The Meaning of Jitae Poomsae

puunui

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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.
 

TrueJim

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dvcochran

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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.
Excellent. May I use this?
 

Jaeimseu

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Excellent. May I use this?

Im fairly certain that Puuinui is no longer on Martial Talk. He is generally very much about the dissemination of correct information, especially as regards Kukkiwon Taekwondo.


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dvcochran

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As I posted in the other thread, Jitae is my least favourite Yudanja poomsae. Maybe I'm just not "getting it", but it feels like a collection of movements just thrown together to me. Very random...
Perform the very slow moves on the first line at full speed and it flows much better. One of my favorite Yudanja forms.
 

dvcochran

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But in doing so one makes major mistakes in the poomsae performance (from a competition or grading perspective).
Agree, but I am trying to understand the form beyond the superficial competition level. Correct if I am wrong but I think you are at a higher Dan level. I am at the point I am trying to find a meaning beyond just doing the moves. A serious issue I have with the Taeguek poomsae. IMHO
 

Gnarlie

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Agree, but I am trying to understand the form beyond the superficial competition level. Correct if I am wrong but I think you are at a higher Dan level. I am at the point I am trying to find a meaning beyond just doing the moves. A serious issue I have with the Taeguek poomsae. IMHO

Lol @ superficial competition level. Not the words I would have chosen for high level competition poomsae.

It's "Taegeuk", by the way, and Jitae is not one of the Taegeuk poomsae.

If you have an issue with lack of meaning to the movements, that's on you. There's plenty of information out there.


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andyjeffries

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Agree, but I am trying to understand the form beyond the superficial competition level. Correct if I am wrong but I think you are at a higher Dan level. I am at the point I am trying to find a meaning beyond just doing the moves. A serious issue I have with the Taeguek poomsae. IMHO

I don't know your Dan, but I'm a 6th Dan Kukkiwon, 7th Dan Changmookwan if that helps.

To be honest, I've stopped worrying about finding meaning in the poomsae. Sometimes it feels like the shape of the movements is really represented by what the pattern officially means, sometimes it feels just arbitrary. For me, poomsae is just a vehicle for self-improvement in Taekwondo basic movements.
 

dvcochran

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I don't know your Dan, but I'm a 6th Dan Kukkiwon, 7th Dan Changmookwan if that helps.

To be honest, I've stopped worrying about finding meaning in the poomsae. Sometimes it feels like the shape of the movements is really represented by what the pattern officially means, sometimes it feels just arbitrary. For me, poomsae is just a vehicle for self-improvement in Taekwondo basic movements.

That is one description of poomsae that is valid. If a person is required to learn Kukkiwon poomsae to progress, either purely by rank or through personal growth only, I do think it is important to learn the patterns as defined by Kukkiwon. That said, I have always considered myself fortunate to have a very broad base to learn from. As hard as I try to support and see value in some of the KKW poomsae movements, it gets tough at times. That is to the point I was trying to make. Digging into the poomsae from one's own perspective and does it reconcile with the originators.
I am scheduled to test in April for 5th Dan Kukkiwon. My GM asked me last week about testing again for my 7th Dan MDK which, for now I have balked on. I have never saw myself as a 7th Dan even though I am at the right age (55) and know I have the credentials. I have to do some soul searching. I don't feel like a 7th Dan so I will have to work on the analytics of it and decide whether I should feel like it.
 

dvcochran

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Lol @ superficial competition level. Not the words I would have chosen for high level competition poomsae.

It's "Taegeuk", by the way, and Jitae is not one of the Taegeuk poomsae.

If you have an issue with lack of meaning to the movements, that's on you. There's plenty of information out there.


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If you have links that explain the specific meaning of each individual move in the Yudanja poomsae as defined by Kukkiwon, please send me the links. I think we are on the same page; it is behoovent of each student to learn their interpretation and reconcile with the original meaning.
 

Dirty Dog

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Lol @ superficial competition level. Not the words I would have chosen for high level competition poomsae.

Maybe, maybe not. There are definitely differences in how movements are performed by those who are primarily interested in competition and those who are more focused on self-defense applications of the movements. And I've met a number of top-notch poomsae competitors who haven't the slightest understanding of the principles underlying the movements.
So, yeah, that's pretty superficial.
 

andyjeffries

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I am scheduled to test in April for 5th Dan Kukkiwon. My GM asked me last week about testing again for my 7th Dan MDK which, for now I have balked on. I have never saw myself as a 7th Dan even though I am at the right age (55) and know I have the credentials. I have to do some soul searching. I don't feel like a 7th Dan so I will have to work on the analytics of it and decide whether I should feel like it.

