This is just the staging area. See http://poomsae.me for the actual blog
Latest Update: March 21, 2014
Introduction – Why This Study Guide?
Of course one cannot learn taekwondo poomsae (“forms”) simply by looking at diagrams. For many taekwondo students, however, remembering the basic steps of a poomsae is an important (but difficult) first step. As you are learning a new form, the diagrams shown below may help – simple study guides that you can print-out and carry with you (or view on your computer of smartphone) to help you memorize the basic steps of each form.
Why did I develop these diagrams? For one thing, most poomsae diagrams on the Internet place the starting position at the “top” of the illustration. This means the reader must mentally “turn the diagram around” in his or her head, so that the left becomes right and vice versa. I find those diagrams difficult to understand. The diagrams shown in this blog place the starting position at the bottom of the illustration instead, making these diagrams easier to read (in my opinion). Also, I wanted diagrams that fit neatly and clearly onto a single page, so that I could print them out and carry them with me as study aids. (These diagrams are also formatted to look clear on an iPad or other tablet, if you’re viewing these online.)
There are four kinds of diagrams in this blog:
- The first diagrams, the kibon poomsae, are the basic forms used at Majest Martial Arts* for the very early belts (white, yellow, orange).
- Below those simple kibon diagrams you will see the taegeuk poomsae diagrams, the standard World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) forms used at most taekwondo schools in the U.S.
- Below that, the standard WTF Black Belt forms. As of this writing, I haven’t yet diagrammed all the Black Belt poomsae.
- And finally, palgwae poomsae diagrams. Why palgwae diagrams? Because at Majest, Black Belts also study palgwae forms.
In the taegeuk diagrams below, the color of belt (green, purple, blue, etc.) associated with each form at Majest is also identified in the diagram, but of course different taekwondo schools use different color schemes. The poomsae themselves will be the same from one WTF school to the next, so if you are a taekwondo student at a different school, these diagrams should still be helpful.
Clicking on any diagram below will give you a nice large version that you can print and see clearly. You can also download PowerPoint and PDF versions of these diagrams at http://dropcanvas.com/7viem If you have suggestions for improvements or other comments, let me know!
* I’m not affiliated with Majest Martial Arts. I’m just a student there. I originally developed these study notes for my personal use. Any errors are mine alone.
Majest “Six Step”
This is learned at your first day of class at Majest Martial Arts. It’s an extremely simple “six step” form that prepares you for activities such as punching and blocking drills.
Majest Kibon Hana
At Majest, white belts study Kibon Hana to progress to yellow belt. The idea of the diagram below is that the little blue robot is an overhead view of you, beginning at the bottom of the diagram. Of course the diagram doesn’t show every subtle nuance of the form (such as how to chamber your arms between movements), but if all you’re trying to do is remember the basic pattern of the form, this diagram should be helpful.
Since different schools may use very different kibon forms, it can be a little difficult to find good videos showing these forms being executed. I like this video from BlackBeltStudios because (halfway through the video) it shows you the form “from the back” which is how you see it in class when the instructor performs it with you.
The diagram above is the “16 Step” version of the Kibon Hana used at Majest. Sometimes a longer “20 Step” version is used instead for adults. For smaller children, often only the first 8 Steps are used.
Majest Kibon Dool
Yellow belts study this form at Majest, to progress to orange belt. The pattern of footwork is the same as Kibon Hana; only the hand movements differ.
At other schools, a form like this might be studied by white belts with a single stripe on their belts; different schools use different belt colors. In fact, not all schools will even have two or three kibon forms; they might have just one kibon form. For that reason, finding videos of these forms is very difficult.
White belt students at schools other than Majest might go straight into taegeuk forms. The taegeuk poomsae shown later in this blog are fairly standard though, so they should be useful for students at any WTF-based school. These kibon diagrams however are probably most useful only to students at Majest Martial arts.
There is also a 20-Step version of Kibon Dool.
Majest Kibon Sat
Orange belts study this form at Majest, to progress to green belt. Note that this form follows the same “zig zag” lines as the first two forms: first left and back; the up the middle, then right and back, then back down to the starting point. This time, however, the stances are different. This form is also fun because of the outward blocks at steps 1, 3, 9, and 11.
There is also a 20-Step version of Kibon Sat.
Finally! We’re at the standard taegeuk poomsae. At Majest, green belts study the first taegeuk form (Taegeuk Il Jang) to advance to purple belt, but of course different taekwondo schools use different belt colors. Still, the form itself should be the same at any WTF-based taekwondo school, so hopefully any taekwondo students reading this blog will find the following diagrams useful.
Taegeuk Il Jang
This is the first taegeuk poomsae. In fact, “il” means “one” in the sino-korean numbering system. (This is different from the traditional Korean numbering system, where “hana” means one.)
