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Patterns are fundamental to the improvement of technique in TaeKwonDo.  Each pattern teaches a student a new technique or level of complexity using an existing technique.  

A pattern is a combination of attack and defence movements in a fixed and logical sequence which could be used to defend against one or more imaginary opponents.

Patterns are practised to improve TaeKwonDo techniques, to develop speed and power, improve flexibility, master body shifting, develop muscles, balance and breath control.

There are a total of 24 patterns in TaeKwonDo. Each pattern has a significant historical meaning which the student is expected to learn. Each meaning gives the student a better understanding of the perseverance of the Koreans to gain independence from other countries who have occupied Korea over the centuries. An understanding of the continuous struggle to achieve this independence should give students of TaeKwonDo the incentive to persevere with the learning and perfecting of TaeKwonDo techniques.

The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the diagrammatic symbol of each pattern symbolises either heroic figures in Korean history or instances relating to historical events. For students up to black belt level, please see also the student's handbook.

Meaning of Coloured Belt Patterns

CHON-JI: means literally the "Heaven the Earth". It is, in the Orient, interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history. Therefore, it is the initial pattern played by the beginner. This pattern consists of two similar parts - one to represent the Heaven and the other the Earth. (19 movements)

DAN-GUN: is named after the Holy Dan - Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year of 2333 B.C. (21 movements)

DO-SAN: is the pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Ch'ang-Ho (1876 - 1938) who devoted his entire life to furthering the education of Korea and its independent movement. (24 movements)

WON-HYO: was the noted monk who introduced Buddhism to the Silla Dynasty in the year  686 A.D. (28 movements)

YUL-GOK: is the pseudonym of a great philosopher and scholar Yi I (1536 - 1584 A.D.) nicknamed the "Confucius of Korea". The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on 38 degrees latitude and the diagram represents "scholar".

JOONG-GUN: is named after the patriot An Joong-Gun who assassinated Hiro-Bumi Ito, the first Japanese governor-general of Korea, known as the man who played the leading part of the Korea-Japan merger. There are 32 movements in this pattern to represent Mr. An's age when he was executed at Lui-Shung prison (1910AD).

TOI-GYE: is the pen-name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang (16th A.D.), an authority on neo-confucianism. The 37 movements of the pattern refer to his birthplace on 37 degrees latitude, the diagram represents "scholar".

HWA-RANG: is named after the Hwa-Rang youth group which originated in the Silla Dynasty about 1350 years ago. This group eventually became the actual driving force for the unification of the three Kingdoms of Korea. The 29 movements refer to the 29th Infantry Division, where Tae Kwon Do developed into maturity.

CHOONG-MOO: was the given name to the great Admiral Yi Sun-Sin of the Joseon Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armoured battleship (kobukson) which was the precursor of the present day submarine in 1592 A.D. The reason why this pattern ends  with a left hand attack is to symbolise his regrettable death having no chance to show his unrestrained potentiality checked by the forced reservation of his loyalty to the king. (30 movements)