The Pal-Gwe forms are dynamic symbols of eternal truths, going back in oriental thought to the ancient Chinese concepts of Yin and Yang. The Pal-Gwe forms refer to a philosophy of universal being, in which Truth is a constant within the phenomenon of an ever changing cosmos. Inherent in the concept of "form" is the awareness that the universe is infinite and unknowable, having no ties binding it together and yet there must be some kind of integrating force, a cosmic glue, that keeps order: movement within perceptible patterns, energy within stillness, lines of force inscribed within circles of harmony, yielding an inner strength. The constancy of truth, and the truth of constant change, are both symbolized in the Pal-Gwe forms.
In Oriental thought, there are three Dos, or Levels of Being: Heaven (ie the Cosmic Universe), which is Content; Man, which is Subject; and Earth, which is the World of Objective Form. That which is true in Heaven, is mirrored in Man, and takes form on Earth. On each level, the firm or yielding (Yang or Yin) character of the entity combines with the character of the place and time, resulting in conditions of equilibrium that yield harmony, and conditions of disturbed equilibrium that yield confusion and chaos.
The principle of Pal-Gwe is that one who knows himself and his environment, and understands the three Dos, will find a path of harmony between the changeable forces of the world, without falling into the abyss of moral error.
Pal-Gwe literally means "Law, Command," and as the Tae Kwon Do student executes the Pal-Gwe forms, he is obliged to remember the reciprocal commands they represent.
1. Know yourself, and be in harmony with the universe.
2. Be responsible for yourself, and loyal to your commitments.
3. Be respectful of your relationships, know the limits beyond which your freedom encroaches upon the freedom of another.
4. Be pure in motive, and direct in action.