The 1975 Taekwondo poomsae textbook describes Jitae as follows: "According to Oriental belief, all living things come from and return to the earth. The earth is indeed the origin and terminal of life. Living things as well as all the natural phenomena of the earth originate mainly from the changes and form of the earth. Poomsae Jitae is the movement which applies these features and properties of the earth. The key point of this Poomsae lies in the movements which are derived from the harmony of implicitly welling power and strong muscles, just as the universal mind of the earth lies in the implicitness and the vigor of life." The new Kukkiwon Textbook describes Jitae as follows (very different from the older explanation): "The word 'Jitae' means a man standing on the ground with the two feet, looking over the sky. A man on the earth represents the way of struggling for human life, such as kicking, treading and jumping on the ground. Therefore, the poomsae symbolizes various aspects occurring in the course of human being's struggle for existence. . . . and the poomsae line signifies a man standing on the earth to spring up toward the heaven." Jitae is the poomsae for 6th Dan, and the Kukkiwon promotional regulations state that those who are 30 or older are eligible for promotion to this dan. Those who are Kukkiwon 6th Dan in their 30's are those who started at a relatively young age, usually in elementary school, and after 20 or more years of hard training, find themselves at the peak of their ability, when maturity that can only come with age meets one's physical prime, and decline. Having proven himself physically, as well as having undergone the ten fold increase at the 5th Dan level, the 6th Dan is, in my opinion, the age at which the best instructors, and best coaches show themselves. 6th Dan coaches no longer feel that need to keep up or compete with the athletes they are entrusted with, and this frees up to a certain extent the natural competitiveness that can exist between a younger coach and his elite athletes. Our best coaches in the US have generally been those who, after a long competitive career, now have turned their attention to developing athletes. Master Sang Lee was in his 30's when he began coaching the US National Team, as was Master Dae Sung Lee and Master Han Won Lee. Even in Korea, if you look at the elite teams, we see that the coaches sitting in the chairs are those who are in their 30's. GM KIM Se Hyuk was in his 30's when he was the 1988 Korean Olympic coach, and his successor is Master HAM Joon, the person who sits in the chair for the Samsung S1 players. The Taekwondo pioneers who created the Palgwae and Yudanja poomsae were mostly 6th Dan in their 30's when they worked together as a committee. If there is one quality that distinguishes a 6th Dan from lower dans, it is the intuitive ability to do the right thing at the right moment. This is the coach who can sum up an opponent's entire game after less than one round and instantly give the type of advice that will defeat that opponent. This is the instructor who can take any student and in the space of five minutes deal with whatever challenge that particular student is facing with a response that is nothing short of inspirational. It is almost as if whatever the 6th Dan does, works. The 6th Dan is a transition period, going from the mental lessons of the middle dans, to the spiritual lessons of the upper dans. It is also the half way point, in terms of time in grade in the journey from white belt to beyond 9th Dan. This is why the poomsae line of Jitae signifies a man standing on the earth to spring up toward the heaven, because having gone through the physical and mental demands of the art, he can intuitively see and feel what the journey lies ahead, which is to take it to the next level. So we can see that the taekwondo journey, as mapped out within the poomsae created by the pioneers, is a journey of hope and of self- discovery, where each step builds upon the lessons learned at the lower levels. To a certain extent, one must have a good master who can guide the student through the various levels, and certain lessons can only be truly understood by those who have walked the path, but all can enhance their trip by taking heed of the sign posts as laid out by the pioneers. And if you wish to honor them or show your respect, then you will practice the poomsae as they were intended to be practiced, with the proper feeling and philosophy behind the movements.