The Taekwon-Do Patterns - with Videos Clips and Poster

There are 24 patterns in Tae kwon do, ranging from 19 move patterns to 72 move patterns. The initial patterns are very symmetrical & most combinations or movements are repeated with both sides of the body, in opposite directions. These first few patterns are reasonably basic & introduce the novice student to the most common stances, blocking techniques, strikes & kicks. The Tul (sometimes known as Hyung) gradually increase in complexity providing the student with a comprehensive tool to help develop his or her martial skills. These obviously include the overall improvement of those individual techniques that are contained within the patterns, but perhaps not so obvious, the patterns also help to improve the students balance, co-ordination, fine motor control of the body’s muscles, concentration, control of the breath & control of the movement of the body. 

The Reason for 24 Patterns

The patterns for Taekwon-Do were created over a period of years by Grandmaster Choi Hong Hi who attached his personal philosophy to the total number of patterns that were to be the core of Taekwon-Do.  

(nb: It would be correct to give credit to Nam Tae Hi, who assisted GM Choi to set up the Oh-Do Kwan & the Chung-Do Kwan in 1954 where Taekwon-Do was developed. The fore-mentioned Kwan’s were the military & the civilian martial art schools). 

General Choi designated that the 24 patterns were to represent this philosophy:

 "Here I leave Taekwondo for mankind as a trace of man of the late 20th century. The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, or all my life".

 What the General is trying to convey with this message is that compared to the life of the Earth or the Universe, mankind has existed for a very short space of time. Here, Choi represents his own existence lasting just one day, or 24 hours, compared the life of time itself. The first part of the message is Choi’s legacy to the world & to mankind. Taekwon-Do was developed & has been promoted around the world to leave this legacy for the good of future generations. 

 The Interpretation of the Patterns

The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the diagrammatic symbol of each pattern symbolizes either; important or heroic figures or instances relating to historical events that shaped the course of Korean history. The reason why  the patterns were given specific meanings was to inspire the students of Taekwon-Do when performing the patterns or when training & even in their daily lives. A great many of the patterns are named after people who lived by high morals, devoted their lives to the greater good, made sacrifices for their beliefs or achieved greatness through courage.

ITF Pattern Poster - (Click here for your ITF Pattern's Poster)


CHON- JI   - Please click here for video

19 moves

Literally means "Heaven & Earth". In the Orient it is interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history. Therefore, it is the initial pattern performed by the beginner. This pattern consists of two similar parts; one to represent the Heaven and the other the Earth.

The word Chon in Korean means Heaven & the word Ji means Earth, combined this can be interpreted as meaning creation (the creation of the universe & beginning of life). This theory can be largely attributed to the Chinese classic, the I Ching –the “book of changes”. This text explained the processes of growth & change in the natural world. The fundamental philosophy of this ancient text is the need to retain balance & harmony within all aspects of life. This is known as the Um-Yang relationship (or Yin-Yang in Chinese).

The symbol of two interlocking “commas” is the Neo-Confucian symbol called the t’aeguk & this symbol can be found on the Korean national flag, the T’aeguk-ki . The flag also has further symbolism attached to it in the trigrams (the different 3 bar symbols) surrounding the Um-Yang roundel. These also originate from the I Ching.


DAN GUN   - Please click here for video

21 moves

Dan Gun is named after the holy Dan-Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year 2,333 B.C.

It is said that in the time of the mythical Chinese Emperor Yao, the supreme deity Hwanin allowed his son, Hwanung, to descend to Earth. This he did at T’aebaek-San (near modern day Pyong-Yang). The legend has it that he overheard a bear & a tiger talking “would that we might become men”. He promised to turn the creature who could complete the challenge that he would set, into a human. The task was to live in a cave for 21 days & to eat only garlic. The tiger, due to its fierceness, could not complete the challenge, but the bear, with greater patience & faith, was able to finish Hwanung’s test. He kept his promise & turned the bear into a beautiful woman, Ungnyo. The two were to have a child, this child was called Dan Gun (this name means “mountain birch ruler” to represent his birth underneath a Pak-Tal tree). Dan Gun eventually founded the Korean nation & led his people to reside on Mount Paekdu.

In what is now North Korea on the Chinese border, Korea’s highest mountain, Paekdu-San (White Headed Mountain) exists. This is an ancient volcano & at its peak a crater lake exists, named Lake Chon. 


DO SAN   -  Please click here for video

24 moves

Do San is the pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Chang-Ho (1876-1938), who devoted his entire life to furthering the education of the Korean people and promoting its independence movement.

