Patterns are a way for students to perfect the physical movements required for the application of Taekwondo in response to violence. Students learn the precise muscular movements, timing, rhythm, and breathing required to perform techniques properly in accordance with traditional teachings. This exact transfer of data from the teacher to the student allows Taekwondo to pass from generation to generation with little deviation from the original teachings.
Through the practice of patterns, students learn to perform techniques precisely within their own physical dimensions. Then, through performing one-step sparring sequences, they learn to extend those techniques beyond their own dimensions, toward an opponent. Finally, through free-sparring, students learn to apply the techniques in actual combat with an opponent.
Beginning students may quickly learn to perform certain movements and feel confident while performing them. However, most of the time, these beginning movements lack stability, speed, and power and thus are ineffective and inefficient in their application. By practicing patterns, students learn the intricacies of their movements and learn to fine-tune their movements to gain more stability, speed, and power.
When firing a hand gun, the slightest imperfection in technique may result in the bullet missing the target by inches. Likewise, the slightest imperfection in technique when executing a kick may result in the kick missing its intended target or striking the target with insufficient power. Through constant practice, precise movements become instinctive and techniques consistently strike their intended targets with sufficient power.