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General Information

  • The area we practice in is called our dojang. This is an area that must be respected and recognized as such - even if it usually serves as a basketball court. Upon entering the dojang, you should bow to the flags and/or the instructors. The flags hanging at the front of the dojang recognize and pay homage to South Korea, Taekwondo's place of origin, as well as the United States. This symbol of respect for one's country is key to the philosophy of tkd - in fact that is part of the Hwa Rang Do honor code (but that's a story for another day).

  • Bowing: To bow, move your left foot to your right, bring your hands to your sides and bow at the waist. Bowing demonstrates respect, and the action may also be used as a greeting or a thank-you.
    Generally, when addressing the instructors one bows and may engage in a handshake. Shaking hands is done in the Korean fashion, whereby you shake with the right hand while the left supports the right under the elbow. As you shake, simultaneously bow.

  • Issues of Etiquette : Although having a good time is a really important aspect of tkd, so are the issues of discipline, etiquette, and respect. We are extremely privileged to have the instructors we do. Master Blais and Master Del Porte have trained extensively and have had so much experience - both in tkd and in life. As such, it is important to address them with respect. When they or other black belts ask a question, or direct you to do something, respond loudly with, "Yes, ma'am," or "Yes, sir". All black belts should be addressed as "sir" or "ma'am" as an additional matter of respect.

  • Issues of Comfort: Wear loose fitting work out clothes. You will be kicking, running, jumping, punching, sitting on the floor, etc. It is traditional to not wear shoes when working out; however, if you have foot problems or you prefer to wear shoes, please speak with one of the officers or instructors and we can help you out. If you plan to continue with tkd for more than one term, we highly encourage you to purchase a dobak, or uniform. If you have questions about purchasing, please speak with Vietnam Nguyen, Lisa Fearon, or Master Del Porte.

  • Taekwondo consists of both aerobic activity as well as anaerobic. Workouts can be intense and demanding on the body; thus it is essential that you eat properly and make sure you are well hydrated. If you want to become serious about tkd, it's important to think about your body - a strong and flexible body will help your tkd training immensely. Ask any of the officers, and I'm sure they'll concur.

  • Lining up. When class begins all students line up according to rank. This allows the instructors to survey who is there and to organize classes accordingly. The highest-ranking student starts the line up in the rightmost position in the front row. The next highest rank stands to the left of that person, and so on. There are usually 4 or 5 people per row. After lining up, the highest-ranking student "bows in" the class by calling everyone to attention. We then bow to the flags, then the instructors. The second highest rank then instructs the class to bow to the highest-ranking student. This tradition of bowing is conducted at the beginning and end of class as a matter of respect.



Korean Words (and their anglicized pronunciations):

Don't worry about memorizing these--you'll learn them as we use them in class.

Attention: Cha-ryut
Bow: Kyung-net
Ready: Joon-bee
Begin: Shee-jahk
Stop: Guh-Mahn
Relax: Sho
Turn: Di-ro-do-ra
Yell: Ghi-hahp
TKD School: Do-Jang
Master: Sah-bum-nim
Grandmaster: Kwan-jang-nim
Uniform: Do-boak
Form: Poom-seh
Sparring: Kyuh-ru-ghi
Breaking: Kyuhk-pah
Self Defense: Ho-shin-sul
One step sparring: Han-bun-kyuh-ru-ghi



Before you learn forms, or poomsae, you will learn Kibons. Kibons are designed to be warm up exercises that use some of the techniques that appear in the forms. There are six Kibons total, and they are each learned at different ranks. By the time you reach blue belt, you will have learned all six.

When you reach the rank of yellow belt, you will learn your first form, or pattern. Typically students learn a new form with each rank. Under the Kukkiwon system, we learn and practice the Tae Guk system. This is just one set of forms among an infinite pool of forms to choose from. The Tae Guk forms were chosen for our system because the movements closely model the goals and philosophy of the Kukkiwon, which is centered on the "modern" training methods and sparring rules.