Ahn Chang-Ho became a prominent member of the Independence Club, an organisation established by reformists fired by feelings of nationalism & a desire for social change. In 1899 he founded a school in his hometown of Kangso, before leaving for America. There he rallied Korean ex-patriots before returning to his homeland & taking part in the forming of the secret nationalist society, Sinminhoe, in 1907, with the purpose of promoting the patriotic education of the people.

Once again he left Korea travelling in Russia, China, Europe & America to again rally overseas Koreans.

After the 1st March independence demonstrations of 1919 he joined the Government-in-Exile in Shanghai, but soon left due to the political squabbling of it’s leaders. In 1926 he was arrested by the Japanese, when caught with Manchurian freedom fighters. He was released early due to ill health but was again arrested in 1937, he died a year later.


WON HYO   - Please click here for video

28 moves

Won Hyo was the noted monk who successfully endeavoured to bring Buddhism to the peoples of the Silla Dynasty before his death in the year of 686 A.D.

Won Hyo (617 to 686) is the best-known name in Korean Buddhism. At the age of 28 he became a monk & spent many years trying to unify the various schools of Buddhism that existed at that time. Later in life he spent his time teaching, declaring that Buddhism & achieving enlightenment was for all classes of people & not just for monks.

Won Hyo was invited to the royal court of King Muyol where he met & fell in love with a widowed Silla princess & they had a son called Sol Chong, who became a trusted royal advisor.

One story about Won Hyo recalls how, on a trip to China to study, he found a cave to sleep in over night. In the cave he found a cup which he used to drink from. In the morning he saw that the cup was in fact a human skull & realising that the revulsion that he felt was purely a matter of mind, he saw that he had no reason to travel to China & returned home.

His writings were highly regarded in both China & Japan. 


YUL GOK   - Please click here for video

38 moves

This is the pseudonym of the great philosopher and scholar Yi l (1536-1584) who was nicknamed “The Confucius of Korea". The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on the 38° latitude and the diagram represents the Chinese symbol for "scholar".

As a philosopher Yi I is regarded second only to Toi Gye. He was an original political thinker & educator. His brush name (Yul Gok) means “chestnut valley”. His mother was a very educated woman & a skilled painter & poet. After his mother died he went into the Diamond Mountains with thoughts of becoming a Buddhist. In 1556 he returned home & moved to Seoul, there he rejected his Buddhist teachings & took up Neo-Confucian philosophy, partly because it embraced political & social activity. Four years later at the age of 22, he stayed with Toi Gye for a short period at his retreat in Tosan.

He then entered into the government service & rose steadily up the ranks. In the last 4 years of his life he held the highest posts in the land. He proposed new policies in taxation, education & defence of the realm. He advised on maintaining a standing army of 100.000 men but his advice was not heeded & 10 years later the Japanese invaded & faced virtually no opposition (the 1592 Imjin Wars).


JOONG GUN   - Please click here for video

32 moves

This pattern 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 in the Lui-Shung prison in 1910.

Ahn Joong Gun was trained from an early age in Chinese, horsemanship & archery. After the protectorate treaty was signed in 1905 (giving the Japanese almost ultimate control over the Korean government & people) Joong Gun fled Korea in disgust. Based in Vladivostok he set up a volunteer army & fought his way back into Korea with sporadic guerrilla raids. On 26 October 1909, disguised as a Japanese, he made his way to the platform of the Harbin railway station where he shot & killed the Japanese Resident-General of Korea, Prince Hiro-Bumi Ito. He was immediately arrested & was imprisoned & tortured at the Lui-Shung (Port Arthur) prison. During his imprisonment Joong Gun left his indelible mark on the wall of his prison cell with a single line of calligraphy (written in his own blood, after cutting off a finger) that showed his love for his country. It simply said; “The best rivers and mountains”.


TOI GYE   - Please click here for video

37 moves

Toi Gye is the pen name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang (16th century), an authority on Neo-Confucianism. The 37 movements of the pattern refer to his birthplace on the 37° latitude & the diagram represents the Chinese symbol for "scholar

Born in 1501, Yi Hwang was Korea’s greatest philosopher, renowned as a genial, modest & amiable man. At the age of 34 he had passed the exams to enable him to hold a position in the civil service. This was held in high esteem, as this was not usually completed until a person was much older. He held 29 official posts in government. In 1549 he retired from public service, justifying his brush name Toi Gye which meant “returning to the valley”. In 1558 he wrote a short work titled Chasonhuak. This became very influential with Japanese intellectuals after its introduction to Japan in the 17th century. Even after 200 years later (19th C.) his work was still very popular amongst the Japanese & his influence can still be felt today in modern Korea, China & Japan.


