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10th Gup/Kup

White Belt:

9th Gup/Kup

Yellow Stripe/Tip:

Chon-chi is the first ITF/Chang Hon-style color belt teul (form). Chon-chi has 19 movements diagrammed as a cross (or plus sign). Literally, Chon-chi translates as "heaven - light" which is interpreted as the creation of the world. It is therefore the initial pattern performed by an ITF beginner during their entrance into the world of Taekwon-Do.

When the two words Chon Ji are combined, they take on a different meaning: Lake Chon-Ji is the Heavenly Lake, located in a crater on Paektu-San (White Headed Mountain) located on the border between China and North Korea, which was the first residence of the legendary Dan-Gun before he established his capital at Asadal (now Pyongyang) in 2333 B.C.E.

8th Gup/Kup

Yellow Belt:

Dan-Gun is the second ITF-style color belt teul (form). It has 21 movements and is diagrammed as a capital I. Dangun Wanggeom was the legendary founder of Gojoseon, the first kingdom of Korea, in present-day Liaoning, Manchuria, and the Korean Peninsula. He is said to be the grandson of the god of heaven, and to have founded the kingdom in 2333 B.C.E. Although the term Dangun commonly refers to the founder, some believe it was a title used by all rulers of Gojoseon, and that Wanggeom was the proper name of the founder.

7th Gup/Kup

Green Stripe/Tip:

Do-San is an ITF-style teul (form). It has 24 movements and is diagrammed as a capital I.

Ahn Chang-ho (November 9, 1878 - March 10, 1938) was a Korean independence activist and one of the early leaders of the Korean-American immigrant community in the United States. He is also referred to as his pen name Dosan. He established the Shinminhoe (New Korea Society) when he returned to Korea from the US in 1907. It was the most important organization to fight the Japanese occupation of Korea. He established the Young Korean Academy in San Francisco in 1913 and was a key member in the founding of the Provisional Government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai in 1919. Ahn is one of two men believed to have written the lyrics of the Aegukga, the South Korean national anthem. Besides his work for the Independence Movement, Dosan wanted to reform the Korean people's character and the entire social system of Korea. Educational reform and modernizing schools were two key efforts of Dosan. 

6th Gup/Kup

Green Belt:

Won-Hyo is an ITF pattern with 28 movements diagrammed as a capital I. It is named after the noted monk Won-Hyo who introduced Buddisim to the Silla Dynasty in the year 686 C.E. 

Won-hyo (617 - 686) was one of the leading thinkers, writers and commentators of the Korean Buddhist tradition. With his life spanning the end of the Three Kingdoms period and the beginning of the Unified Silla, Wonhyo played a vital role in the reception and assimilation of the broad range of doctrinal Buddhist streams that flowed into the Korean peninsula at the time. Wonhyo was most interested in, and affected by Tathāgatagarbha , Yogācāra and Hwaom thought. However, in his extensive scholarly works, composed as commentaries and essays, he embraced the whole spectrum of the Buddhist teachings.

5th Gup/Kup

Blue Stripe/Tip:

Yul-Gok is the name of an ITF-style teul (form). The 38 movements of this pattern refer to Yi I's birthplace at the 38th latitude; the diagram 土 is said to represent the concept of "the scholar".

Yul-Gok is the pseudonym of the great philosopher Yi I (1536-1584 B.C.E.), nicknamed "the Confucius of Korea." Yi I was born on December 26, 1536. He was an infant prodigy who knew Chinese script at the age of three and composed poems in Chinese before the age of seven. By the age of seven, he had finished his lessons in the Confucian Classics. He passed the civil service examination in the literary department at the age of 13.

