Ko Dang is the pseudonym of the patriot Cho Man Sik who dedicated his life to the independence movement and education of his people. The 39 movements signify his times of imprisonment and his birthplace on the 39th parallel. Note: Ko Dang is one of the original 24 patterns introduced to ITF taekwondo by Choi Hong Hi, but was replaced by an entirely different pattern Juche due to the political nature of the Ko Dang's meaning. Recently Ko Dang has replaced Juche in many taekwondo organisations as the rightful pattern to be performed at 2nd Dan. However, learning both the patterns Ko Dang and Juche and their meanings is advisable.
In depth knowledge:
Cho Man Sik (1883 - 1950 AD) was a nationalist and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Often referred to as the "Ghandi of Korea", he took part in the independence marches on 1st March 1919 in which he was just one of the 50,000 people arrested. During the 1920's he actively promoted nationalism by encouraging the Korean people to buy Korean goods.
Cho Man Sik became head of the People's Committee of North Korea in 1945, which he renamed as the Five Provinces Administrative Bureau of the People's Republic of Korea. He later formed the Korean Democratic Party of the Christians, Nationalists and Intellectuals known as the Chosun. Cho Mak Sik was the first North Korean leader to stand up to the might of the Soviet Union. In late 1945 Kim Il Sung returned from exile to liberate Korea wearing a Soviet Uniform and Cho Man Sik was forced to share the leadership of North Korea with him. This however was doomed as Cho Man Sik was anti Soviet and opposed Kim Il Sung who openly supported by the Soviet government.Cho Man Sik was again arrested along with many other anti Soviet nationalists, who were unable to flee to South Korea. Cho Man Sik was executed in 1950, signalling the start of the persecution of the Christians.
Cho Man Sik was declared a martyr and honoured by the government of South Korea in 1970.