HWA RANG   - Please click here for video

29 moves

This pattern 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, commanded by General Choi in 1953 where Taekwondo was developed into maturity.

The 29th Infantry Division of the Republic Of Korea (ROK) Army was created in 1953 by Major General Choi under orders by the ROK Army Commander-in-Chief. This was to be based on Cheju island in the town of Mosulp’o. The division was nicknamed the “Ick” division or the “fist division”. The division emblem was of a clenched fist superimposed over the background of the Korean peninsular. This symbolized the smashing of the 38th parallel, therefore reuniting the North & South; unifying Korea after the division of the country. General Choi set out & put in place Officers & NCOs who were teachers of the martial arts who then instructed the soldiers in unarmed combat (initially Tang Soo Do, later Taekwon-Do) as well as their normal military training. Very quickly the unit became renowned for its prowess.

The Oh-Do Kwan was founded here. The name derives from a statement by Confucius “Oh-Do-Il-Kwan-Zi”; My principle is to master one thing.


CHOONG MOO   - Please click here for video

30 moves

This was the name given to the great Admiral, Yi Sun-Sin of the Yi Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armoured battleship (the Kobukson) in 1592,

This pattern ends with a left handed attack to symbolize his regrettable death, having not had the chance to demonstrate his unrestrained potential, which was checked by his forced reservation of loyalty to the king.

In 1591 Yi Sun Sin, a high-ranking military official was promoted to Left Admiral of the Korean fleet. Realising that the likelihood of war with Japan was inevitable & that the key to the successful defence of Korea was the mastery of the southern seas, he set about building up his fleet & training his men. The following year he developed the armoured battleship, the Kobukson; the legendary “turtle ships”.

The Kobukson was about 30 metres long, carried up to 160 men & had a concave roof to protect the soldiers & oarsmen. This was covered by layers of iron plate, to provide protection against arrows & gunshot. Cannon was arranged to give all-round offensive ability, iron spikes covered the ship to prevent boarders & a dragon’s head was installed at the front of the ship. This was to blow out plumes of smoke; this provided cover & to instil fear into their opponents.

Quickly establishing mastery of the seas & contributing greatly to the failure of the Japanese invasion in 1592, Yi Sun Sin became an enemy of jealous rival, Won Kyun, the Right Admiral of the fleet. When Yi Sun Sin was made Commander-in-Chief, Won Kyun seized the opportunity to accuse Yi of not acting upon an order that came from above. Yi was summoned to the Royal Court, put on trial & was condemned to death. An influential member of the court managed to overturn this decision but the Admiral was reduced to the rank of a common foot soldier.

In 1597 the 2nd invasion occurred & Won Kyun lost the Korean fleet & was captured & beheaded by the Japanese. Yi Sun Sin was reinstated as Admiral & once again succeeded in destroying the fleet that was re-supplying the Japanese troops, with a small fleet of turtle ships. In 1598 at the age of 53, Admiral Yi was killed in battle. His dying words were said to be: “Do not let the rest know that I am dead, for it will spoil the fight”. It was largely due to the successes of Admiral Yi that the Imjin wars ended in 1598 & the Japanese returned home, their commander, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, dead. 

The name, Choong Moo, was given as a posthumous, honorific, title. It means “Faithful Warrior”.


BLACK BELT PATTERNS

KWANG GAE (1st Dan)  -  Please click here for video

39 moves

This pattern is named after the famous Kwang Gae T’o Wang, the 19th King of the Koguryo Dynasty, who regained all the “lost territories” & included the greater part of Manchuria. The diagram represents the expansion and recovery of lost territory. The 39 movements refer to the first two figures of 391 A. D., the year he ascended the throne.

Kwang Gae was the posthumous title of King Tamdok, meaning “Broad enlarger of territory”. He was born in the year 375, ascended the throne in 391 & reigned until his death in 413 AD. (The word Wang means “King” & T’o, the abbreviation for T’aejo, was a “reign title” which was sometimes used by Korean & Chinese kings). 

During his reign, Kwang Gae extended the Koguryo kingdom to cover two thirds of the peninsular & most of Manchuria, as far as the Sungari River. On ascending the throne at the age of 19, Kwang Gae occupied the Liaodong Province of China (now the modern day Jilin area). During his reign he also increased the territory of Koguryo by taking land from Paekche in the Han basin area.

