Student AreaThis section contains information for current students, such as interpretations of patterns and student promotions.
How do you know when you are ready to test? There is no one formula for determining when a person is ready to test for their next rank. Each student is considered an individual case and approached as such. Do not seek to compare what is done with you with what was done with another student.
The general requirements to test for next rank are:
- Minimum training time accumulated
- Proficiency for your level belt on all curriculum requirements.
- Consistent training over a period of months leading up to testing ( not just two weeks before a test)
- Attitude – putting consistent effort in class, showing proper respect and discipline.
- All patterns up to your rank.
- All one-steps up to your rank.
- Basic movements.
- Meaning of the pattern of the rank for which you are testing.
- Chief Instructor makes the final decision.
Taekwon-Do Aims to Achieve:
Courtesy (Ye Ui)
Integrity (Yom Chi)
Perseverance (In Nae)
Self-Control (Guk Gi)
Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgool)
EXPLANATION OF TENETS
Needless to say, the success or failure of Taekwon-Do training depends largely on how one observes and implements the tenets of Taekwon-Do which should serve as a guide for all serious students of the art.
COURTESY (Ye Ui)
It can be said that courtesy is an unwritten regulation prescribed by ancient teachers of philosophy as a means to enlighten human beings while maintaining a harmonious society. It can be further defined as an ultimate criterion required of a mortal.
Taekwon-Do students should attempt to practice the following elements of courtesy to build up their noble character and to conduct the training in an orderly manner as well.
1) To promote the spirit of mutual concessions
2) To be ashamed of one's vices, contempting those of others
3) To be polite to one another
4) To encourage the sense of justice and humanity
5) To distinguish instructor from student, senior from junior, and elder from younger
6) To behave oneself according to etiquette
7) To respect others' possessions
8) To handle matters with fairness and sincerity
9) To refrain from giving or accepting a gift when in doubt
INTEGRITY (Yom Chi)
In Taekwon-Do, the word integrity assumes a looser definition than the one usually presented in Webster's dictionary. One must be able to define right and wrong and have a conscience, if wrong, to feel guilt. Listed are some examples where integrity is lacking:
1) The instructor who misrepresents himself and his art by presenting improper techniques to his students because of a lack of knowledge or apathy.
2) The student who misrepresents himself by "fixing" breaking materials before demonstrations.
3) The instructor who camouflages bad technique with luxurious training halls and false flattery to his students.
4) The student who requests ranks from an instructor, or attempts to purchase it.
5) The student who gains rank for ego purposes or the feeling of power.
6) The instructor who teaches and promotes his art for materialistic gains.
7) The students whose actions do not live up to his words.
8) The student who feels ashamed to seek opinions from his juniors.
PERSEVERANCE (In Nae)
There is an old Oriental saying, "Patience leads to virtue or merit, One can make a peaceful home by being patient for 100 times." Certainly happiness and prosperity are most likely brought to the patient person. To achieve something, whether it is a higher degree or the perfection or a technique, one must set his goal, then constantly persevere. Robert Bruce learned his lesson of perseverance from the persistent efforts of a lowly spider. It was this perseverance and tenacity that finally enabled him to free Scotland in the fourteenth century. One of the most important secrets in becoming a leader of Taekwon-Do is to overcome every difficulty by perseverance.
Confucius said, "one who is impatient in trivial matters can seldom achieve success in matters of great importance."
SELF CONTROL (Guk Gi)
This tenet is extremely important inside and outside the dojang, whether conducting oneself in free sparring or in one's personal affairs. A loss of self-control in free sparring can prove disastrous to both student and opponent. An inability to live and work within one's capability or sphere is also a lack of self-control.
According to Lao-Tzu "the term of stronger is the person who wins over oneself rather than someone else."
INDOMITABLE SPIRIT (Baekjool Boolgool)
"Here lie 300, who did their duty," a simple epitaph for one of the greatest acts of courage known to mankind. Although facing the superior forces of Xerxes, Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at Thermoplylae showed the world the meaning of indomitable spirit. It is shown when a courageous person and his principles are pitted against overwhelming odds.
A serious student of Taekwon-Do will at all times be modest and honest. If confronted with injustice, he will deal with the belligerent without any fear or hesitation at all, with indomitable spirit, regardless of whosoever and however many the number may be.
Confucius declared," It is an act of cowardice to fail to speak out against injustice." As history has proven, those who have pursued their dreams earnestly and strenuously with indomitable spirit have never failed to achieve their goals.
I shall observe the tenets of Taekwon-Do.
I shall respect my instructors and seniors.
I shall never misuse Taekwon-Do.
I shall be a champion of freedom and justice.
I shall build a more peaceful world.
The ancient law in the Orient was similar to the law of Hamurabi, "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." and was rigorously enforced even if death was caused accidentally.
In this type of environment, and since the present system of free sparring had not yet been developed, it was impossible for a student of the martial arts to practice or test his individual skill of attack or defense against actual moving opponents.
