This article consists of the Eight Tae Kwon Do Palgwe Forms that you must learn before the rank of 1st Degree Black Belt. Each form is illustrated in step-by-step movements, both front and back views.

Tae Kwon Do is a system derived from martial arts and self-defense forms that were present over 2,000 years ago in Korea. Tae Kwon Do Forms are a system of exercises and techniques designed to develop unparalleled abilities in unarmed combat. Each form uses various parts of the body as weapons. Translated, Tae means: to kick or break with the foot, Kwon means: to punch, strike, or block with the hand, and Do signifies the mind or way of working together in harmony. Tae Kwon Do is the art form in which kicking, blocking and punching is controlled by the mind.

Each form represents one of the eight principles of the Book of Changes. This book is the primary inspiration of oriental philosophical thought. The word Palgwe refers to the eight symbols that represent the conflicting elements as expressed in the Book of Changes. The word Pal means eight, and Gwe means characters or symbols. For example, Heaven and Earth, Man and Woman, Light and Darkness, Good and Evil, Being and Not Being, etc. These elements form the patterns of life by their combination and separation from one another. Therefore, the word Palgwe can be referred to as the world, the world of changes and cooperation in conflict and harmony, which create and. maintain balance in the universe.

Each form consists of various movements set down over the centuries that the student must learn and perform as an individual demonstration of accurate techniques. Tae Kwon Do Forms have been arranged in continuous logical movements of defensive and offensive techniques to help you practice the transitions of defending yourself against more than one attacker in multiple directions. In order to discover the mental and spiritual nature of Tae Kwon Do Forms, you must perform endless repetitions of each form; therefore, exact placement of the hands, feet and body position is necessary. Through the continuous practice of forms, you will polish the rough edges of your character and eventually understand that Tae Kwon Do is an Art, and not just a means of self-defense. Forms are beneficial in the development of balance, breathing, coordination, discipline, concentration and the ability to stay in harmony with the universe. The key factor in performing these forms is strength, power and control.






  • Poomsae Palgwe ll Jang represents the heavens, the symbol of Keon, which is the beginning of everything on earth. The sky gives us rain and the sun gives us light to make things grow.  In Tae Kwon Do, Poomsae Palgwe Il Jang is the beginning form from which you will grow.



  • Poomsae Palgwe Ee Jang represents the meaning of joyfulness, the symbol of Tae. When performing Poomsae Palgwe Ee Jang, you should express your new knowledge of Tae Kwon Do through your enthusiastic performance. Remember to keep your mind firm and strong, but appear gentle and kind.



  • Poomsae Palgwe Sahm Jang represents the meaning of fire, the symbol of Re. When used in a positive way, fire gives us light, warmth, enthusiasm and hope. When performing Poomsae Palgwe Sahm Jang, you should be enthusiastic passionate and hopeful.



  • Poomsae Palgwe Sah Jang represents thunder, the symbol of Jin. Thunder is a prelude to a powerful storm and lets us know of the fear and danger that is forthcoming. When performing Poomsae Palgwe Sah Jang, you must overcome the fear and danger with a calm mind and a positive attitude.



  • Poomsae Palgwe Oh Jang represents wind, the symbol of Seon. There are two aspects of wind. First is the fearsome wind of a storm, tornado, or hurricane. Second is that of a gentle breeze that calms and cools us. Wind symbolizes a humble state. When performing Poomsae Palgwe Oh Jang, you should appear gentle and calm as the breeze, but also be fierce and forceful as the storms.



  • Poomsae Palgwe Yook Jang represents water, the symbol of Gem. All water originated from the sea, and continuously journeys its way back to the sea. It overcomes the obstacles in its path by finding a way around or by patiently wearing at it. When performing Poomsae Palgwe Yook Jang, you can overcome the difficulties either in your training or your life through perseverance and self-confidence.



  • Poomsae Palgwe Chil Jang represents the last stop, which is the symbol of Gan. Gan is symbolic of the stability of a mountain. In life all actions have their place. You should never act in too hasty a manner. When performing Poomsae Palgwe Chil Jang, you must know when to press on, but what is more important, know when to stop and reassess your position.



  • Poomsae Palgwe Pal Jang represents the principles of the earth, the source of all life, which is the symbol of Gon. The earth embraces all forms of life and gives its limitless energy to everything. Poomsae Palgwe Pa1Jang is the last form to develop before becoming a Black Belt. Therefore, when performing Poomsae Palgwe Pal Jang, you should review all the fundamentals and draw upon the energy of Tae Kwon Do.