His son erected a 24-foot high column next to his tomb carved with 18000 Chinese characters, the year following his death, which recorded his exploits. According to this record, Kwang Gae conquered 64 Castles & over 1400 villages.


PO EUN (1st Dan)  -  Please click here for video

36 moves

Po Eun is the pseudonym of the loyal subject, Chong Mong-Chu (14th Century) who was a famous poet and whose poem "I would not serve a second master though I might be crucified a hundred times" is taught to every Korean. He was also a pioneer in the field of physics. The diagram represents his unerring loyalty to the king and country towards the end of the Koryo Dynasty.

Chong Mong-Chu (1337-1392) was also employed by the royal court to carry out many diplomatic missions. These included building relationships with the newly founded Ming Dynasty in China. He also travelled to Japan to negotiate the release of Korean prisoners taken by Japanese pirates.

He admired Yi Song Gae but eventually declared his loyalty to the Koryo royal house. For this reason he was assassinated by agents of the Yi household at Songjuk-kyo (“Good Morning Bridge”) in Kaesong in 1392.

During the early part of the 16th century Po-Eun was admitted to the national shrine & is known as one of the country’s greatest loyalists. The brush-name of Chong Mong Chu means “Recluse of the vegetable plot”.

The poem credited to Po-Eun reads;

Even if, I may die, die a hundred times, Even if my skeleton may become dust and dirt,

And whether my spirit may be there or not, My single-hearted loyalty to the lord will not change.


GE BAEK (1st Dan)  -  Please click here for video

44 moves

This pattern is named after Ge-Baek, a great general in the Paekche Dynasty (circa 660 AD). The diagram represents his severe and strict military discipline.

In 660 AD General Gae Baek organised an army of soldiers of the highest morale & courage, in defence of Paekche when the combined forces of Silla & the Chinese Tang Dynasty invaded under the leadership of General Kim Yoo Sin.

Before leaving to make war with the invading forces, Ge Baek had his wife & children put to death. This extreme act was to demonstrate his own willingness to die for his country & to save his family from suffering at the hands of the enemy.

Ge Baek selected a force of 5000 warriors who volunteered to fight to the death & led his troops into battle on the Hwang-sang Plains, knowing that there was no hope of survival against the superior numbers of the opposing forces. Initially, Gae Baek defeated his enemies & drove them back four times in the battle, but his troops exhausted, on the fifth encounter he was defeated & was killed in the fighting. Thus, the Paekche Dynasty was destroyed after 678 years of rule but the name of General Ge Baek was forever recognised for his bravery & loyalty to his country. 


EUI AM (2nd Dan)  -  Please click here for video

45 moves

Eui Am is the pseudonym of Son Byong Hi, leader of the Korean independence movement founded on March 1 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 while dedicating himself to the prosperity of his nation.

Son Byong Hi was a commander of the Southern Dong-hak rebel army & was involved in the peasant rebellion of 1894. This rebellion was against the economic & social sufferings of the peasantry & the resentment at the official corruption of the government. He narrowly escaped capture in 1894 after taking up arms against a combined force of Japanese & Korean government troops. After escaping to Vladivostok he was selected to become the new leader of the Dong-hak movement.

He was exiled to Japan in 1901 & advocated Korean resistance to the Japanese through non-violent measures. In 1919 the “Declaration of Independence” was planned (see Sam-il), subsequently Eui-Am was the first of the 33 signatories to be imprisoned. He died in 1921.

The Dong-hak movement drew upon both Confucian & shamanistic traditions & proclaimed social equality of mankind which stemmed from God being immanent in man.


CHOONG JANG (2nd Dan)  -  Please click here for video

 52 moves

Choong jang is the pseudonym given to General Kim Duk Ryang (16th century) who lived during the Yi Dynasty. This pattern ends with a left-hand attack to symbolize the tragedy of his death at 27 in prison before he was able to reach full maturity.

Choong Jang (1567 to 1596?) was a commander of royal troops in the Yi Dynasty. When the Imjin Wars started, with the Japanese invasion of Korea in 1592, Kim Duk Ryang was appointed to serve as an army general.

In 1594 he was commissioned as the Commander-in-Chief in charge of the Honam province. Under his leadership the army was able to repel the Japanese invasion force from the province. After his initial victory, Choong Jang in conjunction with another Korean commander, Ja Wu Kwak, attacked & destroyed many Japanese camps. Due to his bravery & fierceness in battle, the Japanese were terrified of Choong Jang & in light of this he was known as General Ho-Ik (“Tiger Wing”).