In addition to these static diagrams, it is often helpful to watch videos of these forms being executed. Here’s a good video on YouTube of Taegeuk Il Jang by Grand Master Kyu Hyung Lee. I also like this video from BlackBeltStudios because halfway through the video they show you the form “from the back” which is how you’d normally see it taught in a taekwondo classroom. (This is helpful because it makes left- and right-turns clearer. If the instructor’s back is to you, then when he turns left, you turn left.)
Videos can help you learn the subtleties of a form, while these diagrams are helpful only for memorizing the basic steps — in other words, keep in mind that these diagrams can’t provide all the detail you need to know to perform the poomsae perfectly. This is just a study aid.
Taegeuk Yi Jang
This is the second taegeuk poomsae. You’ll notice that all of the taegeuk poomsae are organized as three horizontal “lines.” You start at the bottom line going left then right. Then there’s a transitional movement that takes you to the second line, then to the third line, and then back down again. You’ll see that basic pattern repeated over and over again in all of the taegeuk poomsae.
Sometimes this form is spelled as Taegeuk Ei Jang or Taegeuk Ee Jang. Here’s a good video on YouTube of Taegeuk Yi Jang by Grand Master Kyu Hyung Lee. Here’s a video from BlackBeltStudios that (halfway through the video) shows you the form “from the back.”
Taegeuk Sam Jang
Taegeuk Sa Jang
Taegeuk Oh Jang
Taegeuk Yook Jang
Taegeuk Chil Jang
Taegeuk Pal Jang
This is the eighth and last of the “taegeuk” series of poomsae. Sometimes it is spelled Taegeuk Phal Jang. Here’s a good video of Taegeuk Pal Jang on YouTube by Grand Master Kyu Hyung Lee. Here’s one from BlackBeltStudios.
Black Belt Poomsae
According to the Majest Martial Arts online curriculum, Majest instruction goes only through Keumgang, the second Black Belt form. But I’ve gone this far, I might as well diagram all the poomsae, eh? Here are all the Black Belt poomsae:
This first diagram is a simplified version of Koryo that makes it easier to see the “lines” in the pattern: left, then right, then up, then back, etc.
Now here’s a more complete version of Koryo. Because there are so many steps in Koryo, it’s a little bit harder to see the lines, but this version shows each individual step more clearly.
At Majest, in addition to learning Koryo, first dan Black Belts also study the following palgwae poomsae:
- 7th gup – study just the first half of Koryo
- 6th gup – study Koryo and also Palgwae Il Jang
- 5th gup – …and also Palgwae Yi Jang
- 4th gup – …and also Palgwae Sam Jang
- 3rd gup – …and also Palgwae Sa Jang
- 2nd gup – all of the above
- 1st gup – all of the above
Then at the second dan, Koryo is studied along with Keumgang (Guhm-Kang) and all the remaining Palgwae forms.
Diagram is TBD
Why are there no YouTube videos from Grand Master Kyu Hyung Lee for these palgwae poomsae? Because the World Taekwondo Federation considers these poomsae to be deprecated — they’re older and no longer practiced as widely. There are some good palgwae videos though from Master Jung TKD. Some people consider these poomsae to be “prettier” and more “traditional” than the taegeuk poomsae.
Palgwae Il Jang
Palgwae Yi Jang
Palgwae Sam Jang
Palgwae Sa Jang
Palgwae Oh Jang
Palgwae Yook Jang
Palgwae Chil Jang
Palgwae Pal Jang
For students at Majest Martial Arts, there are additional useful study aids available at http://dropcanvas.com/7viem There are PowerPoint and PDF versions of the above diagrams, as well as test-question study guides, Korean-language flash cards, and helpful study tips.
How to Read These Diagrams
The little blue robot is you. Specifically, it’s an overhead view of you. When the robot turns left, you turn left. When the robot turns right, you turn right. Which foot do you lift to turn? You lift the foot that has the arrow on it, and turn your body in the direction of the arrow. The little black boxes are your feet. If the left box is forward of the right foot, then your left foot should be forward of your right foot. Simple! You can’t always tell what the stance is by looking at the robot’s feet, but at least you can figure out which foot is forward. The steps in each poomsae are numbered 1, 2, 3 in what I think is a fairly standard taegeuk numbering scheme. And then with each number there’s a short reminder of what the movement is at that step: right punch, left front kick, etc. I’m using short abbreviations here because these diagrams aren’t intended to teach you poomsae, they’re just intended to help you remember poomsae. Each illustration is like a little study “cheat-sheet.” Print it out, carry it in your pocket, tack it to your bedroom wall, save it to your iPad…whatever it takes to help you learn and remember the form. On each robot, I show only the arm or the leg that’s doing the punching, blocking, or kicking. That makes it easier I think to visualize and remember what the robot is doing at each little step.
An earlier draft of my study guide used dinosaurs instead of robots, but it was too difficult to understand their positions. The dinosaur tail kept getting in the way. Plus, little boxy robots are easy to draw.
Drop Me a Line
If you have suggestions for improvements or other comments, let me know! I originally wrote these study guides for my own use, but I’m happy to share them with my fellow taekwondo students. Enjoy!