Joong Do Kwan 2015

Joong Do Kwan 2015
Joong Do Kwan School of the Middle Way

5 Sep 2016

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Being Too Literal with Pattern Applications

In the Study of Taekwondo, this application from Po-eun by Russ Martin was shared, but received some slightly negative criticism. Not overly so as this instructor does show some really solid applications, and from the little I've seen I consider him to be quite an effective martial artist in his own right. One comment that prompted my response focuses on the instructor having applications that are "too literal." Meaning they have tried to stick with the techniques from the pattern to the detriment of 'simpler solutions' that would have ended the encounter faster.

My response was " ... [name of responder] makes an interesting point of being too literal in pattern analysis - which is why I am happy to focus on stuff in a pattern which I want to focus on. Meaning i don't feel the need to explain every bit of a pattern which then shows just how little I know. I am teaching to the best of my ability - rather than flopping around trying to do this technique guessing game. I know how to hurt a person, and i want that world view to be supported at every turn. :-) This helps my training program and practice. There is a time and place to brainstorm possibilities - just not as a lesson plan."

I feel there are some instructors who try not just to be too literal, but too 'clever.' For whatever reason, they have chosen to present rather esoteric interpretations. Some of these are really good material for the continuing progress of other high level practitioners. But otherwise, they would fall under the category of "the classical mess" that Bruce Lee referred to.

Don't let this comment make you think I'm ready to label the practitioner from just one video - I know how difficult it is to represent your style through a 2-3 minute video. You really can only get an idea about the person or his practice through concerted and continued contact hours with them. One video isn't going to cut it, and cannot represent the entirety of their martial practice.

Sometime to think about.

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30 Aug 2016

Variation on a Application

'Departing from the Form' is a 12.5 min video I uploaded to Study of Taekwondo which shows me performing a knifehand on the opponent, attempt a takedown by trying to push opponent's head backwards, then fail, and then performing counter takedowns after this initial fail going opposite to the original direction or obliquely.

After initial neck strike, I move to perform a takedown by controlling the arm and flexing the head back

Discussion on secret FB group Study of Taekwondo by my friend Orjan Nilsen said that these would be "[termed] 'byonhwa' applications. Byonhwa meaning variation ...". My response is "By variation, most instructors would take a particular technique and modify it a bit at a time to help practitioners learn it better. This particular video shows counter techniques that vary wildly from the initial technique. My assumption is that focus on the technique is a learning oriented activity; as you come into conflict with the opponent you need to be more fluid or sensitive - dependent on the actions the opponent takes. This it is not about technique or variation but the reading of the opponent which is the takeaway here."

First 'variation' was to effect a counter takedown using a neck crank.

Next counter takedown was to use a big wheel motion grabbing neck and leg.

Third variation of counter takedown was to perform a neck throw.

Another counter takedown was to manipulate centre of gravity by pushing on hip and pulling back on shoulder or neck. 
Again, the purpose was not to use this as a way to teach specific technique. Most of these technique have been learned by the students already. This was repackaging the lesson in order to get students to study the action of the opponent and then to allow them to decide on how to proceed with whatever technique best suits.

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16 Aug 2016

Roundhouse Kicks - The Long and Short of It

In the picture above, I show what's possibly one of the more popular kicks in our arsenal. Or at least I show two variations of the ever-popular roundhouse kick. The upper right and bottom show the long range version of the kick, and above left shows a short range version of the kick.

At most schools, the long range version is currently practiced to the point where the short range variety is hardly ever seen. And the reason why is that the dual combination of long range roundhouse and fairly similar long range turning kick are easy to learn, keep the opponent at bay, and are dynamic techniques which look good and empower the practitioner.

This over-focus on the long range kick is a pity as the short range version of this kick - performed even passingly well - is one of the more devastating techniques I would use in the close range. The long range technique feels strong because you swing that kicking leg over a good distance. But where it fails is that the transmission of mass which is crucial to generate power, diminishes because of the distance from technician to the target.

The short range kick however allows you to transmit a fantastic amount of body mass which increases the power you can generate through this one strike. The tactical benefit with the short range - while counter-intuitive to practitioners who are used to the long range - helps you immediately engage with the opponent with hand strikes. Definitely a technique to practice and to use after gap-closing on the opponent.

Related Kicks

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15 Aug 2016

2016 Update

The Impetus to Share 

The garage sets the scene, and the quality is gritty at best. But you're pulled into our private training session, and the 'Cheap and Cheery' tone keeps it feeling 'real'. This has been what we've doing since December 2015 when we stuck an IP surveillance camera over our training area. The impetus to output these videos was to showcase Traditional Taekwondo training methods with Taekwondo instructors and practitioners worldwide. Almost 45 videos to date have been published to a FaceBook group called The Study of Taekwondo 태권도의 공부.

2016 A-KaTo Instructor of the Year 

It was a huge honour for Colin to be invited back by parent organisation American Karate and Taekwondo Organization for their 40th Anniversary Celebrations in March 2016. Held in Dallas, it featured a special training session for out-of-town instructors, a full day of seminars, and then a dinner banquet. The highly unexpected award for Instructor of the Year was an emotional moment for Colin in his 33+ year martial art career. Presenting this award is one of the most inspiring gentlemen I know GM Keith Yates.

The Joong Do Kwan Training Method

The videos we've been showing have hinted at a Joong Do Kwan training method. This has been adopted by us to make sense of the immense number of possible applications within a pattern. Many instructors may present options for various techniques from their patterns. This is like an unfolding of a syllabus - we do that too. However, the capacity to learn is limited by ability and the dynamic nature of an encounter - something which we recognise, and we seek to resolve. We do this by presenting applications and techniques in ways where student practitioners can gain an understanding of how things 'work' as to just having a collection of cool skills that they would struggle to use.

Ging Mo Free Form Fighting 2016

Colin has been involved with Ging Mo Free Form Fighting as a corner judge for more than two years now. End of last year, he participated in bringing Ging Mo Free Form Fighting to Singapore as part of the 4th International Wushu  Competition, and this year he was involved in the 2016 Australian Kung Fu Wushu Championships.

The Study of Taekwondo 태권도의 공부

Colin has been one of four moderators for this FaceBook group. The group comprises over 520 Taekwondo practitioners worldwide, and was started by Ørjan Nilsen, a Taekwondo blogger situated in Norway.

Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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