Training Warriors for the 21st Century

Training Warriors for the 21st Century
Joong Do Kwan Traditional Taekwondo cross training with Kidokwan Perth

30 Nov 2007

Warmup Drill to Increase Coverage for Sparring

In our warmups, we use a simple 'pushing' kick as a way to limber and warm up the leg and hip muscles. It looks like a heel kick but is done pretty much in slow-mo, and pushes outward at groin height with the flat of the foot.

Right foot pushes, right hand goes forward. Left foot pushes, left foot goes forward. Not very difficult.

My comment last night was to make sure that the elbow goes across the body and covers the center line. Meaning when you're pushing with the right, you're not just covering your chest or neck area with your fist. You are attempting to bring your whole forearm across from the side so that it is vertical and lines up between your solar plexus and your opponent. In this position it is far greater that you will be able to counter the fastest kicks sent to you in retaliation.

17 Nov 2007

Kihon Kata Koma Part 2

I was doing a drill for the beginners on Thursday. Basically they're supposed to surge towards the strike mitt and send a loose lunging punch at it. My green belt was doing a good job, but it looked like a Karate move. You know what I mean, when you get the muscles tightening, some snapping of the limbs, and a general deceleration/stabilization of the body.

What I wanted was a quick relaxed surge. What I got was a 'karate' punch.

This is the effect of having the constant drills where each technique is snapped into place. My position is that this kime or focus is about an end strike -- landed as an ikken hisatsu. Meaning you have launched a strike at an opponent and are attempting to sink in some serious power into the target. You've either controlled him with a grab or he can't go back very fast (because you've hit him before). So the strike, which is in essence how we drill all coloured belts needs to have the full power of the body behind it. Upon the strike, the muscles lock up so that there is power transmission from the feet sent through the entire body into the opponent.

However, what I wanted was to allow the beginners to relax into the strike. They've got to be able to keep mobile and to retain fluidity in order to deal with a dynamic situation - gauging what the opponent is doing, covering when a strike comes through, and most importantly adapting to an opponent who is out to bypass your defences and strikes!!! Without relaxedness and fluidity YOU WILL GET HIT.

To put it in perspective, the strike to end it all is what we practice throughout the beginning and intermediate stages in order that you have a clear weapon for you to use with full commitment when you don't know anything else. For beginners, this is a powerful tactic - one hammer fits all situations. But when you have some experience and you can start to gauge the opponent better, then there are other objectives to measure - certainly self protection and risk avoidance is high on that list.

So during an encounter, some less-than-full power strikes and blocks may be pertinent in order to remain maneuverable and adaptable. No tunnel vision is allowed until you are fully confident to sink that strike in.

Good luck, kids. To all of us.

Kihon Kata Koma

Charles Goodin has a related post which discusses this subject very well. It's located at Karate Thoughts Blog: No Fixed Positions. The post talks about striking from any position and the 'kodak' moment you see in kata books. Excellent.

Dan Djurdjevic from the Way of Least Resistance discusses the traditional karate punch and kime, relating it to other types of strikes in Kime: The Soul of the Karate Punch

9 Nov 2007

Martial Arts Websites

I thought I'd let all readers have a free chance to advertise their martial arts websites and blogs. Or if you have a favorite blog or online resource you'd like to share, please feel free.

[Taekwondo Techniques | Subscribe | FAQs | Sitemap | FB]
Please support us by liking our FaceBook page click here

Hwa-Rang Step 10 & 11

I was again sparring with Jacob our green belt last night. I engage and engage and he covers fairly nicely and then pulls away. One of our encounters I come in with some front lunging attack with left hand, front kick with my right, and whilst leg coming-down-but-still-in-the-air follow up by swinging my right arm in a horizontal arc from outside in towards his neck and back of skull. It basically becomes a nutcracker on his neck.

The move is an adaptation from Step 10 & 11 from Hwa-Rang. Step 9 is a lower block left hand with left front stance. Step 10 is a lunge punch with right hand in right front stance. Step 11 rotates on the front right foot, both legs come together and right fist is clasped into a 'salute' with left palm open.

One of the more interesting interpretations is to use the returning punch into the clasping salute as a way to strike at the back or side of the neck with thumb joint. So the open left palm stabilizes the head and the right hand swings around to strike the pressure points behind the opponent's neck. It is a very interesting move as it allows you to still be effective at a range where most punches are fairly ineffective. It also allows you to target some sensitive pressure points, if you're into that sort of thing.

