Traditional Taekwon-do Hyong

Traditional taekwondo forms

Beginning in 1946, shortly after the conclusion of the Japanese occupation of Korea, new martial arts schools called kwans were opened in Seoul. These schools were established by Korean martial artists who had studied primarily in Okinawa and China during the Japanese occupation. Accordingly, the martial arts practiced in the kwans was heavily influenced by shotokan karate and Chinese martial arts, though elements of taekkyeon and gwonbeop were also incorporated.

Five of these kwans were established during the interval between World War II and the Korean War. During the Korean War, establishment of new schools was halted; at the conclusion of the war four new schools were established by students from the five original kwans. Collectively, these schools are referred to as the nine original kwans of taekwondo. Each kwan practiced its own style of martial art (the term taekwondo had not yet been coined) and employed their own set of forms. The majority of the forms used, however, derived from Shotokan karate. In many cases they were given new names. These forms are still used today in  traditional taekwondo

    • Cheon-Ji

    천지 / 天地 – 19 movements

    Literally, Cheon-Ji (or Chon-Ji) means “heaven and earth” and refers to the creation of the world or the beginning of human history, and thus is the initial pattern learned by the beginner. It consists of forearm low blocks and punches in the first part to represent earth, and inner forearm middle blocks and punches in the second part to denote heaven. It does not use any kicks. The cross shaped diagram represents the four elements of the universe : fire, water, air and earth.


    • Dan-Gun
  1. 단군 / 檀君 – 21 movements

    Dan-Gun is named after the holy Dangun, the legendary founder of Korea in 2333 BC. Unusually for a teul, all the punches in Dan-Gun are high section (at eye level), symbolizing Dangun scaling a mountain.

    • Do-San
  2. 도산 / 島山 – 24 movements

    Do-San is a pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Chang-ho (1878–1938). The 24 movements represent his entire life, which he devoted to furthering education in Korea and the Korean independence movement. (Note that Encyclopedia of TaeKwon-Do – 15 Volume Set – by General Choi Hong Hi states Dosan’s birth year incorrectly as 1876)

    • Won-Hyo
  3. 원효 / 元曉 – 28 movements

    This pattern is named after the noted monk Wonhyo who introduced Buddhism to the Silla Dynasty in the year 686 AD.

    • Yul-Gok
  4. 율곡 / 栗谷 – 38 movements

    Yul-Gok is a 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-degree latitude and the diagram of the pattern represents scholar.

    • Jung-Geun
  5. 중근 / 重根 – 32 movements

    Jung-Geun (or Joong-Gun) is named after the patriot Ahn Joong-Gun who assassinated Itō Hirobumi, 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.

    Note: Ahn Jung-Geun was born on 16 July 1879 and was executed on 26 March 1910, so was in fact 30 years old at his death. (or 31 by Korean counting since in Korea newborns are considered to be 1 year old)

    • Toi-Gye
  6. 퇴계 / 退溪 – 37 movements

    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 37-degree latitude, the diagram represents “scholar” as in the Yul-Gok hyeong.

    • Hwa-Rang
  7. 화랑 / 花郎 – 29 movements

    Hwa-Rang is named after the Hwarang youth group that originated under the Silla Dynasty roughly 1350 years ago. The group eventually became the driving force for the unification of the three Kingdoms of Korea. The 29 movements refer to the 29th infantry Division, where Taekwondo developed into maturity.

    • Chung-Mu
  8. 충무 / 忠武 – 30 movements

    Chung-Mu (or Choong-Moo) was the name given to the great Admiral Yi Sun-sin of the Yi Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armored battleship (kobukson) in 1592, which is said to be the precursor of the present day submarine. The reason 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.

    • Gwang-Gae
  9. 광개 / 廣開 – 39 movements

    Gwang-Gae (or Kwang-Gae) is named after the famous Kwang-Gae-Toh-Wang, the 19th king of the Goguryeo Dynasty, who achieved the greatest territorial expansion including the greater part of Manchuria. The diagram of the form represents the expansion and recovery of lost territory. The 39 movements refer to the first two figures of 391AD, the year he came to the throne.