It's interesting that MDK will let you go so high. I understood that most of the kwans apply a KKW+1 limit (unless you have the correct KKW TIG from your last kwan rank, e.g. 3rd Dan KKW, 4th Dan MDK waits 4 years and can then test for 5th Dan MDK without needing to get 4th Dan KKW). Anyway, I have no link to MDK so I don't know their rules and will take your word for it, it's just interesting.

However, I will add as a personal note - I didn't feel like a 7th Dan when I got mine either. I think it's natural after getting a new rank to feel imposter syndrome at least for a time. After a while, you come to terms with it and then someone promotes you again :-D

I did realise long ago that it's rude to ask to test (if the instructor is aware your time in grade is sufficient and they don't want to test you, you shouldn't push it) and it's rude to reject being promoted. If your instructor feels you are ready for 7th Dan MDK, then by rejecting that it seems like you feel that you can judge better than them who is worth or not worth a 7th Dan. A bad look on any master (feeling that you're more qualified than your instructor).

So I would say, if they feel you should have it - then go for it - and congratulations in advance :)
 

dvcochran

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It's interesting that MDK will let you go so high. I understood that most of the kwans apply a KKW+1 limit (unless you have the correct KKW TIG from your last kwan rank, e.g. 3rd Dan KKW, 4th Dan MDK waits 4 years and can then test for 5th Dan MDK without needing to get 4th Dan KKW). Anyway, I have no link to MDK so I don't know their rules and will take your word for it, it's just interesting.

However, I will add as a personal note - I didn't feel like a 7th Dan when I got mine either. I think it's natural after getting a new rank to feel imposter syndrome at least for a time. After a while, you come to terms with it and then someone promotes you again :-D

I did realise long ago that it's rude to ask to test (if the instructor is aware your time in grade is sufficient and they don't want to test you, you shouldn't push it) and it's rude to reject being promoted. If your instructor feels you are ready for 7th Dan MDK, then by rejecting that it seems like you feel that you can judge better than them who is worth or not worth a 7th Dan. A bad look on any master (feeling that you're more qualified than your instructor).

So I would say, if they feel you should have it - then go for it - and congratulations in advance :)
A fair comment. These were conversations in private so I do not feel I violated my GM's authority. We definitely have more of a father/son relationship so we do speak with more candor when alone. Testing again was not my idea. He knows most of my reticence of my own making and not from a lack of qualifications. For reasons I will not go into, I have not tested since 1995 so time-in-grade is an offsetting factor with MDK. The promotion is with their blessing (I am 6th Dan MKD now)and I am one of three ever MDK Olympic trials competitors.
I feel a level of anonymity on the forum so put it out there for opinions from people of a common ilk. Please don't take it as stroking my own ego, much the opposite. I do welcome your response and hope to hear from others. The debate will help shore up my attitude.
On a side note, GM was talking this morning about how we have students and members. In a nutshell, members pay the bills and keep the doors open. They come and go. Students are for life; hagsaeng in Korean. Out of respect they do not even walk in their instructor's shadow. I'm certain this is a hard concept for most people of the current generation to wrap their head around. I have no problem with it.
 

andyjeffries

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A fair comment. These were conversations in private so I do not feel I violated my GM's authority. We definitely have more of a father/son relationship so we do speak with more candor when alone. Testing again was not my idea. He knows most of my reticence of my own making and not from a lack of qualifications. For reasons I will not go into, I have not tested since 1995 so time-in-grade is an offsetting factor with MDK. The promotion is with their blessing (I am 6th Dan MKD now)and I am one of three ever MDK Olympic trials competitors.
I feel a level of anonymity on the forum so put it out there for opinions from people of a common ilk. Please don't take it as stroking my own ego, much the opposite. I do welcome your response and hope to hear from others. The debate will help shore up my attitude.

I didn't think it was that at all, don't worry!

On a side note, GM was talking this morning about how we have students and members. In a nutshell, members pay the bills and keep the doors open. They come and go. Students are for life; hagsaeng in Korean. Out of respect they do not even walk in their instructor's shadow. I'm certain this is a hard concept for most people of the current generation to wrap their head around. I have no problem with it.

That's an interesting choice of word he used. Koreans use the romanised word 諰月 (mem-beo) for members and Haksaeng () normally means students in a more academic setting. They are who I would imagine would be more of a with you for a few years and then go (on to the next phase of an education).

Korean GMs I've met tend to use the term Jeja () more often for martial arts students over Haksaeng. This literally translates as "disciple" and I've had Korean GMs use their Korean-English dictionary and refer to their students as disciples, although this feels a little weird for me when they do. But it is used by Korean masters and GMs to just mean true martial arts students, so it's an interesting choice that he used .
 
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