Coloured Belt Patterns - 10th Kup To 5th Kup
A beginner starts at the grade of 10th Kup, White belt, and as part of their first grading they perform an exercise called Four Directional Punching. This exercise is not a pattern as it has NO symbolic meaning.
Once the beginner has passed their first grading, they are promoted to 9th Kup, White belt with a yellow stripe. It is at this level the beginner will learn their first pattern, Chon Ji, to be promoted to 8th Kup, Yellow belt.
Chon-Ji (19 Moves - Yellow Belt - 8th Kup)
Literally means 'Heaven & Earth'. In the Orient it is interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history. Therefore, it is the initial pattern performed by the beginner. The pattern consists of two similar parts ; one to represent the Heaven and the other the Earth.
In Korean, the word Chon means Heaven and the word Ji means Earth. Combined, this can be interpreted as meaning creation (the creation of the Universe and beginning of life).
This theory can be largely attributed to the Chinese classic, the I Ching - the "book of changes". The text explained the process of growth and change in the natural world. The fundamental philosophy of this ancient text is the need to retain balance and harmony within all aspects of life.
This is known as the Um-Yang relationship (or Yin-Yang in Chinese). The symbol of the two interlocking 'commas' is the Neo-Confucian symbol called the T'aeguk and this symbol can b found on the Korean national flag, the T'aeguk-ki.
The flag also has further symbolism attached to it in the trigrams (the different 3 bar symbols) surrounding the Um-Yang. These also originate from the I Ching.
Dan Gun (21 Moves - Yellow Belt / Green Tag - 7th Kup)
Dan Gun is named after the holy Dan Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year 2333 BC
It is said that in the time of the mythical Chinese Emperor Yao, the supreme deity Hwanin allowed his son Hwanung to descend to Earth. This he did at T'aebaek-San (near modern day Pyong-Yang).
The legend has it that he overheard a bear and tiger talking "would that we might become men". He promised to turn the creature, who would complete the challenge that he would set, into a human.
The task was to live in a cave for 21 days and to eat only garlic. The tiger, due to its fierceness, could not complete the challenge, but the bear, with greater Patience and faith, was able to finish Hwanung's test.
Hwanung kept his promise and turned the bear into a beautiful woman, Ungnyo.
The two were to have a child. this child was called Dan Gun (the name means "mountain birch ruler" to represent his birth underneath the Pak-Tal tree).
Dan Gun eventually founded the Korean nation and led his people to reside on Mount Paekdu.
In what is now North Korea on the Chinese border is Korea's highest mountain, Paekdu-San (White Headed Mountain). This is an ancient volcano and at its peak is a crater lake named Chon.
Do San (24 Moves - Green Belt - 6th Kup)
Do San is the pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Chang-Ho (1876 - 1938), who devoted his entire life to furthering the education of the Korean people and promoting its Independence Movement.
Ahn Chang-Ho became a prominent member of the Independence Club, an organisation established by reformists fired by feelings of nationalism and a desire for social change.
In 1899 he founded a school in his hometown of Kangso, before leaving for America. There he rallied Korean ex-patriots before returning to his homeland and taking part in the forming of the secret nationalist society, Sinminhoe, in 1907, with the purpose of promoting the patriotic education of the people.
Once again he left Korea, travelling to Russia, China, Europe and America to gain rally overseas Koreans.
After the 1st March Independence demonstrations of 1919, he joined the Government-in-Exile in Shanghai, but soon left due to the political squabbling of it's leaders. In 1926 he was arrested by the Japanese, when caught with the Manchurian freedom fighters. He was released early due to ill health, but was arrested again in 1937, and he died a year later.
Won Hyo (28 Moves - Green Belt / Blue Tag - 5th Kup)
Won Hyo was the noted monk who introduced Buddhism in the Silla Dynasty in 686 AD.
Won Hyo (617 to 686) is the best known name in Buddhism. At the age of 28 he became a monk and spent many years trying to unify the various schools of Buddhism that existed at that time.
Later in life he spent his time teaching, declaring that Buddhism and achieving enlightenment was for all classes of people and not just for monks.
Won Hyo was invited to the royal court of king Muyol, where he met and fell in love with a widowed Silla princess and they had a son called Sol Chong, who became a trusted royal advisor.
One story about Won Hyo recalls how, on a trip to China to study, he found a cave to sleep in overnight. In the cave he found a cup which he used to drink from. In the morning he saw that the cup was in fact a human skull, and realising that the revulsion that he felt was purely a matter of mind, he saw that he had no reason to travel to China and returned home. His writings were highly regarded in both China and Japan.