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Composition of Taekwon-Do (Taekwon-Do goosong)

  1. Fundamental movements - gibon yonsup
  2. Patterns - tul
  3. Sparring - matsogi
  4. Self-defence - hosin sool
  5. Training - dallyon

Taekwon-Do is composed of fundamental movements, patterns, dallyon, sparring and self-defence techniques that are so closely related that it is impossible to segregate one phase of instruction from another.

Fundamental movements are necessary for sparring and patterns while both patterns and sparring are indispensable for the perfection of fundamental movements.

In the illustration, one can see it is difficult to distinguish the beginning of the cycle from the end. There is, in fact, like the deity, no beginning or end. A student will find that lie will have to return time and time again to the beginning fundamental movements to perfect his advanced sparring and self-defence techniques.

Each fundamental movement, in most cases represents attack or defense against a particular target area or definite action of an imaginary opponent or opponents. It is necessary to learn as many fundamental movements as possible and fit them into complete proficiency so the student can meet any situation in actual combat with confidence. The pattern actually places the student in a hypothetical situation where he must avail himself to defense, counter-attack, and attack motions against several opponents.

Through constant practise of these patterns, the attack and defense become a conditioned reflex movement. Power and accuracy must be developed to such a high degree that only one single blow is needed to stop an opponent, so the student can shift stance and block or attack another opponent. Each pattern is different from the other in order to develop reaction against changing circumstances.

Once the basic patterns are mastered, the student then begins to physically apply the skill obtained from fundamental movements and patterns to sparring against actual moving opponents.

Colloterally with sparring, the student must begin to develop his body and toughen his attacking and blocking tools so he is able to deliver maximum damage in actual combat. Once a student has applied himself to fundamental movements, patterns, sparring, and dallyon, then the time has arrived for the student to test his coordination, speed, balance, and concentration against spontaneous attacks; i.e., sell-defence. The student will constantly find himself returning, however, to his fundamental movements even when he has achieved the highest possible degree of proficiency in self-defence techniques. As in military training. Taekwon-Do progression follows a certain parallel:

  1. Fundamental Movements = Individual solidier`s basic training.
  2. Dallyon = Maintenance of equipment.
  3. Patterns = Platoon tactics.
  4. Sparring = Field exercise in simulated combat conditions.
  5. Self-defense = Actual combat.

Fundamental movements - gibon yonsup

Fundamental movements („gibon yonsup“) in Taekwon-Do is core of training. It is usually a combination of designated positions with some specific techniques of hands, feet or other body parts (eg head), or combination thereof (eg hands and knees). Taekwon-Do ITF contains three thousand accurately described techniques.

Along with the training of basic movements, student also has to know on the one hand attacking (contact) tools of all techniques and on the other hand vital spots of the opponent body. Only a very good knowledge of all these things can be our defense or attack effective.

Training Secret of Taekwon-Do

by Gen. Choi Hong-hi (1918 - 2002)

An old proverb says that even heaven cannot make a diligent worker, poor. However, in Taekwon-Do diligence or intensive training alone does not produce quality techniques. On the contrary, Instructions from a false or unqualified instructor would be worse than not being taught at all because unscientific movements not only reduce the power but require a tremendous amount of time to correct. On the other hand, under the proper guidance of a competent instructor, a student who trains earnestly with dedication will learn the true techniques of Taekwon-Do in a comparatively short period of time with less effort. Students should keep in mind the following secrets:

  1. To study the theory of power thoroughly.
  2. To understand the purpose and meaning of each movement clearly.
  3. To bring the movement of eyes, hands, feet and breath into a single coordinated action.
  4. To choose the appropriate attacking tool for each vital spot.
  5. To become familiar with the correct angle and distance for attack and defence.
  6. Keep both the arms and legs hent slightly while the movement is in motion.
  7. All movements must begin with a backward motion with very few exceptions.
  8. To create a sine wave during the movement by utilizing the knee spring properly.


Patterns - tul - 틀

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 if death was caused accidentally. In this type of environment, and since the present system of free sparring had not yet been developed, it was impossible for a student of the martial arts to practise or test his individual skill of attack and defense against actual moving opponents. Individual advancement was certainly hindered until an imaginative practitioner 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 under various assumptions, using every available attacking and blocking tool from different directions. Thus pattern practice enables the student to go through many fundamental movements in series, to develop sparring techniques, improve flexibility of movements, master body shifting, build muscles and breath control, develop fluid and smooth motions, and gain rythmical movements. It also enables a student to acquire certain special techniques which cannot be obtained from either fundamental exercises or sparring. In short, a pattern can be compared to unit tactics or a word, if fundamental movement is an individual soldier´s training or alphabet. Accordingly, pattern, the ledger of every movement, is a series of sparring, power tests, feats and characteristic beauty. Though sparring may merely indicate that an opponent is more or less advanced, patterns are a more critical barometer in evaluating an individual´s technique.

The following points should be considered while performing patterns:

  1. Pattern 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 critical moments in the exercise.
  4. The exercise should be performed in a rhythmic movement with an absence of stiffness.
  5. Movement should be accelerated or decelerated according to the instructions in this book.
  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 among right and left hands and feet.

There are a total of twenty-four patterns in Taekwon Do. The reason for 24 Patterns:

The life of a human being, perhaps 100 years, can be considered as a day when compared with eternity Therefore, we mortals are no more than simple travellers who pass by the eternal years of an aeon in a day.

