Joong Do Kwan 중도관 [中道館] Tae Kwon Do or 'School of the Middle Way' is based in Perth, Western Australia. We are a small group of martial art practitioners and students who practice Traditional Taekwondo. Our lineage of Taekwondo was exported out of Korea in the mid 1950s and continues to enjoy its proximity to its Karate cousins. Joong Do Kwan uses the Chang Hon set of Taekwondo patterns as our main syllabus. Currently, Joong Do Kwan is headed by Colin Wee (6th Dan). The Traditional Taekwondo Techniques Blog has been a resource he started to help discuss techniques as they occurred in class.

6 Nov 2014

Force = [ (Mass x Acceleration) - Fallacies ]

I tire of hearing this equation bandied about by people using it to talk about power.

It's not that the equation is irrelevant to the generation of power. The problem is that the equation is regularly abused by people using it to promote their own pet concepts, or to seem more clever than they are.

Whatever you think of power, the true worth of a practitioner is measured by his understanding of risk and reward. Meaning all the skills that help him cover against strikes or block them coming his way need to always be present. Next is the tactical understanding that the closest distance between your tool and the intended target is a straight line. Pull your tool back and chamber for more power, and you might find yourself on the ground nursing a black eye.

The two factors that help you generate Force - which is what martial artists are interested in are the interplay of mass and acceleration. In a discussion recently I stated that a practitioner will find his upper limit of speed and acceleration rather quickly. What I mean by that is that with a little training and maintenance, most people will achieve the maximum they can ever achieve in a short amount of time. How much fast twitch muscle fibre you have is how much you'll have. If you're genetically gifted, that's great ... but it'll take a huge amount of additional effort to eke out very marginal gains after you first get it.

Mass however is a very different part of the equation, and this is where I find myself having the most contention with some colleagues. Jesse Enkempe in How to Get Massive Power in Your Karate Punches hit the nail on the head when he said "If you are a beginner ... the only mass you'll be able to move into the target is basically your hand. If you train a little longer, you might finally get the whole arm behind the punch. That's a few more pounds! And if you train even more ... you might finally get your whole body's mass behind the punch."

The trick is not attempting to put on mass by waiting for the effects of resistance training or by going to Macca's. And the fallacy of thinking is that everyone's mass is the same. Your mass might be the same if you're standing still, but I can assure you that an untrained person cannot shift his mass as effectively as I can. Simply put, I can accelerate and decelerate more of my mass to support a wide range of striking tools.

In the post Creating a New Upper Limit to Your Punching Power, I talk about creating more mass using compound muscles to drive the strike. The body structure supports both the initial acceleration, and the final deceleration. This closed system type of process helps transmit mass into the point of impact. This is the secret to striking with the body as one.

This contrasts heavily with people trying to throw their strike as a flail into the target. This is a haphazard motion - which while capable of generating force is not generating force effectively. Meaning you will need a strong person to strike the target strongly. With the traditional punch as I described above, a smaller person will have a new found upper limit to punching power that will simply be astounding.

I urge you to re-examine these concepts. After thirty years in the martial arts, this insight gives me cause to return to much of my previous assumptions, and in discussions with other people who have experienced similar gains, we agree that everything is 'the same, yet different' - just through this new insight.

And this new insight directly affects my ability to generate a huge amount of power. Against other respected and experienced instructors, I have used simple strikes whilst they hold strike mitts, and the bruising which occurs as the power blitzes through the target is serious. I have literally had instructors complain about their bruises without mentioning that there was a target that existed between their body and my fist.

I'm not saying this to boast. I am saying that with what feels like minimal effort on my part, the power generated is so frightening that all martial artists should explore this training in order to fully appreciate the value of traditional training.

Keep safe.
--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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5 Nov 2014

Dan-gun: Twin Outer Forearm Block as Uppercut (Step 9 & 11)


Uppercut with back hand held up for cover

Uppercut to body with back hand held high

Twin Outer Forearm Block - a dead ringer

An uppercut is an excellent versatile strike that comes from underneath, between arms and can find a target in tight situations where a straight punch might not land. It's a fairly easy strike - so there is absolutely no logical reason why I should wait until Kwang-gae Step 2 & 3 to learn an 'upset' punch which is more or less related to the uppercut, but which strikes towards the body not upwards toward the head.

Kwang-gae's Upset Punch - a Little Too Late?
Uppercuts are done close range, with body torque allowing you to find holes through the opponent's defences in order for the punch to land. Entering close range means to put frontal pressure on the opponent using gap closing tactics.

Most cross-training nowadays will help you achieve a decent punch. Hand mitts are held facing downward and toward you and you strike upward. To improve on the strike you should try not to let the arm move freely from the shoulder, but to support the striking motion with body torque and leg expansion.

The Twin Outer Forearm block done as strike is not a boxing tactic. The raised arm is there as a cover and as a grab-control. If the person punches you and you attempt to do this, your opponent will retract his arm and you will be dragged forward AND your strike will be unsuccessful. If you however attempt to strike the opponent with your back hand, the opponent will seek to block or jam your strike. When he does this then you punch under his arm toward his head.

