Hyung (called Forms, Patterns, or Kata in other martial arts) are a series of moves, often times simulating a fight against multiple opponents. The purpose of practicing, and perfecting hyung is to build a union of mind and body. Through repetition, the various blocks, strikes, feints, jumps, and grabs become automatic, such that conscience thought is no longer required to execute the moves effectively, rather the moves become almost instinctive. Of course, the repetition also builds muscle tone, balance, accuracy, speed and power.

Some have wondered if publicizing the complete text of the hynug here is counter-productive to building or running a martial arts program. No. There is no way to learn, practice, or perfect a hynug from a text book, web site, or even videos - it's just not possible.  I've seen the results; and I'm here to tell you, one needs an instructor to observe and adjust the many details that separate a rough draft from a finely tuned self defense machine.

The text below should give you some understanding of the forms, answer some questions, and support the practitioner who is learning a new hyung. As always, your first, best source of information is your instructor.

Basic Forms (Hyung):
The first three hyung were created by Master Hwan Kee Kim in the mid 1900s to introduce basic hyung movements as well as establish the importance of basics such as having a low stance, tight fist, and concentration. The first three are very nearly identical, and for very good reason.
Intermediate Forms:
Advanced Forms:
Black Belt Forms:
Bong Hyung (Staff Forms):


  1. Master Meredith

    We are a martial arts wiki. Currently, we improving our Tang Soo Do forms section - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/tang-soo-do-hyung

    We have videos on each form page and we have added written instructions for the first two forms. We were wondering if you could take a look to see if everything is correct. Also we were hoping that we could copy your wonderful form instructions (found after we started typing up our own instructions :) and add them to our wiki.

    We would, of course, link back to your blog and reference you as the source material on each page that used your written instructions. I am also adding you right now to our martial arts blog directory - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/martial-arts-blogs

    Hopefully, you will allow us to use your instructions as you would be helping students learn more about Tang Soo Do, forms, your website... and save us from writing our own instructions! :)

    Our martial arts wiki is a free source for martial artists to learn about different styles and techniques.

    All the best,

    Black Belt Wiki

  2. Yes, feel free - and I appreciate the link back.

  3. Thank you!!

    We have started to add your written instructions to our martial arts wiki - http://www.blackbeltwiki.com/ki-cho-sam-bu

    Please look at the bottom of the page to see if the reference to your work is acceptable. Also please tell us if any other reference source for these written instruction should be added.

    Thanks again for your help.

    Black Belt Wiki


    I concur, as M. Meredith states that the fundamental purpose of kata is that "Mind Body Union" May I say this is also the fundamental skill purpose underlying the traditional karate curriculum?

    Few seem to be able to state hyung's purpose succinctly as M. Meredith. There is great debate among Traditional karate sites about exactly what hyung is for, as well as by the sport-based fighting group (MMA, etc.) who believe largely that hyung serve no or limited martial purpose.

    There is even a link here to an Isshin Ryu blog where there's the position by the instructor, one that I often see, that training kata alone is not sufficient to acquire competent fighting skill. I disagree.

    To see my opinion on this, I start with that fact that the traditional karate system has three components: kihon, kata, kumite (Shotokan terminology). I believe this training regiment began in early 20th Century Japan, though probably trained more or less in Okinawa some time before.

    Prior to that, it is my understanding that the predominant way to train karate was kata.

    In the US, we see all kinds of commentary by karate school instructors on how to make kata better, bring kata in to modern times, make kata more realistic for fighting, make kata a more productive physical exercise, etc.

    IMHO, Kata or hyung, if trained enough, is sufficient to make you a top fighter. Note, I didn't say this was necessarily practical or recommended for most. However, the kung fu schools I have attended seem to understand this and weight heavily on forms training.

    The correct answer to kata, is not all that so called corrective genius--and somehow you realize what the ancient master were too dumb to know. M. Meredith's simple proposition on hyung (answer) gives the answer. To the all naysayers and kata critics, the challenge is >> Now try and do it....

  5. FIGHTLAND Review of SAIFA KATA: FIGHTLAND Authority on What the Okinawan Master's "Ignored."

    I've responded to FIGHTLAND ARTICLE whose Author is challenging the efficacy of karate kata. At M. Meredith's Post, 1-Step Sparring as an Oxymoron, I specifically took a look at the 1st fighting sequence in the Saifa kata as broken down by the FIGHTLAND Author.

    The FIGHTLAND Author identifies the first step in the sequence or bunkai to be generally interpreted as an escape from a same-side-wrist grab (followed by a counter). My response, to better precisely address the traditional karate principles, centers on Step 1, the SS wrist grab-escape technique.

    The Fightland Author believes that once you take a closer look at kata, you come to see that when the hand is used to augment or guard, the Master is really ignoring what technique that hand could actually be doing. I, as Okinawan Master will now step in and clear the muddy waters.

    Again, let's table the mental dimension, let's focus on the physical activity in the wrist grab escape. And I've already covered the tactical reason for the augmentation (Principle #1). What I want to focus on here is Principle #2, Body Mechanics.

    FIGHTLAND Author claims the augmentation forces you to give up use of the 2nd hand. You are "ignoring" what that hand could be doing... he continues on. My response: The FIGHTLAND Author is ignoring what the Defender's whole body is doing, which includes the augmentation.

    Simply put by me, Okinawan Master, the objective of the augmentation is (to borrow FIGHTLAND Author's verb), force the body to work together as a unit. Moreover, by narrowly criticizing the augmenting technique, FIGHTLAND Author himself has failed to account for the whole structure of the technique.

    The Augmentation technique is actually 3 or 4 parts: Namely, augmenting, stepping (2-steps) & turning. Defender's entire body is actively engaged in a synchronized way (See the FIGHTLAND illustrations. By moving in this manner, we are building flexibility, strength & coordination in the wrist-grab-escape technique. A technique in which we can engage the power of the whole body.

    As Okinawan Master, I didn't forget what else the augmenting hand could be doing >> it's developing (applying) Principle #2-Whole Body Power that I'm after--I'm counting on it.


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