Taekwondo has 24 patterns (Tuls). The patterns were first developed and used back in ancient times before free sparring had come to fruition. They provided a means to demonstrate each student’s skills without causing damage to other students.
Patterns are a fixed series of defence and attack movements. The movements are in a logical sequence and deal with imaginary opponents.
The following points should be considered when performing patterns:
1. Patterns should begin and end on the same spot. This is an indication of the performer’s accuracy of the movements.
2. Correct posture and facing much 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. Each pattern should be accelerated or decelerated according to instructions.
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.
Taekwondo has 24 patterns to represent a human life. The life span of a human can be considered a day when it is compared to eternity. So Taekwondo has 24 patterns to represent 24 hours, or one day, or all a human life.
Each Taekwondo pattern has a name, a number of movements, a meaning and a diagrammatic symbol of the pattern. These all symbolise either heroic Korean figures or historical events.