It is evident that no one can live more than a limited amount of time. Nevertheless, most people foolishly enslave themselves to materialism as if they could live for thousands of years. And some people strive to bequeath a good spiritual legacy for coming generations, in this way, gaining immortality. Obviously, the spirit is perpetual while 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 mankind as a trace of man of the late 20th century. The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, or all my life." (gen. Choi Hong Hi)

The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the diagrammatic symbol of each pattern symbolizes either heroic figures in Korean history or instances relating to historical events.

Sparring - matsogi - 맞서기

Sparring is the physical application of attack and defence techniques gained from pattern and fundamental exercise against an actual moving opponent or opponents under various situations. It is, therefore, not only inseparable from pattern and fundamental movement but also indispensable to promote the fighting spirit and courage, to train the eyes, to read the opponent´s tactic and manoeuvers, to forge the attacking and blocking tools, to test his or her own skills and ability and to learn other movements hardly to be gained from pattern or fundamental exercise.

System of sparring (matsogi jedo)

Sparring is classified into pre-arranged, semi-free, free, foot technique, model and pre-arranged free sparring with the following sub-catagories:

sparringpre-arranged * 3-step----------»
* 2-step
* 1-step
* alone
* with companion
free * 1 : 1
* 1 : 2
* 2 : 2
* other combinations
foot technique
pre-arranged free* 1 : 1
* 1 : 2
* other combinations

Step sparring

Attacker named A, defender named B.

The attacker goes to the charyot sogi and then to the chunbi sogi with his right foot, defender left.

3-step sparring (sambo matsogi)

It has the task of teaching the student the correct distance from the opponent.

The distance from the opponent is measured in the stance of the technique, where it is measured depends both on attack and defense.

Ready stance is already low block with the forearm in walking stance (gunnun so bakat palmok najunde makgi).

You can practice either one-way - three attacks forward, a counter-technique - or two-ways - three attacks forward, three attacks backward, a counter-technique.

Basic combinations:

attack techniquedefense techniquedistance of measure
front punch in walking stance
(gunnun so ap jirugi)
middle block with inner forearm
(gunnun so an palmok kaunde yop makgi)
to the middle of the foot
high punch in walking stance
(gunnun so nopunde ap jirugi)
Rising block in walking stance
(gunnun so chukyo makgi)
heel behind the heel
low front snap kick in walking stance
(konnun so apcha busigi)
low block with the forearm in walking stance
(gunnun so bakat palmok najunde makgi)
heel behind the heel
middle outward strike in L stance
(niunja so sonkal yop taerigi)
middle guarding block in L stance
(niunja so sonkal daebi makgi)
to the middle of the foot
high punch in walking stance
(gunnun so nopunde ap jirugi)
high side block with the outer forearm in walking stance
(gunnun so bakat palmok nopunde yop makgi)
foot to foot

2-step sparring (ibo matsogi)

It has the task of teaching the student to use combinations.

A combination of any two techniques can be performed, but the lower belts are taught hand-foot (or foot-hand) combinations.

Ready stance is already middle guarding block in L stance (niunja so palmok daebi makgi).

The basic version is that the attacker goes 2 attacks forward. There are also variants where the attacker goes 2 attacks backwards or 1 forward and 1 backward, but they are almost not practice.

The defender must go back with the block in the first step, in the second step he can go back, but he can dodge to the side only etc.

1-step sparring (ilbo matsogi)

It has the task to teach the student to react quickly and to use the right contra-technique.

There are 2 variants of 1-step sparring:

  • "annonced" - the attacker tells the defender in advance what technique he will use.
  • "not annoced" - the attacker don`t tell the technique.

The basic form is such that the attacker attacks with 1 technique, the defender blocks it and immediately executes contra-technique. However, the defender may not always make a block, he can use dodge, he can perform contra-technics before the attack is completed, etc.

Attack and defense are executed directly from the parallel ready stance (narani junbi sogi), the attacker must stand before the attack at the right distance.

Model sparring (mobum matsogi)

The basic purpose of this type of sparring is to show the audience the skill and perfection of techniques of demonstrator and the physical use of each movement. This can also be achieved by slowing some movements.

The role of the opponent in the demonstration is to provide the exact and real goal against which the demonstrator is practicing. The distance can be freely adjusted by the demonstrator, the opponent performs only one attack, which is arranged in advance.

Self-defense - hosin sool - 호신술

These techniques are not only the most interesting in Taekwon-Do but also the most advanced. They are, in every sense, for practicai self-defense. These techniques are the logical application of various motions acquired from patterns, sparring, and fundamental movements to be used against a sudden attack by an armed or unarmed opponent.

The defender must know how to make use of his opponent´s momentum and force while utilizing his or her dynamic and reflexive actions against a momentarily undefended target.

Certainly, these self-defense techniques can only be effective if the student takes the time to constantly train with them under realistic conditions.

Training - dallyon - 단련

The training is basic unit, serving to increase both the technical as well as fitness readiness of each student Taekwon-Do. The aim for every coach is that his students achieve in these areas the best possible results. This practice has very much both specific and nonspecific exercises, e. g. development of mobility, maneuverability, speed, power, resistance or a hardening thrusting surfaces. Only if student practices these exercises Taekwon-Do techniques can be effectively applied in real combat.