SUNLAND MARTIAL ARTS
Courtesy of Brandon Nixon
This may also be found at Brandon’s website:
The original Korean martial art Taekyon is now known as Taekwondo.
Master Sung Bok Kim has taught the Martial Arts in Korea since the early
1970’s. He now brings his expertise to the United States where he teaches
at a popular martial arts studio in Sunland, California.
Master Kim holds 7th dan in Tae Kwon Do, 7th dan in Hap Ki Do, 7th dan in
Judo, and 7th dan in Kumdo (weapons).
Master Kim has taught in Sunland since 1999. His class now boasts more
than 60 students and produced twenty First Dan belts, three Second, one
third and one fourth Dan Students.
His teaching includes incorporates all the four style techniques, namely
Tae Kwon Do, Hap Ki Do, Judo, and weapons. The program includes
sparring techniques as well.
The weapons taught include the use of the long staff (stick), Nun chucks,
and the Sword. The weapons are taught more extensively to the black belt
The following is some information about what is involved with Taekwondo:
Although each taekwondo club or school will be different, a taekwondo
student can typically expect to take part in most or all of the following:
Learning the techniques and curriculum of taekwondo
Both anaerobic and aerobic workout, including stretching
Poomse, or patterns (also called forms) -- either tul, hyung, palgwe, or
A hyung, poomsae or tul (casually referred to as forms) is a martial arts
form that is typically used in in a Korean. A hyung is a performance of a
sequence of typical techniques from the martial art, either with or without
the use of a weapon. This sequence is sometimes called "imaginary
fighting" as it involves pre-determined and choreographed routines,
sequences and patterns which resemble real combat, but are artistically
non-combative or cooperative. These hyungs are performed as a way of
practising basic and advanced techniques in the martial art as well as in
open competitions. In competition, routines are evaluated by a panel of
master-level judges who base the score on many factors including energy,
precision, speed, and control. Many Korean martial arts refer to their forms
as hyung. The most popular of these is Taekwondo. Of these forms, there
are two classifications; creative and standard. Creative forms are created
by the performer are generally more acrobatic in nature. (As an example, a
performer may break several boards that have been arranged in a shape.)
The early standard forms are more true to the original basics of their time
period of martial art.
Kyorugi (Sparing), including 3,2 and 1 step-sparring and/or free-style,
arranged, point, hoshinsul and much more.
The physical nature of sparring naturally varies with the nature of the skills
it is intended to develop
In any sparring match, precautions of some sort must be taken to protect
the participants. These may include wearing protective gear, declaring
certain techniques and targets off-limits, playing slowly or at a fixed speed,
forbidding certain kinds of trickery, or one of many other possibilities.
These precautions have the potential to change the nature of the skill that
is being learned. For example, if one were to always spar with heavily
padded gloves, one might come to rely on techniques that risk breaking
bones in one's hand. Most schools recognize this problem but value
sparring nonetheless because it forces the student to improvise, to think
under pressure, and to keep their emotions under control. Sparring is a
form of training common. Although the precise form varies, it is relatively
free-form fighting, with enough rules, customs, or agreements to make
Breaking (using techniques to break boards for testing, training & martial
Exams to progress to the next rank
A focus on mental & ethical discipline, justice, etiquette, respect, and self
Ranks, belts, and promotion
Like many martial arts, taekwondo has ten student ranks (called a gup, or
geup or kup) and nine or ten black belt ranks Dan, or (degree). New
students begin at 10th gup (white belt) and advance down in number to 1st
At many schools, students then advance into an intermediate rank called
cho dan bo or dan bo, meaning "black belt candidate". After some
prescribed amount of time has passed, the student takes a dan test, after
which the student becomes a 1st dan. ( Sunland does this ).
Dan ranks then increase to a maximum of either 9th dan (ITF) or 10th dan
(Kukkiwon). The Kukkiwon does not allow students under 15 to attain dan
ranks. Instead they earn poom ranks, or "junior black belt". Underage
students may earn up to 4th Poom, and all poom ranks convert
automatically to dan ranks when the student comes of age and passes his
or her next promotion.
The grading in taekwondo consists mainly of patterns, techniques and
theory. The patterns are a display of punching and kicking techniques, and
may also contain others such as breathing and stances. Theory is
displayed verbally and expresses information on Korean words, vital
information (such as vital points and rules) and a general understanding
and knowledge of taekwondo.