Sometimes students question the practical nature of forms. First, forms are an integral part of any martial art, as they are particularly geared toward the "art" aspect. They are a demonstration of understanding of technique, which reflects overall Tae Kwon Do knowledge and training. Balance, stances, breathing, power, and control are all key factors in performing forms well. The end product should be graceful yet powerful, and should have a natural flow and feel. Mastery can only be achieved through constant and repetitive practice, with particular emphasis on the technical details of each movement, as well as understanding how and why each technique is used. Ask questions frequently and focus on refining each movement; you should ALWAYS be trying to improve some aspect. If you find a form getting boring or too redundant, chances are you're not being critical enough. Remember that practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.

Tae Guk Poomsae 

(Note: Definitions taken from a publication from the Blue Wave Association 2000 as well as Taekwondo: The State of the Art (1999) by Masters Sung Chul Whang and Jun Chul Whang).


  • Taegeuk Il-Jang 일장: Concept of Keon, Heaven and Light. Keon is a creative and positive force that inhabits all forms. It is powerful and aggressive and is represented by heaven and light. Practiced by 8th gup yellow belts.

  • Taegeuk Ee-Jang 이장: Concept of Tae, Calm Lake. Tae is of a spiritually uplifting nature and is serene and gentle. Tae is symbolized by the image of a calm lake. Masters Whang describe tae as an example of how one should "speak softly but carry a big stick." As they note, "Indomitable spirit, not forcefulness, lives within each of us." (p. 196) Practiced by 7th gup green stripe yellow belts.

  • Taegeuk Saam-Jang 삼장: Concept of Ri, Fire and Sun. The movements of this form represent qualities of fire and sun, of flickering energy, of unpredictable pace and styling and of quiet followed by great passion or excitement continually moving and burning. Masters Whang note the prevalence of blocks followed by counterattacks in this form (p. 203). Practiced by 6th gup green belts.

  • Taegeuk Sa-Jang 사장: Concept of Jin, Thunder. Thunder is the element of fear and trembling, which occasionally enters our lives. Because taekwondo is comprised of virtuous actions, it defines fear as courage. Practiced by 5th gup blue stripe green belts.

  • Taegeuk Oh-Jang 오장: Concept of Seon, Wind. Seon encompasses the characteristics of the wind - gentle and strong, yielding but also penetrating. It is the state of being like the wind. It also reflects the paradoxical quality of air - how strong the wind can be as compared to the apparent weakness of still air. This consequently reflects the presence of both strength and weakness in all beings (p. 218). Practiced by 4th gup blue belts.

  • Taegeuk Yuk-Jang 육장: Concept of Gam, Water. Water flows shapelessly, incorporating all obstacles in its path. This represents a type of confidence as one strives to attain the qualities of acceptance and flow. Flowing water also persists continually - even if it may not always have the power to overtake it has the ability to erode and carve a place for itself to exist. Practiced by 3rd gup red stripe blue belts.

  • Taegeuk Chil-Jang 칠장: Concept of Gan, Mountain. Gan is symbolized by the image of a mountain as the principle of stability. The mountain is solid, firm, majestic and wise. The difficulty in portraying such stability is a challenge, especially with the tiger and x-stances that make up this form (p. 237). Practiced by 2nd gup red belts.

  • Taegeuk Pal-Jang 팔장: Concept of Gon, Earth. As the form practiced by black belt candidates, this form demonstrates the quality of being receptive and is symbolized by the earth. "As yang is positive energy and the representation of heaven and the origin of all things, so um, negative energy, represents the earth, the opposite of heaven, and the end of all things. Considering the cycle of mortal life, earthly energy is also a beginning, a fruition" (p. 248).

Black Belt Poomse

  • Koryo 고려: Koryo is the name of the Korean dynasty (918 Ad to 1392), from which the country Korean derives its name. The people of this dynasty successfully defended their homeland from the Mongolian imperialism to which much of Asia succumbed. This form, therefore, represents the cultivation of a strong conviction and an unyielding spirit. This form serves as the testing poomsae for 2nd dan candidates.

