Taebaek Poomse

Taebaek is the required form for 3rd Dan

The 1975 Taekwondo poomse textbook describes Taebaek as follows:
"The mythological story about the founding of Korea says that about four thousand and three hundred years ago, the legendary Dangoon founded the nation for the first time in Taebaek, present-day Mount Baekdoo. Mount Baekdoo is the loftiest and grandest mountain in Korea. As may be understood, Poomse 'Taebaek' has it basic principles of movement from the word Taebaek with the meaning of light and being looked upon as sacred by the Korean people. Mount Baekdoo is regarded as the symbol of Korea.
Therefore, every motion of Poomse 'Taebaek' should be displayed not only precisely and nimbly but also with rigor and a determined will."

The new Kukkiwon Textbook describes Taebaek as follows:
"Taebaek is the name of a mountain with the meaning of'bright mountain', where Tangun, the founder of the nation of Korean people, reined the country, and the bright mountain symbolizes sacredness of soul and Tangun's thought of 'hongik ingan' (humanitarian ideal)."

We have already noted that Taebaek's techniques are a close relative of the Palgwe series, most specifically, Palgwe 4 and 5, so much so that some of us joke that Taebaek should actually be named "Palgwe 9 Jang". This is again no accident, since the focus of the 3rd Dan is or should be going over his or her basics once again, clarifying and sharpening the movements while adding speed to them. This goes with the original philosophy of developing power (in Keumgang) before speed (in Taebaek), and of course the way to develop speed is through thorough knowledge and practice of the basics, which is what Taebaek is all about. The thing that distinguishes a 4th Dan from a 3rd Dan is or should be the depth of knowledge with regard to the basics, as well as speed. When a 3rd Dan has acquired these qualities, then he or she is ready for 4th Dan promotion.

In my opinion, studying the philosophy behind each of the poomse gives additional insight into not only the poomse themselves, but also into the process of developing through the dan ranks. This is why I am against the concept of skip dans, because if one does not spend time at each rank, then the student fails to appreciate the lessons to be learned the different dan levels.

Failing to see the philosophy behind each of the poomse also robs the student and/or the instructor of an opportunity to see what the pioneers felt was important at each level. The pioneers were wise men who knew what they were doing, because they themselves went through the very process that they describe for us in the poomse. Even if you don't practice the poomse themselves, you can still get the lessons of the poomse if you focus on the philosophy of each one, taught at the correct level.

Special thanks to Master Glenn of Hawaii.

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Updated by Hoosain Narker