Taekwondo Basics

What is Taekwondo?​

The name certainly translates as the way of the foot and the fist – the art of kick, punching and unarmed combat.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that focuses on head-hight kicks, jumping and spinning kicks and fast kicking techniques. This sport has its roots in various Korean forms of martial arts stretching back more than 2000 years.

Tae” intends to break or attack with the foot.

Kwon” means to break with the fist.

Do” interprets as the art or way.

Taekwondo concentrates on combining combat techniques and self-defence and is an excellent form of exercise mixed with fun as an art.

As a sport, it has over 70 million practitioners across the world. It originates from South Korea, where the world governing body, the World Taekwondo (WT), is currently based.

In Taekwondo, attacking and defensive movements, including punching, kicking and blocking techniques, and differing stances, are done in a set series and are referred to as Poomsae. These basic movements bring together all the martial art skills in a graceful yet powerful manner.

Poomsae forms are a significant part of Taekwondo’s promotion process, and practitioners must demonstrate a good understanding of the forms before progressing to the next grade.

Please check out our website for more information about the history, the five tenets, Korean terminology, primary hand and foot techniques, all Taegeuk and blackbelt poomsae and more.

Taekwondo Basics
Taekwondo Basics

Table of Contents

In Taekwondo, attacking and defensive movements, including punching, kicking and blocking techniques, and differing stances, are done in a set series and are referred to as Poomsae. These basic movements bring together all the martial art skills in a graceful yet powerful manner.

Poomsae forms are a significant part of Taekwondo’s promotion process, and practitioners must demonstrate a good understanding of the forms before they can progress to the next grade.

There are two main types of taekwondo, traditional and modern. Traditional taekwondo is sometimes referred to as Korean martial art or just karate. This type of tae kwon do was developed in Korea over 500 years ago and had many different styles.

The term ‘karate’ comes from the Japanese word goken, which means empty hand. The difference between karate and taekwondo lies in using equipment such as swords and shields. Karate does not include these due to their prohibitive cost.

Traditional taekwondo is usually practised with either a short stick (sigi) or a longer one (chook). Most masters will require you to have some self-defence classes before attempting a sigi or chook. These lessons should be taught using the Venn diagram method, where there are no overlaps.

That way, you get it right at first! Sometimes this lesson requires you to practice with only your sigi or your long staff, so you don’t confuse yourself.

What is the difference between World Taekwondo and International Taekwondo Federation?

Taekwondo is a popular martial art that originated in Korea. It is known for its fast and powerful kicks and focuses on discipline and respect. There are two main styles of taekwondo: the World Taekwondo (WT) style and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) style.

The WT style is the more widely recognized and practised style of taekwondo. It is recognized by the International Olympic Committee and is the style practised in the Olympic Games. Most taekwondo schools in the United States also practise the WT.

The ITF style was founded by General Choi Hong Hi, who is considered the “father” of taekwondo. The ITF style places a greater emphasis on self-defence and traditional martial arts techniques, such as forms (pre-arranged patterns of movements), sparring (controlled fighting), and breaking (performing techniques to break boards or other objects). The ITF style is also known for its more traditional uniforms, which often include a belt that wraps around the waist and legs.

One of the main differences between the WT and ITF styles is how they score points in sparring. In WT sparring, points are awarded for strikes to legal scoring areas, such as the head, chest, and torso. In ITF sparring, points are awarded for strikes and kicks to legal scoring areas and successful throws and takedowns.

Another difference between the styles is the number and type of forms taught. The WT style has a set of 8 “Poomsae” forms that are taught to students, while the ITF style has a more significant number of forms that are divided into different sets for different belt levels.

In terms of tournament competition, the WT style is more focused on Olympic-style sparring, while the ITF style is more focused on traditional martial arts competition.

Overall, the WT and ITF styles of taekwondo are both valid and effective martial arts with their unique techniques and philosophies. Choosing which style to study depends on the individual’s goals and preferences.

