System of Rank (Dan Gup Jedo)

The grade system of Taekwon-Do consists of nineteen ranks: ten grades (gups) and nine degrees (dans). 

The nine degree grades are significant. The number nine is the highest of the single digit figures and is also the square of three, the most esteemed of all numbers. The Chinese characters for "three" and "king" are almost identical and are closely linked.

The number nine has one other unique feature: when multiplied by any other single digit number, the figure produced can be added together to equal nine. Therefore, this points to nine being the most positive of the single digits.

It is noticeable too, that the degree grades are divided into three groups; novice, expert and elite.

Grading Syllabus (Simsa)


Signifies innocence. No previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do, as that of the beginner student.

White belt (10th Gup)


Signifies the earth from which a plant sprouts and takes root as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is being laid..

Yellow Tag (9th Gup) | Yellow Belt (8th Gup)


Signifies the plants growth as Taekwon-Do skills begin to develop.

Green Tag (7th Gup) | Green Belt (6th Gup)


Signifies the heavens, towards which the plant matures into a towering tree as training in Taekwon-Do progresses.

Blue Tag (5th Gup) | Blue Belt (4th Gup)


Signifies danger, cautioning the student to exercise control, and warning an opponent to stay away.

Red Tag (3rd Gup | Red Belt (2nd Gup)


The opposite of white, therefore signifying a maturity and proficiency in Taekwon-Do. It also indicates the holder’s imperviousness to darkness and fear.

Black Tag (1st Gup| Korean Terminology

BLACK I to III Degree - National/Assistant Instructor (Boosabum)

All Black Belts wear black piping along the lower edge of the dobok jacket. Considered "Novice"

BLACK IV to VI Degree - International Instructor (Sabum) 

All grades from IV Degree wear additional black piping on their sleeves and trousers. Considered "expert"

BLACK VII to VIII Degree - Master (Sahyung)

All Grades from VII Degree wear a white stripe through the centre of the piping on their sleeves and trousers Considered ‘The Elite’

BLACK IX Degree Grand Master (Saseyong)
Denotes a full knowledge of Taekwon-Do, and many decades of experience at the fore of teaching & promoting the art.

Patterns (Tul)

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 their individual skill of attack and defence against actual moving opponents.

Individual advancement was certainly hindered untill an imaginative practitioner created the first patterns.

Patterns are various fundamental movements, most of which represent either attack or defence techniques, set to a fixed and logical sequence.

The student systematically deals with several imaginary opponents under various assumptions using every available attacking and blocking tools 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 rythmical movements.

It also enables a student to acquire certain special techniques which cannot be obtained from either fundamental exercises or sparring. In short, pattern can be compared with a unit tactic or a word if fundamental movement is an individual soldier's training or alphabet. Accordingly pattern, the ledger of every movement, is a series of sparring, power test, feats and characteristic beauty.

Though sparring may merely indicate that an opponent is more or less advanced, patterns are a more critical barometer in evaluating an individuals technique.

The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the diagrammatic symbol of each pattern symbolizes either heroic figures in Korean history or instances relating to historical events

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 travellers who pass by the eternal years of an eon 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.

"Here I leave Taekwon-Do for mankind as a trace of man of the late 20th century. The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, or all my life". 

General Choi, Hong Hi (1918 - 2002)

Patterns Essential Information

The following points should be considered while performing patterns:

1. Pattern should begin and end at exactly the same spot. This will indicate the performer's accuracy.
2. Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times.
3. Muscles of the body should be either tensed or relaxed at the proper critical moments in the exercise.
4. The exercise should be performed in a rhythmic movement with an absence of stiffness.
5. Movement should be accelerated or decelerated according to the instructions in this book.
6. Each pattern should be perfected before moving to the next .
7. Students should know the purpose of each movement.
8. Students should perform each movement with realism.
9. Attack and defence techniques should be equally distributed among right and left hands and feet.

All patterns listed are performed under the assumption the student is facing "D" 
(see pattern diagrams).

There are a total of twenty-four patterns in Taekwon-Do. The name of the pattern, the number of movements, and the diagrammatic symbol of each pattern symbolize either heroic figures in Korean history or instances relating to historical events. The interpretation of each pattern will be found on its specific page.

Since each Pattern has a close relationship with the fundamental exercise, students should practice the patterns according to the following graduation to attain the maximum results with the least effort.     

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9th gup white/yellow stripe
8th gup yellow
7th gup yellow/green stripe
6th gup green
5th gup green/blue stripe
4th gup blue 
3rd gup blue/red stripe
2nd gup red
1st gup red/black stripe
1st degree black
1st degree black
1st degree black
2nd degree black
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Click to edit table header
2nd degree black
2nd degree black
3rd degree black
3rd degree black
3rd degree black
4th degree black
4th degree black
4th degree black
5th degre black
5th degree black
6th degree black
4 direction punch
4 direction block

Sparring (Matsogi)

Technical Kicking (Chagi)

Self Defence (Hosinsul)

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Click to edit table header

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