Pattern competitors must demonstrate they have an understanding of the patterns through their pattern performance. Patterns must be performed with competence and Competitors must demonstrate a clear understanding of the principles underlying the patterns.
- Basics. regardless of your rank, your basics need to be sharp. As a beginner, your basics might consist of a front kick and some simple punches. As an advanced competitor, your basics might include spinning kicks, jumping kicks or multiple-hand combinations.
- Enthusiasm. When your name is called, loudly acknowledge, and respectfully bow and present yourself to the judges. This sets a tone that alerts the judges that a motivated competitor coming.
- Work not Walk. Work through the pattern, do not walk through it. If you merely walk through the pattern, you will have an average performance, whereas, if you work through the pattern, you will have a powerful performance that deserves recognition.
- Do not be afraid of the judges. They are people like you who enjoy Taekwondo. They love to watch a crisp powerful form and want each competitor to his or her best. Do not be intimidated if they sit stone-faced, they are doing it out of respect for you.
- Stances. Keep your stances as low as they should be. Ensure your weight distribution and foot alignment are accurate. Posture is important before and after your presentation.
- Rhythm. Use correct rhythmic combinations. Try not to make your entire routine a blur. Stop for a second after each technique sequence to let the judges appreciate your solid stances, incredible balance, and perfect basics.
- Realism. Move similar to the way you would if fighting real attackers. Strong kicks, punches, and blocks are essential. Remembering that they are fighting numerous imagery opponents and that there is a slight delay before engaging each new opponent.
- Facial Expressions. Your facial expressions control how you feel and how others perceive how you feel. It would be hard to take someone's kata seriously if they smiled all the way through it. Keep your expressions serious throughout your kata and intensify your expression when you kiai.
- Eye Contact. Eye contact is a term for turning your head and looking in the direction you are about to move or strike. Always look before you move..
- Accuracy. Do not add any meaningless additional or stylized moves.
- Power. Move smoothly and deliberately, but execute the technique with maximum power and body tension. A form is a self-defense scenario against imaginary opponents. Therefore, your movements better be effective. Strong kicks, punches and blocks are essential. It is better to have a strong low kick rather than a weak high kick. Do not give up power for flash. There is no reason to save yourself for later. Let it all out, while remaining in control, and really show you have the power to make each punch and kick count.
- Balance. Stumbling during a pattern is a major error. Demonstrate good balance and show that you are in control during the entire routine.
- Symmetry. Symmetry defined is beauty of form arising from balanced proportions. Symmetry in patterns refers to your general form. Patterns are very specific about how arms and legs are positioned in relation to the body. The blocking arm usual extend from the line of the body at a 45 degree angle. Punches are usually at a 90 degree angle from the line of the body. Almost everything is squared off at 45 and 90 degree angles. Pay close attention to you symmetry.
- Do not lose your concentration if you make a mistake. Nobody is perfect. Some days are good days and some we try to forget. If you make a mistake keep going. Show the judges the rest of the things you can do well.
- Be quick but do not hurry. Make the technique quick (unless a slow movement is required) and powerful, but do not rush through the pattern.
- Do not be discouraged if you have to start over. Just bow to the judges and ask if you can start over. Give your second try all the enthusiasm and effort of your first try and you may still win the gold!
- Your competitors are your peers. You are competing against people of your same age and belt level. Your competitors are people just like you with a similar experience level. They are nervous too!
- Focus. You must focus if you want your techniques to be accurate. Usually, when a person's eyes start to wander, he or she is unsure of the next move. Do not lose your concentration, whether you did not practice enough or because someone starts playing loud music in the ring next to you.
- Intensity and Presence. Since you are fighting imaginary opponents, you should not have a blank look on your face or a smile. Be intense. Use your facial expressions to help the judges visualize your fight. Kiai intensely at the appropriate points. Low intensity kiais or powerful exhalations help emphasize techniques at other times.
- Speed. Some basic, traditional forms do not require much speed from strike to strike. However, even in a simple form, show great speed in a single kick or a single punch. In the more advanced forms, showing a quick combination of movements is important. Do not emphasize speed exclusively.
- Crisp techniques. Ensure your techniques are executed crisp and snappy. The arm, leg, or body should move from one position to the next as quickly as possible and should stop exactly in it is next position. If the technique calls for a flowing motion, seek to be smooth rather than fast.
- Flexibility. If your flexibility is good, you will be able to perform difficult kicks with ease.. I do not think there is anything more exciting than watching someone throw a kick straight up with good execution and power.
- Difficulty of movements. The more difficult your moves are, the higher you will score. However, many people put difficult moves in their routines before they can perform them flawlessly.
- Perform for the back row. Stage actors make exaggerated movements so the movements may be seen by people sitting in the last row of the theater. When performing patterns, you should perform for the person sitting on the top row of the bleachers. When sweeping movements are required, make them very large sweeping movements; when snap is required, make it very snappy; when power is required, make it very powerful. When performing patterns, you imitating a fight against multiple opponents. Remember, are performing a fight, not using realistic fighting techniques.
- Have a good backup. Make sure you know the rules regarding ties. Some tournaments may require a different routine. Even if they do not require a different form, have a solid backup. If you can go out and do a different form just as well as the first, you are showing how multi-dimensional you are.
Each pattern has unique characteristics which serve as special learning tools to the developing student. If these moves are mixed, or arbitrary, the pattern loses its effectiveness as a development exercise. There is no longer a systematic, incremental development process that leads the student toward imprinting correct form, power, breath control, etc. If alterations are made, patterns will lose their individual characteristics and standards will be lost.
When performing patterns, form and technique must be true to the Taekwondo fundamentals, for example, body transitions must not be altered to make it easier to maintain control. Incorrect body transitions lessen the level of difficulty and the efficiency of movement. The validity of the transitions actual sparing or fighting may be lost to theatrical value. Perfection of movement, and thus, perfection of character are focal points of pattern performance
Some common errors in pattern performance
- Foot placement on stances
- Lack of facial intensity
- Large movements are altered to small ones
- Deep stances gradually change to higher ones
- Timing is stylized too much which does not prove the physical conditioning of the performer
- Short movements are exaggerated as large ones to impress an audience rather than to demonstrate the correct technique
- "Pushing off" from the feet rather than initiating movements properly through the hip
- The body does not move as a unit; arms and legs seem disconnected
- Hand/foot timing (when moving, hand technique should finishing just as stepping foot touches the floor)