Patterns or 'Tuls'

There are 24 traditional patterns which a student should be familiar with by the time he/she reaches 5th Degree Black Belt. Each pattern has a certain number of moves, the highest pattern has 72 moves. The patterns are named after Korean heroes (as Tae Kwon Do originates from Korea) and all have a historical definition, which the student is encouraged to learn for exam purposes.

A student progresses to each new belt by learning a new pattern and the significance of that pattern and those that have gone before. There are nine patterns up to 1st Degree Black Belt. After this level the patterns become more challenging at the dan grade level, having to learn three for each dan grade. Practitioners should take pride in trying to create a perfect pattern. Some moves that are incorporated in patterns are very explosive and others are slow, based on requiring posture and chi development. Each pattern can be a workout in itself without a partner and are of a defensive nature. The UTI style is an add on to these patterns with two small stick forms, one long stick form and a knife form.

Patterns are often a barometer for revealing the student’s technical standard. They are also an art form. Patterns are performed in competition events also. There are patterns champions as well as sparring champions.


I started Tae Kwon Do in Singapore in 1970 whilst serving with the British Royal Air Force, at a time when Tae Kwon Do was unheard of within Europe, and have trained with several Tae Kwon Do organisations in the UK.

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