In the article "That mild-mannered Bruce Lee," published in the January 1985 issue of Psychology Today, university researchers in Texas re-ported that they had administered personality tests to Taekwondo students in three American states. The researchers found that students who had been practicing Taekwondo for one year or longer were more "socially intelligent" than people in the general population. The researchers claimed that the Taekwondo students were likely to have "a lower level of anxiety, an increased sense of responsibility, a decrease in the willingness to take risks," and they were less likely to be "radical." (This latter characteristic was especially true of students who had reached black belt level.) Another study, conducted through Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, confirmed that there was "an inverse relationship between aggressiveness and length of martial arts training." These researchers cautioned, however, that the benefits brought on by martial arts training "derive from the practice of traditional martial arts (as practiced for centuries in the Orient), as opposed to many modern versions of the sport, in which the instructors teach only fighting techniques." Studies such as these help martial artists understand what 1970 Black Belt Instructor of the Year, Ki Whang Kim, meant when he said "Forms are the very soul of karate. They are what make karate an art.'"
Patterns provide stability and constancy to Taekwondo. All martial arts are faced with the challenge of adapting to changing times and circumstances, yet they must keep something within them constant if they are not to be overcome by this challenge. In the case of Taekwondo—a martial art trying to retain its traditional principles while being popularized as an Olympic sport—patterns help salvage fighting techniques (and the philosophy behind them) that are essential if Taekwondo is to remain, in any real sense, a martial art, or even an "art" at all. Taekwondo instructor Park Ji Yeun of Edmonton, Canada, claims that many of the style's traditional self-defense techniques—which helped Park survive in the devastated streets of Seoul at the end of the Korean War—seem to be dying off. The side kick, for example, is now seldom seen in Taekwondo competition, Park notes. Knife-hand techniques, illegal in tournament sparring, are also rare in competition. In fact, the concentration of power into a single, lethal blow is seldom found in a sport where the aim is only to move the opponent sufficiently to score a point. Yet all of these techniques can still be found in the Taekwondo patterns.