Origin and Purpose

The ancient law in the orient was similar to the law of Hamurabi, "An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth", and was rigorously enforced even in the event of an accidental or unintentional death.  In this enviornment and since the present system of free sparring had not yet been developed, it was impossible for a student of the martial arts to test his individual skill of attack and defense against actual moving opponents.  Individual advancement was certainly hindered until an imaginative student created the first patterns.

Patterns are various fundamental movements, most of which represent either attack or defense techniques, set to a fixed and logical sequence.  The student systematically deals with several imaginary opponents from different directions under various assumptions using every available attacking and blocking tool.  Pattern practice enables students to go through many fundamental movements in series to develop sparring techniques, improve flexibility of movements, master body shifting, build muscle and breath control, develoop fluid and smooth motions, and gain rhythmical movements.  Patterns also enable students to acquire certain special techniques which cannot be obtained from either fundamental exercises or sparring.  Though sparring may merely indicate that an opponent is more or less advanced, patterns are a more criitical barometer in evaluating an individual's technique.  In short, a pattern can be compared with a unit tactic or a word, if fundamental movement is an individual soldier's training or alphabet.  Pattern, the record and sum of every movement, is a series of sparring, power tests, feats of strenth and characteristic beauty.

The following points should be considered while performing pattersn:

  1. Patterns should begin and end at exactly the same spot.  This will indicate the performer's accuracy.
  2. Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times
  3. Muscles of the body should be either tensed or relaxed at the proper time.
  4. The exercise should be performed in a rhythmic movement with an absence of stiffness.
  5. Movements should be accelerated or decelerated according to the instructions.
  6. Each pattern should be perfected before moving to the next.
  7. Students should know the purpose of each movement
  8. Students should perform each movement with realism.
  9. Attack and defense techniques should be equally distributed amongst right and left hands and feet.

 Originally, there were a total of 24 patterns in TaeKwon-Do.  The reason for 24 patterns was: The life of human being, perhaps 100 ears, can be considered as a day when compared to eternity.  Therefore, we mortals are no more than simple travelers that pass through the eternal years of an aeon as if our life were a single day.

General Choi Hong Hi explains the reason for 24 patterns as, "It is evident that no one can live more than a limited amount of time.  Nevertheless, most people foolishly enslave themselvs to materialism as if they could live for thousands of years.  Some people strive to bequeth a good spiritual legacy for coming generations and in this way, gain immortality.  Obviously the spirit is perpetual whereas the material is not.  Therefore, what we can do to leave behind something for the welfare of mankind is, perhaps, the most important thing in our lives.  Here I leave TaeKwon-Do for manking as a trace of man of the late 20th century.  The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, or all my life."

As president of the Global TaeKwon-Do Federation, Grand Master Park Jung Tae has initiated the development of additional patterns on a regular basis to further challenge the physical and mental skill of the advanced TaeKwon-Do practitioner and to keep the art of TaeKwon-Do dynamic and vibrant.

2024  Dragan Caoin Taekwondo