I am so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying...
-Oscar Wilde

Korea and its Flag

The Korean name for Korea is "Hangeuk" and its people are called "Hangeuksaram". The ancient name for Korea is "Choson", which means literally "the land of morning calm" and comes from the "Choson" (or "Yi") dynasty of Korea's history (1392-1905). The name "Korea" comes from the "Koryu" dynasty of Korea's history (935-1392) during which westerners had their first contact with Korea.

The national anthem of Korea is "Aeguk Ka" ("Love of Country"). It was written during the Japanese occupation of Korea (circa 1905-1945) and was later set to music by Ahn Eak Tai.

The Korean flag is called "Taeguk-ki" and was adopted in August of 1882, not long after the "Hermit Kingdom" opened its front and back doors to foreign aggressive powers. The central theme of the flag is that although there is constant movement within the sphere of infinity, there is also balance and harmony. The flag consists of three parts: a white field (or background), a red and blue circle in the center of the flag (containing a "yin-yang" like symbol), and four black trigrams sorrounding the circle in each of the four corners of the flag.

The circle in the center is called "Taeguk" and means the origin of all things in the universe. The red and blue paisleys within the circle represent eternal duality (heaven-earth, fire-water, good-evil, male- female, dark-light, life-death). The blue portion of the circle is called "um" and represents the negative aspects of this duality; the red portion of the circle is called "yang" and represents the positive aspects. "Um-yang" is the Korean equivalent of "yin-yang".

The four black trigrams come from the Chinese book of "I Ch'ing". The trigrams also carry the idea of opposites and of balance. Each trigram (or "gye") consists of three parallel lines, some of which are broken (split), and some of which are unbroken (solid). Each gye has a specific name and represents one or more concepts: In the upper lefthand corner is "K'un" which consists of all solid lines and represents heaven, east, and spring; In the lower righthand corner is "K'on" which consists of all broken lines and represents earth, west, and summer; In the upper righthand corner is "Kam" which consists of one solid line sorrounded by two broken lines and represents water, north, and winter; In the lower lefthand corner is "I" which consists of one broken line sorrounded by two solid lines and represents fire, south, and autumn.

Definition of TaeKwonDo

"Tae" means "foot" or "to strike with the feet". "Kwon" means "hand", or "to strike with the hand". "Do" means discipline, art, or way. Hence TaeKwonDo (foot-hand-way) means literally "the art of the feet and the hands" or "the art of kicking and punching". Different schools and/or styles may impose different variations on the formal definition however. For example, some styles add the words "self defense" to the literal definition and/or throw in some form of the phrase "physical and mental training".

Korean Counting

There are two different numbering systems that are used by Koreans. The first numbering system is used when counting, or when only speaking of the numbers themselves. The first ten numbers in this system are as follows:

    1 : hanah
    2 : dool
    3 : set
    4 : net
    5 : dasot
    6 : yasot
    7 : ilgop
    8 : yadol
    9 : ahop
    10 : yool

The stress in "hanah", "dasot", and "yasot" is on the first syllable, in "ilgop", "yadol", and "ahop" on the second. In counting cadence in TaeKwonDo, this is so emphasized that the other syllable frequently almost disappears (e.g., "han", "das", "yos", "lgop", "hop", etc.).

The other numbering system (which is of Chinese origin) is used in most other cases and is often used where Americans would use ordinal numbers (such as "first", "second", etc ...):

    1 : il
    2 : ee
    3 : sahm
    4 : sah
    5 : oh
    6 : ryook
    7 : chil
    8 : pal
    9 : koo
    10 : ship

Even though this second numbering system may correspond to ordinal numbers in English in some cases, these are not ordinal numbers. Koreans use a separate set of words for ordinal numbers.