The Five Tenets

All good Martial Artists and Taekwondo practitioners live by the code of ethics and are expected to maintain the five tenets of Taekwondo.

These are:
  • Etiquette – Know how to behave.

  • Modesty – Never show off.

  • Perseverance – Keep on trying.

  • Self-control – Ability to control your behaviour and actions

  • Indomitable spirit – Never give up.

The five tenets guide a student’s behaviour – inside and outside the dojang. One’s character is built on these values, so the students need to consider applying these to their daily lives – everything they do and how they interact with others.

Always be honest, respectful, polite, and kind to others. Think positively, motivate and respect yourself and others. Be forgiving and understanding. Stand up for what is right. Keep it going and be patient even in the face of difficulty.

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The Grading Syllabus

You can view the Taekwondo4Fitness/ITO Grading Syllabus as an initial version on my webpage.

Korean Terminology

Please check out my boards on Pinterest. They include pins for Korean Terminology, body parts, how to tie a belt, etc.

Basics Techniques

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Taegeuk Poomsae (coloured belts)

The meaning of Taegeuk Poomsae for coloured belts

Taegeuk Il Jang

Taegeuk Il Jang is one of the eight patterns or forms in the traditional taekwondo poomsae (also spelt poomsae or poomse) curriculum. The taegeuk poomsae are named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and each poomsae is associated with a specific trigram and set of principles. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development.

Taegeuk Il Jang is the first of the taegeuk poomsae and is associated with the trigram. (Gi), which represents the principle of yang (?) or “heaven.” The poomsae consists of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances, typically performed by lower belt students. The movements of Taegeuk Il Jang are intended to represent the creation of the universe and the balance of yin and yang.

Taegeuk I Jang

Taegeuk Ee Jang or Taegeuk I Jang s the second of the eight patterns or forms in the traditional taekwondo poomsae (also spelt poomsae or poomse) curriculum. The taegeuk poomsae are named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and each poomsae is associated with a specific trigram and set of principles. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development.

Taegeuk Ee Jang is the second of the taegeuk poomsae and is associated with the trigram. (Goo), which represents the principle of yin (?) or “earth.” The poomsae consists of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances, typically performed by lower belt students. The movements of Taegeuk Ee Jang are intended to represent the creation of the universe and the balance of yin and yang.

Taegeuk Sam Jang

Taegeuk Sam Jang is the third of the eight patterns or forms in the traditional taekwondo poomsae (also spelt poomsae or poomse) curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. The taegeuk poomsae are named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and each poomsae is associated with a specific trigram and set of principles.

Taegeuk Sam Jang is the third of the taegeuk poomsae and is associated with the trigram. (Ee), which represents the principle of fire. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances, typically performed by lower belt students. The movements of Taegeuk Sam Jang are intended to represent the creation of the universe and the balance of yin and yang.

Taegeuk Sa Jang

Taegeuk Sa Jang is the fourth of the eight patterns or forms in the traditional taekwondo poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) curriculum. The taegeuk poomsae are named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and each poomsae is associated with a specific trigram and set of principles. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development.

Taegeuk Sa Jang is the fourth taegeuk poomsae associated with the trigram (Jeong), representing the principle of thunder. The poomsae consists of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances, typically performed by lower belt students. The movements of Taegeuk Sa Jang are intended to represent the creation of the universe and the balance of yin and yang.

Taegeuk Oh Jang

Taegeuk O Jang is the fifth of the eight patterns or forms in the traditional taekwondo poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) curriculum. The taegeuk poomsae are named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and each poomsae is associated with a specific trigram and set of principles. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development.

Taegeuk O Jang is the fifth of the taegeuk poomsae and is associated with the trigram. (Won), which represents the principle of wind. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances, typically performed by lower belt students. The movements of Taegeuk O Jang are intended to represent the creation of the universe and the balance of yin and yang.

