Friday, 26 August 2011

Koryo the lost form of Taekwondo?

In my history studdies regarding Taekwondo and its evolution of poomsae I learned something very interesting (at least it is very interesting to me:-p ). In the 1960s what was to become the KTA (Korean Taekwondo Assosiation) started developing the Palgwe forms series as well as the Black belt poomsae series we use today. In the early to mid 70s however the Palgwe form set was replaced by the Taegeuk form set. Poomsae Koryo was also replaced by a "new" version which is taught to the vast majority of WTF/Kukkiwon affiliated Dojang around the world. For some reason the Palgwe poomsae survived to a great extent since many people used them as additional poomsae to the Taegeuk, but the original 60s version of Koryo seemed lost in the sands of time.

I kept seeing references to the form on the internet, in books and in articles but the references were simply the same information that I revealed in the opening lines of this post. Finally I succeeded in finding an instructional text on the form and so I could end my quest:) I remember well the day I found it. It was the day it finaly dawned on me just how much "Taekwondo nerd" I really am. It was just before christmas in 2010 and I could not find the christmas spirit. I was really stressed out because of work, and all the christmas obligations. One day just before christmas I was finished with my work and decided to surf the internet for a while and I managed to find the article from arlington Karate

If the link does not work, simply go to this site: and choose the article from 1972:)

I was happier for finally finding a written resource for this "lost" pattern then I was for Christmas! And so I found out that yes, I am indeed a "Taekwondo nerd":)

In recent years there has been an increased interest in the original Koryo so Master Coock from USA is currently working on a book with Grandmaster Richard Chun that is going to be released next year (2012). I am looking forward to that and I have allready put the book on my wish list:) In addition to the article from 1972 (so far the most reliable resource out there) I have discovered 2 videos on Youtube: Version one:

and version two:

I for one find this pattern to be very interesting. Like our "new" Koryo the original Koryo focus on throat attacs, but I find the original to be much more inline with the Taegeuk patterns. It could easely go by the name "taegeuk nine" if it was nine patterns in the set (we all know that they are based on the I-Ching and so there can only be 8 patterns but I digress). The opening moves flow really well, both application wise as well as performance wise.

It also contains some unique charachteristics like techniques for dissengaging, wich are mostly absent from the other forms in our system. I see the opening block as a defense against a haymaker punch to the face, the backward hand traps the attacking limb and controls it (the hand at solar plexus height), while simultanious striking the throat with the knife hand. Then you strike the throat again with a half closed fist, breaking the oponents knee with a powerfull sidekick, locks the arm with an underhook with your right arm, and punching him with the left arm (this is the horse stance cross block section of the pattern).

As you can see this pattern has a lot to offer for the Taekwondo students and I strongly recomend that we reclaim our past and start to include this pattern in our syllabus once again. If not as an official pattern, it can at least become one additional pattern for self study if the students wish so. Do not deprive the students this oppurtunity:)

Thats it for now, but stay tuned for more:)

1 comment:

  1. Update: I sendt a message to Master Cook (Coock was a spelling error by the way) and asked him about his book. He now told me that it should be out in 2013. I guess we have to wait a little longer:-p