Basic Body Parts

    mom : body
    kwanjeol : joint
    ulgool : face & head
    muh ree : head
    noon : eye
    gui : ear
    ko : nose
    in joong : philtrum
    eep : mouth
    tuhk : chin
    mokoomeong : throat
    mok : neck
    ouka : shoulder
    myung chi : solar plexus
    pahl : arm
    pahlkup : elbow
    pahlmahk : forearm
    ahn pahlmahk : inner side of forearm
    bahkat pahlmahk : outer side of forearm
    meet pahlmahk : palm side of forearm
    wi pahlmahk : back side of forearm
    deung pahlmahk : back of forearm
    sahnmahk : wrist
    sahn : hand
    sahnkal : outside edge of hand (knifehand)
    sahnkal deung : inside edge of hand (ridgehand)
    sahn deung : back hand
    joomok : fist
    sahnkahrak : finger
    sahnkeut : fingertip
    momtong : trunk (middle section)
    huri : waist
    ahrae : lower body (low section)
    noolro : groin
    dahree : leg
    mooreup : knee
    ahp jung kang yi : shin
    bahl mahk : ankle
    bahl : foot (or feet)
    bahldung : instep
    bahlbong oh ri : arch of foot
    bahl nahl : outside edge of foot
    an bahl nahl : inside edge of foot
    bahl badak : sole of foot
    ahp chook : ball of foot
    dwi koomchi : heel
    dwi chook : bottom of heel
    bahlkeut : toes

Tenets of TaeKwonDo

    ye ui : courtesy
    yom chi : integrity
    in nae : perseverance
    kuk gi : self-control (also "jah jeh")
    baekjool : indomitable spirit (also "boolgool eui jung shin")

Body Movements

    mom omgigi : movement of the body
    mahki : block
    chagi : kick
    chirugi : thrust (or punch)
    chigi : strike (with the hand)
    jeek gi : strike (with the foot)
    bahk gi : strike (with the head)
    sahn ki sool : hand technique
    bahl ki sool : foot technique
    kyorugi : sparring
    bituro : twisting
    gamya : stepping (also "omkyuh didigi")
    kuht neun : walking
    uro : moving in a particular direction (e.g. "ahp uro gamya" - stepping forward)
    bang hyang bakoogi : changing direction
    bitkyuh surgi : escaping
    tdwim yu : jumping
    dora : to turn
    dolmyo : spinning
    mee keul myu : sliding (also "mee kul gi")
    jupgi : holding/grabbing
    donzigi : throwing
    goorugi : rolling/tumbling
    pyihagi : dodging
    hecho : spreading
    moyo : gathering
    bojoo : covering


    oh-ruen : right
    wen : left
    ahp : front
    ahn : inner
    bahkat : outer
    bahndae : reverse
    dwi : back
    ahnuro : inward
    bahkuro : outward
    whee : high (up)
    whee uro : upward
    guande : middle
    ulgool : high section
    momtong : middle section
    ahrae : low section


    kagup : rank
    gup : grade
    dan : degree
    simsa : grading (or promotional) test
    simsa kwan : examiner
    dan gup jedo : system of rank

Hand Positions

    sahnkal : knifehand
    sahnkal jecho : knifehand with palm up
    sahnkal deung : ridgehand (also "oppun sahnkal")
    sahn bahtong : palm heel (also "bahtong sahn")
    sahn deung : back hand (also "deung sahn")
    ah keum sahn : arc hand
    galkwi sahn : ripping (or raking) hand
    jipke sahn : pincers hand
    joomok : fist
    deung joomuk : back fist
    yup joomuk : side fist
    me joomuk : hammer-fist
    inju joomuk : forefinger one-knuckle fist
    bamchu joomuk : middle-finger one-knuckle fist
    doo bam joomuk : two-knuckle fist
    pyun joomuk : flat (or open) fist
    omji joomuk : thumb-knuckle fist
    kwan soo : spearhand (also "pyun sahnkeut")
    sahnkeut : spearfinger
    gawi sahnkeut : scissors-shaped spearfingers

Hand Attacks

    bahro chirugi : straight (return) punch
    bahndae chirugi : reverse punch
    gullgi chirugi : hook punch
    yung seuk chirugi : combination (consecutive) punch
    doo bun chirugi : double punch
    sae bun chirugi : triple punch
    sahnkeut chirugi : spearfinger thrust
    sewo chirugi : vertical punch
    gotjang chirugi : vertical fist punch
    dolrya chirugi : round punch
    dwijubo chirugi : upset punch
    soteum chirugi : spring punch
    nehryuh chirugi : downward punch
    chi chirugi : uppercut punch
    jae chuh chirugi : upper punch (also "jae chin chirugi")
    doo joomuk chirugi : doublefist punch
    dikootja chirugi : `U' (or `C') shaped punch (hi-lo)
    sosum chirugi : double uppercut punch
    keumgang chirugi : diamond-shaped punch
    nalgeh chirugi : wing-shaped punch


