TKD Dictionary

A Summary of Korean Terminology for Taekwondo

Since the Korean language is written using “Hangul” and not the Roman alphabet, all the spellings you see here are approximate romanizations and may not be the same spellings that some of you are used to seeing.

The rest of this document is separated into the following sections:

Korea and its Flag

Definition of Taekwondo

Korean Counting

Basic Body Parts

Tenets of Taekwondo

Body Movements



Hand Positions

Hand Attacks









Common Phrases



Korea and its Flag

The Korean name for Korea is “Hangeuk” and its people are called “Hangeuksaram”. The ancient name for Korea is “Choson”, which means literally “the land of morning calm” and comes from the “Choson” (or “Yi”) dynasty of Korea’s history (1392-1905). The name “Korea” comes from the “Koryu” dynasty of Korea’s history (935-1392) during which westerners had their first contact with Korea.

The national anthem of Korea is “Aeguk Ka” (“Love of Country”). It was written during the Japanese occupation of Korea (circa 1905-1945) and was later set to music by Ahn Eak Tai.

The Korean flag is called “Taeguk-ki” and was adopted in August of 1882, not long after the “Hermit Kingdom” opened its front and back doors to foreign aggressive powers. The central theme of the flag is that although there is constant movement within the sphere of infinity, there is also balance and harmony. The flag consists of three parts: a white field (or background), a red and blue circle in the center of the flag (containing a “yin-yang” like symbol), and four black trigrams sorrounding the circle in each of the four corners of the flag.

The circle in the center is called “Taeguk” and means the origin of all things in the universe. The red and blue paisleys within the circle represent eternal duality (heaven-earth, fire-water, good-evil, male- female, dark-light, life-death). The blue portion of the circle is called “um” and represents the negative aspects of this duality; the red portion of the circle is called “yang” and represents the positive aspects. “Um-yang” is the Korean equivalent of “yin-yang”.

The four black trigrams come from the Chinese book of “I Ch’ing”. The trigrams also carry the idea of opposites and of balance. Each trigram (or “gye”) consists of three parallel lines, some of which are broken (split), and some of which are unbroken (solid). Each gye has a specific name and represents one or more concepts: In the upper lefthand corner is “K’un” which consists of all solid lines and represents heaven, east, and spring; In the lower righthand corner is “K’on” which consists of all broken lines and represents earth, west, and summer; In the upper righthand corner is “Kam” which consists of one solid line sorrounded by two broken lines and represents water, north, and winter; In the lower lefthand corner is “I” which consists of one broken line sorrounded by two solid lines and represents fire, south, and autumn.

Definition of TaeKwonDo

“Tae” means “foot” or “to strike with the feet”. “Kwon” means “hand”, or “to strike with the hand”. “Do” means discipline, art, or way. Hence TaeKwonDo (foot-hand-way) means literally “the art of the feet and the hands” or “the art of kicking and punching”. Different schools and/or styles may impose different variations on the formal definition however. For example, some styles add the words “self defense” to the literal definition and/or throw in some form of the phrase “physical and mental training”.

Korean Counting

There are two different numbering systems that are used by Koreans. The first numbering system is used when counting, or when only speaking of the numbers themselves. The first ten numbers in this system are as follows:

1:   hanah

2:   dool

3:   set

4:   net

5:   dasot

6:   yasot

7:   ilgop

8:   yadol

9:   ahop

10: yool

The stress in “hanah”, “dasot”, and “yasot” is on the first syllable, in “ilgop”, “yadol”, and “ahop” on the second. In counting cadence in TaeKwonDo, this is so emphasized that the other syllable frequently almost disappears (e.g., “han”, “das”, “yos”, “lgop”, “hop”, etc.).

The other numbering system (which is of Chinese origin) is used in most other cases and is often used where Americans would use ordinal numbers (such as “first”, “second”, etc …). For example, this second numbering system is used when describing a person’s rank: a first degree black belt would be an “il dan”. The first ten numbers in this numbering system are as follows:

1:   il

2:   ee

3:   sahm

4:   sah

5:   oh

6:   ryook

7:   chil

8:   pal

9:   koo

10: ship

The final `l’ in “chil” and “pal” isn’t rounded, like an American `l’ …. It’s a much shorter sound, sort of like the initial `l’ in “let”, but even shorter. It’s not like the `l’ in “ball”.

When pronouncing the word “ship”, you must not emphasize the “sh” sound. It’s almost more like “sip” with a sort of a lisp. If you pronounce it like “sh” in “shell”, then you are referring to sexual intercourse.