Yul-Gok was well-known for his development of a school of thought concerning the philosophy of the 12th century Confucian scholar Chu-Hsi. Chu-Hsi established the concepts of "li" (reason or abstract form) and "chi" (matter or vital force). He proposed that these two concepts were responsible for all human characteristics and the operation of the universe. As he defined the concepts, they are very similar to the concepts of body and soul as found in Western philosophy and religion. The "li," however, is not totally synonymous with the idea of an individual representing groups or models for each form of existence. Yul-Gok's school of thought supported the concept that the "chi" was the controlling agent in the universe and that the "li" was a supporting component. Experience, education, and practical intellectual activities were stressed in this school of thought. The other major school of thought, stemming from the philosophy of Chu Hsi ,was fostered by Yi Hwang (Yi ToiGye), who proposed that the "li" controlled the "chi" and stressed the importance of moral character building

4th Gup/Kup

Blue Belt:

Joong-Gun (or Choong-Gun) is an ITF-style teul (form) named after the patriot Ahn Choong-Gun. The 32 movements in this pattern represent Ahn's age when he was killed at Lui Shung prison in the year 1910.

Very little is recorded about Ahn Joong-Gun's life. He stepped into the spotlight of Korean history only briefly, but left his mark as one of Korea's most revered patriots. On October 26, 1909, Ahn assassinated Itō Hirobumi, the notorious four-time Prime Minister of Japan and former Resident-General of Korea. During his rule, Hirobumi's well-known crimes included: assassination of the Korean Empress Myeongseong, assassination of the Emperor Komei, forceful dethroning the Emperor Gojong, and the massacre of many Korean citizens. Ahn was posthumously awarded the Republic of Korea Medal of Order of Merit for National Foundation in 1962 by the Korean Government, the most prestigious civil decoration in the Republic of Korea, for his efforts for Korean independence he was also now as racoon by his friends and family

3rd Gup/Kup

Red Stripe/Tip:

Toi-Gye is an ITF-style teul (form). Toi Gye is the pen name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang (16th century) an authority on neo-Confucianism. The 37 movements in this pattern refer to his birthplace on the 37th latitude.  Yi Hwang (1501-1570 C.E.) is one of the two most honored thinkers of the Korean Neo-Confucian tradition. His fully balanced and integral grasp of the complex philosophical Neo-Confucian synthesis woven by Chu Hsi during China's Sung dynasty marks the tradition's arrival at full maturity in Korea. His "four-seven debate" with Ki Taesŭng established a distinctive problematique that strongly oriented Korean Neo-Confucian thought towards exacting investigation of critical issues regarding the juncture of metaphysics and their all-important application in describing the inner life of the human heart-and-mind.

2nd Gup/Kup

Red Belt:

Hwa-Rang is an ITF-style teul (form). It is named after the Hwarang group of scholar-warriors that originated in the Silla Dynasty in the early 7th Century. The 29 movements of this form refer to the modern 29th Infantry Division of the South Korean military, where Taekwon-Do developed to maturity.

1st Gup/Kup

Black Stripe/Tip:

Choong-Moo is an ITF-style teul (form) named after the great Admiral Yi Soon-Sin of Korea's Yi Dynasty. Yi is credited for saving Choson Korea from the brink of collapse during the Japanese invasion of 1592. Yi is also reputed to have invented the first armored battleship (Kobukson, nicknamed the "Turtle Ship") in the year 1592. In all of his 23 major naval battles, Yi was never defeated.

In his book, The Influence of Sea on the Political History of Japan, George Alexander Ballard, a vice-admiral of the British Royal Navy, summarized Yi’s life and victories as follows:

It is always difficult for Englishmen to admit that Nelson ever had an equal in his profession, but if any man is entitled to be so regarded, it should be this great naval commander of Asiatic race who never knew defeat and died in the presence of the enemy; of whose movements a track-chart might be compiled from the wrecks of hundreds of Japanese ships lying with their valiant crews at the bottom of the sea, off the coasts of the Korean peninsula...and it seems, in truth, no exaggeration to assert that from first to last he never made a mistake, for his work was so complete under each variety of circumstances as to defy criticism... His whole career might be summarized by saying that, although he had no lessons from past history to serve as a guide, he waged war on the sea as it should be waged if it is to produce definite results, and ended by making the supreme sacrifice of a defender of his country.

