What is poomsae in Taekwonndo?
The World Taekwondo Federation (W.T.F) uses poomsaes for patterns. Poomsaes originate from the book 'I Ching', a Chinese oracle. The I Ching has 64 hexagrams, a combination of two sets of three lines, closed or broken. The sets of three lines are called trigrams. The closed lines represent Yang, the open lines Yin. In the Chinese language, the unity of Yin and Yang is called 'taich'i'.
Taekwondo poomsae (pattern) is a combination of techniques of block and attack performed consecutively while moving in certain directions. There are a series of poomsaes designed to correspond with each learning level from beginner to advanced.
The proper way to learn and practice poomsae is to first know the name of the poomsae then determine the three components of each movement in the order of: Direction, Stance and Technique of block or attack. The movements in 'poomsae’ range from simple to complex. poomsaes are executed at varying speeds (slow, normal or fast) and on different stances. Some actions require breath and muscular control.
Poomsaes serve a multi-dimensional role, aiding in development and refinement of coordination, balance, timing, breath control and rhythm, all of which are essential skills to the Taekwondo student.
Classification of Poomsae Patterns:
Taegeuk Il Jang/Palgae Il Jang
The general meaning of this form and associated trigram is Yang, which represents Heaven and Light. Also, this trigram has a relationship to South and Father. The first Taegeuk form is the beginning of all pumsaes, the "birth" of the martial artist into Taekwondo. This pumsae should be performed with the greatness of Heaven.
Taegeuk Il Jang/Palgae Il Jang
Taegeuk Pal Jang/Palgae Pal Jang
Koryo, or Goryeo, is the name of an old Korean Dynasty. The people from the Goryeo defeated the Mongolian aggressors. It is intended that their spirit is reflected in the movements of the pumsae Koryo. Each movement of this pumsae represents the strength and energy needed to control the Mongols.
Keumgang means "diamond," symbolizing hardness. Keumgang is also the name of the most beautiful mountain in Korea, as well as the Keumgang warrior, named by Buddha. Thus, the themes of hardness, beauty, and pondering permeate this pumsae.
The legendary Dangun founded a nation in Taebaek, near Korea's biggest mountain Baekdoo. Baekdoo is a known symbol for Korea. The definition of the word taebaek is literally "lightness". Every movement in this pumsae is intended to be not only be exact and fast, but with determination and hardness resembling the mountain Baekdoo, the origin of the nation of Korea.
The definition of Pyongwon is "stretch, vast plain." The name carries with it a connotation of being large and majestic.
Sipjin stands for ten symbols of longevity, which are Sun, Moon, Mountain, Water, Stone, Pine tree, Herb of eternal youth, Turtle, Deer, and Crane. This pumsae represents the endless development and growth by the basic idea of the ten symbols of longevity and the decimal system.
This pumsae is derived from the meaning of the earth. All things evolve from and return to the earth, the earth is the beginning and the end of life, as reelected through the Yin and Yang.
Cheonkwon literally means 'sky'. In the pumsae, the sky symbolizes the ruler of the universe. According to belief, it is mysterious, infinite and profound. The motions of Cheonkwon are full of piety, vitality and reverence.