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About Tang Soo Do Hyeong 당수도

Poomse is the foundation for the teaching of Taekwondo. A poomse, or form, is a detailed pattern of defense-and-attack motions and techniques used in traditional martial arts. Poomse is useful in developing proper kinetics, mental and physical fortitude.

 There are several different Tang Soo Do organizations around the world, but they generally follow a similar course with regard to hyeong. Most Tang Soo Do hyeong are related by borrowing from Japanese/Okinawan kata, with the names often directly translated from the Japanese. For more information see Tang Soo Do.


Some schools teach new students the gicho/kicho, "basic," hyeong:

  • (Kicho) Hyeong Il Bu
  • (Kicho) Hyeong Ee Bu
  • (Kicho) Hyeong Sam Bu
  • (Kicho) Hyeong Sa Bu

The Kicho hyeong are extremely similar to the Taikyoku kata developed by Yoshitaka Funakoshi (son of the Japanese karate master Gichin Funakoshi). The embusen used are the same, the stances are the Tang Soo Do equivalent, and the blocks and strikes are virtually identical. There is great reason to believe that Hwang Kee based his Korean Kicho hyeong on the Japanese Taikyoku kata.

The Kicho hyeong were developed as a basic, simple form for beginners. The symbol used in Tang Soo Do for the Kicho hyeong is a human baby learning to walk. The pattern is also visible in the increasingly complex forms that follow. Hwang Kee used these forms to teach applications of basic moves and techniques. These forms are also influenced by the Wa Ka Ryu style of southern China. These and the Pyung Ahn forms to follow are characterized by speed, aggressiveness, dynamic action, and quick reaction.

Sae Kye

The World Tang Soo Do Association has modified the Kicho Hyeong, adding some kicks to it:

  • Sae Kye Hyeong Il Bu
  • Sae Kye Hyeong E Bu
  • Sae Kye Hyeong Sam Bu

Pyong Ahn

The Pyong Ahn hyung are a series of five forms cognate in many ways to the pinan kata series of karate. They were reorganized by Master Itosu, an Okinawan practitioner of Te and mentor of Funakoshi Gichin. They were originally a single form called Jae Nam. To make them easier to learn and safer for younger practitioners, the form was divided, and the more dangerous and lethal techniques were removed. These newly organized hyung were designed as training forms to prepare for Kong Sang Koon (Kusanku). For a more comprehensive description of these hyung see Pinan Kata.

  • Pyong Ahn Cho Dan: The first of the Pyong Ahn series that most practitioners learn, much of this form is a combination of gicho hyung il bu and ee bu. This form also employs low knife-hand blocks (ha dan soo do mahk kee). It is also the first hyung to incorporate multiple techniques per count (the low block/middle knife hand block combination).
  • Pyong Ahn Ee Dan: This hyeong is one count/technique longer than the other low-rank forms, due to one of its techniques, a side kick (yup podo cha gi), which is performed in two counts, the first to set up and the second to deliver. It is also one of the few low-level hyung to have a ki hap (yell) on the last move. Most forms feature their ki haps between the first and last techniques. The most-often used technique in this hyung is the middle knife-hand block in a back stance (hu gul choong dan soo do mahk kee).
  • Pyong Ahn Sam Dan: The third of the pyong ahn forms, this is also the shortest. While the forms before it involve an I-structure for movement, this form instead goes along an inverted T-structure, cutting out several counts. Its series of outside-inside kicks (ahnesoo pahkuro cha gi) to sideways elbow blocks (pal koop mahk kee) and hammerfist strikes (kwon do kong kyuk) is its most recognizable feature. It also ends with a ki hap.
  • Pyong Ahn Sa Dan: This form starts out much like Pyong Ahn Ee Dan, except that where Pyong Ahn Ee Dan has closed fists on its first blocks, Pyong Ahn Sa Dan has open hands. It is cognate to the Shotokan kata Pinan Yondan.
  • Pyong Ahn O Dan: Cognate to Pinan Godan, this is the final hyung of the series, as well as the most involved. Its key features are cross-legged stances (kyo cha rip jaseh) and a jump followed by a double arm X low block (song soo ha dan mahk kee).