Choong Jang had many jealous rivals in the Korean court & in 1595 he was arrested in connection with the killing of a slave girl, but he was then released on a direct order by King Sonjo. He finally met his end when he was poisoned to death because of his alleged participation in the rebellion of Mong Hak Lee. He was, however, posthumously freed from any dishonour for this involvement.


KO DANG - (Formerly known as JUCHE)  (2nd Dan)   -  Please click here for video

45 moves

Juche is a philosophical idea that man is the master of everything and decides everything. In other words, the idea that man is the master of the world and his own destiny. It is said that this idea was rooted in Baekdu Mountain which symbolizes the spirit of the Korean people. The diagram represents Baekdu mountain.

Juche means “self reliance”. In 1956 when the unity of the communist world broke up, the North Koreans began to stress a philosophy of self-reliance & independence. The philosophy revolves around the concept that man is master of his own destiny & that he should remain independent of all outside influences. This implies that there should be no spiritual or psychological dependence in accepting outside assistance. Although the doctrine stresses the centrality of human beings in the world, the North Korean people are to achieve this by their subordination to their leader; this supported the rule of Kim il Sung & his son’s subsequent succession.

General Choi left South Korea & moved the headquarters of the ITF (International Taekwon-Do Federation) to Canada in 1972, as the South Korean government wanted to use Taekwon-Do as a political tool & General Choi would not allow the ITF to be used in that way (as a result of this the WTF was born).

Exiled from his homeland, he received threats to his family, at one point the Korean CIA ordered General Choi to return to Korea or his family would be killed. He declined, famously saying “I choose Taekwondo over my son”. The Korean CIA pressured many other Taekwon-Do instructors to leave the ITF & to join the newly formed WTF (World Taekwon-Do Federation).

In 1980 Choi returned to his homeland when he introduced Taekwon-Do to North Korea after meeting with Kim il Sung. A Taekwon-Do demonstration team of international instructors toured North Korea later in the year. Kim il Sung wanted his philosophy of Juche included in the Taekwon-Do encyclopaedia & pressured Choi to comply with his request. At the time, the North Korean government were providing funds to the ITF organisation, when Choi was helping to set up the North Korean Taekwon-Do Association. In light of this, the pattern Ko-Dang was dropped in favour of the new pattern, Juche, in the mid-1980’s.

A further reason why the pattern Ko-Dang did not sit well with the North Korean leader was that it was named after Cho Man-sik, a political leader who vied for power as a party leader, in direct opposition to Kim il Sung, in the early days of modern North Korea. As a leader of the Chosun Democratic Party he was imprisoned by the Russians to prevent a democratically elected party.


SAM IL (3rd Dan)  -  Please click here for video

33 moves

Sam Il denotes the historical date of the independence movement of Korea which began throughout the country on March 1 1919. The 33 movements in the pattern stand for the 33 patriots who planned the movement.

Also known as the March 1st movement, Sam-il was brought about by increasing calls for Korean independence & the suspicion that the Japanese had poisoned the former Korean Emperor, Kojong. Although the Declaration of Independence was intended as an incitement to non-violent protest to the Japanese occupation, the 33 signatories were immediately arrested after a demonstration in Pagoda Park, Seoul. Demonstrations quickly spread through the country involving all levels of society. The Japanese army reacted brutally killing over 7,500 & wounding nearly 16,000 Koreans. Over 20,000 were arrested & large amounts of property were destroyed. Order was restored by May 1919, with the Independence Movement apparently crushed, however, the effects were much longer lasting & the Japanese adopted a more accommodating approach to its colony.

Sam-il was so called as sam means 3 in Korean, representing the 3rd month ie: March, & il means one ie: the 1st.


YOO SIN (3rd Dan)  -  Please click here for video

68 moves

This pattern 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 A.D., the year Korea was finally united. The ready posture signifies a sword drawn on the right rather than left side, symbolizing Yoo Sin's mistake of following his King’s orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation.

Kim Yoo Sin (595 to 673 AD) was a great Silla general, he descended from the royal house of Kaya. He became a Hwarang at the age of 14 & was known for his noble character. He was a friend of Kim Chunchu, whose sister he married & who he helped to eventually succeed the throne in 653 (now known as King Muyol). As a younger general, Yoo Sin won a formidable reputation by capturing a rebel held walled mountain fortress. He was also sent on a rescue mission to Koguryo when, after a diplomatic assignment, his brother-in-law was held hostage by Yon Gae Somoon.

