ATA/Songham Forms

The Songham Forms/Poom-Sae:

  • Songahm 1
  • Songham 2
  • Songham 3
  • Songham 4
  • Songham 5
  • In Wha 1
  • In Wha 2
  • Choong-Jung 1
  • Choong-Jung 2
  • Shim Jun
  • Jung Yul
  • Chung San
  • Sok Bong
  • Chung Hae
  • Jhang Soo


Taekwon-Do tests are performed when you will try to earn your next belt grade. (See the BELT GRADES page)

For your test, one usually performs the below:

  • Pattern/Form
  • Board Breaking
  • Self-Defence/Step-Sparring/Releases/Ho Sin Sul
  • Required Knowledge test
  • Sparring


  • Written test

Instructors normally only test color belts when they are sure to pass, but yes, it is possible to fail your test. If you do not pass your test, don’t worry: just practice hard and when you test again you will surely pass.

When one tests for any degree of black belt, the instructor will only allow those who are certain to pass to test. Black belt tests are more of a demonstration of your skill than an actual ‘test.’


To test, one needs to have been to a certain number of classes. For example, in ITF-style Taekwon-Do, one needs to have been to at least 18 classes to obtain their yellow stripe. When you are testing for your black belt, rather than months you will have to wait years to earn higher degrees/dans. In ITF-style, you must wait 1 1/2 years being a 1st dan to obtain your 2nd dan, 3 years as a 2nd dan to earn your 3rd dan, 4 years as 3rd dan to earn your 4th dan, and so on.

Age requirements are sometimes required, for example in WTF you cannot get your 1st dan unless you are a certain age, and you will have a poom belt while you are waiting. In ITF-style there are also sometimes age requirements (for example, you cannot get your 2nd dan unless 14 or older, 3rd dan when 17 or older, ect.) but these are sometimes ignored if the testing student has proven themselves ready for their next degree of black belt.


For your test, you will perform all the things you are required to know for your belt grade. For example, as an ITF green belt you are required to have memorized and perform correctly the pattern Won-Hyo. Board breaking and self-defence vary between belts, and of course, vary between do-jangs, but the basic idea for a test is the same: perform what you learned at your current belt to earn your upcoming one.


Try not to be nervous! Sure, you may be scared that you won’t break that wooden board or won’t remember your Step-Sparring, but it will be okay. Your instructor thinks you have it in you to pass, so trust him/her and trust in your own abilities! Besides, if you’re nervous, you will do far worse than you would be if you were calm.


Much of the required knowledge is here on BestTKD, or will be added here shortly. If you can’t find what you need here, go the the WEBSITES page on BestTKD and find a good information website, or look up the knowledge in an internet search. The best place, though, would be to look in The Enyclopedia of Taekwon-Do by General Choi Hong-Hi if you do ITF, GTF, ICTF, UITF, or simmilar. Also, your do-jang very likely offers a booklet about testing information, so ask your instructor or visit your training hall’s website.

Sparring Gear

Top-Ten gear

Sparring gear is used in sparring competition. The ITF’s official sparring gear is Top-Ten and the WTF uses Adidas, but at the do-jang or at smaller tournaments, the popular Macho gear is often used.  Below is a list of common sparring equipment pieces:

  • Hand Gear/gloves
  • Foot gear
  • Head gear (sometimes optional)
  • Chest protector (optional in ITF, required in WTF)
  • Shin gaurds (optional)
  • Groin cup (male) (often optional)
  • Breast protector (female) (optional)
  • Mouthgaurd (sometimes optional)

Common colors include red, white, black, blue and pink. Other colors include purple, orange, yellow, and silver. In the ITF National Championships, only the colors red and blue are allowed.

Adidas gear

The popular Macho gear

Training Diet

When you are a Taekwon-Do student, you know that you should fill your body with a healthy diet for your hard training. But there are some food myths that are still believed by almost everyone, even Taekwon-Do students and black belts.

Incorrect Food Pyramid

The food pyramid clearly shows that wheat foods such as bread and pasta are the best for you, and that fats like butter are the worst. This is actually wrong! People dieting to lose weight that exclude the wheat grains actually lose more weight, whereas butter is a sort of good fat that actually helps you lose weight rather than gain it. Of course, sugery drinks like cola are bad for you- very correct- but diet sodas are actually even worse! They are sweetened with artificial sweeteners, which make you gain more weight than regular sugar. Splenda was actually created by accident in a lab. If you can’t believe this, do an internet search and find it to be true, or read the book Eat Fat, Lose Fat or Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. And if you need it from a TKD point of view, read this really great article by Taekwondo champion David Walsch. Here are some good replacements for foods that are advertised to be good for you but are actually bad for you.

Margerine-replace with-Butter

Low-fat yogurt-replace with– Whole Milk Yogurt

Splenda-replace with-Stevia or rapadura sugar

Low-fat milk--replace with-Whole Milk or Raw Milk

Diet Coke-replace with– Honey Cola

Canola Oil-replace with-Palm Oil

Corn Syrup-replace with-Honey, Agave syrup, or maple syrup

Wheat bread-replace with-Sourdough bread

And of course, all of the above should be eaten organically, or at least all-natural. The best athletes eat organic foods. Below is some proof:

“Grand Master H. U. Lee of the American Taekwondo Association believed in eating healthy and organic foods such as fruits.”

“American Olympic medalist, snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis states she strictly eats organic food to maintain a healthy and fit body.”

Snowboarder Hannah Teter, gold medalist Olympic athlete: “I’m basically on an organic-only diet. I don’t go to restaurants that don’t serve organic—ever. I cook at home most of the time and I enjoy eating super-healthy, pesticide-free food all the time… Everyone’s calling me “Hannah Organa” and I think that’s really funny, because they know I’m full-on.”


ITF Sparring


ITF Sparring


Sparring is the term for practice-fighting in a Taekwon-Do class. It is also the kind of fighting most commonly used at tournaments. The ITF-style Taekwon-Do practitioners practice continuous point-sparring, and the WTF style also does, but in a very different way. Other Taekwon-Do schools or styles will practice one-point sparring; every time a point is scored in competition the match is stopped and it is awarded. Generally ‘light-contact’ is the allowed power in tournaments, but very often ‘light-contact’ means to go nearly as hard as you can! Top-Ten sparring gear is the offical ITF sparring gear, and Adidas is the WTF’s offical equipment brand.

You are not allowed to go to the ground, hit to the back, or kick below the belt in ITF-style sparring, but in competition hitting to the face is allowed. In WTF style, punches rarely count or are even used, and chest protectors are required. Switch kicks are commonly used as the bread-and-butter technique in this Olympic-style sport Taekwondo. Often electric scoring methods are used in the WTF, where each kick will count as a point automatically, no corner-judges required. Honestly, this can become a problem because some good kicks won’t be counted, while other kicks with incorrect technique will be. The ITF sparring points are counted by hand by four corner judges. Any punch is one point. Any standing kick is two points. Any jumping kick to the head is three points. Wins by knockout are not encouraged, but it has been known to happen.

Sparring is different from fighting in the fact that the emphasis is on point-scoring, whereas in a real fight points don’t matter and you can attack to vital spot such as the eyes, philtrum, groin, and solar plexus. Many do-jangs will also teach what you should do in a real fight as opposed to tournament sparring.

This kind of sparring is not to be confused with Pre-Arranged Free Sparring and Step-Sparring, which are pre-arranged self defense sequences and, while effective for teaching techniques and for demonstration, is nothing like actual sparring.

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