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Patterns (Poomsae)

Taekwondo patterns (Poomsae in Korean) are a sequence of Taekwondo techniques linked together into a pattern of moves. Patterns are often used for basic training purposes in Taekwondo to refine techniques and movements and are designed to build and consolidate your skills.

Pattern 1 (Yellow Belt)

Taegeuk Il Jang

Meaning: Heaven
Philosophical Meaning: Representing the beginning (ex. Beginning of one’s Taekwondo journey). Spirit of a solid foundation (base).

Pattern 1 (Yellow Belt)

Taegeuk Il Jang

Meaning: Heaven
Philosophical Meaning: Representing the beginning (ex. Beginning of one’s Taekwondo journey). Spirit of a solid foundation (base).

Pattern 2 (Green Tag)

Taegeuk Ee Jang

Meaning: Lake/River and/or Joy

Philosophical Meaning: Signifies external gentleness and internal strength, therefore emphasizing serenity. Can also be viewed as a pattern of uplifting nature such as bubbles flowing to the surface of a lake.

Pattern 3 (Green Belt)

Taegeuk Sam Jang

Meaning: Fire and Sun

Philosophical Meaning: Representing passion and excitement. Therefore, the more effort you exert the more your enthusiasm burns, hence the symbolic meaning of fire or sun such as the saying suggests, to “burn bright as the sun”. This pattern also symbolizes that at this stage of your Taekwondo training you have developed internal and physical strength.

Pattern 4 (Blue Tag)

Taegeuk Sa Jang

Meaning: Thunder

Philosophical Meaning: Representing undeniable power and dignity. Emphasizing courage in the face of danger and fear. The symbolic meaning of thunder is that thunder represents the hardships, trials and tribulations in life that an individual must have the courage to face in order to grow as a human being. Hence, if one has the courage to face the thunder (thunderstorm), he/she will come out a stronger and better person once the thunderstorm passes.

Pattern 5 (Blue Belt)

Taegeuk Oh Jang

Meaning: Wind

Philosophical Meaning: “Symbolizes wind. It is sometimes gentle, sometimes forceful, yielding and penetrating, soothing and destructive, invisible, yet manifesting” – Doug Cook

Wind represents that Taekwondo practitioner can represent all the traits listed above. An example would be the trait of gentleness. A Taekwondo practitioner can be seen as gentle as a breeze.

Pattern 6 (Red Tag)

Taegeuk Yuk Jang

Meaning: Water

Philosophical Meaning: Water symbolizes a constant flow. Where one is able to meet the difficulties of life, overcome them and then able to keep on moving forward. As Bruce Lee stated, “keep on flowing” and simply “walk on”, both quotes figuratively meaning to keep on moving forward in life.

Pattern 7 (Red Belt)

Taegeuk Chil Jang

Meaning: Mountain

Philosophical Meaning: Although there are many meanings for the mountain analogy related to this pattern, the most notable analogy is the difficulties that one faces when climbing to the top of a mountain just as one faces obstacles and challenges when trying to achieve their goals; things may get difficult but you must have the ability to persevere (one of the tenets of Taekwondo) to achieve your goals in life.

Pattern 8 (Black Tag)

Taegeuk Pal Jang

Meaning: Earth

Philosophical Meaning: Earth in this pattern represents that “Earth is the foundation of growth for all life and the place to which all life returns” or in other words, the ending of one journey and the beginning of another. Therefore, this ending (last pattern of the colour belt stage) can represent the beginning of a new stage (the black belt stage). Thus, just as earth, this pattern can be viewed as the “foundation” in which you begin the transition into black belt stage where you will continue to grow and improve. This means you are carrying and bringing your basic techniques which you have learned up until this stage of training into your black belt journey, hence why the black belt stage is often seen “as just the beginning”. Thus, this pattern represents where all basic techniques (from white belt to black stripe) come together and “return” to the beholder before embarking on your black belt journey just as earth is the place where all life physically returns once it is deceased and (re)joins nature in its ever-evolving process.

Pattern 9 (1st Dan)


Is the name of an ancient dynasty (AD 918-1392) in Korea from which the English word "Korea" originated. Koryo poomsae symbolizes "seonbae" which means a learned man who is characterized by a strong martial spirit as well as a righteous learned man's spirit.

Pattern 10 (2nd Dan)


Means "diamond" signifying "hardness" and "ponderousness." The mountain Keumgang on the Korean Peninsula is regarded as the center of national spirit. "Keungang yoksa" (Keumgang warrior) named by Buddha represents the mightiest of warriors.

Pattern 11 (3rd Dan)


Is the name of a mountain with the meaning "bright mountain" where Tangun, the founder of the nation of Korean people, ruled the country. The bright mountain symbolizes sacredness of soul and Tangun's thought of "honik ingan" (humanitarian ideal).

Pattern 12 (4th Dan)


Pyongwon literally means plain, with the Poomsae performed on a single line and represents the great plain of fertile countryside from which all things grow and draw life, symbolising a peacefulness.

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