Midwest Academy
of Tae Kwon Do

The Purpose of Patterns

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 and defense against actual moving opponents.

Individual advancement was certainly hindered until an imaginative practitioner created the first patterns. Patterns are various fundamental movements, most of which represent either attack or defense techniques, set to a fixed or 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 series, to develop sparring techniques, improve flexibility of movements, master body shifting, build muscles and breath control, develop fluid and smooth motions, and gain rhythmical movements. It also enables a student to acquire certain special techniques, which cannot be obtained from either fundamental exercises, or sparring. In short, a pattern can be compared with a unit tactic.

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:

  • Pattern should begin and end at exactly the same spot. This will indicate the performer's accuracy.
  • Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times.
  • Muscles of the body should be either tensed or relaxed at the proper critical moments in the exercise.
  • The exercise should be performed in a rhythmic movement with an absence of stiffness.
  • Movement should be accelerated or decelerated according to the instructions given.
  • Each pattern must be perfected before moving to the next.
  • Students should know the purpose of each movement.
  • Students should perform each movement with realism.
  • Attack and defense techniques should be equally distributed among right and left hands and feet.
  • There are 24 patterns in our system of TaeKwon-Do

The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, all your life. TaeKwon-Do should become an integral part of your life.

The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the pattern diagram symbolizes either heroic figures in Korean history or instances relating to historical events. As you learn your patterns, you will be given the significance of that particular pattern.