These four stages are by no means unique to Taekwondo; other martial arts also use them, such as boxing. In boxing, a student first learns the basics, then uses the punches against compliant partners wearing protective equipment, Then students practice using basic punches in varying combinations. Finally, they enter the ring for full-contact free sparring.
Moving to a higher stage of pattern practice does not mean you abandon the earlier stages. Each stage has a specific purpose and still needs to be practiced. Even though you learn variations of a technique, you still need to practice it as used in the traditional pattern so you may maintain Taekwondo's history. A traditional stick block against an attacker using a bo (long pole) may seem primitive in today's environment but it is effective against a stick attack. We may make changes to Taekwondo to make it more applicable to today's society, but you never know when you will have to resort to primitive means to protect yourself.
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