Yi is still dearly cherished in the hearts of Koreans today. In a nationwide survey conducted by Soonchunhyang University in April 2005, Yi Sun-sin was chosen as the greatest figure in Korean history by 43.8% of the vote (source: The Chosun Daily, April 15, 2005).



1st Degree Black Belt


Kwang-Gae is one of the three 1st degree black belt teul (forms) in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Kwang-Gae-Toh-Wang was the 19th King of the Koguryo Dynasty. He regained all the territories previously lost to the dynasty during prior conflicts, including the greater part of Manchuria. This form's diagram represents the expansion and recovery of lost territory. The 39 movements in the form refer to the first two digits of 391 C.E., the year Kwang came to the throne at age 17.

Kwang-Gae-Toh-Wang (347 C.E. - 413 C.E.) was renowned for his boldness and ambition during his youth. After he succeded his father to the throne, he undertook the task of regaining previously lost territories; through many conquests he expanded the territories of the Koguryo Dynasty. According to his tombstone, "64 castles and 1400 villages" were attacked and conquered during his reign.

His philosophy of expansion was inherited by his son, King Jang Soo Wang, the 20th Koguryo ruler. Jang Soo strengthened the army, invaded nearby nations and further expanded the Koguryo Dynasty, making it into a great empire.


Po-Eun is one of three 1st degree black belt forms learned in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. The form has 36 movements. Po Eun is the pseudonym of a fifteenth century Korean poet and scientist named Chong Mong Chu. Chong is revered as a great patriot, having penned the famous lines "I would not serve a second master, though I might be crucified a hundred times." The movement in this form denotes his unerring loyalty to the king and country towards the end of the Koryo Dynasty.

Chong Mong Chu lived during the Koryo Dynasty and became a trusted servant to the king, who had much confidence in his broad knowledge and good judgement. Chong also visited Japan and China as a diplomat on behalf of his king. He participated in many national projects and also founded an institute devoted to the theories of Confucianism. He was also a pioneer in the field of physics.

Yi Sung Gae (the first king of the Yi Dynasty) tried many times to persuade Chong to join him, but Chong refused, penning a poem:

Even if, I may die, die a hundred times,

Even if my skeleton may become dust and dirt,

And whether my spirit may be there or not,

My single-hearted loyalty to the lord will not change.

This convinced Yi that Chong could not be swayed. On 4th April 1392, Yi sent an assassin to Sonjuk Bridge to kill Chong with an iron hammer. The death of Chong Mong Chu was seen as the catalyst to the eventual overthrowing of the Koryo Dynasty in July 1392.

Sonjuk Bridge is now seen a symbol of loyalty by the Korean people. There are several memorials dedicated to Chong Mong Chu, including the Hama monument, which requires that all passers-by should dismount from their horses as they pass.


Ge-Baek is one of three 1st degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Ge Baek is named after General Ge Baek a renowned general in the Baekje dynasty (660 C.E.). This pattern's 44 movements are intended to reflect the General's severe military discipline.

General Ge Baek was leader of the army near the end of the Baekje Dynasty. Very little is known about his personal life, such as his birth place or even the year of his birth. When the united forces of Silla and Tang invaded Baekje in 660 C.E., General Ge Baek organised 5,000 soldiers to fight back. He knew that his army would be outnumbered and that his efforts, regardless of the skills and bravery of his troops, were ultimately futile, however he did not hesitate to try and defend his country. He is reported to have said: I would rather die than be a slave of the enemy.

