Origin of Poomsae

The Taekwondo poomsaes are so designed to cope collectively with the outside threats in that society has already developed into an organized group, weakening the necessity of solitary individual defense measures. For the constituents of community, the practice and transmission of techniques should be convenient and less complicated. In that sense, the poomsae has been gradually systematized through practical experiences togther with the help of philosophical and medical sciences.

It is believed that in ancient times the poomsae was practiced among the ruling class and the first poomsae pattern appearing in the documents or monuments was around the first century, when Koguryo reined the Han (Korean) race.

Definition of Poomsae

Each poom of the poomsae has been inherited through a long history of about 5,000 years, finally as a product of scientific technique formulated on the basis of the traditional national spirit and practical experiments. From the technical viewpoint, the poomsae itself is Taekwondo, and the basic movements are no more than the preliminary actions to reach the poomsae. The Kyorugi is a practical application of the poomsae and the Taekwondo spirit is manifested not in an abstract mental philosophy expressed in the documents but in the actions of poomsae. Then, what is the Taekwondo poomsae? The poomsae is the style of conduct which expresses directly or indirectly mental and physical refinements as well as the principles of offense and defense resulting from cultivation of Taekwondo spirit and techniques.

Significance of Poomsae

The poomsae is a series of movements for offense and defense techniques which can be practiced and trained, even without presence of an instructor, in accordance with the fixed patterns. Therefore, the poomsae has the merits, by its practice, to make the trainee enhance the Kyorugi techniques and applied techniques including special techniques which can hardly be practiced by the training of each separate basic movement alone.

The poomsae can be trained along the imaginary or drawn poomsae line, which marks the position of foot and the line direction to move along.

WTF & ITF Poomsae

(TaeGuk) WTF English ITF
Ill Jang one Chun-Gi
Yee Jang two Tang Gun
Sam Jang three Toe San
Sa Jang four Won Hyo
Oh Jang five Chung Gwen
Yuk Jang six Ti-Gye
Chil Jang seven Hwa Rang
Pal Jang eight Chung Mo
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ITF Taekwondo Poomsae Ladder

Name # of
Ki-Yaps Belt Color Meaning
Chon Ji 19 1, 8, 19 White

Beginning of Heaven and Earth.

Dan Gun 21 1, 8, 17, 21 Yellow Legendary founder of Korea (2333 B.C.)
Do San 24 1, 8, 22,. 24 Yellow/Green Tip Patriot and educator. Taught social studies and martial arts.
Won Hyo 28 1, 12, 26, 28 Green Monk who introduced Buddhism to Korea (686 A.D.)
Yul Gok 38 1, 4, 21, 36, 38 Green/Blue Tip Philosopher and scholar nicknamed "Confucius" of Korea
Joong Gun 32 1, 12, 32 Blue Patriot who assassinated Japanese Emperor (Hiro-Bumi Ito). Died a martyr when he was executed in prison at age 32 (1910).
Toi Gye 37 1, 11, 29, 37 Blue/Red Tip Scholar and writer; an authority on neo-confucianism
Hwa Rang 29 1, 10, 14, 25, 29 Red Youth group largely responsible for the unification of Korea. 29th Infantry division where Tae Kwon Do developed into maturity.
Chung Moo 30 1, 9, 28, 30 Red/Black Tip Admiral who invented the first armored battleship. Killed by his men in a mutiny. (Bad man’s form – ends on opposite foot)
Gae Baek 44 1, 21, 27, 44 Red/Black Tip Great general known for his severe and strict military discipline.
Kwang Gae 39 1, 12, 36, 39 Black 19th king of the Koguryo dynasty who regained all of the lost territories including most of Manchuria. Reigned for 39 years.