Tae Kwon Do forms are unique and they can be practice anywhere. They can be practiced alone or with a group. Practicing forms by yourself is an excellent opportunity for creating artistic expression and allows for the opportunity to contemplate peacefully. When practiced in a group or at a competition, they can be both challenging and fun. Here are three different ways to improve your forms.



Each movement and action should be crisp, sharp and to the fullest extent. Demonstrate your strength and power with a slight pause between each movement. This distinguishes one technique from the next. Practicing this way helps you to establish balance, coordination and a strong foundation.



Every muscle in the body is used to perform each movement with intense power and concentration. The movements are performed smoothly but ending in an abrupt halt. This is the most powerful of the three styles. When performed properly, it becomes-evident that Dan-Jun breathing is required. This will help improve your endurance, control your breathing, and develop power.



The grace and tranquility of Tae Kwon Do forms are illustrated by using soft flowing movements. These forms are similar to dancing and aerobics because of the continuous body movement. However, the benefits of this style far exceed that of dancing and aerobics in that it improves your cardiovascular conditioning, flexibility and your fluidity. Through the practice of these three styles, you will develop and improve coordination, strength and flexibility in your forms. Together they form a strong mind, body and spirit.




Before beginning a form you must display the proper attitude and appearance. Whether you win or lose, you must have a positive mental attitude. If you did your best, then the competition was well worth your effort. Do not become upset or discouraged, always feel positive about yourself. Remember you will do better next time.



Always remember you are the competitor. You must show respect, firmness, control and confidence. While you are waiting to compete, sit with straight posture but appear relaxed. Watch the judges and competitors before your. Do not let your eyes wonder around. If you feel the need to stretch, stretch lightly and return back to the same, seated position. When your name is called, answer, "Yes, sir/ma'am," and prepare yourself mentally. If you must adjust your uniform, always turn in the opposite direction of the judges.



Before entering the ring, walk along the perimeter until you come to the outside center of the competition area. Come to attention and give a traditional bow to show your respect to the judges. When entering the ring, approach the judges confidently and bow again. Now you are ready to begin, but not ready to begin your form. Step into a ready stance (Chun Be) and inform the judges of your name, school, Master, and which form you would like to perform. Return to attention and bow out of respect. Remember you are the competitor. Never turn your back to the judges. Always walk backwards with confidence to where you will begin your form.



Begin by stepping into ready stance (Chun Be). Remember to have a confident look on your face, neither mean nor passive. Your eyes should always focus in the direction you're are moving, not looking up, down or side to side. Your focus shows that you are in control.   When moving from one technique to the next, be firm and appear relaxed. Move in a straight line demonstrating each stance and technique precisely. Your shoulders should remain in line with your hips. Keep your posture strong with each technique, whether it is a punch, block or kick. Make sure that your hand and kicking techniques are in their proper place before executing them. When executing a kick, bring the knee up first, deliver the kick and bring it back with control and balance. Demonstrate a smooth fluid motion with power and control. Let the technique be in conjunction with your body. Do not let the technique control you. Otherwise, you will lose your balance and posture and have no power or control of the actual execution of the technique. (You Must Emphasize the Techniques) If you lose your balance or forget your form, never frown, shake your head, or drop your eyes out of disgust. Conduct yourself with proper etiquette. Stop where you are, come back to attention and ask for permission to begin again, followed by a bow. Remember to be firm and confident to make up for any mistakes. Your Ki-Hap should be loud and strong. This will demonstrate your confidence and spirit.



Use the one-two-three or the ready-set-go method. After executing a certain technique, count to yourself, one, two, three, or ready, set, go, before continuing to your next movement. In this way you will illustrate the actual technique and the judges will see it more clearly. If it's a kicking and hand technique, use the one ­two or ready-go rhythm. Deliver the kick with balance and control, and then execute the hand technique. Both should be done in a fluid motion. You can always use this method regardless of how many techniques in the movement.  Choose a form you feel confident with. lf you are an advance student, you should perform an advanced form. If you are an intermediate or lower ranking student, you should do a form compatible to your level.  Form training inspires both individual independence and cooperation with others. They give you peace of mind and happiness.



Somnath Sikdar
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Master, 7th Dan Black Belt