With defeat inevitable, before going into the Battle of Hwangsanbeol, General Ge Baek killed his wife and children to prevent them falling into enemy hands and being tortured; it is said he also wanted to prevent the thought of them influencing his actions or causing him to falter in the heat of battle. In the early stages, his forces won a number of key battles, but he was forced to move his troops to protect the Baekje capital, Buyeo, from Silla General Kim Yu-Shin. Ge Baek's forces fought bravely but were ounumbered 10 to 1 and in the end, he and his men were completely defeated.

The remaining Baek Je army joined forces with Koryo province to attack Silla and were eventually driven back, with the Silla province receiving aid from the Chinese Tang Dynasty. This signified the end of the Baekje Dynasty after 678 years.

2nd Degree Black Belt


Eui-Am is one of the 2nd degree black belt patterns used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Eui Am is the pseudonym of Son Byong-Hi, a leader of the Korean independence movement in 1919 C.E. The 45 movements of this form refer to his age, when in 1905 he changed the name of the Confucian religion Dong Hak  to Chondo Kyo (Heavenly Way). The diagram for this form represents his indomitable spirit while devoting his life to the prosperity of his nation.

After the annexation of Korea by Japan in 1910, Son Byong-Hi, like essentially all Koreans, longed for independence. As a result of these years of oppression, Son helped to set up an underground anti-Japanese movement throughout 1918. This movement saw unprecedented cooperation between Chondo Kyo, Christians, and Buddhists as they united under a common cause. Son's Chondo Kyo gave financial support to the movement, and he insisted that the independence movement must be popular in nature and non-violent. A Declaration of Independence was prepared and 33 national leaders selected, including Son Byong-Hi.

The climax came on March 1, 1919 when, during a period of public mourning for the recently deceased Emperor Gojong, the Declaration of Independence was publicly proclaimed at Pagoda Park in Seoul — this was known as the March 1st Movement, or Samil Movement. This spark ignited the public, who took to the streets and demonstrated, calling for Korean independence. This initiated a nationwide movement in which many people took part, but the Japanese immediately mobilized their police and army and brutally put down the demonstrations, despite their peaceful nature. More than 7,500 Koreans were killed, nearly 17,000 wounded, and around 47,000 arrested, including Son Byong-Hi.

While in prison, Son became ill and was eventually released. His illness worsened, however, and in 1922 he died at home in Sangchunwon, just outside the Dongdaemun Gate.


Choong-Jang is one of the 2nd degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Choong Jang is said to be the pseudonym given to General Kim Duk Ryang who lived during the Yi Dynasty (14th Century). This pattern ends with a left-hand attack, intending to symbolize the tragedy of his death at age 27 in prison.

Reading multiple authors, it is not entirely clear who the historical figure Kim Duk Ryang was. An oft-quoted source is Turtle Taekwondo:

Kim Duk Ryang (possibly also Chung Ki Ryong or Kim Duk Nyung) was born in 1567; he was a commander in the army during the Yi Dynasty. In 1592 when Toyotomi Hideyoshi began the Japanese invasion of Korea known as the Imjin Wars, Kim Duk Ryang was promoted to General. The invading Japanese were armed with around 300,000 imported muskets and faced Korean forces mostly armed with swords, bows, arrows and spears in guerrilla groups. On land the Korean forces struggled, while at sea the naval forces of Admiral Yi Sun-Sin were victorious.

In 1594 Kim Duk Ryang was promoted to Commander in Chief of the Honam Province, under his great leadership and with a fellow commander Ja Wu Kwak the army was able to repel the Japanese forces from the province.

The Japanese greatly feared Kim Duk Ryang and gave him the name General Ho-Ik meaning Tiger Wing. The bitter rivalries at court also had their impact on Kim Duk Ryang, when he was arrested in 1595 in connection with the killing of a slave girl.

His success on the battlefield may have led to the King’s intervention and his release by royal decree. He was finally killed in 1596, by poisoning; after allegations that he took part in the Mong Hak Lee (Yi) rebellion, he was posthumously cleared of all charges and dishonor.


