Taegeuk Il Jang

The beginning

Taegeuk Il Jang

Forms, or Poomsaes in the Korean language, are a series of defending and attacking movements performed against imaginary opponents. Each form is a combination of blocking and attacking techniques performed consecutively while moving in certain directions. Through the practice of forms, students come to learn the applications of various techniques of Taekwondo.

Taegeuk Forms are a series of forms corresponding with each learning level from beginner to advance. The proper way to learn and practice Taegeuk Forms is to first know the name of the form, then the  four elements comprising the form: pattern, direction, stance, and technique.

The World Tae Kwon Do Federation has 8 colored belt forms and 9 black belt forms. The colored belt forms are all numbered one to eight and are called Taegeuk. Taegeuk Il Jang is the first of eight Taegeuk Forms (i.e., poomsae) used by the Kukkiwon and World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). The word “Il” is the number 1 in the sino-Korean numbering system (as opposed to the traditional Korean numbering system, where hanna is 1); “jang” translates as chapter, so literally the name of this form is “chapter 1 of the taegeuk.” Taegeuk Il Jang symbolizes the beginning in the training of Taekwondo.

This poomsae is characterized by its simplicity. Most of the stances are simply Walking Stances. The Front Stance (aka Big Stance) is also introduced to teach the student how to shift from one stance to the next. The techniques seen in this form are basic techniques such as low blocks (aka down blocks, or arae makki), middle blocks (aka inward or inside blocks, or momtong makki), middle punch, and front snap kicks. All of the turns are simple 90 degree or 180 degree turns.

Learning the poomsae requires great coordination because one must perform several techniques simultaneously, in conjunction with remembering the flow of the poomsae, breathing correctly, adequate power, and so forth, in order to achieve a complete and harmonic poomsae.