Gup ranks and belt colors
The colored belt system is an artifact of Japanese influence on Korea
during the occupation, Some organizations' leaders, l assigned meanings
to the various colors of the ranks, representing the progression of a
student from white, the innocence of a beginner, into the maturity of the
black belt, who is impervious to darkness and fear. The interpretation of
the colors of the belt vary from school to school, and are sometimes
omitted from instruction, as they did not have meaning when they were
originally chosen. Neither the World Taekwondo Federation nor the
Kukkiwon assign official meanings to the colors.
The correspondence of belt color to Gup varies drastically from school to
school, and can even change within the same school over time. Belt colors
are most useful in allowing students and instructors within a school to
quickly determine rank.
Taekwondo practitioners should always refer to their rank by number ("7th
Gup") instead of by belt color.
In most schools, the method by which colors are assigned for intermediate
belt rankings (odd-numbered Gup) is far less uniform. The three most
common approaches are: creating a new color for each odd rank (such as a
purple or orange belt for 7th Gup), marking the increase of rank with a stripe
on the belt, or wearing a "mixed" belt blending the two neighboring even-
numbered colors together. There is little uniformity between schools in the
new created colors, or how the "mixed" belts are created. The system
commonly used by the Kukkiwon schools outside the USA includes only 5
colored belts (white, yellow, blue, green, and red) with two levels of each
color indicated by a stripe on the belt. Including the first white belt brings
the total to 9 Gups to 1st Degree black belt.
Even the typical even-numbered Gup colors are sometimes altered or
omitted, and even the names of the same color can vary from school to
school (for example, calling it a "gold belt" instead of a yellow belt).
Because of this large variety in color naming systems, for clarity.
The time required to advance in each Gup level also varies from school to
school, but typical rates are quarterly or monthly. Not all students advance
at each promotional testing, and students at advanced Gup ranks often
wait one or more testing periods for their next promotion. Students with
good attendance and strong aptitude may earn faster promotions than
those with irregular attendance or effort. Gup rank advancement records
are usually kept by the school of origin, and sometimes by the association
There are forms associated with each Gup:
10-8(Hyung) Shorin-Ryu Basic Taekwondo Forms 7-1 (Taegeuk) WTF
Gup Form Sunland Belt Color
10th Kee Cho Hyung ll basic 1 White Belt
9th Kee Cho Hyung Ee basic 2 Yellow
8th Kee Cho Hyung Sam basic 3 Orange
7th Taegeuk ll Jang Green
6th Taegeuk Ee Jang Blue
5th Taegeuk Sam Jang Blue w/stripe
4th Taegeuk Sa Jang Red
3rd Taegeuk Oh Jang Red w/stripe
Taegeuk Yook (Yuk) Jang Brown
Taegeuk ChiL Jang
1st Taegeuk PaL Jang Brown w/stripe
Dan bo (Black Belt Candidate) Black/Red
Taught the forms for 1st Black Belt Dan ( degree ) See Section on Dan Belts
The Kukkiwon uses poomsaes for patterns. Poomsaes philosophy
originate from the book 'I Ching', a Chinese oracle. The I Ching has 64
hexagrams, a combination of two sets of three lines, closed or broken. The
sets of three lines are called trigrams. The closed lines represent Yang, the
open lines Yin. In the Chinese language, the unity of Yin and Yang is called
'taich'i'. In the Korean language, the unity is called Tae-geuk. This explains
the term Poomsae Taegeuk. The eight trigrams together are called Pal-gwe
as in Poomsae Palgwe.
Some most Kukkiwon schools will use the Poomsae Taegeuk whereas
other schools will use the Poomsae Palgwe. The meanings, trigrams and
symbols are shared by both Poomsae Taegeuk and Poomsae Palgwe,
however the sequence of movements is different. The first 8 forms of the
set of Poomsae differ from each other, whereas the last 9 forms of the set
are shared between the two sets.
The official forms for Kukki-Taekwondo, as mandated by the Kukkiwon
(World Taekwondo Headquarters), are the Taegeuk Poomsae. Poomsae is
sometimes written as Poomse, however this would lead to an incorrect
pronunciation as the Hangul for the term uses the same Jamo as the Tae in
Taekwondo, not the sound "Sey" (comparison: Teh-kwon-do not Tay-kwon-
do nor Tie-kwon-do). However, many dialects of Korean pronounce the
jamo ae and e almost identically.
Taegeuk Il Jang/Palgwe Il Jang
The general meaning of this form and associated trigram is Yang, which
represents Heaven and Light. Also, this trigram has a relationship to South
and Father. The first Taegeuk form is the beginning of all Poomsaes, the
"birth" of the martial artist into Taekwondo. This Poomsae should be
performed with the greatness of Heaven.
Taegeuk Ee Jang/Palgwe Ee Jang
The associated trigram of this poomsae represents the Lake. Also, related
to the symbol is South East and the relationship of the youngest daughter.
