TaeKwonDo Poomse (forms)

Forms or Poomse are an important part in almost every Martial Arts. They are in effect formalised shadow boxing in which you defend against and counter-attack multiple opponents on all sides.

There are two main aspects to consider in the practice of Poomse these are the physical and the mental aspects of the forms. The mental aspect refer to the state of mind that the students maintains while doing the physical techniques. The physical aspect refer to how you perform the several techniques, your endurance, strength, speed, balance.  Both aspects should be balance in order to benefits from the practice of Poomse.

When the World Taekwondo Federation ( WTF ) was formed they standardized a new set of forms called the Taegeuk Poomse. On the creation of these forms, they use the Eight Trigrams to represent their movements, appearances and projected meaning, in this way each Taegeuk represent a different Trigram. Many students concentrate only on the physical aspect of the Taegeuk Poomse. If the students is interested in practice the Taegeuk Poomse properly and observe their intended meaning, then both aspects should be combine, the physical and mental aspects of the forms. When this is done, then the forms will have an entirely different meaning to the students which he could be able to utilize on their daily life.

The first three yudanja poomse focus on Koguryo, since which is where Mount Keumgang and Mount Taebaek are located. The middle three yudanja poomse focus on earthly qualities which are associated with Paekjae, and the last three focus on more spiritual concepts, which are associated with Shilla, the Kingdom that was the unifier of the Three Kingdoms. Ilyo was originally named Shilla Hyung

The Kukkiwon Taeguek poomse are a series of horizontal lines connected with a vertical line going straight up the middle of the form. In Taeguek 1 Jang, there are two front stances going up the middle  (down block and in place middle punch) and coming back there are two front stance, a down block and then a stepping in middle punch.

In order to land on your starting mark, you must move straight on the horizontal branches, like a rook in Chess. However, if you adopt the wide stance, you end up turning into a knight, hooking around, and actually going backwards (towards the starting position) each time  you pivot in the horizontal lines to compete the horizontal sequence.

If you pivot is one shoulder width wide, and you do two of those in Taeguek 1 Jang, then the end of your form will end up two shoulder widths behind the starting mark. Some people make up for this by stepping back to the starting mark with the front foot, instead of stepping forward with the back leg. This would work if your front stance is two should widths long, but is of course, incorrect.

Using a narrow stance, you can maintain your position on the horizontal lines, because you are now moving like a rook, instead of a knight. If done in this fashion, then landing on the mark becomes incredibly easy and natural, which shouldn't be surprising, since you are now doing the poomse correctly, as they were meant to be performed.

Belt Level
Taegeuk 1 Il Jang
8th Gup
Taegeuk 2 Yi Jang
7th Gup
Taegeuk 3 Sam Jang
6th Gup
Taegeuk 4 Sa Jang
5th Gup
Taegeuk 5 O Jang
4th Gup
Taegeuk 6 Yuk Jang
3rd Gup
Taegeuk 7 Chil Jang
2nd Gup
Taegeuk 8 Pal Jang
1st Gup
1st Dan
2nd Dan
3rd Dan
4th Dan
5th Dan
6th Dan
7th Dan
8th Dan
9th Dan

For an explanation of the meaning of each form - click on the form itself. The link will take you to a description of that Poomse.

History of the Development of the TKD Poomse
In 1965, the Korea Taekwondo Association formed an ad hoc committee to create the new forms. The following are the members of the  committee:

GM KWAK Gun Sik (Chung Do Kwan)
GM LEE Young Sup (Song Moo Kwan)
GM LEE Kyo Yun (Han Moo Kwan)
GM PARK Hae Man (Chung Do Kwan)
GM HYUN Jong Myun (Oh Do Kwan)
GM KIM Soon Bae (Chang Moo Kwan)

In 1967, the committee introduced the Palgwe and Yudanja (Black Belt) forms. Included was a simpler version of Koryo. At this
time, Pyongwon was known as Baekjae Hyung and Ilyo was given the name Shilla Hyung.

In 1972, the committee created the Taeguek poomse as well as the current version of Koryo, with the help of three additional members:

GM LEE Chong Woo (Jidokwan)
GM BAE Young Ki (Jidokwan)
GM HAN Young Tae (Moo Duk Kwan)

Chung Do Kwan GM PARK Hae Man served as the main editor of the Taeguek poomse.

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Updated by Hoosain Narker