    momtong bahkat mahki : outer forearm block
    momtong ahn mahki : inner forearm block
    sahng palmahk mahki : twin forearm block
    ahnuro mahki : inward block
    bahkuro mahki : outward block
    ahrae mahki : low block
    cho kyo mahki : rising block
    daebi mahki : guarding block
    bituro mahki : twisting block
    kahwi mahki : scissors block
    keumgang mahki : diamond-shaped (Hercules) block
    gutjha mahki : `9'-shaped block (cross block)
    yeot pero mahki : `X'-shaped block (also "kyo cha mahki")
    santeul mahki : mountain-shaped block (also "osanteul mahki")
    weh santeul mahki : part mountain-shaped block
    utgallruyuh mahki : cross block (also "utgiruh mahki")
    hechuh mahki : scattered block (or wedge block)
    hwang so mahki : ox (or "bull") block
    bahtangsahn nooluh mahki : pressing down block
    deuluh oll ryu mahki : upward scooping fist block


    apcha olligi : stretching kick
    jillo chagi : thrusting kick
    ahp chagi : front kick
    yup chagi : side kick
    dolyo chagi : round (roundhouse) kick
    dwi chagi : back kick
    bahndae dolrya chagi : reverse round kick
    dwi dolrya chagi : back round kick
    gullgi chagi : hook kick (also "golcho chagi" or "golro chagi")
    bahndall chagi : crescent kick (outside in)
    hoohrio bahcatchagi : crescent kick (inside out)
    beet chagi : slant (or instep) kick
    bahn dolrya chagi : half round kick (also "instep kick")
    beakya chagi : slap kick
    nehryuh chagi
    : ax kick; literally "downward foot strike"( also chigga chagi)
    hwe jun chagi : swing kick
    miruh chagi : push kick
    gokwang i chagi : pickax kick
    pyojuk chagi : target kick
    dolmyo chagi : spinning kick
    twiho chagi : jumping kick
    yung seuk chagi : combination (consecutive) kick
    meekulmyu chagi : sliding kick (also "mikulgi chagi")
    goollruh chagi : rolling kick
    natgeh tdwim yu chagi : hopping kick
    nalla chagi : flying kick (also "goong jung chagi")
    gahwi chagi : scissors kick
    illja chagi : linear kick
    japgo chagi : holding (grasp) kick
    ohpo chagi : falling kick (leg sweep)
    nachu oh chagi : stooping kick


    sohgi : stance
    jah seh : posture (or stance) [used instead of "sohgi" in some styles]
    ahnjun sohgi : sitting stance
    ahp ghubee
    : front stance

    dwi ghubee
    : back stance

    beom sohgi : cat (or tiger) stance (also "goyang-i sohgi")
    aph sohgi : walking stance
    juchoom sohgi : horseback riding stance ("kima sohgi" in some styles)
    mot sohgi : fighting stance
    kyorugi sohgi : sparring stance (also kyorugi choon bi)
    choon bi sohgi : ready stance (also "pyeonhi sohgi")
    gibon sohgi : basic stance
    guande sohgi : middle stance
    naranhee sohgi : parallel stance
    niun ja sohgi : `L'-stance
    gojang sohgi : fixed (lower-back) stance
    sa sun sohgi : diagonal stance
    gyuttari sohgi : fixed balance (or bent knee) stance
    koh ah sohgi : crossed foot stance
    kyo cha sohgi : `X'-stance
    mo ah sohgi : close stance
    joong-rib sohgi : neutral stance
    dong yuk sohgi : dynamic stance
    cha yun sohgi : natural stance
    chagi sohgi : kicking stance
    hahktari sohgi : crane stance (also "ue bal sohgi")


    kyorugi : (free) sparring
    han bun kyorugi : one step sparring
    doo bun kyorugi : two step sparring
    sae bun kyorugi : three step sparring
    bahn ja yu kyorugi : semi free sparring
    machu oh kyorugi : arranged free sparring
    jeon : round (competition segment)
    shihap : bout or match
    jeum : point
    shi gan : time out
    keum bahk : out of bounds
    kyong go : warning
    gam jeum : deduction of point
    shil kyuk : disqualification
    boo sang : injury
    seung : win
    bi kim : tie
    chung : blue
    hong : red
    hin : white
    jajun bahl : use of footwork to dodge a technique
    nachugi : body evasion by "ducking"


    poomse : form (pronounced "poom-say"), also "hyung"
    tul : patterns
    jang : similar to a page or a chapter
    yung seuk : combination
    sa bang hyang : four direction


