compared the life of man with a day in the life of the earth and believed that some people should strive to bequeath a good spiritual legacy to coming generations and in doing so gain immortality.
Therefore, if we can leave something behind for the welfare of mankind, maybe it will be the most important thing to happen in our lives, as the founder says:
“Here I leave Taekwon-Do for mankind. As a trace of a man of the late 20th Century. The twenty four patterns represent twenty four hours, one day or all of my life.”
Belt Colours and Their Meaning:
Chon-Ji means literally “the Heaven the Earth”. It is, in the Orient, interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history, therefore, it is the initial pattern played by the beginner. This pattern consists of two similar parts; one to represent the Heaven and the other the Earth.
Dan-Gun is named after the holy Dan Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year 2,333 B. C.
Do-San is the pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Ch’ang-Ho (1876-1938) who devoted his entire life to furthering the education of Korea and its independence movement.
Won-Hyo was the noted monk who introduced Buddhism to the Silla Dynasty in the year 686 A.D.
Yul-Gok is the pseudonym of a great philosopher and scholar Yi I (1536-1584) nicknamed the “Confucius of Korea” . The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on 38 Degrees latitude and the Diagram represents “scholar”.
Joong-Gun is named after the patriot Ahn Joong-Gun who assassinated Hiro-Bumi Ito, the first Japanese governor-general of Korea, known as the man who played the leading part in the Korea-Japan merger. There are 32 movements in this pattern to represent Mr. Ahn’s age when he was executed at Lui-Shung prison in 1910.
Toi-Gye is the pen name of the noted scholar Yt Hwang (16th CenturyAD), an authority on neo-Confucianism. The 37 movements of the pattern refer to his birthplace on 37 degrees latitude, the diagram represents scholar.
Hwa-Rang is named after the Hwa-Rang youth group which originated in the Silla Dynasty in the early 7th century. The 29 movements refer to the 29th Infantry Division, where Taekwon-Do developed into maturity.
Choong-Moo was the name given to the great Admiral Yi Soon-Sin of the Lee Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armoured battleship (Kobukson) in 1592, which is said to be the precursor of the present day submarine. The reason why this pattern ends with a left hand attack is to symbolize his regrettable death, having no chance to show his unrestrained potentiality checked by the forced reservation of his loyalty to the king.
Kwang Gae is named after the famous Kwang Gae Toh Wang, the 19th King of the Koguryo dynasty, who regained all the lost territories including the greater part of anchuria. The diagram represents the expansion and recovery of the lost territory. The 29 movements refer to the first two figures of 391 AD, the year he came to the throne.
Po Eun is the pseudonym of the loyal subject Chong Mong-Chu (1400) who was a famous poet and whose poem ‘I would not serve a second master thought I might be crucified a hundred times’ is known to every Korean. He was also a pioneer in the field of physics. The diagram represents his unbending loyalty to his king and country towards the end of the Koryo dynasty.
Ge Baek is named after General Ge Baek a great general in the Baek Je Dynasty (660 AD). The pattern represents his server and strict military discipline.
Eui Am is the pseudonym of Son Byong Hi, the leader of the Korean independence movement on 1st March 1919. The 45 movements refer to his age when he changed the name of Dong Hak (Oriental Culture) to Chondo Kyo (Heavenly Way) religion in 1905. The diagram represents his indomitable spirit displayed whilst devoting his life to the prosperity of his nation.
Choong Jang is the pseudonym given to General Kim Duk Ryang who lived during the Yi Dynasty (14th Century). This pattern ends with a left-hand attack to symbolise the tragedy of his death at 27 in prison when he was able to reach full maturity.
Juche is the philosopical idea that man is the master of everything and therefore decides and determines his destiny. It is said that this idea was rooted on the Baekdu Mountain that symbolises the spirit of the Korean people. The diagram represents the Baekdu Mountain.
Sam Il denotes the historical date of the independence movement of Korea, which began throughout the country on 1st March 1919. The 33 movements in the pattern stand for the 33 patriots who planned the movement.
Yoo Sin is named after General Kim Yoo Sin, a commanding general during the Silla Dynasty. The 68 movements refer to the last two figures of 668 AD, the year Korea was united. The ready posture signifies a sword being drawn from the right rather than the left, symbolising Yoo Sin’s mistake of following the kings orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation.
Choi Yong is named after General Choi Yong, Premier and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during the 14th century Koryo dynasty. Choi Yong was greatly respected for his loyalty, patriotism and humility. He was executed by his subordinate commanders headed by General Yi Sung Gae, who later became the first king of the Yi dynasty.
Yon Gae is named after General Yon Gae Somoon, a famous general during the Koguryo dynasty. The 49 movements refer to the last two figures of 649 AD, the year he forced the Tang dynasty to leave Korea after destroying nearly 300,000 of their troops at Ansi Sung.
Ul Ji is named after General Ul Ji Moon Dok who successfully defended Korea against a Tang invasion force of nearly 1,000,000 soldiers led by Yang Je in 612 AD. General Ul Ji used hit and run tactics to destroy a large number of the opposing force. The diagram represents his surname. The 42 movements represent General Choi’s age when he designed this pattern.
Moon Moo honours the 30th King of the Silla Dynasty. His body was buried near Dae Wang Am (Great Kings Rock). According to his will, the body was placed in the sea ‘Where my soul shall forever defend my land against the Japanese’. It is said that the Sol Gul Am is a fine example of the culture of the Silla dynasty. The 61 movements represent the last two figures of 661 AD when Moon Moo came to the throne.
So San is the pseudonym of the great monk Choi Hyong Ung (1520 to 1604) during the Yi dynasty. The 72 movements refer to his age when he organised a corps of monk soldiers with the assistance of his pupil Sa Myung Dang. The monk soldiers helped repel the Japanese pirates who over ran most of the Korean peninsular in 1592.
Se Jong is named after the greatest Korean king Se Jong who invented the Korean alphabet in 1443, and was a noted meteorologist. The diagram represents the king, while the 24 movements refer to the 24 letters of the Korean alphabet.
Tong Il denotes the resolution of the unification of Korea that has been divided since 1945. The diagram symbolises the homogenous race.