Even though this second numbering system may correspond to ordinal numbers in English in some cases, these are not ordinal numbers. Koreans use a separate set of words for ordinal numbers.

Basic Body Parts

mom: body

kwanjeol: joint

ulgool: face & head

muh ree: head

noon: eye

gui: ear

ko: nose

in joong: philtrum

eep: mouth

tuhk: chin

mokoomeong: throat

mok: neck

ouka: shoulder

myung chi: solar plexus

pahl: arm

pahlkup: elbow

pahlmahk: forearm

ahn pahlmahk: inner side of forearm

bahkat pahlmahk: outer side of forearm

meet pahlmahk: palm side of forearm

wi pahlmahk: back side of forearm

deung pahlmahk: back of forearm

sahnmahk: wrist

sahn: hand

sahnkal: outside edge of hand (knifehand)

sahnkal deung: inside edge of hand (ridgehand)

sahn deung: back hand

joomok: fist

sahnkahrak: finger

sahnkeut: fingertip

momtong: trunk (middle section)

huri: waist

ahrae: lower body (low section)

noolro: groin

dahree: leg

mooreup: knee

ahp jung kang yi: shin

bahl mahk: ankle

bahl: foot (or feet)

bahldung: instep

bahlbong oh ri: arch of foot

bahl nahl: outside edge of foot

an bahl nahl: inside edge of foot

bahl badak: sole of foot

ahp chook: ball of foot

dwi koomchi: heel

dwi chook: bottom of heel

bahlkeut: toes

Tenets of TaeKwonDo

ye ui:         courtesy

yom chi:    integrity

in nae:        perseverance

kuk gi:       self-control (also “jah jeh”)

baekjool:    indomitable spirit (also “boolgool eui jung shin”)

Body Movements

mom omgigi:         movement of the body

mahki:                  block

chagi:                    kick

chirugi:                 thrust (or punch)

chigi:                    strike (with the hand)

jeek gi:                  strike (with the foot)

bahk gi:                strike (with the head)

sahn ki sool:          hand technique

bahl ki sool:           foot technique

kyorugi:                sparring

bituro:                   twisting

gamya:                 stepping (also “omkyuh didigi”)

kuht neun:             walking

uro :                      moving in a particular

bang hyang bakoogi: changing direction

bitkyuh surgi:        escaping

tdwim yu:             jumping

dora:                    to turn

dolmyo:                spinning

mee keul myu:      sliding (also “mee kul gi”)

jupgi:                    holding/grabbing

donzigi:                 throwing

goorugi:                rolling/tumbling

pyihagi:                 dodging

hecho:                  spreading

moyo:                   gathering

bojoo:                   covering


oo:             right (also “oh-ruen”)

joa:            left (also “wen”)

ahp:           front

ahn:           inner

bahkat:      outer

bahndae:    reverse

dwi:           back

ahnuro:      inward

bahkuro:    outward

whe           high (up)

whee uro:   upward

guande:       middle

ulgool:         high section (also “sahngdahn”)

momtong:    middle section (also “chungdahn”)

ahrae:         low section (also “hahdahn”)


kagup:                  rank

gup:                      grade

dan:                      degree

simsa:                   grading (or promotional) test

simsa kwan:          examiner

dan gup jedo:        system of rank

Hand Positions

sahnkal:                knifehand

sahnkal jecho:        knifehand with palm up

sahnkal deung:      ridgehand (also “oppun sahnkal”)

sahn bahtong:        palm heel (also “bahtong sahn”)

sahn deung:           back hand (also “deung sahn”)

ah keum sahn:       arc hand

galkwi sahn:          ripping (or raking) hand

jipke sahn:             pincers hand

joomok:                fist

deung joomuk:       back fist

yup joomuk:          side fist

me joomuk:           hammer-fist

inju joomuk:          forefinger one-knuckle fist

bamchu joomuk:    middle-finger one-knuckle fist

doo bam joomuk:   two-knuckle fist

pyun joomuk:        flat (or open) fist

omji joomuk:         thumb-knuckle fist

kwan soo:             spearhand (also “pyun sahnkeut”)