Taegeuk Yuk Jang

Taegeuk Yuk Jang is the sixth of the eight patterns or forms in the traditional taekwondo poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) curriculum. The taegeuk poomsae are named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and each poomsae is associated with a specific trigram and set of principles. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development.

Taegeuk Yuk Jang is the sixth of the taegeuk poomsae and is associated with the trigram. (Jin), which represents the principle of water. The poomsae consists of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances, typically performed by lower belt students. The movements of Taegeuk Yuk Jang are intended to represent the creation of the universe and the balance of yin and yang.

Taegeuk Chil Jang

Taegeuk Chil Jang is the seventh of the eight patterns or forms in the traditional taekwondo poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. The taegeuk poomsae are named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and each poomsae is associated with a specific trigram and set of principles.

Taegeuk Chil Jang is the seventh of the taegeuk poomsae and is associated with the trigram. (Gye), which represents the principle of the mountain. The poomsae consists of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances, typically performed by lower belt students. The movements of Taegeuk Chil Jang are intended to describe the creation of the universe and the balance of yin and yang.

Taegeuk Pal Jang

Taegeuk Pal Jang is the eighth and final of the patterns or forms in the traditional taekwondo poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) curriculum. The taegeuk poomsae are named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching, and each poomsae is associated with a specific trigram and set of principles. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development.

Taegeuk Pal Jang is the eighth and final of the taegeuk poomsae and is associated with the trigram. (Chil), which represents the principle of earth. The poomsae consists of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances, typically performed by lower belt students. The movements of Taegeuk Pal Jang are intended to describe the creation of the universe and the balance of yin and yang.

The meaning of Black Belt Poomsae

Koryo

Koryo is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. Koryo is the first black belt poomsae named after the Korean Goryeo Dynasty, which ruled from the 10th to the 14th centuries. The movements in the Koryo poomsae are based on the fluid and dynamic techniques of the Goryeo period martial artists. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank.

World Taekwondo, formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is the international federation for Taekwondo and is responsible for organizing and promoting the sport of Taekwondo around the world. World Taekwondo sets the rules and regulations for competitions and sponsors international tournaments, including the World Taekwondo Championships and the Olympic Games. The Koryo poomsae is recognized and practised by World Taekwondo and several other poomsae that are part of the traditional taekwondo curriculum.

Keumgang

Keumgang is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. Keumgang is the second black belt poomsae named after Korea’s diamond mountain (Keumgang). The movements in the Keumgang poomsae are based on the hardness and clarity of the diamond and are intended to represent the indomitable spirit of the martial artist. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank.

World Taekwondo, formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is the international federation for Taekwondo and is responsible for organizing and promoting the sport of Taekwondo around the world. World Taekwondo sets the rules and regulations for competitions and sponsors international tournaments, including the World Taekwondo Championships and the Olympic Games. The Keumgang poomsae is recognized and practised by World Taekwondo and several other poomsae that are part of the traditional taekwondo curriculum.

Taebaek

Taebaek is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. Taebaek is the third black belt poomsae named after the Taebaek mountain range in Korea. The movements in the Taebaek poomsae are based on the strength and stability of the mountains and are intended to represent the power and solidity of the martial artist. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank.

Pyongwon

Pyongwon is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. Pyongwon is the fourth black belt poomsae and is named after Korea’s “plain of peace” (Pyongwon). The movements in the Pyongwon poomsae are based on the vastness and openness of the plain and are intended to represent the martial artist’s readiness for any challenge. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank.

World Taekwondo, formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is the international federation for Taekwondo and is responsible for organizing and promoting the sport of Taekwondo around the world. World Taekwondo sets the rules and regulations for competitions and sponsors international tournaments, including the World Taekwondo Championships and the Olympic Games. The Pyongwon poomsae is recognized and practised by World Taekwondo and several other poomsae that are part of traditional Taekwondo.