The back hand indicates that you should explore ways to control an extended arm - this does not mean the opponent will give you his arm willingly.

The turn of pattern Dan-gun indicates that you are best using this tactic when you approach the opponent from the side - rather than front on.

--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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30 May 2014

Yulgok Backfist Cross Stance



I guess I might be crazy enough to leap into the fray armed with a backfist. But no, it's not going to be my number one weapon, nor would it pop into my head as a weapon of last resort.

So here I am training with a student who's preparing for his blue belt grading and who's asking about this leap-into-the-fray backfist that you see off step 36 in Taekwondo Yul-gok. Beautiful and balledic. But the first impression of this technique seems to miss the mark as being something that you could use with any sort of seriousness. .

In my description provided for this video on Youtube I compare this jumping step to the leap you also see in Bassai. Bassai, as I understand it was a pattern favoured by none other than Bushi Matsumura - a giant in terms of the development of linear Karate. The opening sequence of Bassai features the exact jumping backfist except it's done on the right side rather than Yulgok on the left.

I reckon the most devastating application I can come up with for Bassai is a finger lock done on an opponent just in front of you, and a 'walk up' to control the opponent by the head (one palm on the chin, the other grabbing hair) before performing a literal head-smashing takedown and a footstomp. The back leg 'tucked' behind the front leg was a way in which I could pivot to deal with another opponent - as in the case of Bassai. However, discussions on the X-step talk often of how this be a leg attack and trap. The difference being that a leg attack or trap requires you to fold the back leg in front and then press downward using the front knee.

So the leap forward in Yulgok encouraged me to explore this leg attack perspective. The back leg fold seem to say the dynamic of a torquing body would require me to turn into the side of the opponent's leg. That more or less justified the cross stance. The back fist in that position was easy to use as a takedown either in the front of the opponent's body or from the back. Or if you want a less 'glamourous' end result, I suppose I could use the forearm of the striking arm to hyperextend the opponent's arm.

Why would I want to leap in in such a way? Again, it's definitely not just for a Kodak moment. I'm not here *just* to look good. In those instances where I've sparred and I've spun on the spot with both legs close together, I spin because it makes the target area much more difficult for the opponent, and I can use different weapons from 'the other side' of the opponent. In this application however, it prompts the practitioner to change angle of entry on the opponent rather than to just chase into him head first. Who's wants to play chicken if the opponent has a weapon? Or if you had a wall to your back, wouldn't you want the opponent to run into it? Or if you have more opponents to your back wouldn't you want to 'bypass' this one in front of you so you can then use him as a shield?

Lots to think about.

--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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12 May 2014

Happily Using Dosan's Spearhand

Taekwondo Dosan Spearhand right into the opponent's eyes. Or how about a finger jab right on the side of the neck. Yeah, let's see both of that on video!



No, no, no. Who conditions their fingers int he 21st century? Not me. So I'm not going to hit anyone with the tips of my fingers. I can't advocate that move anyway - who can justify the need to blind someone in any situation?

So here I am with the open palm trap and spearhand. I'm going to apply that to deflect any oncoming strike, wade in with a nice over-the-shoulder vertical heel palm and then rotate the opponent's head into a takedown. As you can see, protect yourself during the takedown and proceed with immobilisation.

Dosan would approve of my civic naturedness!

Links



--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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11 May 2014

Drive that Wedging Block into the Attacker

Have you've noticed there are some instructors on the internet nowadays that try to present almost any move you see in a pattern as some esoteric lock or take down. Look, it's the first pattern a beginner learns. Cool - I'll show you a gazillion locks you can do with this one block and turn. Ridiculous.



Here is an application that blocks a swinging type attack and counters at the same time! You can strike the attacking limb or you can elbow the head. Then you get to use your front kick not as some Muay Thai pushing kick, but as a devastating short range inside-the-thigh or worse yet, inside-the-knee kick. See that destructive power? You have that tool under your belt!

Once you're in, you happily apply two short range punches however you like. Higher levels get to strip one of the lead hands of the opponent away and then plough into the ribs with the second punch. Sorry, you don't get to see this on the video.

Train safely!

Links



--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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7 May 2014

Creating a New Upper Limit to Your Punching Power

I am 5'7" barely and about 72kgs. There is an upper limit to my ability to punch an opponent. If I wanted to compare using the same punching dynamics as I was taught as a young black belt, I would be outpunched by almost any MMA, gym, or wannabe streetfighter junkie.



The fact of the matter is that it's not that the roundhouse punch is 'bad' - it's a good punch. It's a popular punch. But as punches go, if I use shoulder rotation to swing, irrespective of how rooted I am into the ground, I will need loads more shoulder muscles, arm muscles, and upper body strength so that I can throw more mass into the swing, and land it.

Using traditional training equipment however I noticed that the punching dynamics were way different from modern type punching. The arm was closer to the body, and as I pulsed the movement from the legs up to the hips and through the arm, I noticed that I could bypass the weaker shoulder muscles. Essentially I was throwing more weight into it because I was tapping into the larger muscles of my beer gut and legs.