The peninsular was finally unified under Silla rule with the help of the Tang Chinese. The two Kims co-operated with the Tang general, Su Dingfang to defeat Paekche in 660, when combined forces of 180,000 soldiers attacked the capital in a pincer movement. However, Kim Yoo Sin proved too old & ill to lead the war against Koguryo which was subjugated in 668, therefore completing the unification of the peninsular.

Having captured the rulers of two of the three kingdoms, the Chinese Emperor, Goazong, anticipated the imminent submission of Silla to Chinese rule. These plans were to be thwarted & the Tang were finally driven from the peninsular in 676 AD.


CHOI YONG (3rd Dan)   - Please click here for video

46 moves

The pattern is named after General Choi Yong (14th century), premier and commander-in-chief of the armed forces during the 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.

Choi Young (1316 to 1388) was a renowned army general & royal confidant towards the end of the Koryo Dynasty. General Choi succeeded in suppressing organised raiding parties of pirates along the coast. These pirates, based in Tsushima Island, & using fleets of hundreds of ships had caused major problems by raiding merchant shipping & by raiding coastal towns, searching for slaves & plunder. Choi also twice defeated the Honggon-jok, a powerful group of Chinese insurgents known as the “red turbans”.

General Choi was furious when he learnt of the Chinese Ming Dynasty’s plans to occupy the area of Korea, north of Chull-yong. As a counter measure he decided to conquer the Chinese held district of Yo-Dong (previously part of Koguryo). His plan was strongly supported by King Wu & he was promoted to C-in-C of the armed forces. During 1388 he recruited an army to invade Yo-Dong, however, his ambitions were not to be realised. His jealous sub-ordinate, Yi Sung Gae, who opposed the conquest, overthrew General Choi & the invasion never took place. Yi had Choi executed & then deposed the king, placing a puppet king in his place. Yi eventually ascended the throne in 1392 starting the Yi (or Choson Dynasty).

A man of integrity, Choi Young lived his life by the motto left to him by his father; “Don’t be covetous of gold”, he lived his life without violating this creed.


YON GAE (4th Dan)   -  Please click here for video

49 moves

This pattern is named after Yon Gae Somoon, a famous General who lived during the Koguryo Dynasty. The 49 movements refer to the last two figures of 649 A.D., the year he forced the Tang Dynasty to quit Korea after destroying nearly 300,000 of their troops at Ansi Sung.

After the invasion of the Sui Dynasty in 612 that was repulsed by General Ul-Ji, another famous Koguryo general, Yon Gae Somoon, advised & supervised the building of a great defensive wall that ran along the length of the Liao River. The newly established Tang Dynasty in China failed to appreciate the role that Koguryo had played in the downfall of their predecessors. The Tang mounted a land & naval invasion in 644 which proved costly & unsuccessful. This was followed by a number of failed attacks between the years 647 & 655.

An alliance between Koguryo with Paekche saw the combined kingdoms lead an attack on the neighbouring kingdom of Silla in 655. In response to Silla’s plea for help, the Tang Dynasty joined forces & launched an offensive which not only eliminated Paekche but ultimately led to the fall of Koguryo.

Koguryo had become politically weakened by the death of Yon Gae in 666 & in 668 King Pojang surrendered the capital & China took over Koguryo, as it had to Paekche, as a province of the Middle Kingdom.

As Chief of the Eastern Province, Yon Gae was also instrumental in introducing Taoism to the Koguryo nation. He was known to have an imposing presence & was a broad minded individual. It was said that he seduced the people by claiming that he was born under water.


UL JI (4th Dan)   -  Please click here for video

42 moves

This pattern is named after General Ul-Ji Moon Dok who successfully defended Korea against a massive Chinese invasion force, of nearly one million soldiers, led by Yang Je in 612 A.D., Ul-Ji employing hit and run guerrilla tactics, was able to decimate a large percentage of the force. The diagram represents his surname. The 42 movements represent General Choi’s age when he designed the pattern.

