In Taekwondo, forms are choreographed sequences of movements that are used in training and competition.
Forms – which are often called ‘patterns’ in Changheon-yu Taekwondo – have many uses. One of their primary uses is simply training students in Taekwondo. Forms teach a student correct stances and how to step between them, and they also improve a student’s posture, balance, distancing, power, and body control. Forms also teach students simply what techniques exist in the martial art – forms can be thought of as the lexicon of a martial art.
Taekwondo students must often perform a form to a certain standard in order to progress to the next belt. In this sense they are used as a way of judging a Taekwondo student’s overall skill.
Forms are also used in competition. In forms events at Taekwondo competitions, competitors will all perform one of a set of forms, and be judged based on the correctness of the techniques in the form.
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Want to learn more?
If you'd like to learn more about the forms / patterns in Taekwondo, consider buying this book: Taekwondo Forms. It lists the movements and gives the floor diagrams and interpretations for 71 forms from four different styles of Taekwondo - it's the ultimate reference book for anyone studying forms in detail.