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This article pertains to the Palgwae poomsae. For discussion of the Pal Gwae (the eight trigrams) see Taekwondo Symbolism.

Kukkiwon/ WTF-style taekwondo currently uses taegeuk forms (poomse) for color belts (below black belt). Previously however, this "kukki" (national) style of taekwondo used the older palgwae (also spelled palgwe) forms for color belts. These forms are still taught at some schools.

In the years leading up to the completion of the Kukkiwon, the Palgwae forms were promoted by the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), from about 1967 to 1971. Afterward, the taegeuk forms became the preferred forms (at about the same time as the completion of the Kukkiwon). See Timeline of Taekwondo for additional detail.

  • One reason sometimes cited for the switch from Palgwae forms to Taegeuk forms is that when the Palgwae forms were first developed in the mid-1960s, not all of the Kwans that would eventually consolidate to form Kukkiwon-style taekwondo were yet members. When the remaining schools (Jidokwan and Moo Duk Kwan) finally joined, the forms were redesigned to create the taegeuk poomsae, with appropriate representation from all of the kwans.
  • A second reason sometimes cited for the switch is that the taeguek forms introduce earlier the techniques appropriate for sparring (such as upright stances); in other words, the change was made to support the WTF-style emphasis on sport taekwondo rather than on self-defense.

The Palgwae forms are still used by many schools, often in conjunction with the Taegeuk forms. 


The word "pal" means 8 in the sino-Korean numbering system. The word "gwae" refers to the trigrams used in the I Ching method of divination (see Taekwondo Symbolism for more details). So the phrase "palgwae" literally means "eight trigrams." 

The words il, ee, sam, sa...pal are the numbers 1 through 8 in the sino-Korean numbering system. The word "jang" roughly translates into English as "chapter." So for example, Palgwae Il Jang translates as Chapter One of the Palgwae.


In 1965 the Korea Taekwondo Association appointed a committee of representatives from six of the Nine Kwans to develop the forms for what is now called Kukki-style taekwondo. The committee consisted of:

In 1967, the committee introduced the Palgwe and Yudanja (Black Belt) forms (including a simpler version of Koryo). In 1972 two additional kwans joined the committee:

This expanded committee went on to develop the Taegeuk forms.

See Also[]