This Traditional Taekwondo form is also used in Shotokan Karate. There may be differences between the Taekwondo version and the Karate version of this form.

Like many forms in Traditional Taekwondo, Bassai (also known as Pal-Sek) came to taekwondo by way of karate. The form actually predates karate however. Bassai has been practiced in many martial arts, including those from China, the Ryūkyū islands, Japan and Korea. The origins of this form are obscure, however there are several theories as to its history:

  • Some researchers believe the Bassai form is related to Chinese Leopard and Lion boxing forms, with some sequences bearing a resemblance to Leopard boxing (the opening blocking / striking movement in cross-legged stance) whereas others are more representative of Lion boxing (open handed techniques and stomping actions). Okinawan karate researcher Akio Kinjo believes that the name originates in the Chinese bàoshī/豹獅 meaning "leopard-lion" which is pronounced "Bá-săi" or "pà-sai" in some Chinese dialects.
  • Other historians have noticed the resemblance between some parts of Bassai and Wuxing Quan ("Five Element Fist") Kung Fu.
  • Yet another theory as to the naming of the form is that it may represent a person's name.

In his 1922 book, Gichin Funakoshi names the form "Passai/パッサイ". By 1936, Funakoshi switches to calling the form Bassai/バッサイ but uses the characters "拔塞" which he spells as "Passai/パッサイ". The Korean Hangul spelling of the Hanja "拔塞" is "bal-chae (발채)".

In karate, there are two variations of these form that are practiced: Passai sho (小/ minor) and Passai dai (大/ major). In karate, the sho form is generally considered the more advanced of the two, but is less-frequently practiced.

In taekwondo, it is generally the major form (Bassai Dai, or simply Bassai) that is practiced.



Bassai Sho (minor) Bassai Dai (major)


This diagram is copyright John B. Correljé and is used with permission. Terms and conditions are available at

Bassai Sho (minor) Bassai Dai (major)
Bassai So.jpg Bassai dae.jpg

Other diagrams can be found here:

Written Instructions

Written instructions for Bassai Sho are here and also here

Written instructions for Bassai Dai are here and also here or also