Patterns are a series of various fundamental movements set into a fixed and logical sequence representing, attacking and defensive techniques against one or more imaginary opponents.
Patterns, or tul (틀) in Korean, originally called hyeong (형), form an important aspect of training in taekwon-do. They are equivalent to the kata in karate. The majority of the patterns (excepting Ul-Ji and Tong-Il) start with a defensive move, which emphasizes TaeKwon-do's defensive nature. All of the patterns start and end at the same location. This ensures that the practitioners' stances are the correct length, width, and in the proper direction.
There are 24 patterns in the official ITF syllabus; this is symbolic of the 24 hours in a day. The names of these patterns typically refer either to events in Korean history or to important people in Korean history. Elements of the patterns may also be historical references, such as the number of moves, the diagram, and the way the pattern ends, and so on.
The following points should be considered while performing patterns:
1. Pattern 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. Movement 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 listed are performed under the assumption the student is facing "D" (see pattern diagrams). There are a total of twenty-four patterns in TaeKwon-Do. The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the diagrammatic symbol of each pattern symbolize either heroic figures in Korean history or instances relating to historical events. The interpretation of each pattern will be found on its specific page.
**The observant student will have noticed that, despite there being 24 patterns, there are actually 25 listed above. The reason for this is the small yet controversial matter of Ko-Dang vs Juche.
Juche was introduced in 1983, as a replacement for Ko-Dang. General Choi developed the pattern to reflect some of the new techniques that had been perfected in more recent years; while it contains many of the same movements as Ko-Dang it also includes the slow motion kicks, two direction kick, dodging kicks and flying hand attacks. It is also said to challenge the 2nd degree more, as Kodang was considered to be comparatively easy.