Thoughts on the use of the poomse
By Freddy Lufting (6th dan WTF Taekwondo), 1998, Taekwondo instructor of V.A.S. Arashi - University of Twente, the Netherlands
I have trained students at V.A.S. Arashi for one-and-a-half year now. My experiences are positive. The Taekwondo students are willing to learn a lot about Taekwondo. What comes to my attention, however, is that mostly only the physical training is appreciated, like: "We have trained hard and are very tired.." They seem to think that only a hard training is a good one. I like to take a look at a different side of the Taekwondo training: the spiritual side. I will use the Poomse as illustration.
What is a Poomse? The Poomse (pattern, shape) is, besides kyepka (breaktest), hosinsul (self-defense) and gyorugi (sparring), one of the four disciplines that are part of Taekwondo. You can distinguish these four disciplines, but you cannot part them.
To understand the Poomse, you have to go back to the origin of Taekwondo. In times of peace, there was still the need to practice combat-techniques. The situation was quite different compared to the battle-field. The Poomse was needed to practice techniques, needed in war, but hard to train during sparring.
The Poomse is a strict pattern, in which one can practice all techniques without a partner. All opponents are imaginary. Depending on the students skill (the color of the belt is an indication) the student practices a Poomse, and every new Poomse is a more difficult one. Unfortunately, sometimes both beginning and more skilled students practice the Poomse without the knowledge why. Taekwondo techniques are sometimes trained for hours, without thinking, and that is something I regret. In my training, I try to teach Taekwondo as a union of the Poomse, gyekpa, hosinsul and gyorugi.
The sum is more than separate parts!