sahnkeut:               pearfinger

gawi sahnkeut:      scissors-shaped spearfingers

Hand Attacks

bahro chirugi:        straight (return) punch

bahndae chirugi:    reverse punch

gullgi chirugi:        hook punch

yung seuk chirugi: combination (consecutive) punch

doo bun chirugi:    double punch

sae bun chirugi:     triple punch

sahnkeut chirugi:   spearfinger thrust

sewo chirugi:         vertical punch

gotjang chirugi:     vertical fist punch

dolrya chirugi:       round punch

dwijubo chirugi:    upset punch

soteum chirugi:      spring punch

nehryuh chirugi:    downward punch

chi chirugi :           ppercut punch

jae chuh chirugi:    upper punch (also “jae chin chirugi”)

doo joomuk chirugi: doublefist punch

dikootja chirugi:    `U’ (or `C’) shaped punch (hi-lo)

sosum chirugi:       double uppercut punch

keumgang chirugi: diamond-shaped punch

nalgeh chirugi:       wing-shaped punch


bahkat palmahk mahki:     outer forearm block

ahn palmahk mahki:          inner forearm block

sahng palmahk mahki:       twin forearm block

ahnuro mahki:                   inward block

bahkuro mahki:                outward block

ahrae mahki:                     low block

cho kyo mahki:                 rising block

daebi mahki:                     guarding block

bituro mahki:                    twisting block

gahwi mahki:                    scissors block

keumgang mahki:             diamond-shaped (Hercules) block

gutjha mahki:                   `9′-shaped block (cross block)

yeot pero mahki:              `X’-shaped block (also “kyo cha mahki”)

santeul mahki:                  mountain-shaped block (also “osanteul mahki”)

weh santeul mahki            :           part mountain-shaped block

utgallruyuh mahki :           cross block (also “utgiruh mahki”)

hechuh mahki:                  scattered block (or wedge block)

hwang so mahki:              ox (or “bull”) block

bahtangsahn nooluh mahki: pressing down block

deuluh oll ryu mahki:        upward scooping fist block


cha olligi:               stretching kick

jillo chagi: thrusting kick

ahp chagi:             front kick

yup chagi:             side kick

dolrya chagi:         round (roundhouse) kick

dwi chagi:            back kick

bahndae dolrya chagi: reverse round kick (“hook kick” for some styles)

dwi dolrya chagi:  back round kick (“hook kick” for some styles)

gullgi chagi:           hook kick (also “golcho chagi” or “golro chagi”)

bahndall chagi:      crescent kick (literally “half moon kick”)

hoohrio chagi:       wheel kick

beet chagi:             slant (or instep) kick

bahn dolrya chagi: half round kick (also “instep kick”)

beakya chagi:        slap kick

nehryuh jeek gi:     ax kick; literally “downward foot strike”

hwe jun chagi:       swing kick

mil a chagi:            pushing kick (also “mil gi chagi”)

gokwang i chagi:   pickax kick

pyojuk chagi:         target kick

dolmyo chagi:       spinning kick

tdwim yah chagi: jumping kick

yung seuk chagi:   combination (consecutive) kick

meekulmyu chagi: sliding kick (also “mikulgi chagi”)

goollruh chagi:      rolling kick

natgeh tdwim yu chagi: hopping kick

nalla chagi :           flying kick (also “goong jung chagi”)

gahwi chagi:          scissors kick

illja chagi   :           linear kick

japgo chagi:           holding (grasp) kick

ohpo chagi :           falling kick (leg sweep)

nachu oh chagi:     stooping kick


sohgi:                    stance

jah seh:                  posture (or stance) [used instead of “sohgi” in some styles]

ahnjun sohgi:         sitting stance

ahp sohgi:              front stance

ahp koo bi sohgi:    front bent knee stance (also just “ahp koo bi”)

dwi sohgi  :            back stance

dwi koo bi sohgi:    back bent knee stance (also just “dwi koo bi”)

beom sohgi:           cat (or tiger) stance (also “goyang-i sohgi”)

kuht neun sohgi:     walking stance

juchoom sohgi:       horseback riding stance (“kima sohgi” in some styles)

mot sohgi:             fighting stance

kyorugi sohgi:        sparring stance

choon bi sohgi:       ready stance (also “pyeonhi sohgi”)

gibon sohgi:           basic stance

guande sohgi:         middle stance

naranhee sohgi:     parallel stance

niun ja sohgi:         `L’-stance

gojang sohgi:         fixed (lower-back) stance

sa sun sohgi:          diagonal stance

gyuttari sohgi:       fixed balance (or bent knee) stance

koh ah sohgi:         crossed foot stance

kyo cha sohgi:       `X’-stance

mo ah sohgi:          close stance

joong-rib sohgi:      neutral stance

dong yuk sohgi:     dynamic stance

cha yun sohgi:       natural stance

chagi sohgi:           kicking stance

hahktari sohgi:       crane stance (also “ue bal sohgi”)


