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 since the present system of free sparring had not yet been developed. The law of the Ancient Orient was similar to the Code of Hammurabi, “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” and was rigorously enforced even if death was caused accidentally. Individual advancement was certainly hindered until an imaginative practitioner created the first patterns.
A Taekwon-Do pattern is a choreographed sequence of fundamental movements in an imaginary fight against one attacker or several. Learning and practicing patterns enables the student to develop sparring techniques, improve flexibility of movements, master body shifting, build muscles, practice breath control, develop fluid and smooth motions, and gain rhythmical movements. It also aids in the learning of special techniques which cannot be obtained from either fundamental exercises or sparring.
General Choi developed twenty-four Taekwon-Do patterns. He chose the number 24 to correspond to the 24 hours in the day, a continuously repeated cycle that represents eternity. He named each pattern (except Chon-Ji) after important people in Korean history, as a reminder of the importance of honoring and cultivating respect for those who have accomplished great things. For certain patterns, the shape of the diagram and the total number of movements representing the pattern are also significant. You will learn the meanings and significance of each pattern as you progress through rank. (See testing requirements page for more information)