Ul Ji is a great national hero to the Korean people. When the Chinese Sui dynasty invaded Koguryo in 612, Ul Ji used clever tactics to defeat the opposing force of far superior numbers. Having failed to take Liaoyang, 300,000 of the Chinese force moved on to take Pyong-Yang. Knowing the Sui force were both weary & hungry, he lured them to within sight of capital, by giving the impression of losing battles & then feigning retreat. After trapping the Sui force & attacking them with a surprise cavalry charge, the Koguryo forces left the Sui too exhausted to take the city & they retreated to Liaodong (South East Manchuria). There they were ambushed at Anju, when making a crossing of the Ch’ong-chon river & were almost completely destroyed by the Koreans. It has been recorded that only 2,700 out of the 300,000 returned to the site of the siege at Liaoyang. This calamitous defeat ended the designs of expansionism of the Sui Dynasty.


MOON MOO (4th Dan)  -  Please click here for video  or    Please click here for video

 61 moves

Moon-Moo honours the 30th King of the Silla Dynasty. His body was buried near Dae Wang Am (Great King's 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 Sok Gul Am (Stone cave) was built to guard his tomb. The Sok Gul Am is a fine example of the culture of the Silla Dynasty. The 61 movements in this pattern symbolize the last two figures of 661 A.D. when Moon Moo came to the throne.

Moon Moo was the Silla king who united the three kingdoms in the year 668 AD. He rejected China’s proposal as its Governor-General of a new province, evicted the Tang armies & established the Unified Silla Dynasty. In 674 he commissioned the building of the Anap-Chi . This was an ornamental lake (originally called “Moon Lake”) set in the pleasure gardens in the capital of Kyongju as part of the recuperation after the wars that had racked the country. Forming part of the detached palace of the Crown Prince, it became the focal point for court diplomacy & entertainment. 28 buildings are known to have existed on this site, the largest could host over 1000 banqueting guests.

Before his death in 681 King Moon Moo began work on the Kamun-Sa, the “temple of gratitude”. It was completed by his son in 682. The temple was built as an invocation of divine help against the Japanese pirates that were terrorising the coastal areas. It was said to house the spirit of the “Dragon King”, the spirit of Moon Moo.

In order to save the expense of a lavish funeral, he instructed that he should be cremated & his ashes buried at sea, so that his spirit could protect the kingdom. An underwater tomb was built at Daewang-Am to house the ashes..

The Sokkuram grotto was built in between 701-704 AD & is positioned on a remote point on the mountainside where it faces the Eastern Sea & catches the first rays of dawn sunlight. It is most widely known for the 17-foot white granite statue of the Buddha housed within.


SO SAN (5th Dan)   -  Please click here for video

72 moves

So San is the pseudonym of the great monk Hyujong (1520-1604) who lived during the Yi Dynasty. The 72 movements refer to his age when he organized a corps of monk soldiers with the assistance of his pupil Samyong Dang. The monk soldiers helped repulse the Japanese pirates who overran most of the Korean peninsula in 1592.

Hyujong (meaning “Rest & Peace”) was known as Grand Master Sosan, a Buddhist monk famous for his cursive (flowing/joined) & semi-cursive calligraphic script. He was most famed for leading one of the many bands of monks which waged guerrilla warfare against the Japanese invaders during the Imjin Wars. This force comprised of 5000 warrior monks, called uisung-byong. As Sosan was too old for battle he appointed one of his closest disciples, Samyong, as a field commander. Under his command the warrior monks earned a reputation for their fierce courage & they played a major role in repulsing the Japanese.

Born as Choi Yosin at Anju he was orphaned at the age of seven, he began life as a neo-Confucian but became a  Buddhist monk at the age of twenty. He developed into the leading teacher of his day & a major influence on later Korean Buddhism.

Sosan, whose name means “West Mountain”, taught the Son school of Buddhist thought, that emphasises that meditation is the surest course to enlightenment. Sosan wrote a book on the fundamentals of Korean Son Buddhism, the Songa-gwigam, the “tortoise mirror of the Son school”, this is derived from the use of tortoise shells in ancient Chinese divination, which made the tortoise a metaphor for moral guidance.

Before becoming a disciple of Sosan, Samyong, himself a Buddhist priest, spent his time wandering in the mountains searching for enlightenment. On one of his travels he met Sosan & according to legend they engaged in a contest of magic. Samyong turned a bowl of needles into noodles & presented them to Sosan, who promptly turned the bowl upside down & sent needles falling to the floor. Samyong’s next feat was to stack eggs end-to-end vertically several feet into the air. Sosan’s reply was repeat the trick but started from the top & worked downwards. Samyong responded by turning the clear blue sky to a thunderstorm & challenged Sosan to return the torrential rain to the sky. Sosan calmly met the challenge & added his own flourish by transforming the droplets into a flock of birds. Duly humbled Samyong asked to become a disciple of the great master.


