WTF Dan Grade Poomsae
There are eight Dan-grade (black-belt) poomsaes. The poomsaes consists of basic movements and they are so arranged to fit the frame of movement direction, which is called the poomsae line. The poomsae lines are described after symbols or Chinese characters.
Koryo poomsae symbolizes “seonbae”, which means a learned man, who is characterized by a strong martial spirit as well as a righteous learned man’s spirit. The spirit had been inherited through the ages of Koguryo, Palhae and down to Koryo (Korea is the name of an old Korean Dynasty), which is the background of organizing the Koryo poomsae. The line of poomsae represents the Chinese letter which means “seonbae” or “seonbi”, a learned man or a man of virtue in the Korean language.
Keumgang (meaning diamond) has the significance of “hardness” and “ponderosity”. The Mt. Keumgang on the Korean peninsula, which is regarded as the centre of national spirit, and the “Keumgang yoksa” (Kumgang warrior) as named by Buddha, who represents a mightiest warrior, are the background of denominating this poomsae. The poomsae line symbolizes a mountain displayed by the Chinese letter. The movements should be powerful and well-balanced so as to befit black-belter’s dignity.
Taebaek is the name of a mountain with the meaning of “bright mountain”, where Tangun, the founder of the nation of Korean people, and the bright mountain symbolizes sacredness of soul and Tangun’s thought of “hongik ingan” (humanitarian ideal). There are numerous sites known as Taebaek, but Mt. Paektu, which has been typically known as the cradle of Korean people, is the background of naming the Taebaek poomsae. The line of poomsae is like a Chinese letter, which symbolizes the bridge between the Heaven and the earth, signifying human beings founded a nation by the Heaven’s order.
“Pyongwon” means a plain which is a vast stretched-out land. It is the source of life for all the creatures and the field where the human beings live their life. The poomsae Pyongwon was based on the idea of peace and struggle resulting from the principles of origin and use. The line of poomsae means the origin and transformation of the plain.
The word “Sipjin” was derived from the thought of 10 longevity, which advocates there are ten creatures of long life, namely, sun, moon, mountain, water, stone, pine tree, herb of eternal youth, tortoise, deer, and crane. They are two heavenly bodies, 3 natural resources, two plants and 3 animals, all giving human beings faith, hope and love. The poomsae Sipjin symbolizes those things. The Chinese letter meaning ten is form of the poomsae line, which signifies an infinite numbering of the decimal system and ceaseless development.
The word “Jitae” means a man standing on the ground with the two feet, looking over the sky. A man on the earth represents the way of struggling for human life, such as kicking, treading and jumping on the ground. Therefore, the poomsae symbolizes various aspects occurring in the course of human being’s struggle for existence. The poomsae line signifies a man standing on the earth to spring up toward the heaven.
The word “Cheonkwon” means the Heaven’s Great Mighty, which is the origin of all the creature and itself the cosmos. Its infinite competence signifies the creation, change and completion. Human beings have used the name of Heaven for all principal earthly shapes and meanings because they felt afraid of the Heaven’s mighty. Over 9,000 years ago, the founder of the Korean people, “Cheonkwon”, was meant by the heavenly king. He settled down in the heavenly town as the capital near the heavenly sea and heavenly mountain, where the Han people as the heavenly race gave birth to the proper thought and actions from which Taekwondo was originated. The characteristics of movements are large actions and arm actions forming gentle curves, thus symbolizing the greatness of Cheonkwon thought. The poomsae line “T” symbolizes a man coming down from the heaven, submitting to the will of Heaven, being endowed power by the Heaven and worshipping the Heaven, which means the oneness between the Heaven and a human being.
The word “Hansu” means water which is the source of substance preserving the life and growing all the creatures. Hansu symbolizes birth of a life and growth, strongness and weakness, magnanimity, harmony, and adaptability. Especially, “han” has the various meanings, namely, the name of a country, numerousness, largeness, evenness, longness, even the heaven, and the root of everything among others. Above all, the nature of water characterized by unbreakability and flexibility, in addition to all of the above significances, is the background of organizing this poomsae. Actions should be practiced softly like water but continuously like a drop of water gathering to make the ocean. The poomsae line symbolizes the Chinese letter which means water.
“Ilyeo” means the thought of a great Buddhist priest of Silla Dynasty, Saint Wonhyo, which is characterized by the philosophy of oneness of mind (spirit) and body (material). It teaches that a point, a line or a circle ends up after all in one. Therefore, the poomsae Ilyeo represents the harmonization of spirit and body, which is the essence of martial art, after a long training of various types of techniques and spiritual cultivation for completion of Taekwondo practice. The line of poomsae symbolizes the Buddhist mark (swastika), in commemoration of Saint Wonhyo, which means a state of perfect selflessness in Buddhism where origin, substance and service come into congruity. The ultimate ideal of Taekwondo can be found in this state. It is a discipline in which we concentrate on every movement leaving all materialistic thoughts, obsessions and external influences behind.