The session we had last night was done very lightly, but I felt I could easily ramp up the power if I needed to. The nice thing with the move is that it allows you to instantly control the opponent, perform eye strikes if required, and throw him to the ground. Most other strikes would have to add the control as a second process; as in hit then grab.

I don't even think Jacob saw it coming (or going). All he did was feel something striking him on the side.


8 Nov 2007

Warmups: Knee Strike Drills

The exercise is to do a knee strike, left on one and right on two. The counting is hard and fast, alternating and keeping the student guessing. Today I stopped the drill halfway. After a little while most of the students would do the knee strike, and then put the knee down to prepare for the next knee strike. However, this meant that their baseline or 'ready' combat stance was different from when they were at the start line. The combat stance there was a truncated front stance with COG in the middle or slightly forward and therefore more of the weight was on the front leg. However with the kicking drill, preparing to kick again, the lazy way is to make sure the weight is shifted to the back leg so that the front leg can be swung up easier. But what does this tell the opponent? This tells the opponent you're not striking with the hands - you're striking with the legs. Specifically you're striking with the front leg. This is not what you want. You don't want to telegraph what you're doing, so you need to return to the 'prescribed' baseline combat stance before you have to do anymore shifting of your COG to cater towards the various techniques. This means you keep the opponent guessing as to whether you're punching with the hands or kicking with the feet. :-) Too easy.

Bruce Lee's Speed Training - Interesting last section on non-telegraphing of the punch (not that I totally agree with the brevity of how he has treated this subject)
Leg Sweeps

6 Nov 2007

Vertical and Horizontal Fist

We introduce the fully extended centreline solar plexus high lunge punch at white belt, which is possibly the most useless punch we could let them learn at that stage. We then teach the fully extended nose high lunge punch at yellow, and use that opportunity to show the roundhouse punch that's driven by shoulder rotation.

The vertical fist is related very closely to the lifecycle of the front lunge punch. Look at each of the 'snapshots' of the lunge punch, and about past halfway mark, you see the fist rotating into the 'vertical fist'.

White belts keep their punches tight to the side of their ribs, drive with their bodies, and send the strike linearly into their centreline. Yellow belts get to unhinge the arm, and rotate the roundhouse punch with their shoulders.

There is no one right way to drive the fist into the opponent. Having the ability to 'unhinge' the arm from the side of the body means you can track the opponent and choose a flight path perpendicularly to the target, and therefore reduce the risk of breaking your fist and allowing you to sink more of your power into the target.

The vertical fist has the advantage of 'cycling' in the centreline like pistons. It allows you strike on the centreline - which is tactically advantageous, and in this way allows you to use the arm in a tighter cycle than the fully extended fist. This makes the arm more functional as a short range cover, block and counter tool.

There is an opportunity for Taekwondo practitioners to develop functionality in the short range centreline in order to cover the body and head. Especially up close, this allows the practitioner to protect himself from attacks, and to counter more efficiently. Raising the arm from the side of the body and over the shoulder means the practitioner may lose the coverage from the forearm and elbow.


Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
[Taekwondo Techniques | My new blog: Fighting Heaven and Earth | Subscribe | FAQs | Sitemap | FB]
Please support us by liking our FaceBook page click here

5 Nov 2007

Karate and Elvis

There's so little activity on this blog that I thought to include a video of the King practicing martial arts. Did you all know he did Ed Parker Kempo Karate? That's Chuan Fa 'Karate-sized'. Enjoy.


3 Nov 2007

I'm Happy Elbow-ing Jacob in the Chest

Last Thursday we were doing a self defence drill against a bear hug from the back. The mian points were to steady oneself, perform a footstomp, extricate the hands, and elbow the opponent. Of everything the footstomp would probably be the real deal closer.

However, I spent some time talking about the elbow. Most of the elbow strikes I saw were striking the opponent with the length of the entire tricep. So I decide to get our resident green belt Jacob, and I proceeded to strike him fairly hard in the chest with the technique. The flat of the tricep meant that the strike bounced off him and he was shifted back. No real power penetrated into the body and no real pain was inflicted.

The elbow is best served front on. So in a backward facing strike, I would prefer to strike with the elbow in a downwards fashion. However, allowing myself to wind up by extending my hand forward, this position to 'ram' the elbow 'happily' into the opponent requires you to quickly bend your arm mid way, and then change the angle of your body (and position of the shoulder) in order that the force is sent from the point of the elbow (and not the triceps) into the opponent. Even lightly, this inflicts discomfort into the opponent.


Cause and Effect
Entry Tactics Part 1
Getting Your Kicks from Taekwondo
Hubad Lubad
The Perkiti Tersia System
Chinto Bunkai Gankaku Angles