"Here I leave Taekwon-Do for mankind as a trace of man of the late 20th century".
The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, or all my life.
-- General Choi Hong Hi
In Taekwon-Do, character development, fortitude, tenacity, and technique are graded as well as individual capacity. The promotional scale is divided into nineteen ranks - 10 grades (Gups), and nine Degrees (Dans). The former begins with 10th grade (Gup) the lowest and ends at the first grade. Degrees begin with the first degree (Dan) and end with the ultimate, ninth degree.
There is, of course, a certain significance in the numbering system. With degree, the number 9 is not only the highest one among one digit number but also is the number of 3 multiplied by 3. In the Orient, three is the most esteemed of all the numbers. The Chinese character representing three is written: (three horizontal lines on top of one another) The upper line symbolizes the heaven; the middle line, mortals; and the bottom line, earth.
System of Rank
(Dan Gup Jedo)
Chon-Ji means literally “the Heaven the Earth”. It is, in the Orient, interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history, therefore, it is the initial pattern played by the beginner. This pattern consists of two similar parts; one to represent Heaven and the other the Earth.
Dan-Gun is named after the holy Dan-Gun, the legendary founder of Korea in the year of 2333 BC.
Do-San is the pseudonym of the patriot Ahn Chang-Ho (1876-1938). The 24 movements represent his entire life, which he devoted to furthering the education of Korea and its independence movement.
It is named after the noted monk Won-Hyo who introduced Buddhism to the Silla Dynasty in the year 686 AD.
Yul-Gok is a pseudonym of a great philosopher and scholar Yi I nicknamed the "Confucius of Korea". The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on 38-degrees latitude and the diagram of the pattern represents scholar.
Joong-Gun is named after the patriot Ahn Joong-Gun who assassinated Hiro-Bumi Itō, the first Japanese governor-general of Korea, known as the man who played the leading part in the Korea-Japan merger. There are 32 movements in this pattern to represent
Mr. Ahn's age when he was executed at Lui-Shung Prison in 1910.
Toi-Gye is the pen name of the noted scholar Yi Hwang (16 century AD), an authority on neo-Confucianism. The 37 movements of the pattern refer to his birthplace on 37-degrees latitude, the diagram represents "scholar".
Hwa-Rang is named after the Hwa-Rang youth group, which originated in the Silla Dynasty in the early 7th century. The 29 movements refer to the 29th Infantry Division, where Taekwon-Do developed into maturity.
Choong-Moo was the name given to the great Admiral Yi Sun-sin of the Yi Dynasty. He was reputed to have invented the first armored battleship (kobukson) in 1592, which is said to be the precursor the present day submarine. The reason this pattern ends with a left hand attack is to symbolize his regrettable death having no chance to show his unrestrained potentiality checked by the forced reservation of his loyalty to the King.