Individual advancement was certainly hindered until an imaginative practitioner created the first pattern.
Patterns are various fundamental movements, most of which represent either attack or defense techniques, set to a fixed and logical sequence.
The student systematically deals with several imaginary opponents under various assumptions, using every available attacking and blocking tool from different directions. Thus pattern practice enables the student to go through many fundamental movements in a series, to develop sparring techniques improve flexibility of movement, master body shifting, build muscles and breath control, develop fluid and smooth motions, and gain rhythmical movements.
It is also enables a student to acquire a certain special technique which cannot be obtained from either fundamental exercises or sparring. In short, a pattern can be compared to unit tactics or a word, if fundamental movement is an individual soldier's training or alphabet. Accordingly, pattern, the ledger of every movement, is a series of sparring, power tests, feats and characteristic beauty.
Though sparring may merely indicate that an opponent is more or less advanced, patterns are a more critical barometer in evaluating an individual's technique.
The following points should be considered while performing patterns:
1. Patterns should begin and end at exactly the same spot. This will indicate the performer's accuracy.
2. Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times.
3. Muscles of the body should be either tensed or relaxed at the proper critical moments in the exercise.
4. The exercise should be performed in a rhythmic movement with an absence of stiffness.
5. Movements should be accelerated or decelerated according to the instructions in this book.
6. Each pattern should be perfected before moving to the next.
7. Students should know the purpose of each movement.
8. Students should perform each movement with realism.
9. Attack and defense techniques should be equally distributed among right and left hands and feet.
All patterns in this book are performed under the assumption the student is facing "D" (see diagrams). There are a total of twenty-four patterns in Taekwon-Do.
The reason for 24 patterns:
The life of a human being, perhaps 100 years, can be considered as a day when compared with eternity. Therefore, we mortals are no more than simple travelers who pass by the eternal years of an aeon in a day.
It is evident that no one can live more than a limited amount of time. Nevertheless, most people foolishly enslave themselves to materialism as if they could live for thousand of years. And some people strive to bequeath a good spiritual legacy for coming generations, in this way, gaining immortality.
Obviously, the spirit is perpetual while material is not. Therefore, what we can do to leave behind something for the welfare of mankind is, perhaps, the most important thing in our lives.
Here I leave Taekwon-Do for mankind as a trace of man of the late 20th century. The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, or all my life.
Click here for a printable version of The Interpretation of Patterns
The beginning student may ask; “Where does one obtain the power to create the devastating results attributed to Taekwon-Do?” This power is attributed to the utilization of a person’s full potential through the mathematical application of Taekwon-Do techniques. The average person
uses only 10 to 20 percent of his potential. Anyone, regardless of size, age, or sex who can condition himself to use 100 percent of his potential can also perform the same destructive techniques.
Though training will certainly result in a superb level of physical fitness, it will not necessarily result in the acquisition of extraordinary stamina or superhuman strength. More important, Taekwon-Do training will result in obtaining a high level of reaction force, concentration, equilibrium, breath control and speed; these are the factors that will result in a high degree of
REACTION FORCE (Bandong Ryok)
According to Newton’s Law, every force has an equal and opposite force. When an automobile crashes into a wall with the force of 2,000 pounds, the wall will return a force of 2,000 pounds; or forcing the end of the seesaw down with a ton of weight will provide an upward force of the same
weight; if your opponent is rushing towards you at a high speed, by the slightest blow at his head, the force with which you strike his head would be that of his own onslaught plus that of your blow.
The two forces combined; his, which is large, and yours, which is small is quite impressive. Another reaction force is your own. A punch with the right fist is aided by pulling back the left fist to the hip.
CONCENTRATION (Jip Joong)
By applying the impact force onto the smallest target area, it will concentrate the force and therefore, increase its effect. For example, the force of water coming out of a water hose is greater if the orifice is smaller. Conversely, the weight of a man spread out on snow shoes makes hardly any impression on the snow. The blows in Taekwon-Do are often concentrated onto the edge of the open palm or to the crook of the fingers.
It is very important that you should not unleash all your strength at the beginning but gradually, and particularly at the point of contact with your opponent’s body, the force must be so concentrated as to give a knock-out blow. That is to say, the shorter the time for the concentration, the greater will be the power of the blow. The utmost concentration is required in
order to mobilize every muscle of the body onto the smallest target area simultaneously.
In conclusion, concentration is done in two ways: one is to concentrate every muscle of the body, particularly the bigger muscles around the hip and abdomen (which theoretically are slower than the smaller muscles of other parts of the body) towards the appropriate tool to be used at
the proper time; the second way is to concentrate such mobilized muscles onto the opponent’s vital spot. This is the reason why the hip and abdomen are jerked slightly before the hands and feet in any action, whether it be attack or defense. Remember, jerking can be executed in two
ways: laterally and vertically.
EQUILIBRIUM (Kyun Hyung)
Balance is of utmost importance in any type of athletics. In Taekwon-Do, it deserves special consideration. By keeping the body always in equilibrium, that is, well balanced, a blow is more effective and deadly. Conversely, the unbalanced one is easily toppled. The stance should always be stable yet flexible, for both offensive and defensive movements.
