Taekwondo is an ancient form of unarmed combat practiced for many centuries in Korea. It became perfected in its present form by Major General Choi Hong Hi (1918 – 2002), and has been scientifically developed and modernised since its introduction to the world on 11th April 1955. Translated from Korean, Tae means to jump, kick or smash with the foot, Kwon means to punch, strike or destroy with the hand and Do is art, method or way. It is proven to be the most powerful system of self-defence ever devised. To the Korean people Taekwondo is more than a mere use of skilled movements. It also promotes a way of life with a strong sway towards the more philosophical side, particularly instilling a concept and spirit of self imposed discipline and an ideal of noble moral re-armament. In these days of violence and intimidation, which seem to plague our modern societies, Taekwondo enables the weak to possess a fine weapon to defend themselves and when strongly applied it can be very dangerous.
Founder of Tae Kwon Do Major General Choi Hong Hi 9th Degree Grand Master (1918 -2002)
Taekwondo was introduced to Great Britain in 1967 by Rhee Ki Ha.
HISTORY OF THE T.A.G.B.
Taekwondo was introduced into the United Kingdom during 1967. It started with two groups then several groups were formed. A number of these were dominated by foreign nationals with financial and political interests. A group of the most senior British Taekwondo instructors eventually became so disillusioned with the situation that in 1983 they joined forces to form the Taekwondo Association of Great Britain. The T.A.G.B. contains some of the world’s top Taekwondo performers, with several world, European and British champions.
Since its inauguration, the T.A.G.B. has grown to become the largest and most successful Taekwondo practising organisation in Britain, with more than 25,000 members training in over 600 schools nationwide.
The T.A.G.B. is not just concerned with its own development. That is why it has played a leading role in the reunification of British Taekwondo into one body. In 1988, the T.A.G.B. helped found the British Taekwondo Council, this being the only governing body of Taekwondo to be recognised by the Sports Council.
The T.A.G.B. also helped found Taekwondo International, the object of which is to bring together Taekwondo practitioners throughout the World. Taekwondo International is non-political and it doesn’t attempt to dictate to member countries how they must run their affairs. Since its foundation in 1993, Taekwondo International has grown to become one of the biggest World Taekwondo bodies. Its World Championships are among the largest and best organised and it draws its participants from every continent.
Benefits of Taekwondo
Men women and children need to be able to defend themselves if the need arises. With Taekwondo we develop the technique of unarmed combat for self-defence, involving skilled application of punches, kicks, blocks, dodges and restraints.
Improved Self Confidence
Lots of children want to train in Taekwondo because:
- They are being bullied
- They have low self-esteem
- They have no confidence
- They are lacking in co-ordination/motor skills
- They want physical energy release
- Meet new friends
- They have an interest in a Martial Arts
With training in Taekwondo and the content of the classes and the way they are run, the children will develop:
- Self-defence skills and even the ability to defeat the bully without fighting
- With developing the skills learned in the class it will improve the child’s confidence, giving them a higher self-esteem
- The Taekwondo training will channel their energy into their Taekwondo skills
- The way the instruction is given and broken down for the child, you will see a great improvement in a matter of weeks
- The training in Taekwondo promotes individual and group activities which will develop, (1) communication skills, (2) Group interactions/activities
Although the classes are disciplined, the classes are fun and enjoyable. Having the ability to defend yourself makes you a more confident person, in all facets of life. Taekwondo is about improving your mental and physical state. It builds a level of self-confidence unsurpassed by any other form of exercise.
Due to the types of exercises and techniques performed, your flexibility and mobility will improve immensely. In order to improve flexibility we incorporate several types of stretching. These are:
- Static Stretching – Static stretching means a stretch is held in a challenging but comfortable position for a period of time, usually somewhere between 10 to 30 seconds. Static stretching is the most common form of stretching found in general fitness and is considered safe and effective for improving overall flexibility
- Dynamic Stretching – Dynamic stretching means a stretch is performed by moving through a challenging but comfortable range of motion repeatedly, usually 10 to 12 times. Although dynamic stretching requires more thoughtful coordination than static stretching (because of the movement involved), it is gaining favour among athletes, coaches, trainers, and physical therapists, due to its apparent benefits in improving functional range of motion.
