Poomsae/Kata Is Like Poetry

Pyongwon Poomsae

Poomsae/kata is like poetry.

It’s about feel, about rhythm, about the beauty of performance.

Just as there are “expert” critics of poetry who can elucidate and pontificate on the merits. demerits and technical nuances of a piece of poem but who would never become poets themselves, who could never produce a piece that would touch the heart and soul of a reader, there are “expert” judges of kata who would never move an audience with an almost mystical and beautiful rendition of a kata.

A poomsae must be felt.

Perhaps that is why you would never (possibly) find a (theoretically qualified) kata or poomsae judge who can perform at that level. It would be a different story if a Rika Usami, or Luca Valdessi or Antonio Diaz became a judge after retiring from active competition. These are the people who “KNOWS” kata and feel it in their bones.

A too analytical approach to poomsae (just as with poetry) would render that poomsae “dry”. Like a poem, it could be technically technically “perfect”, fitting all the rules and requirements, but it would not be felt — by the audience.

That is the vast difference between good kata and GREAT kata (just like poetry and dancing)

And just because someone is a qualified judge (poomsae or kyorugi) does not mean he or she is a better Taekwondoist than you. He would certainly try to steer the game in that direction (making it seem he’s better than you), but now you know better.

You are on your own Path, your own process, just as he is on his own. There is no comparison.

Taekwondo must be felt. And if you “feel” it, then you are truly “doing” Taekwondo.