Patterns promote serious study of the martial arts. They help enforce the values of discipline, patience, and self-control. It offers a means of self-measurement. In assition, they sustain many of the ancient techniques of empty-hand combat. Along the way, the study of forms also offers students stability and gives them a lifelong challenge to improve themselves. It is in things that last for a lifetime that you can find the most meaning.
Pattern training is good exercise. It allows students to practice fighting techniques without an opponent, similar to shadow boxing. Students can personalize the intensity of their workout by performing the patterns with varying degrees of power and speed. One of the great things about patterns training is that it can be conducted anywhere—indoors, outdoors, and on a variety of surfaces.
Students tend to practice what is easy for them to do. Patterns force students to learn and practice difficult techniques they probably never would have even tried otherwise and to use them in combinations they probably would never have imagined. Patterns depict self-defense situations rather than sparring techniques and show how Taekwondo may be a useful and practical fighting system.
Learning a pattern is a process. Information in some patterns is voluminous and diverse. There are no solid rules for interpreting patterns. Some are based on certain stances and related techniques. Some are so intricate that studying them can require the same effort as any other art or science.