Development of Shotokan Patterns
Since Taekwondo's development was deeply influenced by Shotokan Karate, it is best to start Taekwondo pattern history with a look at the history of Shotokan patterns.
Karate was founded on the island of Okinawa, one of a chain of islands collectively known as the Ryukyu Islands. Okinawa lies about five hundred and fifty miles east of Mainland China, approximately halfway between China and Japan.
During the eleventh century, a number of Japanese warriors fleeing from the Taira–Minamoto wars made their way to Okinawa. Many of the Minamoto samurai took Okinawan wives and remained upon the island for the rest of their lives. The bujitsu of the Minamoto Samurai had a large influence upon the fighting methods employed by the Okinawan nobles. One part of Minamoto Bujitsu that had an influence upon the development of karate was the idea that all motion is essentially the same. Whether striking, grappling, or wielding a weapon, the Minamoto samurai taught that all combative methods relied upon similar physical movements. A student would be taught a particular physical movement and then be shown how that movement could be adapted to other situations. This philosophy can still be seen in modern karate when an individual pattern technique is applied to different circumstances and attacks. This use of one technique in multiple applications permitted each pattern to convey great amounts of information. The use of multiple applications also helps ensure a quick response in combat since the user did not have to learn many different movements for many different situations.