SE JONG (5th Dan)   -  Please click here for video

24 moves

The pattern is named after the greatest Korean King, Se-Jong, who invented Han-Gul, the Korean alphabet, in 1443. King Se-Jong was also a noted meteorologist. The diagram represents the king, while the 24 movements refer to the 24 letters of the Korean alphabet.

King Se-jong (1397 to 1450) came to the throne in 1418. No Korean king has had a greater personal influence on the country’s culture as Se-jong. He encouraged developments in printing, personally supervised developments in music & his finest inspiration was the devising of a native alphabet, known as Han-gul. He ordered the preparations of important documents & publications, such as various dictionaries, maps, books of songs & other records of historical importance. He began keeping records of rainfall & encouraged improvements in agriculture. He founded the Royal Observatory & constructed 18 different astronomical instruments between the years 1432 & 1442. He also had installed a carved stone map of the stars, giving further evidence of the breadth of his scientific knowledge.

King Se-jong also improved the system of beacon fires that ran the length & breadth of the country. This originally dated from 1149 & consisted of an estimated 966 beacons. This system of communication was intended to convey messages, using pre-arranged signals. A message could be sent over a distance of 350 miles in approximately 4 hours.

He exemplified the Confucian ideal of the ruler who governs by virtue & personal example.

Han-gul is a true phonetic alphabet & originally consisted of 28 characters (4 of which were ceased to be used over a period of time). The alphabet was originally known as Hunmin Chongum, it was given the name Han-gul in 1912, meaning “Great Script” (or sometimes “Korean Script”). When originally developed some of the Korean literati viewed the new system as “vulgar writing” & it took a number of years before it was accepted & took the place of the Chinese writing system. Its popularity spread as it enabled the general populace to have access to reading & writing skills.  


TONG-IL (6th Dan)   -  Please click here for video

56 moves

Tong-il denotes the resolution of the unification of Korea, which has been divided since the end of the 2nd World War in 1945. The diagram symbolizes the homogenous race.

When the second world war came to its conclusion the Japanese occupation of Korea ended, but Korea was to suffer further when, after the turmoil & political disputes between the various factions vying for power, an ideological conflict broke out between the USA & the USSR. This was to result in the country being divided. On June 25th 1950, North Korean forces backed by communist Chinese forces invaded the South. The United Nation’s forces sent troops to the South to drive back the North Korean forces. After a bitter struggle a treaty was signed on July 27th 1953, this left Korea a divided country, split along the 38° parallel. Estimates of the casualties are put at over 4 million killed, wounded or missing. Korea also paid a political price, with Kim Il Sung quick to create a dictatorship in the North. In the South, the war had reinforced Syngman Rhee’s autocratic tendencies & paved the way for nearly 30 years of military dominance & repression.

Tong-il represents the Korean peoples desire to become a unified country once more. The diagram of this pattern symbolizing the North & South becoming one.

In recent times there have been tentative steps taken to move forward to this goal.

Discrepancies in the patterns between “traditional” ITF & some of the “modern” ITF stylists:

KO DANG  -  Please click here for video

39 moves

Ko Dang is the pseudonym of the patriot Cho Man-Sik, who devoted his life to the Korean Independence Movement & to the education of the Korean people. The 39 movements signify his times of imprisonment & his birthplace on the 39° latitude 

Cho Man-Sik (1882 to 1950) was a nationalist who played a prominent part in the anti-Japanese movement. He took part in the proclamation of the “Declaration of Independence”, where he was promptly arrested. In the early 1920’s he led a movement to promote economic nationalisation by urging the people to buy Korean rather than imported goods. In 1945 he was nominated to a cabinet post in the Korean People’s Republic, after which he became head of its regional government in Pyong-Yang. There he formed the Choson Democratic Party. As a native of Pyong-Yang & with his anti-Soviet stance combined with his moderate views, he was immensely popular & incurred the great hostility from Kim Il-Sung (the former president of the North Korean DPRK). He was imprisoned by the Soviets & Kim Il-Sung came into power with the approval of Stalin

The original patterns in the Chang-Hon pattern set included the above-described pattern, Ko-Dang. This pattern is no longer practiced by the ITF although it has still been retained by some of the ITF stylists, who wished to remain faithful to the core Taekwon-Do & its values, which were originally devised by General Choi Hong Hi. It was replaced by the Juche pattern.