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Fundamental Exercises in Taekwon-Do: An Introduction

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(Gibon Yonsup)

“Fundamental exercises are considered the back bone of Taekwon-Do, for the students can learn a great number of additional movements which are found neither in patterns nor sparrings. […] The student is therefore advised to exercise each fundamental movement correctly and thoroughly one by one before attempting to practise his pattern or sparring.”- Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.6, p.17)

Fundamental exercises are kicks, punches, blocks, stances, and several other movements used for attacking or defending. They are the basic attacking and defending techniques on which the art of Taekwon-Do is built. Mastery of fundamental movements leads to mastery of patterns, sparring and self-defence.

Gen. Choi states that there are innumerable fundamental exercises and movements in Taekwon-Do and he has presented only the most useful and common exercises in Vol.6 and Vol.7 of his book, “Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do”. Along with hundreds of photographs, Gen. Choi presents a total of 367 fundamental exercises (149 exercises in Vol.6, pp.17-383; and 218 exercises in Vol.7, pp.17-379).

To attain perfection, each fundamental exercise has to be constantly repeated along with maintaining the correct stance at all times. Expert guidance is invaluable, since “Certainly the most important asset any training hall can have is a good instructor. There is no substitute for well-trained, intelligent, perceptive and patient instructor.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.6, p.17)

Common stances for fundamental exercises

-Ready Stance (Junbi Sogi)
—Attention Stance (Charyot Sogi)
—Bow Posture (Kyong Ye Jase)
—Parallel Ready Stance (Narani Junbi Sogi)
—Sitting Ready Stance (Annun Junbi Sogi)
—Walking Ready Stance (Gunnun Junbi Sogi)
——Right Walking Ready Stance
——Left Walking Ready Stance
—Close Ready Stance (Moa Junbi Sogi)
——Type A Close Ready Stance
——Type B Close Ready Stance
——Type C Close Ready Stance
—L-Ready Stance (Niunja Junbi Sogi)
——Right L-Ready Stance
——Left L-Ready Stance
—X-Ready Stance (Kyocha Junbi Sogi)
——Right X-Ready Stance
——Left X-Ready Stance

Procedure for leading a class (Sooryon Jido Bop) for fundamental exercises

Taekwon-Do exercises may be performed in two ways, namely with command or without command. If the exercise is performed without command, an instructor or assistant instructor is not required to give any command. If the exercise is performed with command, then an instructor or an assistant instructor gives the commands in the following procedure:

1. At the command of “Charyot” (attention): The student takes the attention stance (Charyot Sogi). The student gives his/her undivided attention to the instructor.

2. At the command of “Kyong Ye” (bow): The student remains in the attention stance. While remaining in the attention stance, the student bows to the instructor.

3. The instructor tells the number or title of exercise to be performed. Then the instructor gives the command “Junbi”. At the command of “Junbi” (ready): The student takes the appropriate ready stance (Junbi Sogi).

4. At the command of “Si Jak” (commence): The student starts the exercise while the instructor counts “Hana” (one), “Dool” (two), “Set” (three), “Net” (four), “Dasot” (five), “Yosot” (six), “Ilgop” (seven), “Yodul” (eight), “Ahop” (nine), and so on. The student goes on performing the exercise until the instructor gives the command “Guman”. At the command of “Guman” (stop): The student stops performing the exercise.

5. At the command of “Swiyo” (at ease): The student takes a parallel ready stance (Narani Junbi Sogi). At this time the student relaxes.

6. At the command of “Hae San” (dismiss): The student can walk away.

Direction Diagram (Bang Hyang Pyo)

Exercises are done on the four directions as shown below:

General Assumptions (Ilban Kahjung) for doing fundamental exercises

– Generally, fundamental exercises start from a stance taken on line AB facing D. There are some exceptions.

– Generally, blocks start with the left hand or the left foot; and attacks start with the right hand or the right foot. There are some exceptions. Students should practice equally with both left and right limbs.

– Generally, a middle defence or attack is executed first and thereafter, a high defence or attack is executed. There may be an exception if a special instruction is given.

– Generally, spot exercise is done first and thereafter, turning or stepping exercise is done. There are some exceptions.

– Generally, a forward stepping exercise is executed along with backward stepping or turning exercises. There are some exceptions.

– Generally, backward stepping and turning exercise are executed after assuming a left walking, left low, left rear foot, and left L-stance toward D. There may be an exception if a special instruction is given.

– Generally, after completion of each exercise, as a rule, the foot initially moved back should be brought to the ready posture.

– Generally, all blocks and attacks are executed towards the direction, where the stance is facing. There may be an exception if a special instruction is given.

– Generally, while blocking or attacking with one hand, simultaneously the other fist is to be pulled to the hip. There may be an exception if a special instruction is given.

“The secret of learning the fundamental movements correctly with the least amount of effort in the shortest period of time is to understand the purpose and concepts of each movement clearly. […] For more efficient performance of each pattern, it is almost mandatory to practice necessary fundamental movements, especially those required in the particular pattern before hand.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.7, p.380)


Choi, H. H. (1985). Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do (Vols. 1–15). Vienna: International Taekwon-Do Federation.

Also See:

Fundamental Exercises (Part A) in Taekwon-Do: A list of 149 exercises

Fundamental Exercises (Part B) in Taekwon-Do: A list of 218 exercises



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