There sure are a lot of outside-to-inside blocks in Taeguk forms.
When I joined my new dojang at the end of 2018 I began learning Taeguk forms. I’d learned the Palgwe style in my other dojang, and since I can’t remember which forms I learned as a child (other than the universal kibon), I’ll claim Palgwe as my foundational set.
I started thinking about the new language I was learning. If Palgwes could be summed up in one or two moves I’d say they’re very heavy on using the front (or long) stance and double knife hand block (in a back stance of course).
Taeguk’s main theme seems to be the outside block…from the back hand…in walking stance.
Ask a Texan for a “coke” and they might point to cans of Sprite, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, and say “which one”? Ask a poomsae enthusiast to do an outside block and you might get several different responses.
It can be a little frustrating. Let’s not get into the continuous tweaks and changes to the technique for tournament purposes. I mean, WTF, WTF? (Sorry, World Taekwondo, formerly World Taekwondo Federation. You will forever be WTF.)
Over time, though, I began to enjoy my new forms and even tweaked my overall performance style to match what I saw my Taeguk-trained classmates doing. It’s too hard to explain in writing, so I’ll just say the way I chambered blocks and held my fists during snap kicks changed from Palgwe to Taeguk style.
I changed careers. I can learn a new and different set of forms and retain my Palwge foundation. I still think like a librarian even though I’ve been in the corporate learning and development world longer than my entire library science schooling and career.
I don’t know…Taeguk may just be my right kind of weird.
Taeguk 4 is kind of fun and has some remnants of Palgwes 4 and 6. (and it has one hand motion from the black belt form Taebaek. Bonus points if you can tell me what it is!) Taeguk 5 is unneccessarily awkward and weird like its Palgwe counterpart. Taeguk 6 is the Keumgang of the set. Taeguks 7 and 8 feel like black belt forms.
Palgwe forms still feel like home to me and will always be my preferred form set and have definitely influenced how I execute black belt forms. But I’m glad I’ve learned the Taeguk set because forms are just fun to do. The more, the merrier.
But seriously, f-ck sport (competition) poomsae style.