When patterns were first devised, sparring was not a major aspect of Taekwondo. Their emphasis was on close-range self-defense. Therefore, patterns, at least the traditional ones, tend to contain practical, close-range self-defense techniques. Patterns were not developed to support sport sparring or to be used against a warrior on a battlefield; they were developed as defensive techniques to use against violent, untrained attackers, not trained soldiers or other marital artists. Real world attackers do not use powerful kicks or intricate combinations. Real world attacks are wild "hay-maker" punches, head butts, kicks to the knees, biting, and tackling, therefore, patterns were developed to defend against these types of attacks. Patterns use such techniques as close-range strikes, throws, takedowns, chokes, strangles, arm bars, leg locks, finger locks, wrist locks, neck cranks, ground fighting etc.
If we wish to practice Taekwondo as the complete art that its founders intended it to be, then we must study our patterns in sufficient depth and include aspects of them in our regular training. If all this is true, then why did these methods of pattern training fall from grace?
Patterns are a repository of Taekwondo history that transmit the techniques and principles of Taekwondo from one generation to the next. They insure the core principles and techniques of the art are not lost. Since Taekwondo is a physical art, physical actions were incorporated into patterns to transmit this information.
The first patterns were closely guarded secrets that were only passed down to worthy students. They were deliberately constructed to conceal the techniques within them. This was done to prevent a spectator from learning the techniques of a specific master and passing the information to others who might use the information to dishonor the master.