The Taegeuk poomsae are formed in a way that enables the profound philosophy of Taegeuk to be an essential part of the techniques performed. Each Kwae is being reflected within each poomsae, which elucidates the Tae Kwon Do spirit as well as the profundity of its techniques.
The group of these eight poomsae is being taught and examined sequentially, from the yellow to black belt trainees.
Taegeuk Il Jang
Symbol : Keon,Heaven.
Keon symbolises the begging of creation of the universe and all that is surrounded by it. Therefore, Taegeuk Il Jang is the starting point of Tae Kwon Do training. It is simple and easy to learn, as it consists of basic walking and action techniques.
Taegeuk Ee Jang
Symbol: Tae, Inner firmness and outer softness .
Tae represents spiritual power and body flexibility. The techniques practiced for this poomsae must reflect calm motion and strong spiritual force at the same time.
Taeguk Sam Jang
Symbol : Ra,Fire.
Ra, symbolises heat and light. It encourages the trainee to develop a sense of righteous judgment and eagerness to learn. The new techniques introduced, emphasize on rapid counter-attacks.
Taeguk Sa Jang
Symbol : Jin, Thunder.
Jin symbolizes unimpeachable power and dignity. Just as thunder stimulates feelings like fear and wonder, so does the trainee learn to appear calm but fearless and mighty in the face of danger. Taegeuk Sa Jang consists of techniques that qualify the trainee for the Kyorugi.
Taeguk Oh Jang
Symbol : Son, Wind.
Son symbolizes calmness and tension, the pleasant feeling of a breeze as well as the destructive force of a hurricane. Taegeuk Oh Jang teaches the trainee how to combine and alternate calmness with speed and tension.
Taeguk Yuk JangSymbol : Son, Wind.
Kam symbolizes endless streaming and great force. Water is a dominant and adaptable element, teaching the trainee that he / she can overcome all difficulties, – on the terrain and in life – without having to give up on the virtues that make him/her human.
Taeguk Chil JangSymbol: Kam, Water.
Kan symbolizes maturity and stability exactly as a mountain dominates its surrounding environment and remains silent and still. Firm and well balanced actions that follow one another in perfect harmony, lend the trainee the maturity that should also feature his / her life.
Taeguk Pal JangSymbol : Kan, Mountain.
Kon symbolizes the origins and habitation along with the beginning and the end. Taegeuk Pal Jang is the last of the eight Taegeuk poomsae and it qualifies the trainee for the 1st Dan degree. Accuracy in stances and strong, clear jump kicks ought to be emphasized.
Black Belt Poomsae Symbolism AKA DAN Grading
The nine following poomsae are being taught and examined sequentially, for the 1st to the 9th Dan degree.
Koryo is the name of the dynasty that ruled the Korean peninsula from 918 to 1392AD. This poomsae symbolizes the Seonbae, warriors of that time and it was a title earned by those who were characterized by a strong martial spirit as well as a righteous learned man’s spirit. The line of the Koryo pomsae is the Chinese ideogram for the word Seonbae.
The definition of the word ‘Keumgang’ (diamond) is ‘he, who is too strong to be broken’. According to Buddhism, anything that can repulse the agony of the spirit through wisdom and virtue, is called Keumgang. Keumgang is also the name of a mountain on the Korean peninsula which is regarded as the symbol of stability and the center of the national spirit. This poomsae must be performed through strong, solid and well balanced movements, as suitable for a black belt bearer.
Taebaek is the ancient name of the mountain Paekdu, on the Korean Peninsula where the legendary leader Tangun established the first nation. According to the legend, Tangun was the grandson of the Heavenly Lord and after he founded and led the Korean state, he retired and transformed into a mountain. The Taebaek poomsae represents the ‘Sacred, Legendary Founding Father of Korea’ and the grand majority of attack actions target the upper part of the body, symbolizing by this Tangun’s ascend on the mountain. The poomsae line follows the line of the Chinese ideogram that symbolizes the bridge between Heaven and Earth, a place that was created by the Holly will.
Pyongwon is the term used to describe an endless valley. A land blessed with abundance and grace, it is the source of life for every creature on earth and the illimitable horizon within which all creatures live and develop. The poomsae line is symbolic to the creation and the development of the valley.
The word Sipjin refers to 10 figures that represent longevity. The sun, the moon, the mountain, water, the pine tree, the herb of eternal youth, the turtle, the deer and the crane. A group of 2 heavenly bodies, 3 natural recourse, 2 plants and 3 animals, that offer the human race faith, hope and love. This poomsae also consists of 10 techniques. The line of the Sipjin poomsae is the Chinese ideogram that means 10.
The word Jitae and the Chinese ideogram that sets the poomsae line, refer to a man standing on the ground, looking at the sky. The standing man represents the struggle for survival, same way as a trainee jumps, kicks, counters and balances on the ground. The poomsae itself, symbolizes the various phases that someone has to go through, on an attempt to sustain his / her own life.
Chonkwon means ‘The Almighty Heaven’, the one that gave life to all creatures and rules the universe. On its majesty, creation, evolution and completion are reflected. According to the legends, 4000 years ago the heavenly lord, founder of the Korean race, settled in the heavenly town, next to the heavenly sea and the heavenly mountain, there where the heavenly race offered the spirit and the energy from which Tae Kwon Do was born. The Chonkwon poomsae is based on the greatness of these thoughts. The poomsae line shaped as a reversed ‘T’, symbolizes the descendent man, that subjected everything to the heavenly will, forever sealing human existence in its origins.
Hansu means water, the element on which creation and preservation of life depend. Hansu symbolises the birth and evolution of life, strength and weakness, magnanimity and harmony as well as adaptability. Among others, ‘Han’ stands for duration, infinity, abundance. The techniques consisting this poomsae must be smooth and soft like water, with no pauses in-between, so as to resemble the constant streaming of water that creates an ocean.
According to Buddhism, the climax of spiritual cultivation is called Ilyeo. In this kind of state, the mind (spirit) and the body (matter) unify into one. The fundamental essence of Tae Kwon Do lies right to this state of mind. Therefore, this poomsae represents the reconciliation of mind and body, which is the essence of martial art, after a long training of various types of techniques and spiritual cultivation for completion of Taekwondo practice. The poomsae line is the symbol of Buddhism, dedicated on the memory of Buddhist Saint Wonhyo, symbol of absolute unselfishness.
Concerning the Ilyeo poomsae line, the swastika, a few things should be pointed out, since this symbol has been directly connected to the nazi Germany in the public consciousness. This symbol is regarded as one of the most ancient symbols worldwide and it appears through most ancient civilizations. Artifacts, such as pottery and coins from ancient Troy show that the swastika was a commonly used symbol as far back as 1000 BCE. During the following thousand years, the image of the swastika was used by many cultures around the world, including China, Japan, India, and southern Europe. By the Middle Ages, the swastika was a well known, if not commonly used, symbol but was called by many different names; the greek name is ‘tetraskelion’ or ‘grammadion’, (grammadion still decorates the canonicals that priests wear, up to this day). The word “swastika” comes from the Sanskrit svastika – “su” meaning “good,” “asti” meaning “to be,” and “ka” as a suffix. The reasons that led the nazist party to adopt this symbol, are still not known, it is certain though that the swastika is far more ancient and its symbolism refers to energy and good luck.
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