What is Taekwondo
Translated literally, TaeKwonDo means Feet, Hand, Art (or way) or the Art of Hand and Foot fighting. TaeKwonDo was officially named and recognised as a martial art on 11th April 1955. Its founder Grand Master General Choi Hong Hi (9th November 1918 to 15 June 2002) combined his knowledge the ancient Korean martial art of Taek Kyon and of Shotokan karate, a martial art he had learned while studying in Japan and developed what is currently recognised as one of today's most dynamic martial art.
The philosophical values and the goals of TaeKwonDo are firmly rooted in the traditional moral culture of the Orient. On the technical side, defensive and offensive techniques are based on principles of physics, particularly Newton's Law, which explains how to generate maximum force by increasing speed and mass during the execution of a movement.
As a martial art it developed into maturity in the Korean Military so there is also a strong emphasis on discipline and respect which students are expected to adopt both in and out of the Dojang (training hall). This creates a work out which strengthens both the body and the mind.
What is a Pattern?
A pattern or Tul is a series of fundamental movements, most of which represent either attack or defence techniques against an imaginary opponent, set to a fixed and logical sequence.
Why Practice 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 defence against actual moving opponents. Individual advancement was certainly hindered until an imaginative practitioner created the first patterns.
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.
The Reason for 24 Patterns
The life of a human being, perhaps 100 years, can be considered as a day when compared with eternity. Therefore, we mortals are no more than simple travelers who pass by the eternal years of an aeon in a day. It is evident that no one can live more than a limited amount of time. Nevertheless, most people foolishly enslave themselves to materialism as if they could live for thousands of years. And some people strive to bequeath a good spiritual legacy for coming generations, in this way, gaining immortality. Obviously, the spirit is perpetual while material is not. Therefore, what we can do to leave behind something for the welfare of mankind is, perhaps, the most important thing in our lives.
The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, or all my life.