    dhee : belt
    dobok : uniform
    ha'i : training pants


    hogoo : chest protector (also "bohogoo")
    sahn boho jang kap : protective gloves
    pahlmahk bohodae : forearm guard
    jung kang yi bohodae : shin guard
    nang shim bohodae : groin cup
    muh ree bohodae : protective head gear
    eep bohodae : mouth guard


    cha ryuht : attention
    choon bi : ready
    bah ro : return to starting position
    dwi uro dorah : about face
    dorah : turn
    elosoh : stand
    gomahn : stop (also "mum cho")
    geuk gi hyang ha yoh : face the flag
    jwa woo hyang woo : face each other
    sah bum nim keh : face instructor/master
    sun bae nim keh : face senior student
    simsa kwan nim keh : face examiner/tester
    dobok dahnjung : fix your uniform
    dhee dahnjung : fix your belt
    hai sahn : class dismissed (also "hae cho")
    jonglee : line up (also "ji hap" and "jung yul")
    kyung nae : bow
    ahnjoe : sit
    kool o angi : kneel (kneeling)
    bah ro angi : sit in lotus position (yoga posture)
    bahl bah kwah : switch your stance (switch your feet)
    koo ryung op see : in your own time
    seijak : begin
    shiuh : relax
    kalyeo : break (or stop)
    kae sok : continue

Common Phrases

    ye : yes (also "ne")
    anio : no
    kahm sa hamnida : thank you
    komap sumnida : less formal form of "thank you"
    cheon maeneyo : you're welcome (literally "Don't mention it!")
    cheuk ka hamnida : congratulations!
    ahnyong hasimnika : How are you? (literally "Are you well?" or "Are you at peace?")
    ahnyong hasayo : less formal form of "How are you?"
    yoboseyo : hello (used on the phone or to get someone's attention; literally "Please look here!")
    ahnyonghee gasipsiyo : good-bye (to the person who is leaving); literally "Go in peace!"
    ahnyonghee gyesipsiyo : good-bye (to the person who is staying); literally "Stay in peace!"
    ahnyonghee gasayo : less formal form of "good-bye" (to the person who is leaving)
    ahnyonghee gyesayo : less formal form of "good-bye" (to the person who is staying)
    pangap seumnida : Pleased to meet you!
    toh poepkeseoyo : See you later!
    eoseo osayo : Welcome!
    choesong hamnida : I'm sorry
    mian hamnida : less formal form of "I'm sorry!"
    shillye hamnida : Excuse me! (asking forgiveness for an impolite act)
    kwaen chanayo : That's all right
    ahlge seoyo : I understand
    moreuge seoyo : I don't understand
    chaemi isseoyo : It is fun (or interesting)!


    do joo nim : founder (of the art)
    kwan jang nim : grandmaster
    chung sah nim : chief instructor (or "chief master")
    sah bum nim : instructor (or "master")
    sah boo nim : more intimate and respectful form of "sah bum nim"; literally "teaching father"
    kyo sah nim : teacher (also "seon saeng nim")
    sun bae nim : senior student
    hu bae nim : junior student
    hak saeng : student
    suryun saeng : trainee
    jeja : pupil
    joo sim : referee
    bu sim : judge
    bae sim : juror
    kae sim : time keeper
    ki rohk : recorder


    dojang : place where one trains (house of discipline)
    gong-kyok : offense
    hosinsool : self-defense
    mukyum : meditation
    kihap : spirited yell
    jung shin yuk : mental strength, or martial art spirit (also "moodo jung shin")
    jung shin dong il : concentration of the mind
    jung shin soo yang : development (training) of the mind
    jung do : the "right" way (correctness of action)
    sim shin dahn ryun : mind and body discipline
    chung myung kwon : development (training) of the body, mind, and spirit
    chi shik : knowledge of mind and thoughts
    heng dong : execution (action) of the body and its techniques
    pil seung : certain victory

    ho hyoop : breathing
    shim ho hyoop : breathing control (deep breathing)
    himm : force or power
    ki : life-energy
    dahnjun : the center of your "ki"
    bokboo : the stomach area where "ki" is generated.
    choong sim : center of gravity
    chojum : focus (focal point) of your energy
    jeung ga : increase (to strengthen or augment)
    kyuk pa : breaking (the art of breaking boards, bricks, and tiles)
    shibum : demonstration (or exhibition)
    pyugi : stretching
    ye jol : etiquette
    jon gyung : respect
    choong sung : loyalty (also "eui ri")
    jung jhik : honesty
    kahjok : family