Kup Grade


Patterns are systematic, pre-arranged sequences of techniques and there are many different versions of the patterns. This website focuses on Kukkiwon style Taekwondo, so will focus on the Taegeuk patterns for Kup Grades.

As a word, Taegeuk refers to the unity of opposites as in yin and yang. It is also the name of the red and blue circle in the middle of the South Korean flag. Kukkiwon style Taekwondo used to use the Palgwae set of patterns. However, the Taegeuk patterns were developed to better represent input from the schools of Taekwondo that joined the Korea Taekwondo Association in the late 1960’s.


Before 1971 Kukkiwon style Taekwondo had 8 colored belt patterns called the Palgwae forms. Pal means 8 in Korean and Gwae means trigram so Palgwae refers to the eight trigrams that are associated with the I Ching Hexagrams. The I ching hexagrams were found in the Book of Changes, an ancient divination text based on 64 hexagrams.

To break this down, each I Ching hexagram is made up of two trigrams, and each trigram is made up of three solid or broken lines. A meaning is associated to each triagram and hexagram and there are eight trigrams, this is why the forms are called the Palgwae; the eight trigrams. Four of these trigrams also appear on the South Korean Flag and the eight trigrams are said to represent the eight fundamental principles of reality.

After 1971 the Pagwae forms were replaced with the current Taegeuk forms although they still hold the same principles and symbolism as the original Palgwae forms, they have been changed to prepare students for sparring in the sport style of Taekwondo. Some clubs may choose to teach the Palgwe forms as well as the Taegeuk forms.


Hover over each guide below to see some basic information about each pattern, or click on the blue icon to see the help sheet in full.

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