Joong Do Kwan Cross Trains

Joong Do Kwan Cross Trains
JDK Instructors share the passion with ITF friends here in Perth

27 May 2017

Why Karate Training is Not Good Training

Quite a number of years ago now, I remember being in a Wing Chun class, and getting increasingly annoyed by the teacher. Every time he'd see me - and he knew I was a practitioner because of my knuckles, he'd be saying some demeaning stuff about hard style training. Be it Taekwondo or Karate, he'd be saying how bad that stuff was, and how good his Wing Chun really is.

Much of his rants were about how scenario-based or contextual Karate is -- now when I say Karate, this was a term used toward my general vicinity because I didn't really tell him what I do. Basically, according to him, Karate needs you to face a certain kind of situation, and then your prescriptive training would allow you to then deal it. It was tiresome listening to this guy's tirade - what a loser. And more so because he was correct - to be allocated a scenario and then to be offered an application in response is a very limiting way of training.

It's not that I don't use this method of training myself, it is that I don't feel limited to using this method - meaning there comes a time when you do need to show a student, and to tell him to follow your every move. But there also comes a time when that student needs to move on, to learn to play with that technique, to look for options, to modify based on the nature of the attack, and when that time comes, you need that student to be able to vary the skills in order to accomplish what needs to be done.

Read the preamble I wrote for FaceBook video I uploaded. The above sequence started with a leap into a backfist similar to what you have in Yulgok. The difference in Bassai is that there's a flat open palm guarding block placed vertically on the attacking forearm. We were playing with this move to deflect and brush the oncoming weapon both inside and outside the striking tool.

The sequence proceeds to draw from another part of the form, and we then do a leg takedown both from the front and from the side. This means we can throw the opponent from approaching him face on, or reach out and throw him if he turns even up to 180 degrees to face the other way. The crux of the video is my student asking what to do if the throw fails.

This is an unscripted part of the class. I did not 'figure out' what I wanted to do before class. I was putting the technique through its paces, and I was doing what came natural to counter the counter. Much of what I am doing is not innovating anything. We are drawing skill from our library of techniques, and the subsequent moves show how far away from the initial application I've gone YET how well I am honouring our practice of Traditional Taekwondo.

Stay well.

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24 May 2017

Dosan The Spearhand Counter Against Counter

In this video, Colin Wee leads a typical lesson discussing Do-san's open palm trap and vertical spearhand. This is not just one application, but a continuation from a series of lessons which explore the technique.

 Note that the technique is 'applied' so that Colin can receive the strike from the opponent irrespective of what side leads. Meaning, he can make the technique work with his left side out or his right side. He has also adapted the spearhand in order to strike various targets or to establish a neck manipulation and then a takedown hold. In this class, the discussion relates to what happens if the opponent has countered before the practitioner has been able to deliver the strike.

With the ability to articulate shoulder, elbow and wrist joints, the striking hand becomes a block or deflection, and hooks into the secondary strike - become a brush trap. If the secondary tool comes wide, then the practitioner has the choice to tap into a library of basic techniques in order to deal with the oncoming strike.

This is hard style Taekwondo training at its best. Once you see the entirety of training (as opposed to the limited context of this video), you will see simple ready-to-use tools packaged for the student practitioner.


List of links from Taekwondo Do-san Pattern

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5 Sep 2016

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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