The movements of this Taegeuk/Palgwe are aimed to be performed
believing that man has limitations, but that we can overcome these
limitations. The Lake and its water symbolize the flowing and calm nature
of the martial artist. This form is to reflect those attributes.
Taegeuk Sam Jang/Palgwe Sam Jang
This trigram represents Fire. Related to this symbol is also East and the
relationship of the Second Daughter. Fire contains a lot of energy. The
symbol behind the fire is similar to the symbolism of the water in that both
can aid and both can destroy. This form is intended to be performed
rhythmically, with some outbursts of energy to reflect fire's rhythmic and
Taegeuk Sa Jang/Palgwe Sa Jang
This trigram represents Thunder. Also, the trigram is strongly connected to
northeast and the relationship of the Eldest son. Thunder comes from the
sky and is absorbed by the earth, thus, according to the beliefs of the I
Ching, thunder is one of the most powerful natural forces. This poomse is
associated with power and the connection between the heavens and earth.
This poomse is intended to be performed with power resembling the
Thunder for which it is named.
Taegeuk Oh Jang/Palgwe Oh Jang
The trigram associated with this poomse represents Wind. The trigram is
also related to southwest and the relationship with an eldest daughter. The
I Ching promotes that wind is a gentle force, but can sometimes be furious,
destroying everything in its path. As such, it is intended that this poomse
is performed like the wind: gently, but knowing the ability of mass
destruction with a single movement. The performer and audience should
be aware of the duality of the form.
Taegeuk Yook (Yuk)Jang/Palgwe Yook Jang
The trigram associated with this poomse represents Water. Also, there is a
relation to West and the relationship with a Second son. The movements of
this Poomsae are intended to be performed like water; flowing, powerful
and cleansing. Sometimes standing still like water in a lake, sometimes
thriving as a river, sometimes powerful like a waterfall. The water is to
symbolize calm and cleansing, while also possessing the attribute of being
violent and destructive.
Taegeuk Chil Jang/Palgwe Chil Jang
The trigram associated with this poomse represents a Mountain. Also, it
represents the northwest and youngest son. The symbolism behind the
mountain is the indomitable and majestic nature that all mountains
possess. This Poomsae is intended to be performed with the feeling that all
movements are this majestic due to their unconquerable nature.
Taegeuk Pal Jang/Palgwe Pal Jang
The trigram associated with this poomsae represents the Earth. Also, there
is a representation of North and Mother. The associated trigram of this
Poomsae is Yin. Yin, here, represents the end of the beginning, the evil part
of all that is good. This being the last of the Poomsae Taegeuk, it
represents the end of the circle and the cyclic nature of the Earth.
Dan Belts (Where many believe that Taekwondo really begins)
The black belt system is more formal and standardized across the different
schools of taekwondo. Generally, a dan black belt is either an unadorned
black belt (the same for all ranks), or has a stripe across the tip for each
rank (usually gold, silver, red or white). For example, a 5th dan could have
five lateral gold stripes across the end of the belt. Some schools instead
write the Dan degree in Roman numerals. Many black belts also have the
name of the school on the right side of the belt, and the taekwondo
practitioner's name on the left. The names can be written in any language,
though having the school's name in Korean and the practitioner's name in
his native language is common.
In the ITF, the maximum rank is 9th Dan; in the Kukkiwon, it is 10th Dan.
According to General Choi, "The reason for nine black belt degrees is that
the number three is a powerful number in the orient, and therefore three
threes must be the most powerful." The 10th dan in the Kukkiwon is a very
rare rank, generally awarded posthumously only to persons who have
made great contributions to taekwondo. It is not the same as an honorary
10th dan. The Kukkiwon has only awarded five standard 10th dan. The WTF
Member National Associations and the Kukkiwon issue many honorary dan
to political and non-political persons who make a contribution to the
growth of taekwondo.
Generally speaking, one must wait one year per current dan level to
progress to the next level. For example, a 3rd dan must wait three years
before he can progress into 4th dan. There can also be an age requirement.
