Patterns>Chang-hon pattern set>Sam-il

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Sam-il denotes the historical date of the independence movement of Korea. It is named for Sam-il Undong, the liberation movement "first March" that began on March 1, 1919, when people all over Korea went on the roads and demonstrated for peace, liberty, and justice. This force-free rebellion was brutally struck down by the Japanese with about 7000 deaths.


The inspiration for the Samil Movement came from the repressive nature of Japanese policies under its military administration of Korea following 1905, and the "fourteen points" outlining the right of national "self-determination" proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson at the Paris Peace Conference in January 1919. After hearing news of Wilson’s speech, Korean students studying in Tokyo published a statement demanding Korean independence.

At 2 P.M. on 1 March 1919, 33 nationalists who formed the core of the Sam-il Movement convened at Taehwagwan Restaurant in Seoul and read the Korean Declaration of Independence that had been drawn up by the historian/writer Choe Nam-seon and the poet/Buddhist monk Man-hae (also known as Han Yon-gun). The nationalists initially planned to assemble at Tapgol Park in downtown Seoul, but they chose a more private location out of fear that the gathering might turn into a riot. The leaders of the movement signed the document and sent a copy to the Japanese Governor-General, with their compliments.
"We herewith proclaim the independence of Korea and the liberty of the Korean people. We tell it to the world in witness of the equality of all nations and we pass it on to our posterity as their inherent right. We make this proclamation, having back of us 5,000 years of history, and 20,000,000 of a united loyal people. We take this step to ensure to our children for all time to come, personal liberty in accord with the awakening consciousness of this new era. This is the clear leading of God, the moving principle of the present age, the whole human race just claims. It is something that cannot be stamped out, or stifled, or gagged, or suppressed by any means. "
They telephoned the central police station to inform them of their actions and were arrested afterward. Before the formal declaration, Korea also circulated the following complaints to be heard by the Japanese people through papers and media. These grievances were highly influenced by Wilson’s Declaration of the Principle of Self-Determination. They addressed how the government would discriminate when employing Koreans versus Japanese people. They claimed that no Koreans held an important position in government.
  1. They addressed how there was a disparity of education being offered between Korean and Japanese people.
  2. They claimed that the Japanese despised and mistreated Koreans in general.
  3. Political officials, both Korean and Japanese were arrogant.
  4. They said there is no special treatment for the upper class or scholar.
  5. They complained that the administrative processes were too complicated and laws were being made to frequently for the general public to follow.
  6. They complained that there was too much forced labor that was not desired by the public.
  7. They said that the taxes were too heavy and they were paying more than before while getting the same amount of services.
  8. They complained that more and more of the land was being confiscated by the Japanese people for personal reasons.
  9. They said Korean village teachers were being forced out of their jobs because the Japanese people are trying to suppress their heritage and teachings.
  10. They said the development of Korea has been for the benefit of the Japanese. They argued that they were working towards development but the Koreans did not reap the benefit of their work.
Despite the nationalists' concerns, massive crowds assembled in the Pagoda Park to hear a student, Chung Jae-yong, read the declaration publicly. Afterward, the gathering formed into a procession, which the Japanese police attempted to suppress. Coinciding with these events, special delegates associated with the movement also read copies of the independence proclamation from appointed places throughout the country at 2 P.M. on that same day, but the nationwide uprisings that resulted were also brutally put down by the Japanese police and army. Protests nevertheless continued to spread, and as the Japanese national and military police could not contain the crowds, the army, and even the navy were also called in.

There were several reports of atrocities. In one notable instance, Japanese police in the village of Jeam-ri herded male protesters into a church, locked it, and burned it to the ground. Approximately 2,000,000 Koreans had participated in the more than 1,500 demonstrations, many who have been massacred by the Japanese police force and army.

According to the frequently referenced The Bloody History of the Korean Independence Movement by Park Eunsik, 7,509 were killed, 15,849 were wounded, and 46,303 were arrested. From March 1 to April 11, Japanese officials reported that 553 people were killed with over 12,000 arrested, while 8 policemen and military policemen were killed and 158 were wounded. Many of those arrested were taken to the infamous Seodaemun Prison in Seoul where they were imprisoned without trial and tortured. Several hundred people were murdered in extrajudicial killings in the "death house" at the rear of the site.

In 1920, the Battle of Chingshanli broke out in Manchuria between exiled Korean nationalists and the Japanese Army. The March 1st movement resulted in a major change in Japanese imperial policy towards Korea. Japanese Governor-General Hasegawa Yoshimichi accepted responsibility for the loss of control (although most of the repressive measures leading to the uprising had been put into place by his predecessors) and was replaced by Saito Makoto. Some of the aspects of Japanese rule considered most objectionable to Koreans were removed. The military police were replaced by a civilian force, and limited press freedom was permitted under what was termed the "cultural policy'." Many of these lenient policies were reversed during the Second Sino-Japanese War and World War II.

Women also found new opportunities after the movement to express their views for the first time in Korea. Ideas of female liberation were allowed to be printed after the rebellion. Such journals as the Sin-yoja (New Woman) and Yoja-kye (Women's World) were printed. The March 1 Movement was a catalyst for the establishment of the provisional government of the Republic of Korea in Shanghai in April 1919. and it also gave influence on nonviolent resistance in India and many other countries. On May 24, 1949, March 1st was designated a national holiday in South Korea.

Pattern movements

Number of Movements: 33 (The 33 movements represent the 33 patriots who planned the movement).

Diagram of movements

Pattern performance

There are numerous videos and explanations of the pattern movements available on the internet that show how to perform the pattern in the way preferred by your instructor, school, or organization. The following is an example of the ITF way to perform the pattern.

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