  • Keumgang 금강: Keumgang means hardness. In addition, the name has two connotation which apply to Taekwondo, one spiritual and the other poetic. Keumgang-san is the name given to one of Korea's most beautiful mountains. Keumgang-seok is the name given to the hardest matter, the diamond. These dual qualities of hardness and beauty are therefore associated with the name. Buddhist thought also stresses a concept of hardness that is a quality of spirit not affected by mortal agony - it is the capacity to shun one's physical suffering. The form Keumgang is indeed to fuse these qualities with one's martial skills, and in doing so grace them with virtue. This is the 2nd to 3rd dan testing poomsae.

  • Taebaek 태백: Taekbaek is the ancient name of Mount paekdu, where the legendary Tangun founded a nation for the first time in the Korean peninsula some 4,300 years ago. Poomsae Taebaek takes its principles of movement from the word "Taebaek" which means being viewed as sacred. This is the 3rd to 4th dan testing poomsae.

  • Pyeongwon 평원: The definition of Pyongwon is "stretch, vast plain": big, majestic.

  • Sipjin 십진: Sipjin stands for decimal. This Poomse represents the orderliness of the decimal system. It also means the endless development and growth in a systematic order: stability.

  • Jitae 태백: Jitae is derived from the meaning of the earth. All things evolve from and return to the earth, the earth is the beginning and the end of life.

  • Cheonkwon 척권: Cheonkwon means 'sky'. The sky should be seen as ruler of the universe. It is both mysterious, infinite and profound. The motions of Cheonkwon are full of piety and vitality.

  • Hansoo 한수: This poomse is derived from the fluidity of water which easily adapts within nature.

  • Ilyo 일여: The state of spiritual cultivation in Buddhism is called 'Ilyo' which means more or less 'oneness'. In Ilyo, body and mind, spirit and substance, I and you are unified. The ultimate ideal of taekwondo can be found in this state. It is a discipline in which we concentrate on every movement leaving all materialistics thoughts, obsessions and extermal influences behind.

Verbal Information

Here are necessary definitions and Korean words required for belt testing, which are cumulative. Note also that you are not limited to the meanings and definitions pertaining only to your rank; in fact, we encourage you to learn Korean terminology and get familiar with pronunciation as early as possible, as we conduct class drills and tournaments in simple Korean (don't worry though, you'll have plenty of time to get familiarized with the words in class!). Take care not to just memorize the following terms, but to apply and understand their meanings. If you have any questions, by all means see a higher rank for answers or clarification! The verbal and philosophical component of Tae Kwon Do is just as important, if not more important, than the physical aspects. This is what defines Tae Kwon Do as a true martial art.

 White Belt (10th GUP) 흰띠

  • Significance: White is the color of purity. It is the winter snow under which the seed, representing the student, is hidden.
  • The purpose of the United States' flag in the dojang shows that we live (or at least practice taekwondo) in the United States and the purpose of the South Korean flag is to demonstrate respect for Taekwondo's Korean origin.
  • The Chung Do Kwan Student Pledge:
    We as members train our spirits and bodies according to the strict code.
    We as members are united in mutual friendship.
    We as members will comply with regulations and obey the instructors.

    Bowing has a few purposes - it may serve as a formal greeting, a show of respect, or a thank you.

    Yellow Stripe (9th GUP)

    Counting : Pure Korean
    0: kong : 공
    1: ha-na : 하나
    2: dul : 둘
    3: set : 셋
    4: net : 넷
    5: da-seot : 다섯
    6: yeo-seot : 여섯
    7: il-gop : 일곱
    8: yeo-deolp : 여덟
    9: ah-hop : 아홉
    10: yeol : 열
    20: seu-mul : 스물
    30: seo-leun : 서른
    40: ma-heun : 마흔
    50: swin : 숸

    Counting : Sino-Korean
    1 : il : 일
    2 : ee : 이
    3 : sam : 삼
    4 : sa : 사
    5 : oo : 오
    6 : yun : 육
    7 : chil : 칠
    8 : pal : 팔
    9 : gu : 구
    10 : sip : 십

  • The Five Tenets of Taekwondo:
    1. Courtesty
    2. Integrity
    3. Perseverence
    4. Indomitable Spirit
    5. Self-control
    **I use a little mnemonic device here: "Can I Push It Slowly," if that helps
  • Literal Meaning of Taekwondo 태컨도 :
    "Tae" 태 means foot; "kwon" 컨 means hand; "do" 도 means way of life. Thus, "Taekwondo" means "Way of the Foot and the Fist." 
  • Yellow Belt (6th GUP) 노란띠

  • Significance: Yellow represents the warmth of the winter's sun as it melts the snow and allows the seed to germinate. This is the birth of conscious and purposeful action.