For example, one must be at least 30 years old to qualify for 6th dan in the
Kukkiwon. The Kukkiwon allows shortened promotion times for
exceptional accomplishments. For example, a practitioner who wins the
World Championships is accorded an 80% discount on both the minimum
time to advance and minimum age requirements, up to a maximum
promotion of 7th dan.Time & Age Limits for Poom or Dan Promotion
Minimum Time Age Limits for Promotion
Start from Dan Start from Poom
Less than 15 Years
1st Poom NA NA
1st to 2nd Less than 15 Years
1 years NA
2 to 3rd Less than 15 Years
2 years NA
3 to 4th Less than 18 Years
3 years NA
15 years and
1st Dan NA NA
1st to 2nd 16 years and
1 year 15 years and above
2 to 3rd 18 years and
2 years 15 years and above
3 to 4th 21 years and
3 years 18 years and above
4 to 5th 25 years and
4 years 22 years and above
5 to 6th 30 years and
5 years 30 years and above
6 to 7th 36 years and
6 years 36 years and above
7 to 8th 44 years and
7 years 44 years and above
8 to 9th 53 years and
8 years 53 years and above
9 to 10th 60 years and
9 years 60 years and above
Testing at black belt level is done significantly different than colored belt
testing. Much of the test requirements are the same, forms and sparring
skills, but the test itself is conducted differently. Up until this time testing
was done most often just with the schools instructor or local high rank. At
black belt level testing is done, in front of the headmaster, and in front of
lots of spectators. Black belt testing is a major event and something to
remember for a lifetime! It's also something great to watch as well!
Black belts are expected to master their own forms as well as knowing all
the previous forms (they are given one or more "surprise" forms from the
previous forms they learned).
They are judged not only on knowing the following but on performance and
delivery with the judges looking at: Taekwondo spirit, Dignity, Quality of
Martial Art, Balance, Accuracy, Harmony, Expression, Completion, Mastery,
Respect, Eye Contact, Kiap, Power and Attitude.
1st Dan –Sunland Martial Arts-- Koryu Yung, Chilkag Makki=blocks,
1 surprise form
bahkat palmahk mahki outer forearm block
ahn palmahk 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
gahwi mahki scissors block
2nd Dan –Sunland Martial Arts-- Palgwe Jang 1-8, Bong Hyong, Sosundo
Bup (sword), 5 surprise forms
Following are the eight Palgwes and their meanings:
Palgwe Il Jang - Concept of Heaven (Keon)
It is symbolic of the beginnings of life, and it is the basic principal of this
Palgwe Ee Jang - Concept of joyfulness (Tae)
It's movements are applied when the practitioner is in a gentle, yet strong state of
Palgwe Sam Jang - Concept of fire (Ri)
It is symbolic of one's passion, flickering and flaring at different intervals, and
engulfing everything in it's path. From this hyung the practitioner learns to
develop a multitude of quick, successive techniques.
Palgwe Sa Jang - Concept of thunder (Jin)
Thunder evokes fear in many people, and this hyung uses this principal to teach
the practitioner to be calm, even in the face of impending danger, this form also
combines strikes and blocks in such a manner that they instantly follow each
other, similar to the relationship of thunder and lightning.
Palgwe Oh Jang - Concept of wind (Seon)
Wind is an element of nature which can be gentle or destructive. This form
teaches the student to combine and alternate gentleness with strength and
Palgwe Yuk Jang - Concept of water (Gam)
Water is an element that never looses it's composure, and this leads to it's
inherent strength. This hyung teaches the student that they can overcome any
problems in life without sacrificing their state of being.
Palgwe Chil Jang - Concept of mountains (San)
Mountains are stable bodies, high and majestic in character, but with definite
stopping places. This hyung is symbolic of a conservative approach to one's life
ambitions and promote the practice of not living in a hasty manner.
Palgwe Pal Jang - Concept of earth (Gon)
This hyung is designed to summarize the seven previous hyung, as well as to
introduce several new techniques. At this stage, the practitioner reviews all
previous material before making the transition to the black belt level
3rd Dan --- Yoon-Bee, Ship Soo, 10 surprise forms
4th Dan --- Ja-oon, Chul Gee Sam Dan, all other forms (18 in all)
Testing for given rank the sparring drills performed are...
1st Dan --- Free Sparring, Self-Defense, 1 and 3 step sparring. , Instant
2nd Dan --- Free Sparring, Self-Defense, 1 and 3 step sparring , Instant
sparring, 2-on-1 sparring.
3rd Dan --- Free Sparring, Self-Defense, 1 and 3 step sparring (both
punching and kicking), Instant sparring, 3-on-1 sparring.
4th Dan --- Free Sparring, Self-Defense, 1 and 3 step sparring (both
punching and kicking), Instant sparring, 4-on-1 sparring.
The multiple opponent sparring drills are especially impressive!
Also at Black Belt students are required to break boards as part of their
advancement. As a demonstration that they have developed sufficient
power in their technique.
