Forms are an important part of martial training. They provide a set pattern of movements for each belt level to master and provide the foundation of learning. They need to be first memorized, then mastered. Each form has a theme demonstrated and a goal of training.
In our style the Blue Cottage forms, also known as the ITF (International Taekwondo Federation) forms, begins with Chong ji. At the end of the form name, we add the Korean word hyung. It means pattern or form.
Chong ji literally means “the heaven the earth”. It is comprised of two block punch moves in the four cardinal directions of the compass. It has nineteen movements.
Here is the form:
Form 1 Chong ji hyung
There are two basic themes of the form.
In the first half, all the moves are in walking stance demonstrating a hard low block followed by a step punch. Note all punches in this form are middle section.
Walking stance low block, step middle punch (side view)
Walking stance low block, step middle punch (front view)
The rhythm of the form is a regular beat; one beat, one step. There is a kiyap at the end of the pattern followed by repeating the name of the form.
The second half adds a new stance, the back or fighting stance. This puts the torso and head further away from the attacker while blocking away to the outside a middle section attack. It is followed with another closing step with middle punch.
middle forearm block step punch (side view)
The end of the form ends with two aggressive step forward punches and then finishes with two retreating step punches. The form then closes with a return to ready position.
Purpose of form 1
After learning the form it is important to put it into context. A form is more than simply a set of movements.
In its ultimate expression, the form shows a choreographed fight sequence against multiple opponents. Here the pattern suggests four attackers at four corners of the form. It begins with a defensive block, followed by a closing step punch.
We have several ways of learning this form. The simplest is to do it at demonstration speed like we do for testing. This is a pace that we can do as a group and shows each movement with full force.
We can do it at full power or “street speed”. This is a intense hard style form meant to highlight the warrior in action.
Conversely we could do the form slowly to feel the transition change. We could do the form just walking through it in a limited space with little movement.
Another way to learn it is to try to do it with just the imagination with the eyes closed. Imagine the classroom with the walls and windows and see yourself walk through the steps and turns while keeping the changing orientation of the walls and windows. Try it! Not as easy as it sounds.
Some of you who have taught forms have discovered that a deeper and different understanding is required to show the form.
And if you are having trouble falling asleep, try doing the form in your head. It’s better than counting sheep.
In these ways we repeat the form differently, acquiring neuromuscular coordination and neural callousing that takes the form from a mental and physical effort, and transforms it into an effortless expression of your mind and body.