ITF Taekwon-do Patterns (Tul)
What is the purpose of a pattern?
Patterns (Tul) are the bread and butter of ITF Taekwon-do. Regardless of the location of the Taekwon-do club or school, all ITF Taekwon-do practitioners demonstrate the Chang Hon or “blue cottage” patterns the same way. Chang Hon is the pen name of General Choi.
Patterns are practiced in order for students to train the fundamental movements of their body. Patterns are the foundation of Taekwon-do and enable the student to develop various techniques like improved mobility and flexibility, improved body shifting, increased muscle tone, enhanced breath control and improved sparring techniques with the blocks, strikes and counters learned. Although free sparring is random, non choreographed and exercised at a much faster pace than patterns, patterns are critical to developing the necessary skills that a Taekwon-do student needs in order to master sparring with their movements, balance, flexibility and the ability to determine which block and counter is appropriate.
Reason for 24 Patterns
There are a total of twenty four patterns in ITF Taekwon-do.
Per General Choi from the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-do:
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 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.
Essential Information about Patterns
The following points should be considered while performing patterns:
- Pattern should begin and end at exactly the same spot. This will indicate the performer's accuracy.
- Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times.
- Muscles of the body should be either tensed or relaxed at the proper critical moments in the exercise.
- The exercise should be performed in a rhythmic movement with an absence of stiffness.
- Movement should be accelerated or decelerated according to the instructions in this book.
- Each pattern should be perfected before moving to the next .
- Students should know the purpose of each movement.
- Students should perform each movement with realism.
- Attack and defense techniques should be equally distributed among right and left hands and feet.