Yul-gok: Overview of Pattern

Taekwondo Form Yul-guk by www.cedarhillkarate.com. This is similar to the way we perform it.

“Pen name of Yi I, Philosopher and scholar who was nicknamed Confucius of Korea” (http://www.itatkd.com/pattern_yulgok.html).

According to Breen , “Yul-Gok and Toi-Gye are two closely related and yet opposite patterns. Both Yi I (Yul-Gok) and Yi Hwang (Toi-Gye) were important figures in Confucian scholarship in 16th century Korea, but the two men were leaders of two opposing schools of philosophical thought. According to Neo-Confucianism, all existence reflects two vital components, i and ki (sometimes written li and ch’i). The first, i, is the formative element. This describes the nature and behaviour of a thing. The second, ki, is the energising element. One cannot exist without the other. The argument between the two schools, therefore, is not to do with the definition or existence of these two components, but rather their relative importance. Yul-Gok believed that ki, the energising element, was the primary and fundamental factor. To this school, i exists only to govern the motion of ki, to give it form and direction. Accordingly, the performance of the pattern Yul-Gok should stress ki over i. Energy takes precedence over form. The physical movement of a technique is only required to provide a channel, a medium, for the power of the technique” (2001 p10).

At one level, you can say that Yul-guk emphasizes strength over form. However, I think that with the recognition that Yul-guk was a scholar, I would say it’s the correct use of strength over form that is important. At another level we can equate strength with effort, intention, or willpower. For the fighter, I think Yul-guk advocates the innovative use of power to dominate an opponent. The fighter should explore such issues of power and understand how to generate perceived or real power.

Similar Yul-guk pattern done by a Korean Oh Do Kwan practitioner. Looks like there's already some evolution that has occurred, but still more or less similar to ours.

More Links on Yulgok

Yul-gok Backfist X Stance

Yul-gok: Step 7 & 8 - The Korean Occupation

Taekwondo Sidekick Won-hyo v Yul-gok

For more information on Yul-gok, please check out

Yul-gul application at martialapplications.com


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