- Passive Stretching - Passive stretching means you’re using some sort of outside assistance to help you achieve a stretch. This assistance could be your body weight, another person or a stretching device. With passive stretching, you relax the muscle you’re trying to stretch and rely on the external force to hold you in place. You don’t usually have to work very hard to do a passive stretch.
- Active Stretching – Active stretching means you’re stretching a muscle by actively contracting the muscle in opposition to the one you’re stretching. With active stretching, you relax the muscle you’re trying to stretch and rely on the opposing muscle to initiate the stretch. Active stretching can be challenging because of the muscular force required to generate the stretch but is generally considered lower risk because you are controlling the stretch force with your own strength rather than an external force.
Achieve Your Goals
Our instructor will encourage you to reach an achievable goal in the main aspects of Taekwondo.FITNESS -
Taekwondo will improve your standard of fitness, i.e. 5 press-ups instead of 2, 10 sit-ups instead of what you could do etc. Your aerobic fitness will also improve from certain aspects of your training, which include, for example, striking the pads or circuits within the class.BELTS –
Taking belts and grading’s ARE purely optional. Grading’s are held every 12 weeks. Each belt is a goal to aim for and will offer you a challenge both mentally and physically. After progressing from the previous belt, you will gain the motivation and encouragement you need to progress even further – maybe even to the ultimate Black Belt!CONFIDENCE -
With training in Taekwondo you will develop the skills to defend yourself. You will be fitter and you will already have achieved something by training in Taekwondo.COMPETITION –
Competitions are purely optional and are split into divisions of your own belt and height (juniors) or weight (seniors). Competitions are held regionally, nationally and internationally.
The Tenets of Taekwondo
The tenets of Taekwondo should serve as a guide for all students of the art.
Courtesy – (Ye Ui)
Taekwondo students should attempt to practice the following elements of etiquette:
- To promote the spirit of mutual concessions
- To be ashamed of one’s vice contemplating that of other’s
- To be polite to one another
- To encourage the sense of justice
- To distinguish the instructor from student and senior from junior
Integrity – (Yom Chi)
In Taekwondo, the word integrity assumes a looser definition than the one usually presented in Webster’s dictionary. One must be able to define right from wrong, and have the conscience, if wrong, to feel guilt. Listed are some examples where integrity is lacking.
- The instructor who misrepresents him/herself and his art by presenting improper techniques to his students because of lack of knowledge or apathy
- The student who misrepresents him/herself by “fixing” breaking materials before demonstrations
- The instructor who camouflages bad techniques with luxurious training halls and false flattery to his students
- The student who requests rank from an instructor, or attempts to purchase it
- The student who gains rank for ego purposes or the feeling of power
- The instructor that teaches and promotes his art solely for materialistic gains
Perseverance – (In Nae)
There is an old oriental saying “patience leads to virtue or merit. One can make a peaceful home by being patient for 100 times”. Certainly happiness and prosperity are most likely brought to the patient person. To achieve something, whether it is a higher degree or the perfection of a technique, one must set his goal then constantly persevere. Robert Bruce learned his lesson of perseverance and tenacity that finally enabled him to free Scotland in the fourteenth century. One of the most important secrets in becoming a leader of Taekwondo is to overcome every difficulty by perseverance.
Self-control – (Guk Gi)
This tenet is extremely important inside the dojang, whether conducting oneself in free sparring or in one’s personal affairs. A loss of self-control in free sparring can prove disastrous to both student and opponent. An inability to live and work within one’s capability or sphere is also a lack of self-control.