The list of techniques that can be used:
Ahp Cha-Gee (front kick)
Yuhp Cha-Gee (side kick)
Dol-ya Cha-Gee (Roundhouse)
Soo Do Chee Gee (Knife hand)
Duiee Lo Dol Ya Yuhp Cha Gee (Back Kick)
E Dan Ahp Cha Gee (Flying front kick)
E Dan Yuhp Cha Gee (Flying side kick)
Testing for given rank the breaks are...
1st Dan ---- 3 boards with a hand technique and 3 with a foot technique.
2nd Dan ---- 4 boards with hand 4 with foot technique
3rd Dan ---- 4 boards with hand 2 sets of 4 with foot technique, all done
right after each other within 30 seconds.
4th Dan ---- 5 boards with hand 5 with foot technique
Minimum time period between tests.
no-belt to 1st Dan --- 2 and a half years.
1st to 2nd Dan --- 3 years.
2nd to 3rd Dan --- 4 to 5 years.
3rd to 4th Dan --- 6 to 7 years.
The above assumes training continues at least 4 hours/week and assisting
teaching at least 2 hours/week.
In Addition: A student may take 'sword', 'staff', and nunchucks classes and
be tested on various levels of each, as part of their testing.
For Kukkiwon practitioners, all ranks of 1st dan and above must be
registered with the Kukkiwon if the black belt wishes to participate in the
Olympics, as a WTF International Referee, attend the Kukkiwon Instructor
Course, attend the Kukkiwon Poomsae Presenter Course and so on. In the
US and a few other countries, a Kukkiwon certificate is not needed for
The Kukkikwon requires special promotion tests to advance to the 8th dan
and beyond. These tests must be taken at the Kukkiwon. For lower dan in
category 2 nations of the World Taekwondo Federation, tests can generally
be administered by any Kukkikwon-certified black belt of at least 4th dan
who is also at least one dan rank higher than the person testing. However,
in category 1 nations, only the National Taekwondo Association of the WTF
can apply to Kukkiwon for the dan/poom test.
Officially, the Kukkiwon recognizes the following titles for dan ranks: While
a 1st dan could technically (by Kukkiwon rules) refer to himself as a
"Master" in English, he would likely meet with disapproval if he did so.
1st to 5th Dan: "Master"
6th to 9th Dan: "Grandmaster"
However, in practice, often titles at schools are at the instructors whim. The
following is an example of how titles might be assigned to Dan ranks at a
school. However, this is never done in Korea. One must graduate official
instructor course to hold instructor title.
1st Dan - 2nd Dan: "Assistant Instructor"
3rd Dan - 4th Dan: "Instructor"
5th Dan - 7th Dan: "Master"
8th Dan - 10th Dan: "Grand Master"
"Assistant Instructor" and "Instructor" are unofficial rank titles, and dan
holding these titles often help with instruction.
Modes of address
The word "Master" carries a different connotation in Korean than it does in
English. While in Korean the term is often used for all dan grades, in
America, the term is often only applied to those of the 4th dan and up. While
a 1st dan could technically (by Kukkiwon rules) refer to himself as a
"Master" in English, he would likely meet with disapproval if he did so.
In the United States, black belts at the Instructor level and lower are usually
addressed as "Sir" or "Ma'am" and those of the Master level are called
"Master". Dan of the Grand Master level are called "Grand Master" or
"Grandmaster", often with their last name appended for additional formality
("Yes sir, Grandmaster Jeong!"). However, students who train directly with
a Grandmaster often simply use the address "Master", reserving
"Grandmaster" for more formal occasions. In Korea, and the rest of the
world, the word sabum is often used ("Jeong sabum"), for Master or
Panjanim Higher Ranking Student
Sunbaenim Senior Student
Jokyonim Assistant Instructor
Kyosanim Instructor or Senior Instructor
Kwanjangnim Head of a Kwan (not School)
Kuk Sa Nim National Teacher
In Taekwondo, Korean forms of commands are often used.
Cha-ryot - Attention. Kyong-ne - Bow.
Sabum neem ke kyong ne - Bow to the Instructor (Only when bowing to an
Ba-ro - return. Shyeo - At ease.
Ki-hap - Yell (Usually said at the end of a combo or an attack. The h is
nearly silent. To Westerners it sounds like: Ki-up.)
Mook-nyeom - Meditation. Shi-jak - Begin. Hae-san -Dismiss.
Joon-bi Ready. Shi-jak - Begin. Kal-ryeo - Break. Gyae-sok - Continue. Keu-
man - Finish.
Hana - One Dool - Two Saet - Three Naet - Four Da-seot - Five
Yeo--seot - Six Il-gope - Seven Yeo-dul - Eight A-hop - Nine Yeol - Ten
Kicking Techniques Board Breaking
Lower Belt presentations Black Belt uniform