The phrase "pyong ahn" is often translated as "balance and security." These forms are usually taught after the gicho hyung. These forms were reorganized from their original form(called "Jae-Nam") in approximately 1870. In their original state they are run in sequence starting with the second form Pyong Ahn Ee Dan, to Pyong Ahn Cho Dan, and then to Pyong Ahn Sam Dan, Pyong Ahn Sa Dan, and Pyong Ahn O Dan, an order different from the order they are learned. Though designed as open hand forms (weaponless), their versatility allows weapon application very easily. Common adaptations include the sais, jool bong (nunchaku), and bong (fighting staff). These forms show the influence of the southern China martial art style.

The Pyung Ahn hyung can be represented by the tortoise. The tortoise is well balanced, calm, and peaceful (pyung) and it carries its "home" on its back in the form of its shell. These forms are meant as a means of defense and should promote security (ahn). Also like the tortoise, they are meant to inspire longevity through both balance and security.


The Keema hyeong series are borrowed from the naihanchi series of karate, and in fact some schools use the name Naihanchi for these forms. The level at which they are taught varies, but their difficulty and technicality means that they are most often reserved for red/black belts, though not always directly after each other. Hwang Kee assigned the Horse to represent the form. They are:

  • Naihanchi Cho Dan
  • Naihanchi Ee Dan
  • Naihanchi Sam Dan

Bassai/Passai/Palche/Bal Sak

The "Bassai" pattern, meaning "to penetrate a fortress," has cognates in both Chinese, Japanese and Korean martial arts. Moreover, there are many variations upon the two Bassai hyeong present in Tang Soo Do, Bassai(Palche) So and Bassai(Palche) Deh. Some schools only practice Palche De, the "greater" of the two forms. These are usually higher-belt forms. The animal these forms represent is the snake.

Sip Soo/Ship Soo

Meaning "Ten Hands," Ship Soo (or Sip Soo, depending on the Romanization) is cognate to the karate kata Jitte, though there are differences. Traditionally, this hyeong contains only hand techniques (its name can be taken to mean "all hands"), but some styles of Tang Soo Do do include kicking techniques. Its variations are many, and depend on the school, as with all hyeong. This form supposedly represents the bear.


Jinte is a typically high-rank hyeong, whose hanja can be read as "Battle East". The hyeong requires balance with one legged techniques, and is often seen at tournament hyeong competitions.

ITF Tang Soo Do refers to the form as Jintae, instead of Chinto or Jindo.

Chil Sung and Yuk Ro

These two series of hyeong were created by Grandmaster Hwang Kee, who founded the Moo Duk Kwan organization. Chil Sung literally means "Seven Stars" in Korean. These are presumably represented by the seven forms of the series. "Yuk" meaning "six" and "Ro" means "Path". These forms represent the "six paths" taken in connecting the Physical, Mental, and Spiritual in Tang Soo Do/ Soo Bahk Do.

Chil Sung series:

  • Chil Sung Il Ro
  • Chil Sung Ee Ro
  • Chil Sung Sam Ro
  • Chil Sung Sa Ro
  • Chil Sung O Ro
  • Chil Sung Yuk Ro
  • Chil Sung Chil Ro

Yuk Ro series:

  • Yuk Ro Cho Dan (Du Mun)
  • Yuk Ro Ee Dan (Joong Jol)
  • Yuk Ro Sam Dan (Po Wol)
  • Yuk Ro Sa Dan (Yang Pyun)
  • Yuk Ro O Dan (Sahl Chu)
  • Yuk Ro Yuk Dan (Choong Ro)




This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hyeong", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.






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