Equilibrium is classified into both dynamic and static stability. They are so closely inter-related that the maximum force can only be produced when the static stability is maintained through dynamic stability.
To maintain good equilibrium, the center of gravity of the stance must fall on a straight line midway between both legs when the body weight is distributed equally on both legs, or in the center of the foot if it is necessary to concentrate the bulk of body weight on one foot. The center
of gravity can be adjusted according to body weight. Flexibility and knee spring are also important in maintaining balance for both a quick attack and instant recovery. One additional point; the heel of the rear foot should never be off the ground at the point of impact. This is not only necessary for good balance but also to produce maximum power at the point of impact.
BREATH CONTROL (Hohup Jojul)
Controlled breathing not only affects one’s stamina and speed but can also condition a body to receive a blow and augment the power of a blow directed against an opponent. Through practice, breath stopped in the state of exhaling at the critical moment when a blow is landed against a pressure point on the body can prevent a loss of consciousness and stifle pain. A sharp exhaling of breath at the moment of impact and stopping the breath during the execution of a movement tense the abdomen to concentrate maximum effort on the delivery of the motion, while a slow inhaling helps the preparation of the next movement. An important rule to
remember; Never inhale while focusing a block or blow against an opponent. Not only will this impede movement but it will also result in a loss of power.
Students should also practice disguised breathing to conceal any outward signs of fatigue. An experienced fighter will certainly press an attack when he realizes his opponent is on the point of exhaustion. One breath is required for one movement with the exception of a connecting motion.
Mathematically, the maximum kinetic energy or force is obtained from maximum body weight and speed and it is all important that the body weight be increased during the execution of a blow. No doubt the maximum body weight is applied with the motion of turning the hip. The large abdominal muscles are twisted to provide additional body momentum. Thus the hip rotates in the same direction as that of the attacking or blocking tool as in figure F. Another way of increasing body weight is the utilization of a springing action of the knee joint. This is achieved by slightly raising the hip at the beginning of the motion and lowering the hip at the moment of
impact to drop the body weight into the motion as in figure G.
Speed is the most essential factor of force or power. Scientifically, force equals mass multiplied by acceleration (F = MA) or (P = MV2).
According to the theory of kinetic energy, every object increases its weight as well as speed in a downward movement. This very principle is applied to this particular art of self-defense. For this reason, at the moment of impact, the position of the hand normally becomes lower than the shoulder and the foot lower than the hip while the body is in the air.
Reaction force, breath, control, equilibrium, concentration, and relaxation of the muscles cannot be ignored. However, these are the factors that contribute to the speed and all these factors, together with flexible and rhythmic movements, must be well coordinated to produce the maximum
power in Taekwon-Do.
In summarizing, it is necessary to point out that the principles of force outlined here hold just as true today in our modern scientific and nuclear age as they did centuries ago.
I am sure that when you go through this art, both in theory and in practice, you will find that the scientific basis of the motions and the real power which comes out a small human body cannot fail to impress you.
There are six belts: white, yellow, green, blue, red and black. White is given to beginners and black is given to students who have progressed through the grades and have a solid foundation for learning the techniques of Taekwon-Do.
The definition of the belts are as follows:
White Belt Signifies innocence, as that of the beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do.
Yellow Belt Signifies the earth from which a plant sprouts and takes root as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is being laid.
Green Belt Signifies the plant's growth as Taekwon-Do skills begin to develop.
Blue Belt Signifies the Heaven towards which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Taekwon-Do progresses.
Red Belt Signifies Danger, cautioning the student to exercise control and warning the opponent to stay away.
Black Belt Opposite of white, therefore signifying the maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do, also indicates the wearer's imperviousness to darkness and fear.
One of the greatest misconceptions within the martial arts is the notion that all black belt holders are experts. It is understandable that those unacquainted with the martial arts might make this equation.
However, student should certainly recognize that this is not always the case. Too often, novice black belt holders advertise themselves as experts and eventually even convince themselves.
The first degree black belt holder has usually learned enough techniques to defend himself against a single opponent. He can be compared to a fledgling who has acquired enough feathers to leave the nest and fend for himself. The first degree is a starting point. The student has merely built a
foundation. The job of building the house lies ahead.
The novice black belt holder will now really begin to learn technique. Now that he has mastered the alphabet, he can begin to read. Years of hard work and study await him before he can even begin to consider himself an instructor and expert. A perceptive student will, at this stage, suddenly realize how very little he knows.
The black belt holder also enters a new era of responsibility. Though a freshman, he has entered a strong honor able fraternity of the black belt holders of the entire world: and his actions inside and outside the training hall will be carefully scrutinized. His conduct will reflect on all black belt holders and he must constantly strive to set an example for all grade holders.
Some will certainly advance into the expert stages. However, far too many will believe the misconception and will remain no vice, mentally and technically.