  • Meaning of the Blue Wave: Blue is soft and calm like the ocean, changing to the great devastating power of a wave crashing upon the shore.
  • Five Aspects to the Theory of Power:
    1. Speed
    2. Focus
    3. Breath Control
    4. Balance
    5. Reaction Force
    **Another mnemonic: "She Feeds Babies Beef Ribs"
  • The Meaning of the American Flag: The 50 stars represent the 50 states, the 13 stripes represent the 13 original colonies; red symbolizes courage; white symbolizes innocence and purity; blue symbolizes vigilance, justice and perseverance.
  • Green Stripe (5th GUP) 

  • Meaning of the South Korean Flag: Named "Tae Geuk Ki," the center circle represents "yang," red and "um," blue, which depict the opposites of the universe - day and night, fire and water, heaven and earth, good and bad, etc. The symbols in the corners represent Heaven, Earth, Fire, and Water.

    Meanings of the 5 Tenets of Taekwondo:
    1. Courtesty: Polite behavior and manners
    2. Integrity: Rigid loyalty to a code of behavior
    3. Perseverance: The ability to hold to a course of action without giving way
    4. Indomitable spirit: incapable of being overcome or subdued; ability to persevere
    5. Self- Control: ability to control your emotions and actions by strength of will.

    Green Belt (4th GUP) 녹색띠

  • Significance: Green is the color of the sprout and represents the spring when growth and activity abound.

  • Meanings of the 5 Aspects to the Theory of Power
    1. Speed: The time it takes for the tool to reach the target
    2. Focus: Using the smallest tool possible to strike the target
    3. Balance: Being flexible yet stable
    4. Breath control: inhaling at the beginning of every move and exhaling while executing the technique
    5. Reaction Force: Newton's 3rd Law of Motion; for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

    Blue Stripe (5th GUP)

  • 3 Kingdoms of Korea in the 6th Century: Silla, Paekche, Koguryo
  • Founder of the Blue Wave Association: Grandmaster Bruce V. Twing
  • Great Grandmaster of the Blue Wave: Grandmaster Tae Sung Lee
  • President of Chung Do Kwan: President Yoon Kyu Um
  • Vice President of the Chung Do Kwan: Grandmaster Hae Man Park
  • Current President of the Blue Wave: Master Gordon W. White

    Blue Belt (4th GUP) 파란띠

  • Significance: Blue is the color of youth, ambition, and rapid growth. The seedling is now reaching for the blue sky. .

    Red Stripe (3rd GUP)

  • The Meaning of the Hwa Rang Do: Flower of Youth
  • The Hwa Rang Do Five Point Honor Code:
    1. Allegiance to One's Country
    2. Respect for One's Parents
    3. Integrity in One's Friendships
    4. Courage in Battle
    5. Restraint from Unnecessary Cruelty or Killing

    Red Belt (2nd GUP) 빨간띠

  • Significance: Red represents the heat of the summer sun. It also signals danger, as it is the last step toward achieving a black belt. In the Blue Wave Association, one kneels when putting on a red belt. While kneeling, the student contemplates the dedication needed to achieve black belt, and the responsibility once it is attained.
  • Key Dates:
    1941: Chung Do Kwan was founded by Great Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee
    1965: The Korean Taekwondo Association was formed
    1969: Grandmaster Bruce V. Twing opened the first taekwondo school in Vermont, laying the foundation for the Blue Wave Taekwondo Association 1973: The World Taekwondo Federation was formed. Dr. Un Yong Kim was elected first president.

    Black Stripe (1st Gup)

    Black Belt (1st Dan) 검정띠



     See Blue Wave testing pages for more information.  The Blue Wave self defense requirements are currently under revision and will probably change to a more modern syllabus in the next few years. 

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