All that was needed was the coordination, and a way of holding my arm so that the transmission of power was much more effective. I practiced and practiced, and soon discovered that I could generate a lot of power. The best thing is that I barely felt like I was doing much - as I hit that post I could hear my entire garage vibrate with the force of the strike. In truth, I was scared that I was hitting the target so hard - one slip was all it would take to break my wrist. But more than that, I was hitting the target to the point where I felt like I was at risk of hurting the bones on my striking hand and certainly the surface of the knuckles.



The incident which I mention in the above video happened for real - I was intoxicated with the sheer amount of force I got levy on that post that I was again at it AND missed. And I only missed the centre by about an inch. Maybe less. The knuckle sheered on the surface and immediately I got a sharp stinging pain that went through the dull ache that was already there.

I stopped punching with the right hand and started with the left - being a little more judicious with the striking force ... mostly. I tried to nurse the right hand by rubbing voltaren and Chinese kung fu liniment to no avail. 3 months. 6 months. 9 months passed. The medication and the massage was not helping.

I eventually went to see an old Chinese acupuncturist who laughed at my folly and my misfortune. However, in his defence ... he was able to cure me miraculously. It's true, he cured my problem with his needles in under 5 sessions. Now - as you can see - I advocate more wisdom in the way practitioners should use the striking post.

I've taken the initiative to include a video of a wall mounted makiwara affixed to a tyre - and that tyre being held for training. I think that's a brilliant idea. My only suggestion there is to make sure the wood frame backing is robust enough. Most el cheapo of the striking posts you buy, made in china, have compressed wood backing - which would just disintegrate. What I didn't like was the example of how they hit the makiwara in the end. For some really sharp makiwara practice, see ...



If you are inspired to make your own equipment, see Traditional Taekwondo Ramblings How to Make Your Own Training Equipment; Tire Makiwara.

Lastly, I'll leave you with one of students Sandy learning how to hit the makiwara.



Links


--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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2 May 2014

The Reaction Hand with a Vengeance

This is a sequel to The Reaction Hand.

Coming this Summer .... Stop. Drawing. Your. Fist. To. Your. Hip.



I can punch really hard. I don't need to draw my other hand (The Reaction Hand) to my body for me to hit you. Do I have to explain it again? The reaction hand isn't the primary way for you to generate striking power.

Here's a video I uploaded on how to hit the makiwara or striking post. This is the way to learn how to strike with great power.



The only time you sincerely practice The Reaction Hand is when I insist that you do. During line drills. When you do your forms. When you do one step sparring. You do this so you follow the ritual of practice and help your opponents out. In your mind, your reaction hand should have grabbed hair or clothes or body part and drawn it toward you. The Reaction Hand is not used to generate power, it is used to stop the opponent from stepping away from you. But even if that doesn't occur in your mind, when I tell you to draw your hand back to your hip in practice you do so. Likewise when I don't tell you to do so, you don't. :-)

When you do practice The Reaction Hand, I'd like the reaction hand to be pulled smartly back, in balance with the strike, and held tightly next to the body. I don't want it inching past your ribs and I certainly don't want to see the elbow floating away from your body.

When you are not told to practice the reaction hand and you are engaged in combat or self defence moves ... if you pull your hand away from covering your face, your centre-line, or that part of your head or neck vulnerable to attack, you will get into trouble. If not from me, then from your opponent.

Next year, wait for it ... The Reaction Hand-er.

Links



--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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27 Apr 2014

I Haven't Worn Shin Guards Since I don't Know When, but I Still Have a Smile on My Face



I feel the tremble. I hear the intake of breath. Yet another person shrinks from my little love tap on their shin. The two photos I've included are of me using a knife hand on an unwitting practitioner's shin. These particular shots were taken just this April 5th 2014 - I had a 'Play in Perth' joint training between Joong Do Kwan and an fellow IAOMAS school 'Saseru Karate-do' from Dunsborough. It's all for a good cause of course. Bear with me folks, most of the people I'm hitting are way bigger than little ol' me ... I'm not bullying anyone. LOL. In all truthfulness, I'm striking them pretty hard. The strikes at the top of their shins are bearable. The strikes at the bottom of their shins however, are far from comfortable. A few discussion points arise from this demonstration - untrained legs are imperfect weapons. Calibrated wrongly, you can be in for intense pain if you collide a sensitive area with a corner of your opponent's body. On the receiving end, there's some opportunity to take advantage of this weakness to full effect. For me, there is one lesson I like to repeat, it is that if you need to block an oncoming leg strike with your leg, it is far better to cop it on the top part of your shin rather than lower down on the leg. This blocking should be incorporated for 'Muay Thai' or roundhouse kicks against your outer thigh or inside strikes against your groin. There is the case to also consider conditioning as part of your training. But ... conditioning is not a permanent thing - stop conditioning your shins AND they will revert back to normal eventually.

Keep training folks!

Colin

ps. Come check out my new blog Taekwondo Fighting Heaven and Earth.
--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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