There are many fundamental principles that have been used in both Taekwondo development and training. The main topics at this time are the speed-over-power, agility-over-stability, and dynamic distance control principles.

First, most circular movements of Tae Kkyon were not directly passed down to Tae Kwon Do; however, its narrow stance, explosive strike from relaxed state, rhythmic movements, high kicks, and dynamic distance control principle were directly incorporated.

The speed-over-power principle in Taekwondo simply states that power comes from speed. In order to accelerate anything, the initial state has to be totally relaxed, yet ready to expand. All of Taekwondo movements have to start from this relaxed state. Therefore, all of the body muscles should be relaxed at the initial stage, but ready to generate explosive acceleration, hence generating greater force at impact.

The question becomes, "How do we achieve this using human body?" The answer to this question is the first step to Taekwondo training and perhaps one of the last steps.

First, the body weight should be mostly supported by the balls (including toes and cuneiforms) of feet throughout various dynamic movements. Well-trained practitioners rarely put any weight on the heels during the transitional stages. Note that one should feel the firmly pressed toes, balls, cuneiforms at the moment of transferring the highest potential energy up through the bone and muscle alignment for the greater kinetic energy accumulation.  It is important to master how to shift the weight distribution on foot from resting (relaxing heels down) to dynamic stages; this includes how to generate momentum from ground (i.e. feet firmly rooted) and accumulate it throughout the body, hence delivering an amplified force at impact.  Prior to any dynamic stepping exercises, the practitioner may want to understand the accumulation of potential energy by repeated exercises of bending and straightening the knees while firmly pressing down the feet (all of toes, balls, cuneiforms, and heels) as if preparing for greatest jumps. Note that how to distribute the whole body weight on feet for daily walking is a different topic entirely.

Second, any impact-delivering body part should become hardened by tensing the muscles at the impact stage, not from the initial stage. It is true that many martial artists tense their muscles from the initial stage, but this is simply a demonstration of spiritual readiness, not a proper technique. Note that experienced martial artists may be able to tense, relax, and strike (tensing at impact), but it is generally not recommended because this simply adds one more step to the technique execution. The bottom line is that one should be able to strike multiple times with a rhythm of continuous relaxing-contracting muscle movements.

The speed-over-power principle in Taekwondo further states that it is advantageous to get to the target first as long as the technique delivers enough impact disorienting the opponent or shifting the center of gravity.

These basic aspects of the speed-over-power principle have laid the foundation for the fast and straight lined movements of Taekwondo. Furthermore, mass training requirements have further promoted the simplicity of straight lined movements and more systematic approaches.

The agility over stability principle in Taekwondo states that it takes less time and energy to shift the center of gravity of the agile system than the one of the stable system. One of greatest martial artists' characteristics is their incredible speed in shifting the center of gravity. In order to quickly shift the center of gravity, it is advantageous to have a narrow stance.

The narrow stance means that the feet should not be apart more than the shoulder width in most initial, transitional, forward, and backward stances. In fact, the feet of well-trained practitioners almost always appear to be very close (side by side) in the forward or backward deep stances when they are viewed from the front or back. In this way, all of their techniques including kicks may directly come from the most inner-centerline of the body. For instance, the narrow (width) deep (forward or backward) stance will provide great agility, enough muscle growth posture, and enough speed accumulating distance while providing just enough stability, hence demonstrating the agility-over-stability principle.

The dynamic distance control principle in Taekwondo states that it is advantageous to dynamically control the distance so that one may strike while the opponent is not able to. This is the subject that only the elite of Taekwondo masters fully understand and know how to execute correctly.

In a nutshell, this can be achieved by skillfully positioning the feet (stepping in and out) with undetectable intent and applying sliding/jumping/flying techniques. Most Taekwondo practitioners are familiar with these techniques although only the elite can perform them flawlessly.

For the sliding/jumping/flying techniques, one is basically using the whole body weight with higher kinetic energy. The whole body always weighs more than just an arm or leg.

By applying the dynamic distance control principle for many years of training, the practitioners will develop the CG shift expertise, superior muscle readiness, and exquisite brain neuron connectivity that help dominate the opponents.

Summing up these principles, we find very unique minimum requirements for Taekwondo training:



Color Belt

  1. Taegeuk 1 - Origin of All Things
  2. Taegeuk 2 - Inner Fortitude and Outer Gentleness
  3. Taegeuk 3 - Heart of Fire
  4. Taegeuk 4 - Dignity of Thunder
  5. Taegeuk 5 - Pride of Wind
  6. Taegeuk 6 - Endless Flexibility of Water
  7. Taegeuk 7 - Fortitude of Mountain
  8. Taegeuk 8 - The End and New Beginning

Black Belt

  1. Koryo - Spirit of Scholar Warrior
  2. Keumgang - Quality of Iron Mountain
  3. Taebaek - Holy Mountain of All Mankind
  4. Pyongwon - Peace in Great Land
  5. Sipjin - Prosperity in Faith, Hope, and Love
  6. Jitae - All Human Endeavor on Earth
  7. Cheonkwon - Unlimited Power of Heaven
  8. Hansu - Great Water (Origin of Life)
  9. Ilyeo - Spiritual Unity of Body and Mind


Note that there could be several different ways to translate the meanings of these forms.