Indomitable spirit – (Beakjul Boolgool)
“Here lie 300 who did their duty”, a simple epitaph for one of the greatest acts of courage known to mankind. Although facing the superior forces of Xerxes, Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermopia showed the world the meaning of indomitable spirit. It is shown when a courageous person and his principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. A serious student of Taekwondo will at all times deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all, and with indomitable spirit, regardless of whosoever and however many the number be.
Patterns are various fundamental movements most of which represent either attack or defence techniques, set to a fixed and logical sequence against an imaginary opponent.
We practise patterns to improve our Taekwondo techniques, to develop sparring techniques, to improve flexibility of movement, master body-shifting, develop muscles, balance and breath control. They also enable us to acquire techniques, which cannot be obtained from other forms of training.
The reason for there being 24 patterns in Taekwondo is because the founder major general Choi Hong Hi, compared the life of man with a day in the life of the earth and believed that some people should strive to bequeath a good spiritual legacy to coming generations and in doing so gain immortality.
Therefore, if we can leave something behind for the welfare of mankind, maybe it will be the most important thing to happen in our lives, as the founder says:
“Here i leave Taekwondo for mankind as a trace of a man of the late 20th century. The twenty four patterns represent twenty four hours, one day or all of my life.”
Interpretation of patterns
The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the diagrammatic symbol of each pattern symbolises heroic figures in Korean history or instances relating to historical event.
Patterns are learnt so that you can draw some inspiration and guidance from the examples given of the tenets of Taekwondo.
Sajo-Jirugi – 15 moves
SAJO-JIRUGI means four directional punch.
SAJO-JIRUGI is a choreographed set of movements, both offensive and defensive given to the Taekwondo student. It develops co-ordination, direction changing, and breath control. This exercise is a combination of low section outer forearm blocks and middle obverse punches performed in walking stance. Sajo Jirugi is an exercise with 15 movements and is not a pattern.
The Meaning of Patterns
Chon-Ji – 19 moves
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.
Dan-Gun – 21 moves
DAN-GUN is named after the holy Dan-Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year of 2,333 BC.
Do-San – 24 moves
DO-SAN is the pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Chang-Ho (1876-1938) The 24 movements represent his entire life which he devoted to furthering the education of Korea and its independence movement.
Won-Hyo – 28 moves
WON-HYO was the noted monk who introduced Buddhism to the Silla Dynasty in the year of 686 AD.
Yul-Gok – 38 moves
YUL-GOK is the pseudonym of a great philosopher and scholar Yi l (1536-1584) nicknamed the “Confucius of Korea” The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on 38 latitude and the diagram represents “scholar”.
Joong-Gun – 32 moves
JOONG-GUN is named after the patriot Ahn Joong-Gun who assassinated Hiro-Bumi Ito, 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 in a Lui-Shung prison (1910).
Toi-Gye – 37 moves
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 latitude, the diagram represents “scholar”.
Hwa-Rang – 29 moves
HWA-RANG is named after the Hwa-Rang youth group, which originated in the Silla Dynasty about 600 AD. This group eventually became the actual driving force for the unification of the three Kingsdoms of Korea. The 29 movements refer to the 29th Infantry Division, where Taekwondo developed into maturity.
Choong-Moo – 30 moves
CHOONG-MOO was the name given to the great Admiral Yi Soon-Sin of the Yi Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armoured battleship (Kobukson) in 1592, which is said to be the precursor of the present day submarine. The reason why 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.
Black Belt – 1st Dan
Ge-Baek – 44 moves
GE-BAEK is named after Ge-Baek, a great general in the Baek Je Dynasty (660 AD). The diagram represents his severe and strict military discipline.
Kwang-Gae – 39 moves
KWANG-GAE is named after the famous Kwang-Gae-Toh-Wang, the 19th King of the Koguryo Dynasty, who regained all the lost territories including the greater part of Manchuria. The diagram represents the expansion and recovery of lost territory. The 39 movements refer to the first two figures of 391 A. D., the year he came to the throne.
