Koryo, officially the first black belt form, is now required of Danbo students when they test for black belt. Koryo, the name of the dynasty (AD 918-1392) born of the successful wars in which the Hwa Rang of Silla ultimately unified the three kingdoms into one nation, is also the derivation of the English word Korea. Poomse Koryo is a celebration of the courage and fortitude of the early Korean people, who defeated the rampaging Mongolian army which otherwise swept across most of Asia. The line of direction of Poomse Koryo draws the character for Sa, meaning scholar.
Keumgang means 'too strong to be broken', or 'diamond'. The movements of Poomse Keumgang are intended to be as beautiful as the Keumgang-san (the name of a North Korean mountain range) and as strong as Keumgang-seok (diamond). The line of direction of Poomse Keumgang draws the Chinese character for 'mountain.'
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF POOMSE?
According to Grand Master Sang H. Kim, "the keys in practicing Tae Geuk poomse are in managing the internal and external energy properly, and timing - performing with adequate breath, speed and power control. Special attention must be given to the transitional techniques, by shifting the centre of gravity perpendicular to the ground, in order not to lose bodily balance. Each technique must be performed with complete focus and dynamic energy.
The overall purpose of Poomse is to control the breathing, to be synchronized with actions, and to maintain the center of gravity and balance while executing techniques requiring great speed.
Practice forms with intensity and focus as if defending against multiple attackers. Practicing forms helps develop and improve focus and concentration, proper technique, balance, speed, power, creativity, and artistic expression."
THAT CHAMPIONSHIP FORM
Reproduced from Taekwondo: The State of the Art by Master Sung Chul Whang and Master Jun Chul Whang, published by Broadway Books, New York.
[Note: although this is targetted at students who compete in tournaments, it contains advice that is vital for anyone who practices Taekwondo forms - Master Steve]
The following information outlines the most common problem areas in forms. If you master the following criteria, you will have a championship form:
• Practice appropriate ring etiquette.
• Turn your head first before changing directions in your form.
• Break or change speed from movement to movement.
• Start and end in the same spot and perform within the boundaries of the ring.
• Yell loudly at the appropriate moment to demonstrate your confidence and exploit the power of the technique.
• When performing hand techniques, use both hands. For example, during lower blocks, one arm is blocking while the other arm is chambering to the side. These are called simultaneous hand movements.
• Maintain tight fists when punching or blocking.
• Tuck thumbs when performing knife hand attacks or blocks.
• When in a front stance, keep the heel of the back foot down and your back straight.
• Do not take any extra steps when throwing kicks. Many times form practitioners take a small step with the front leg before executing a back leg kick.
• Don't forget to breathe! Exhale when throwing a technique.
• Stay focused and practice hard!