The Poomsae Series is intended to glean lessons from the meaning of each form. My school studies the Palgwe forms so that’s what I will use for each post. Descriptions are taken from the book “Complete Taekwondo Poomsae” by Dr. Kyu Hyung Lee and Dr. Sang H. Kim.
Palgwe Sam Jang. Fire. Now that the martial artist has gotten heaven and the river under his or her belt, it’s time to add some power and speed.
This is my least favorite form. It’s flat out boring until the end when it starts to get snazzy with directional changes and a mixture of inside and outside middle blocks. I want to do jazz hands after all those sliding back stances.
I wonder if the reversion into simplicity at the beginning of the form (low block, punch, low block, yawn) is a purposeful test of the student’s patience. This is the green belt form. Green belt is the transitional period from beginner to advanced ranks. Green belt is when many students seem to drop out. Just when you think you’re getting into the fun stuff—bam! You get the boring form. True skill, though, can be proven by the level of emotional and physical maturity the student displays when performing this form. According to Lee and Kim, “as physical strength and commitment grows, the passion for the art increases.”
It’s not just about memorization or doing it by muscle memory. Can you breathe life into the poses and the silence? Can you light a fire under those seemingly simple low blocks and middle punches? My guitar teacher once said the sign of a good musician is if they can have the audience on the edges of their seats with the simplest piece of music.
How do you handle silences in your life? Do you avoid them altogether? Sometimes simplicity is the most complicated thing to master.