Forms & Belt Colors
Until the perfection of the present day advanced form of sparring, a series of sequence of movements & maneuvers had been established so that the student could practice the various techniques of attack & defense without the need of an actual opponent. This pattern is a sequence of movement of attack & defense in a logical order. Imaginary opponents are dealt with in sequence logically & systematically simulating a variety of situations. Practicing a pattern enables the student to go through the fundamental exercise, develop sparring techniques, improve the flexibility of movements, familiarize with the body shifting, build up the muscles properly, control the breathing & acquire certain special techniques which cannot be obtained from the fundamental exercise alone.
Most of these patterns have been created & developed by the famous tae kwon do masters in the course of many centuries; they are great in number & each has its own characteristics. They are classified into 3 main groups: the Sorim School, the Soryoung School & the Chang-Hon School. The Chang-Hon or “Blue Cottage” is the author’s pseudonym. The hallmark of this school is the combination of fast & slow, light & forceful movements together with extensive footwork. The name, the number of the movements as well as the diagrammatic representation of each pattern have a specific significance, which symbolizes its namesake or relevance to some historical event.
Each member of the HMAA must acquire technical proficiency & understanding of the forms below. Each hyung is a stylized sequence of movements, combining defensive & attacking techniques. There is at least one form for each belt color, white through first grade red. Grand Master Ahn created the forms Hae-San I & Hae-San II in honor of the creation of the Hae San Martial Arts Association on June 29th, 1985. General Choi Hong Hi created the other forms making them the foundation of the International Tae Kwon Do Federation.
The following points must be borne in mind in performing the hyungs:
- Performance of each pattern must be ended at the starting point.
- Correct posture & facing must be maintained at all times.
- The muscles of the body should be either tensed or relaxed at the proper
critical moments in the course of the exercise.
- The exercise should be performed with a graceful & rhythmic movement
to reduce unnecessary waste of energy & there should be no stiffness.
- Movements must accelerate or decelerate according to that stipulated
by the particular pattern.
- Practice should be made perfect in one pattern before attempting another.
HAE-SAN I meaning sea-mountain is the first form for children and has 13 movements symbolizing the traditional oriental age ending childhood. It is the form for children 13 & younger white belts.
HAE-SAN II meaning sea-mountain, is the initial form for adults. It contains 19 movements, the traditional oriental age of the beginning of adulthood. It is the form for adults 14 & older white belts.
CHON-Jil literally means “the Heaven the Earth”. It is, in the Orient, interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history, therefore, it is the initial pattern played by the beginner. This pattern consists of two similar parts; one represents the Heaven and the other the Earth. It is a supplementary form. It has 19 movements.
TAN-GUN is named after the holy Dan-Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year of 2333 B.C. It is the form for yellow belts. It has 21 movements.
TO-SAN was the pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Chang-Ho (1876-1938). The 24 movements represent his entire life, which he devoted to furthering the education of Korea and its independence movement. It is the form for green belts.
WON-HYO was the noted monk who introduced Buddhism to the Silla Dynasty in the year of 686 A.D. It is a supplementary form. It has 28 movements.
YUL-KOK was the pseudonym of a great philosopher and scholar Yi I (1536-1584) nicknamed the “Confucius of Korea”. The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on 38′ latitude and the diagram ( + ) represents “scholar”. It is the form for blue belts.
CHUNG-GUN was named after the patriot Ahn Chung-Gun who assassinated Hiro Bumi Ito, the first Japanese governor-general of Korea, known as the man who played the leading part in the Korea- Japan merger. There are 32 movements in this pattern to represent Mr. Ahn’s age when he was executed at Lui-Shung prison (1910). It is a supplementary form for red belts.
TOI-GYE was the pen name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang (16th century), an authority on neo- Confucianism. The 37 movements of the pattern refer to his birthplace on 37th latitude, the diagram ( + ) represents “scholar.” It is a supplementary form for red belts.
HWA-RANG was named after the Hwa-Rang youth group, which originated in the Silla Dynasty in 540 A.D. This group was the driving force that unified the three kingdoms of Korea (Koguryo, Paekche & Silla) in 668 A.D. It is the form for 2nd grade red belts. It has 31 movements.
CHUNG-MU was the name given to the great Admiral Yi Sun-Sin of the Yi Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armored battleship (Kobukson) in 1592, which is said to be the precursor of the present day submarine. The reason why this pattern ends with a left hand attack is to symbolize his regrettable death, having no chance to show his unrestrained potentiality checked by the forced reservation of his loyalty to the king. It is the form for 1st grade red belts & black belt recommended. It has 30 movements.
KWANG-GAE is named after the famous Kwang-Gae-Toh-Wang, the 19th King of the Koguryo Dynasty, who regained all the lost territories including the greater part of Manchuria. The diagram (+) represents the expansion and recovery of lost territory. The 39 movements refer to the first two figures of 391 A.D., the year he came to the throne & for the length of time he reined as king. It is the form for 1st Dan.
CHUL-GAE is a supplemental form for 1st Dan. The diagram of the form ( – ) is linear. It has 25 movements.
DANDO means knife. It is one of two supplemental forms for 1st Dan. It has 50 movements.
KAE-BAK is named after Kae-Bak, a great general in the Paekche Dynasty (660 A.D.). The diagram ( I ) represents his severe and strict military discipline. Knowing he would die in battle, Kae-Bak put his family to death, rather than have them captured and then enslaved or executed. It is the form for 2nd Dan. It has 44 movements.
PO-EUN is the pseudonym of a loyal subject Chong Mong-Chu (1400) who was a famous poet and whose poem “I would not serve a second master though I might be crucified a hundred times” is known to every Korean. He was also a pioneer in the field of physics. The diagram ( – ) represents his unerring loyalty to the king and country towards the end of the Koryo Dynasty. It is a supplemental form for 2nd Dan. It has 38 movements.
YOO-SIN is named after General Kim Yoo-Sin, a commanding general during the Silla Dynasty. The 68 movements refer to the last two figures of 668 A. D., the year Korea was united. The ready posture signifies a sword drawn on the right rather than left side, symbolizing Yoo-Sin’s mistake of following his king’s orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation. It is the form for 3rd Dan.
CHUNG-JANG is the pseudonym given to General Kim Duk Ryang who lived during the Lee Dynasty, 14th century. This pattern ends with a left- hand attack to symbolize the tragedy of his death at 27 in prison before he was able to reach full maturity. It is the form for 4th Dan. It has 52 movements.
SE-JONG is named after the greatest Korean king, Se-Jong, who invented the Korean alphabet in 1443, and was also a noted meteorologist. The diagram (Z) represents the king, while the 24 movements refer to the 24 letters of the Korean alphabet. It is the form for 5th Dan.
TONG-IL denotes the resolution of the unification of Korea, which has been divided since 1945. The diagram (I) symbolizes the homogenous race. It is the form for 6th Dan. It has 56 movements.
White Belt signifies innocence, as that of the beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Tae Kwon Do
Yellow Belt signifies earth, from which a plant sprouts and takes root, as Tae Kwon Do foundation is being laid.
Green Belt signifies the plant’s growth as the Tae Kwon Do skills begin to develop.
Blue Belt signifies the heaven toward which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Tae Kwon Do progresses.
Red Belt signifies danger, cautioning the student to exercise care and control and warns opponents to stay away.
Black Belt is opposite of white. Signifies maturity and proficiency in Tae Kwon Do. Also signifies the wearer’s imperviousness to darkness and fear. Black is also the mixture of all other colors.