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The Interpretations of Patterns (Tuls) in Taekwon-Do


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“The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the diagrammatic symbol of each pattern symbolizes either heroic figures in Korean history or instances relating to historical events.” – Gen. Choi Hong Hi (Vol.8, p.15)

The term “Chon-Ji” literally means “the Heaven the Earth”. It symbolizes the beginning of the world and is thus, composed of two parts – one to symbolize the Heaven and the other to symbolize the Earth. It is the first pattern performed by the beginner.

The term “Dan-Gun” is taken from the name of the holy Dan-Gun, who founded Korea in 2,333 B.C.

The term “Do-San” is taken from the pseudonym of Ahn Chang-Ho (1876-1938), who was the famous patriot of Korea. He devoted his entire life to the independence movement of Korea and to educate Koreans. His life is symbolized in the 24 movements of this pattern.

The term “Won-Hyo” is taken from the name of the monk Won-Hyo, who during the Silla Dynasty introduced Buddhism in Korea in the year 686 A.D.

The term “Yul-Gok” is taken from the pseudonym of Yi I (1536-1584), who was the famous scholar and philosopher of Korea, also known as the “Confucius of Korea”.

The diagram symbolizes the term “scholar”:

His birthplace was on 38 degrees latitude, which is represented by the 38 movements of this pattern.

The term “Joong-Gun” is taken from the name of the famous patriot Ahn Joong-Gun, who killed Hiro-Bumi Ito, the first Japanese governor-general of Korea. Mr. Ahn was caught and executed at Lui-Shung prison (1910), when he was 32 years old and thus, the 32 movements in this pattern symbolize his age.

The term “Toi-Gye” is taken from the pseudonym of the famous scholar Yi Hwang (16th century), who was considered as an authority on neo-Confucianism.

The diagram symbolizes the term “scholar”:

His birthplace was on 37 degrees latitude, which is represented by the 37 movements of this pattern.

The term “Hwa-Rang” is taken from the name of the Hwa-Rang youth group of the early 7th century during the Silla Dynasty. The 29 movements of this pattern represents the 29th Infantry Division, where the art of Taekwon-Do was matured.

The term “Choong-Moo” is taken from the name given to the great Admiral Yi Soon-Sin during the Yi Dynasty. Admiral Yi Soon-Sin is credited with the invention of an armoured battleship (Kobukson) in the year 1592. Due to his loyalty to the king, he had no opportunity to demostrate his unrestrained potentiality and his regrettable death is symbolized by a left hand attack, which ends this pattern.

The term “Kwang-Gae” is taken from the name of King Gwang-Gae-Toh-Wang, who was the 19th ruler of the Koguryo Dynasty. He expanded his kingdom by regaining a large part of Manchuria and several other lost territories.

The diagram symbolizes his regaining lost territories and expansion of his kingdom:

He ascended the throne in the year 391 A.D. The first two numbers of this year are “39”, which represents the 39 movements of this pattern.

11. PO-EUN
The term “Po-Eun” is taken from the pseudonym of the pioneer in physics and a famous poet Chong Mong-Chu (14th century). His loyalty to the king towards the end of the Koryo Dynasty is well-known and every Korean knows his poem “I would not serve a second master though I might be crucified a hundred times”.

The diagram represents his unerring loyalty:

The term “Ge-Baek” is taken from the name of Ge-Baek, who was a great general of the Baek Je Dynasty (660 A.D.). He was a very strong disciplinarian.

The diagram symbolizes his strict and severe discipline:

13. EUI-AM
The term “Eui-Am” is the pseudonym of Son Byong Hi, who in 1905 gave the name Chondo Kyo (Heavenly Way Religion) to what was known as Dong Hak (Oriental Culture). When he gave this name he was 45 years of age and thus, there are 45 movements in this pattern. On 1st March, 1919, he also led the Korean independence movement with an indomitable spirit.

The diagram symbolizes his indomitable spirit and total dedication to his nation:

The term “Choong-Jang” is taken from the pseudonym given to General Kim Duk Ryang of the 14th century Yi Dynasty. At the young age of 27, he died in prison and this tragedy is symbolized with a left-hand attack that ends this pattern.

The term “Juche” is taken from the philosophical idea that a person is the master of his/her own destiny. This idea is supposed to have roots in the Baekdu Mountain, which represents the Korean spirit.

The diagram symbolizes the Baekdu Mountain:

16. SAM-IL
The term “Sam-Il” is taken as a representation of the historical date of 1st March 1919, when the Korean independence movement began. The movement was planned by 33 patriots and thus, there are 33 movements in this pattern.

The term “Yoo-Sin” is taken from the name of General Kim Yoo Sin, who commanded the army of the Silla Dynasty. Korea was united in the year 668 A.D. The last two numbers of this year are “68” and therefore, there are 68 movements in this pattern. General Kim Yoo Sin’s king gave orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation and he followed the king’s orders. This was a mistake, which is symbolized by the ready posture signifying that a sword is drawn on the right instead of the left side.

The term “Choi-Yong” is taken from the name of General Choi Yong, who was the Premier and Commander-in-Chief of the army during the Koryo Dynasty (14th century). His humility, loyalty and patriotism was highly respected. Unfortunately, his subordinate commanders led by General Yi Sung Gae executed him. Thereafter, General Yi Sung Gae became the king and the first ruler of the Yi Dynasty.

The term “Yon-Gae” is taken from the name of General Yon Gae Somoon, who was a famous general of the Koguryo Dynasty. In 649 A.D. in the battle at Ansi Sung, he destroyed nearly 300,000 soldiers of the Tang Dynasty. The defeated Tang Dynasty was forced to quit Korea in that same year. The last two numbers of the year 649 A.D. are “49” and thus, there are 49 movements in this pattern.

20. UL-JI
The term “Ul-Ji” is taken from the name of General Ul-Ji Moon Dok. In 612 A.D. Korea was invaded by the Tang Dynasty army led by Yang Je and comprising of nearly one million soldiers. General Ul-Ji Moon Dok successfully defended Korea against this invasion by employing hit and run guerilla fighting tactics.

The diagram symbolizes the surname of General Ul-Ji Moon Dok:

When the author of Taekwon-Do, Gen. Choi Hong Hi was 42 years old, he had designed this pattern and thus, there are 42 movements in this pattern.

The term “Moon-Moo” is taken from the name of King Moon Moo, who was the 30th ruler of the Silla Dynasty. After his death, as per his will, his body was buried near Dae Wang Am (Great King’s Rock) and placed in the sea, “Where my soul shall forever defend my land against the Japanese.” It is believed that the Sok Gul Am (Stone Cave), a fine example of the cultural achievement of the Silla Dynasty, was built to guard his tomb. King Moon Moo ascended the throne in the year 661 A.D. The last two numbers of this year are “61” and therefore, there are 61 movements in this pattern.

22. SO-SAN
The term “So-San” is taken from the pseudonym of the monk Choi Hyong Ung (1520-1604) of the Yi Dynasty. When he was 72 years of age, along with his pupil Sa Myung Dang, he created a corps of monk soldiers, who helped to repulse the Japanese pirates in 1592. Since the monk was of 72 years of age at this time, therefore, there are 72 movements in this pattern.

The term “Se-Jong” is taken from the name of King Se Jong, who is known as the greatest Korean king. He was a renowed meteorologist and he also invented the Korean alphabet.

The diagram symbolizes King Se Jong:

The Korean alphabet consists of 24 letters and thus, there are 24 movements in this pattern.

The term “Tong-Il” is taken to denote the resolution for the unification of Korea that remains divided since 1945.

The diagram symbolizes the homogenous race:

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




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