kup grade patterns (Poomse)

what is poomse?

Poomse or patterns are an important aspect of training, and are normally required to grade to the next belt. In general patterns:

  • Are composed of Taekwondo techniques relevant to the grade

  • Get progressively more difficult

  • Can be done in competitions

  • Are required for grading

  • Imagine you are dealing with multiple opponents

  • Include a range of kicks, blocks and strikes
  • Vary between clubs and organisations in the way they are taught and performed
  • Are important for learning more advanced techniques and how they can be applied to opponents

History of poomse

Patterns are systematic, pre-arranged sequences of techniques and there are many different versions of the patterns. This website focuses on Kukkiwon style Taekwondo, so will focus on the Taegeuk patterns for Kup Grades.

As a word, Taegeuk refers to the unity of opposites as in yin and yang. It is also the name of the red and blue circle in the middle of the South Korean flag. Kukkiwon style Taekwondo used to use the Palgwae set of patterns. However, the Taegeuk patterns were developed to better represent input from the schools of Taekwondo that joined the Korea Taekwondo Association in the late 1960's.

korean flag meaning

the taegeuk patterns

Patterns trigrams

Before 1971 Kukkiwon style Taekwondo had 8 coloured belt patterns called the Palgwae forms. Pal means 8 in Korean and Gwae means trigram so Palgwae refers to the eight trigrams that are associated with the I Ching Hexagrams. The I ching hexagrams were found in the Book of Changes, an ancient divination text based on 64 hexagrams.

To break this down, each I Ching hexagram is made up of two trigrams, and each trigram is made up of three solid or broken lines. A meaning is associated to each triagram and hexagram and there are eight trigrams, this is why the forms are called the Palgwae; the eight trigrams. Four of these trigrams also appear on the South Korean Flag and the eight trigrams are said to represent the eight fundamental principles of reality.

After 1971 the Pagwae forms were replaced with the current Taegeuk forms although they still hold the same principles and symbolism as the original Palgwae forms, they have been changed to prepare students for sparring in the sport style of Taekwondo. Some clubs may choose to teach the Palgwe forms as well as the Taegeuk forms.

help sheets

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taegeuk il jang

Represents: Heaven & Light

taegeuk ee jang

Represents: Joyfullness/River

taegeuk sam jang

Represents: Fire & Sun

taegeuk sa jang

Represents: Thunder

taegeuk oh jang

Represents: Wind

taegeuk yup jang

Represents: Water

taegeuk chil jang

Represents: Mountain

taegeuk pal jang

Represents: Earth