    • Po Eun
  10. 포은 / 圃隱 – 36 movements

    Po Eun is the pseudonym of a loyal subject Jeong Mongju who was a distinguished scholar of neo-Confucianism during the Goryeo Dynasty. His poem “I would not serve a second master though I might be crucified a hundred times” is known to every Korean people. The diagram, which is simply a straight line represents his unerring loyalty to the king and his country.

    • Gye-Baek
  11. 계백 / 階伯 – 44 movements

    The Gye-Baek (or Gae-Baek) hyeong has 44 Movements. Gae-Baek is named after Gyebaek, a great general in the Baekje Dynasty. The diagram represents his severe and strict military discipline.

    • Yu-Sin
  12. 유신 / 庾信 – 68 movements

    Yu-Sin (or Yoo-Sin) is named after General Kim Yu-Sin, a commanding general during the Silla Dynasty who played an important role in the merger of Goguryeo and Baekje by Silla. The 68 movements refer to the last two figures of 668 AD the year the three kingdoms were unified. The ready posture signifies a sword drawn to the right rather than the left side, symbolizing Yoo Sin’s mistake of following his king’s orders to fight with foreign forces (Tang Dynasty of China) against his own people (Goguryeo and Baik-je).

    • Chung-Jang

    충장 / 忠壯 – 52 movements

    Chung-Jang (or 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 symbolize the tragedy of his death at 27 in prison before he was able to reach full maturity.

  13. Eul-Ji 을지 / 乙支 – 42 movements

    Eul-Ji (or Ul-Ji) is named after general Eulji Mundeok who successfully defended Goguryeo against a Sui invasion force of over one million soldiers led by Yang Je in 612AD. By employing hit and run guerilla tactics, he was able to destroy the majority of the force. The diagram of the hyeong represents his surname. The 42 movements represent the author’s age when he designed the pattern.

    • Sam-Il

    삼일 / 三一 – 33 movements

    Sam-Il name refers to the historic March 1st Movement, the biggest nationwide Korean independence movement against the imperial Japan in 1919. The 33 movements in the pattern represent for the 33 patriots who planned the movement.

    • Go-Dang

    고당/古堂 – 39 movements

    Go-Dang (or Ko-Dang) was one of the original 24 patterns created by General Choi. In the early 1980s, however, Kodang was removed from the official syllabus by General Choi and replaced by a new pattern which he named Juche. Go-Dang was a famous South Korean anti-communist, and when Choi began to spread his art throughout the world, and to North Korea in particular, he removed this pattern so as not to offend anyone. Although no longer part of official ITF Taekwondo, Kodang is still included in the syllabi of many Taekwondo organisations. In those organisations where it is still taught, it is generally taught to students at the level of second dan black belt. It consists of a sequence of 39 individual techniques. Although some sources lead to the deduction that Kodang is exactly the same pattern as Juche, they are in fact two completely different patterns. The confusion arose when one of the ITF Taekwondo groups changed the name of the pattern Juche to Kodang in 2008, because the word “Juche” is associated with North Korea’s communist ideology.

    • Choe-Yeong

    최영 / 崔榮 – 45 movements

    Choe-Yeong (or Choi-Yong) is named after General Choe Yong, Premier and Commander-in Chief of the armed forces during the 14th century Goryeo Dynasty. Choi Yong was greatly respected for his loyalty, patriotism, and humility. He was executed by subordinate commanders headed by General Yi Seonggye, who later became the first king of the Joseon Dynasty.

    • Se-Jong

    세종 / 世宗 – 24 movements

    This pattern is named after Se-Jong who was the 4th King of the Yi Dynasty. He was known for his many great achievements in domestic and foreign affairs, diplomacy, scientific advancements, defense matters and culture. His most remarkable achievement was his invention of “Hangeul“, the Korean Alphabet. The 24 movements of this pattern represent the 24 letters of the “Hangeul”.