Bassai sho

Bassai Sho

Bassai dai

Bassai Dai

This Traditional Taekwondo form is also used in Shotokan Karate. There may be differences between the Taekwondo version and the Karate version of this form.

Like many forms in Traditional Taekwondo, Bassai (also known as Pal-Sek) came to taekwondo by way of karate. The form actually predates karate however. Bassai has been practiced in many martial arts, including those from China, the Ryūkyū islands, Japan and Korea. The origins of this form are obscure, however there are several theories as to its history:

  • Some researchers believe the Bassai form is related to Chinese Leopard and Lion boxing forms, with some sequences bearing a resemblance to Leopard boxing (the opening blocking / striking movement in cross-legged stance) whereas others are more representative of Lion boxing (open handed techniques and stomping actions). Okinawan karate researcher Akio Kinjo believes that the name originates in the Chinese bàoshī/豹獅 meaning "leopard-lion" which is pronounced "Bá-săi" or "pà-sai" in some Chinese dialects.
  • Other historians have noticed the resemblance between some parts of Bassai and Wuxing Quan ("Five Element Fist") Kung Fu.
  • Yet another theory as to the naming of the form is that it may represent a person's name.

In his 1922 book, Gichin Funakoshi names the form "Passai/パッサイ". By 1936, Funakoshi switches to calling the form Bassai/バッサイ but uses the characters "拔塞" which he spells as "Passai/パッサイ". The Korean Hangul spelling of the Hanja "拔塞" is "bal-chae (발채)".

In karate, there are two variations of these form that are practiced: Passai sho (小/ minor) and Passai dai (大/ major). In karate, the sho form is generally considered the more advanced of the two, but is less-frequently practiced.

In taekwondo, it is generally the major form (Bassai Dai, or simply Bassai) that is practiced.

Videos Edit

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Bassai Sho (minor) Bassai Dai (major)
Bassai-sho - Commentary

Bassai-sho - Commentary

Bassai dai Commentary

Bassai dai Commentary

Diagrams Edit

This diagram is copyright John B. Correljé and is used with permission. Terms and conditions are available at

Bassai Sho (minor) Bassai Dai (major)
Bassai So Bassai dae

Other diagrams can be found here:

Written Instructions Edit

Written instructions for Bassai Sho are here and also here

Written instructions for Bassai Dai are here and also here or also

See AlsoEdit

Many of the forms often used in Traditional Taekwondo are included in the following table. In developing his Moo Duk Kwan curriculum, Hwang Kee assigned symbols, listed below, to many of the forms.

Family / Origin Forms
Basic beginner forms developed by Hwang Kee in 1947.

Kicho Hyeong Il Bu
Kicho Hyeong Ee Bu
Kicho Hyeong Sam Bu

Later variants of the beginner forms, developed by the World Tang Soo Do Association; these emphasize earlier training in kicking.

Sae Kye Hyeong Il Bu
Sae Kye Hyeong Ee Bu
Sae Kye Hyeong Sam Bu

Pyung Ahn forms, also called Pinan and Heian forms. From Shotokan Karate, developed approx. 1870 as beginner forms. Symbol: The Tortoise

Pyung Ahn Cho-Dan
Pyung Ahn Ee-Dan
Pyung Ahn Sam-Dan
Pyung Ahn Sa-Dan
Pyung Ahn Oh-Dan

Naihanchi forms, from Shotokan Karate. Also called Chul-Gi, Keema, and Tekki. Symbol: The Horse

Naihanchi Cho-Dan
Naihanchi Ee-Dan
Naihanchi Sam-Dan

Bassai forms, Escaping the Fortress, also called Pal-Sek. Adapted into Shotokan Karate but originally from Kung Fu. Symbol: The Cobra

Bassai Sho
Bassai Dai (or simply Bassai)

Adapted from Shotokan Karate. Symbol: The Crane

Jin Do
Rohai (also called Lohai or Meikyo)

From the karate form Kūsankū. Symbol: The Eagle Kong-Sang-Koon
From the karate form Enpi. Symbol: The Bird Wang Shu (also called Empi)
From the karate form Seisan. Symbol: The Preying Mantis Sei-Shan
Ji-On forms, adapted from Shotokan Karate.

Ji-On, Symbol: The Ram
Jit-te (also called Ship Soo), Symbol: The Bear

From the karate form Gojūshiho. Symbol: The Tiger

O Sip Sa Bo (also called Gojūshiho)
E Sip Sa Bo (also called Nijūshiho)

Adapted by Hwang Kee from Kung Fu and T'ai Chi.

So Rim Jang Kwon
Hwa Sun
Tae Kuk Kwan

Chil Sung, the Seven Stars developed by Hwang Kee in approx. 1952

Chil Sung Il Ro
Chil Sung Ee Ro
Chil Sung Sam Ro
Chil Sung Sa Ro
Chil Sung Oh Ro
Chil Sung Yook Ro
Chil Sung Chil Ro

Yook Ro, the Six-Fold Path developed by Hwang Kee in approx. 1958, inspired by the Muye Dobo Tongji.

Yook Ro Cho Dan - Du Mun
Yook Ro Ee Dan - Joong Jol
Yook Ro Sam Dan - Po Wol
Yook Ro Sam Dan - Yang Pyun
Yook Ro Oh Dan - Sal Chu
Yook Ro Yook Dan - Choong Ro

See Taekwondo Forms for additional information.

References Edit

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