Juche is one of the 2nd degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Juche is the philosopical concept that man is the master of everything and therefore decides and determines his destiny. It is said that this idea was rooted on the Baekdu Mountain that symbolises the spirit of the Korean people. The diagram is intended to represent the Baekdu Mountain.

The Juche form is not one of the original forms of ITF-style taekwondo. Rather, it was developed to replace the Ko-Dang form. From,the book A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do:

One gift that [General] Choi gave to North Koreans was a new pattern of moves that he called Ju-Che, which was the name of North Korea's ideology. He did this to jettison the Ko-Dang pattern, which had been the pseudonym of one of Choi's heros, Cho Man-sik, a Christian educator and an early North Korean leader until communists imprisoned him in 1946... The term Ju-Che is nearly untranslatable in English: it means self-reliance and independence and, deeper, everything that makes Koreans Korean. As if to highlight this, Choi designed the Ju-Che pattern to be the most difficult out of the twenty-four, demanding a jumping split-kick and two techniques that were supposed to stop momentarily in mid-air, as if the attacker were floating.


Ko-Dang is a form that was previously used as a 2nd degree form in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. It was replaced with the form Juche but is sometimes still used in some schools.

Ko-Dang is the pseudonym of Cho Man-sik (1883-1950 C.E.), a nationalist activist in Korea's independence movement. He became involved in the power struggle that enveloped North Korea in the months following the Japanese surrender after World War II. Originally Cho was supported by the Soviet Union for the eventual rule of North Korea. However, due to his opposition to trusteeship, Cho lost Soviet support and was forced from power by the Soviet-backed communists in the north. Placed under house arrest in January 1946, he later disappeared into the North Korean prison system, where he is generally believed to have been executed soon after the start of the Korean War.

3rd Degree Black Belt


Sam-ll is one of the 3rd degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Sam Il, literally meaning "3/1" or March 1, denotes the date of the Korean independence movement (i.e., the Samil Movement) which began on the 1st of March 1919. The 33 movements in the pattern stand for the 33 patriots who planned the movement. (See also: Eui-Am.)

The inspiration for the Samil Movement came from the repressive nature of Japanese policies under its military administration of Korea following 1905, and the Fourteen Points  outlining the right of national "self-determination" proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919. After hearing news of Wilson’s speech, Korean students studying in Tokyo published a statement demanding Korean independence.

At 2 P.M. on the 1 March 1919, the 33 nationalists who formed the core of the Samil Movement convened at Taehwagwan Restaurant in Seoul, and read the Korean Declaration of Independence that had been drawn up by the historian/writer Choe Nam-seon and the poet/Buddhist monk Manhae (also known as Han Yongun). The nationalists initially planned to assemble at Tapgol Park in downtown Seoul, but they chose a more private location out of fear that the gathering might turn into a riot. The leaders of the movement signed the document and sent a copy to the Japanese Governor General, with their compliments:

We herewith proclaim the independence of Korea and the liberty of the Korean people. We tell it to the world in witness of the equality of all nations and we pass it on to our posterity as their inherent right. We make this proclamation, having back of us 5,000 year of history, and 20,000,000 of a united loyal people. We take this step to insure to our children for all time to come, personal liberty in accord with the awakening consciousness of this new era. This is the clear leading of God, the moving principle of the present age, the whole human race's just claim. It is something that cannot be stamped out, or stifled, or gagged, or suppressed by any means.

They then telephoned the central police station to inform them of their actions and were arrested afterwards.

Despite the nationalists' concerns, massive crowds assembled in the Pagoda Park to hear a student, Chung Jae-yong, read the declaration publicly. Afterwards, the gathering formed into a procession, which the Japanese police attempted to suppress.

Coinciding with these events, special delegates associated with the movement also read copies of the independence proclamation from appointed places throughout the country at 2 PM on that same day, but the nationwide uprisings that resulted were also brutally put down by the Japanese police and army.