kyorugi:                (free) sparring

han bun kyorugi:   one step sparring

doo bun kyorugi:   two step sparring

sae bun kyorugi:    three step sparring

bahn ja yu kyorugi: semi free sparring

machu oh kyorugi: arranged free sparring

jeon:                     round (competition segment)

shihap:                  bout or match

jeum:                    point

shi gan:                 time out

keum bahk :          out of bounds

kyong go:             warning

gam jeum:             deduction of point

shil kyuk:              disqualification

boo sang:              injury

seung:                   win

bi kim:                  tie

chung:                  blue

hong:                    red

hin :                      white

jajun bahl:             use of footwork to dodge a technique

nachugi:                body evasion by “ducking”


poomse:     form (pronounced “poom-say”), also “hyung”

tul:             patterns

jang:          similar to a page or a chapter

yung seuk: combination

sa bang hyang: four direction


dhee:         belt

dobok:       uniform

ha’i:            training pants


hogoo:                              chest protector (also “bohogoo”)

sahn boho jang kap:          protective gloves

pahlmahk bohodae:           forearm guard

jung kang yi bohodae:       shin guard

nang shim bohodae:          groin cup

muh ree bohodae:             protective head gear

eep bohodae:                    mouth guard


cha ryuht:                        attention

choon bi:                          ready

bah ro:                             return to starting position

dwi uro dorah:                  about face

dorah:                              turn

elosoh:                             stand

gomahn:                           stop (also “mum cho”)

geuk gi hyang ha yoh:       face the flag

jwa woo hyang woo:         face each other

sah bum nim keh:              face instructor/master

sun bae nim keh:               face senior student

simsa kwan nim keh:         face examiner/tester

dobok dahnjung:               fix your uniform

dhee dahnjung:                 fix your belt

hai sahn:                           class dismissed (also “hae cho”)

jonglee:                             line up (also “ji hap” and “jung yul”)

kyung nae:                        bow

ahnjoe:                             sit

kool o angi:                       kneel (kneeling)

bah ro angi:                      sit in lotus position (yoga posture)

bahl bah kwah:                 switch your stance (switch your feet)

koo ryung op see:             in your own time

seijak:                   begin

shiuh:                    relax

kalyeo:                  break (or stop)

kae sok:                continue


do joo nim:            founder (of the art)

kwan jang nim:      grandmaster

chung sah nim:      chief instructor (or “chief master”)

sah bum nim:         instructor (or “master”)

sah boo nim:          more intimate and respectful form of

kyo sah nim:          teacher (also “seon saeng nim”)

sun bae nim:          senior student

hu bae nim:            junior student

hak saeng:            student

suryun saeng:        trainee

jeja:                        pupil

joo sim:                 referee

bu sim:                  judge

bae sim:                juror

kae sim:                time keeper

ki rohk:                 recorder


dojang:                 place where one trains (house of discipline)

gong-kyok:            offense

hosinsool:             self-defense

mukyum:              meditation

kihap:                   yell

jung shin yuk:        mental strength, or martial art spirit (also “moodo jung shin”)

jung shin dong il: concentration of the mind

jung shin soo yang: development (training) of the mind

jung do:                the “right” way (correctness of action)

sim shin dahn ryun: mind and body discipline

chung myung kwon: development (training) of the body, mind, and spirit

chi shik:                 knowledge of mind and thoughts

heng dong:            execution (action) of the body and its techniques

pil seung:               certain victory

il sok pil sai:          one strike must kill

ho hyoop:             breathing

shim ho hyoop:      breathing control (deep breathing)

himm:                   force or power

ki:                         life-energy

dahnjun:               the center of your “ki”

bokboo:                the stomach area where “ki” is generated.

choong sim:           center of gravity

chojum:                focus (focal point) of your energy

jeung ga:               increase (to strengthen or augment)

kyuk pa:               breaking (the art of breaking boards, bricks, and tiles)

shibum:                 demonstration (or exhibition)

pyugi:                   stretching

ye jol:                   etiquette

jon gyung:             respect

choong sung:         loyalty (also “eui ri”)

jung jhik:              honesty

kahjok:                 family

(Source: The Martial Arts Resource)



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