The International Tae Kwon Do Federation was founded by General Choi Hong-hi. Before this time, General Choi was the president of the Korean Taekwondo Association, which had asked him to start the ITF as the international branch of the KTA But, a goodwill trip to North Korea in 1966 caused General Choi to fall in disgrace in the eyes of the South Koreans and he resigned as president of the KTA. He left for America and did start the ITF but as a separate entity.
The ITF focuses on the traditional aspects of Tae Kwon Do and practices hyungs or patterns developed by General Choi.
Meaning of Hyungs
Long ago, hyungs were developed to assist a warrior in the practice of defensive and offensive skills without causing injury or death to actual opponents. Todays hyungs, developed by General Choi, represent these attack and defense techniques and are not to change with time. They are part of the thick deep roots of Tae Kwon Do and since they do not change, tradition is practiced.
While practicing these patterns, concentrate on the following points: (taken from the International Taekwondo Federation.)
Pattern should begin and end in exactly the same spot. This will indicate the performer's accuracy.
Correct posture and facing must be maintained at all times.
Muscles of the body should either be tensed or relaxed at the proper critical moments in the exercise.
The patterns should be performed in a rhythmic movement with an absence of stiffness.
Movement should be accelerated or decelerated according to instruction.
Each pattern should be perfected before moving to the next.
Know the purpose of each movement.
Perform each movement with realism.
Attack and defense techniques should be equally distributed among right and left hands and feet.
There are a total of 24 hyungs. The first 7 will be discussed here.
The reason for 24 Patterns:
"The life of a human being, perhaps 100 years, can be considered as a day when compared with eternity. Therefore, we mortals are no more than simple travelers who pass by the eternal years of an eon in a day. It is evident that no one can live more than a limited amount of time. Nevertheless, most people foolishly enslave themselves to materialism as if they could live for thousands of years. And some people strive to bequeath a good spiritual legacy for coming generations, in this way, gaining immortality. Obviously, the spirit is perpetual while material is not. Therefore, what we can do to leave behind something for the welfare of mankind is, perhaps, the most important thing in our lives.
Here I leave Taekwon-Do for mankind as a trace of man of the late 20th century.
The 24 patterns represent 24 hours, one day, or all my life."