Taegeuk patterns form the backbone of the grading system for WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) There are eight WTF patterns (Taegeuks) for Kup grade (coloured belt) students to learn and demonstrate during gradings so that the student can display their proficiency in individual techniques and the ability to perform techniques in a logical sequence. There are further patterns for Dan grade (black belt) beginning with Koryo. The Taegeuk patterns are all intended to simulate multiple attacks coming at the student.
The Taegeuk patterns become progressively more complex, and introduce more advanced techniques the higher you go. Taegeuk Il Jang (the first pattern, said to symbolize "Heaven and Earth") is the simplest employing only the bare basic techniques. Taegeuk Pal Jang is the eighth and includes much more complex techniques, and more complex ways to string them together.
To get them right requires a great deal of practice and understanding of the various techniques.
It's important to note that once a pattern is performed at a successful grading, you carry on learning that pattern throughout your Taekwondo training. The examiner may well ask to see Taegeuk Il Jang (or any pattern previously learnt) at any one of your higher level gradings, including Dan gradings.
Go To: KUKKIWON PAGE Description of taegeuks and generalities of poomsae.
Significance of Poomsae
The poomsae is a series of movements for offense and defense techniques which can be practiced and trained, even without the presence of an instructor, in accordance with the fixed patterns.
• The Taegeuk patterns involve imaginary opponents - you must look at those opponents for the pattern to appear realistic, not at your feet, or other people around you.
• All the techniques need to be performed with precision, accuracy and power. Your examiner is expecting to see techniques that will be effective in blocking the attack of an opponent, and kicks, strikes and punches that will disable that opponent.
• Taegeuk patterns start, and finish on the exact same spot. When you practise, take a note of your starting position and check that you end in the same position. If this doesn't happen, some of your stances need work.
• The final move of a Taegeuk is returning to Ready Stance (Joonbi), not the last strike. If you are performing a pattern for an instructor/examiner wait for their command before wandering off!
• Practise, practise, practise. Unless you are an incredibly gifted student you will not get enough practise within your Taekwondo lessons, so try them out at home as often as possible, particularly if you are expecting to grade in the near future. A Taegeuk takes only a minute or to to go through completely.