Po-Eun – 36 moves
PO-EUN is the pseudonym of a loyal subject Chong Mong-Chu (1400) who was a famous poet and whose poem “I would not serve a second master though I might be crucified a hundred times” is know to every Korean. He was also a pioneer in the field of physics. The diagram represents his unerring loyalty to the king and country towards the end of the Koryo Dynasty.
Black Belt – 2nd Dan
Ko-dang – 39 moves
KO-DANG is the pseudonym of the patriot Cho Man Sik who dedicated his life to the independence movement and education of his people. The 39 movements signify his times of imprisonment and his birthplace on the 39th parallel.
Eui-Am – 45 moves
EUI-AM is the pseudonym of Son Byong Hi, leader of the Korean independence movement on March 1, 1919. The 45 movements refer to his age when he changed the name of Dong Hak (Oriental culture) to Chondo Kyo (Heavenly way religion) in 1905. The diagram represents his Indomitable Spirit, displayed while dedicating himself to the prosperity of his nation.
Choong-Jang – 52 moves
CHOONG-JANG is the pseudonym given to General Kim Duk Ryang who lived during the Lee 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.
Black Belt –3rd Dan
Choi-Jong – 46 moves
CHOI-YONG is named after General Choi Yong, premier and commander in chief of the armed forces during the 14th century Koryo Dynasty. Choi Yong was greatly respected for his loyalty, patriotism, and humility. He was executed by his subordinate commanders headed by general Yi Sung Gae, who later became the first King of the Lee Dynasty.
Sam-IL – 33 moves
SAM-IL denotes the historical date of the independence movement of Korea which began throughout the country on March 1, 1919. The 33 movements in the pattern stand for the 33 patriots who planned the movement.
Yoo-Sin – 68 moves
YOO-SIN is named after General Kim Yoo Sin, a commanding general during the Silla Dynasty. The 68 movements refer to the last two figures of 668 A.D., the year Korea was united. The ready posture signifies a sword drawn on the right rather than left side, symbolizing Yoo Sin’s mistake of following his Kings’ orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation.
Black Belt – 4th Dan
Tong-IL – 56 moves
TONG-IL denotes the resolution of the unification of Korea which has been divided since 1945. The diagram symbolizes the homogenous race.
Ul-Ji – 42 moves
UL-JI is named after general Ul-Ji Moon Dok who successfully defended Korea against a Tang’s invasion force of nearly one million soldiers led by Yang Je in 612 A.D., Ul-Ji employing hit and run guerilla tactics, was able to decimate a large percentage of the force. The diagram represents his surname. The 42 movements represent the author’s age when he designed the pattern.
Se-Jong – 24 moves
SE-JONG is named after the greatest Korean King, Se-Jong, who invented the Korean alphabet in 1443, and was also a noted meteorologist. The diagram represents the king, while the 24 movements refer to the 24 letters of the Korean alphabet.
Black Belt – 5th Dan
So San – 72 moves
SO-SAN is the pseudonym of the great monk Choi Hyong Ung (1520-1604) during the Lee Dynasty. The 72 movements refer to his age when he organized a corps of monk soldiers with the assistance of his pupil Sa Myunh Dang. The monk soldiers helped repulse the Japanese pirates who overran most of the Korean peninsula in 1592.
Moon-Moo – 61 moves
MOON-MOO honours the 30th King of the Silla Dynasty. His body was buried near Dae Wang Am (Great King’s Rock). According to his will, the body was placed in the sea “where my soul shall forever defend my land against the Japanese.” It is said that the Sok Gul Am (Stone cave) was built to guard his tomb. The Sok Gul Am is a fine example of the culture of the Silla Dynasty. The 61 movements in this pattern symbolize the last two figures of 661 A.D. when Moon Moo came to the throne.
Yong-Gae – 49 moves
YON-GAE is named after a famous general during the Koguryo Dynasty, Yon Gae Somoon. The 49 movements refer to the last two figures of 649 A.D., the year he forced the Tang Dynasty to quit Korea after destroying nearly 300,000 of their troops at Ansi Sung.