Taegeuk (in World Taekwondo Federation, or WTF, Taekwondo) refers to a set of poomsae used to create a foundation for the teaching of Taekwondo. A pumsae, or form, is represented by 形 or 型 and is a detailed pattern of defense-and-attack motions and techniques used in traditional martial arts. The word Taegeuk (the Korean pronunciation of Taiji/T'ai Chi) refers to the important principle in east Asian Taoist thought of the union of yin and yang.
All students studying in WTF Kukkiwon style must learn these forms, or Taegeuk, to advance to a higher belt level. There are eight Taegeuk forms, each one similar to the previous one, but each time with more complicated techniques to display the students' mastery of the techniques learned during lessons, as well as the ability to interconnect these techniques.
Each Taegeuk form symbolizes a specific state thought to be indicative of the belt the student currently holds, and is represented in WTF Taekwondo by trigrams similar to those found in the four corners of the South Korean flag.
In order to receive a black belt, the student must perform all Taegeuk forms consecutively.
Each Dan (degree of black belt) also has its own associated form, required for belt testing. The first degree form for the WTF is called Koryo.
The Palgwe forms are a slightly older, somewhat similar supplemental group of WTF pumsae. There are eight Palgwe forms that also represent eight trigrams from I-Ching.
The International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) has its own sequence of pumsae. They are named after figures from Korean history. The first nine, which are required for 1st degree black belt, are named after significant Korean historical figures or concepts: Chonji, Dangun, Dosan, Wonhyo, Yulgok, Junggon, Toegye, Hwarang, and Chungmu.
Various schools sometimes insert one of a variety of other forms before the first taegeuk, taegeuk il-jang.
|Belt level||Name||Symbol||Techniques introduced|
|8th Geup||태극 1장 (Taegeuk Il-jahng)||☰, "天", "건", "Heaven, Light"||
|7th Geup||태극 2장 (Taegeuk Ee-jahng)||☱, "澤", "태", "Lake"||
|6th Geup||태극 3장 (Taegeuk Sam-jahng)||☲, "火", "이", "Fire"||
|5th Geup||태극 4장 (Taegeuk Sa-jahng)||☳, "雷", "진", "Thunder"||
|4th Geup||태극 5장 (Taegeuk O-jahng)||☴, "風", "손", "Wind"||
|3rd Geup||태극 6장 (Taegeuk Yuk-jahng)||☵, "水", "감", "Water"||
|2nd Geup||태극 7장 (Taegeuk Chil-jahng)||☶, "山", "간", "Mountain"||
|1st Geup||태극 8장 (Taegeuk Pal-jahng)||☷, "地", "곤", "Earth"||