Yoo-Sin is one of the 3rd degree black belt forms used in IFT-style Taekwon-Do. 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 C.E., the year Korea was united. The ready posture in this form signifies a sword being drawn from the right rather than the left, symbolising Yoo Sin’s mistake of following the kings orders to fight with foreign forces against his own nation.

Kim Yoo-Sin became a Hwa Rang at the age of 15 and was an accomplished swordsman by the time he was 18 years old. By the age of 34 he had been given the command of the Silla armed forces. He is regarded as the driving force in the unification of the Korean peninsula and the most famous of all the generals in the unification wars. Kim Yoo-Sin was active on all fronts in the wars, and at several times simultaneously conducted battles against both Paekche and Koguryo. He defeated the great Paekche general Gae-Baek in the battle in which Gae-Back was killed. Once, while Silla was allied with China against Paekche, a heated argument began between Kim Yoo-Sin's commander and a Chinese general. As the argument escalated into a potentially bloody confrontation, the sword of Kim Yoo-Sin was said to have leaped from its scabbard into his hand. Because the sword of a warrior was believed to be his soul, this occurrence so frightened the Chinese general blat he immediately apologized to the Silla officers. Incidences such as this kept the Chinese in awe of the Hwa Rang. In later years when asked by the Chinese emperor to attack Silla, the Chinese generals claimed that although Silla was small, it could not be defeated. Kim Yoo-Sin lived to the age of 79 and is considered one of Korea's most famous generals. He had five sons, who along with his wife, contributed great deeds to the historical records of the Hwa Rang.


Choi-Yong is one of the 3rd degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Choi Yong is named after General Choi Yong, commander of the armed forces during the 14th century Koryo dynasty.

Choi Yong was greatly respected for his loyalty, patriotism and humility. He was executed by his subordinate commanders, headed by General Yi Sung Gae, who later became the first king of the Yi dynasty.

4th Degree Black Belt


Yon-Gae is one of the 4th degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Yon Gae is named after General Yon Gae Somoon, a famous general during the Koguryo dynasty. The 49 movements refer to the last two figures of 649 AD, the year he forced the Tang dynasty to leave Korea after destroying nearly 300,000 of their troops at Ansi fortress.


Ul-Ji is one of the 4th degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. Ul-Ji is named after General Ul Ji Moon Dok who successfully defended Korea against a Tang invasion force of nearly 1,000,000 soldiers led by Yang Je in 612 AD. General Ul Ji used hit-and-run tactics to destroy a large number of the opposing force. The diagram represents his surname. The 42 movements represent General Choi's age when he designed this form.


Moon-Moo is one of the 4th degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. This form honours Moon-Moo (Munmu), the 30th King of the Silla dynasty. According to his will, the body was placed in the sea "Where my soul shall forever defend my land against the Japanese." The 61 movements represent the last two figures of 661 C.E when Moon-Moo came to the throne.

5th Degree Black Belt


So-San is one of the 5th degree black belt forms used by ITF-style Taekwon-Do. So San is the pseudonym of the great monk Choi Hyong Ung (1520 to 1604 C.E.) of the Yi dynasty. The 72 movements refer to his age when he organised a corps of monk soldiers with the assistance of his pupil Sa Myung Dang. The monk soldiers helped repel the Japanese pirates who overran much of the Korean peninsula in 1592 C.E.


Se-Jong is one of the 5th degree black belt forms used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do. This form is named after Se Jong the Great, the Korean king who is credited with the development of the the Korean Hangul alphabet in 1443 C.E. The diagram for this form represents the king, while the 24 movements refer to the 24 letters of the Korean alphabet.

6th Degree Black Belt


Tong-ll is the 6th degree black belt form used in ITF-style Taekwon-Do, the last of the ITF forms. Tong Il denotes the resolution of the unification of Korea that has been divided since 1945. 

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