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I have read that the black belt Taekwondo forms are each associated with an I Ching trigram. Are these correspondences emphasized in any dojangs? What can I take away from these associations?

The correspondences between the trigrams and the eight changing palms of bagua are fairly well documented, but it seems like the associations in Taekwondo are incidental and not particularly focused on. If your dojang does focus on I Ching, can you tell me how extensive this study is and what, if anything, you've learned from it?

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For WTF/Kukkiwon taekwondo the black belt forms: koryo (virtueous man), keumgueng (diamond and mountain), taebaek (bright mountain), pyongwan (a vast plain), sipjin (life and longevity), jitae (struggle and aspiration), chonkwon (heaven), hanseu (water) seem to be paths towards Ilyeo (Buddhist enlightenment). There may be some incidental references to water, earth, mountain, and heaven as those are essential trigrams of the i-ching, but the path of the poomse suggests to use the gifts of the Earth to go beyond the struggle of man towards Buddhist enlightenment especially as the symbolic references of the latter forms are of softer elements and embracing of the spirit of Heaven and selflessness. So in a way they follow the course of change (e.g. I ching) You also have to remember that I Ching is a Chinese /Confucius philosophy and the Koreans have adopted some of these, but it seems that the taekwondo forms (specifically, the Kukkiwon standard ones) are less about I Ching than a path towards selflessness and enlightenment (other than change, in of itself).

The I Ching is a deep discussion of all changes in and around the Earth and can represent the boundless opportunities and chances that are here. It would be neat to see the forms try to encompass this vast philosophy, but I do not think the current set of black belt (or even taeguek or palgwe series) would yield as much meaning as the I Ching.

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+1 For the thoughtful answer. I'll wait a while to accept an answer to allow more people to chime in. –  The Wudang Kid Dec 5 '13 at 13:13
    
I had wondered if the trigram associations were more of an afterthought and not universally accepted. It would be nice if someone could weigh in on whether the forms were historically associated with the i ching or if this is more a modern interpretation. –  The Wudang Kid Dec 5 '13 at 13:15

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