Sipjin

Sipjin is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. Sipjin is the fifth of the black belt poomsae and is named after the “ten stars” (Sipjin) in the Korean constellation. The movements in the Sipjin poomsae are based on the ten celestial stems and twelve earthly branches of the East Asian zodiac. They represent the martial artist’s enduring spirit and timeless wisdom. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank.

World Taekwondo, formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is the international federation for Taekwondo and is responsible for organizing and promoting the sport of Taekwondo around the world. World Taekwondo sets the rules and regulations for competitions and sponsors international tournaments, including the World Taekwondo Championships and the Olympic Games. The Sipjin poomsae is recognized and practised by World Taekwondo, along.

Jitae

Jitae is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank. Jitae is the sixth of the black belt poomsae and is named after the “seven stars” (Jitae) in the Korean constellation. The movements in the Jitae poomsae are based on the seven celestial stems and eight earthly branches of the East Asian zodiac. They are intended to represent the martial artist’s nobility and honour.

World Taekwondo, formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is the international federation for Taekwondo and is responsible for organizing and promoting the sport of Taekwondo around the world. World Taekwondo sets the rules and regulations for competitions and sponsors international tournaments, including the World Taekwondo Championships and the Olympic Games. The Jitae poomsae is recognized and practised by World Taekwondo and several other poomsae that are part of the traditional taekwondo curriculum.

Chonkwon

Chonkwon is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank. Chonkwon is the seventh black belt poomsae named after Korea’s “heavenly lake” (Chonkwon). The movements in the Chonkwon poomsae are based on the fluid and graceful movements of water and are intended to represent the martial artist’s fluidity and adaptability.

World Taekwondo, formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is the international federation for Taekwondo and is responsible for organizing and promoting the sport of Taekwondo around the world. World Taekwondo sets the rules and regulations for competitions and sponsors international tournaments, including the World Taekwondo Championships and the Olympic Games. The Chonkwon poomsae is recognized and practised by World Taekwondo, along with several other poomsae that are part of the traditional taekwondo curriculum.

Hansu

Hansu is the eighth black belt poomsae named after the “water” (Hansu) in the Korean language. Hansu is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank. The movements in the Hansu poomsae are based on water’s fluid and flexible nature and represent the martial artist’s adaptability and versatility.

World Taekwondo, formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is the international federation for Taekwondo and is responsible for organizing and promoting the sport of Taekwondo around the world. World Taekwondo sets the rules and regulations for competitions and sponsors international tournaments, including the World Taekwondo Championships and the Olympic Games. The Hansu poomsae is recognized and practised by World Taekwondo and several other poomsae that are part of the traditional taekwondo curriculum.

Ilyeo

Ilyeo is the name of one of the poomsae (also spelt pumsae or poomse) in the traditional taekwondo curriculum. Poomsae are predetermined sequences of taekwondo techniques performed alone as a form of training and development. Ilyeo is the ninth black belt poomsae and is named after the “one” (Ilyeo) in the Korean language. The movements in the Ilyeo poomsae are based on the unity and wholeness of the martial artist and are intended to represent the martial artist’s indivisibility and completeness. The poomsae consists of a series of kicks, punches, blocks, and stances and is typically performed by students who have achieved a black belt rank.

World Taekwondo, formerly known as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is the international federation for Taekwondo and is responsible for organizing and promoting the sport of Taekwondo around the world. World Taekwondo sets the rules and regulations for competitions and sponsors international tournaments, including the World Taekwondo Championships and the Olympic Games. The Ilyeo poomsae is recognized and practised by World Taekwondo and several other poomsae that are part of the traditional taekwondo curriculum.

Benefits of Taekwondo

History of Taekwondo

Basics - Self-Defence

Basics - One Step Sparring

Taekwondo Basics for Kids

Taegeuk Poomsae

Palgwe Poomsae

WT Black Belt Poomsae

WT Poomsae - Grand Master Kyu Hyung Lee

New Kukkiwon Poomsae

New Poomsae

WTF Documentary

Free Resources 1
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