Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

24 Feb 2008

Dan-gun: Step 17-18 Vertical Knife Hand Strike to Neck

Taekwondo Dan-Gun Knife Hand

Refer to my forum entries on the Dan-gun taekwondo pattern and see a sitemap of the techniques.

We pulled apart step 17-18 of the Dan-gun taekwondo form today. Step 17 is a right forebalance, right upper block. You then fold a vertical left knife hand or shuto over a horizontal right arm. Step 18 is a 270 turn to the left followed by a vertical knife hand to the neck.

The drill was done on an opponent holding both hands palm out and upward in front. Gap closing was done, and the two hands were insinuated 'amongst' the opponent's arm. To follow the appropriate 'sides' from pattern Dan-gun step 17-18, the left hand is inserted between the opponent's arms, and the right hand is on the outside of the opponent's left arm.

What follows next is a trap/check of the opponent's left arm with your right arm. And of course a vertical knife hand to the neck with the left hand. We again do not perform a traditional shuto, prefering a seito if I remember the technique correctly. So the 'shuto' or knife hand is torqued thumb-side in order to strike with the corner of the blade/heel of palm. This strikes on the side of the neck, tending towards the carotid artery.

The next variation is to insinuate the arms, and strike the opponent's solar plexus with the left elbow as it enters vertically. The opponent naturally decompresses and bends forward. This allows the arm to then extend upward and then shuto is dropped on the diagonal back of the neck.

Other variations include foregoing the shuto to go for an open palm cup strike to the ear. Or ... a favourite of our female students, a shuto strike into the earring stud. This is an awful awful move, my brothers. Try not to laugh.

There was much fun had today.

Have a good rest of the week!


23 Feb 2008

Dan-gun: Strike to the leg

The other night we showed how a low block from the taekwondo pattern 'Dan-gun' could be used to strike the leg.

It's difficult to reach the leg with upper body striking weapons. You need to move a big mass of your body a whole lot of distance (to reach the opponent and then to reach downwards). This can only be done with utmost commitment to the technique and a good lunging motion.

I was happily striking our orange belter in the leg with a flat hammer fist. Before I did, I stepped on her lead foot so that she couldn't pull away (nice). And then I proceeded to hammer fist the outside of her thigh muscle and allow her to feel the pain as the strike penetrated into hit points.

The flat hammerfist is generally a good non-discriminating weapon. It serves my purpose well. But to really make a different, I modify the 'end-tackle' and proceeded to strike her with the corner of my fist - using the point of the smallest knuckle. The difference is significant and you can see the shockwave literally travel up her body into her face.

The strike I used was a variation hardly seen in any book but an extremely legitimate taekwondo technique. This leads us to the question "What is the role of the basics?"

My take is that the basics teach parameters of what should be done. This means that they are also encouraging you think of what also *could* be done. Adaptation and innovation need to occur so that you are more successful in accomplishing your objectives. Slight variations (some less overt than others) are not only encouraged, but highly prized when it hits the mark!


Dan Gun: Defence Against a Front Kick

17 Feb 2008

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Calibrating the Side Kick

A majority of the Karate side kicks I have seen are what Taekwondo-ists call side snap kicks. These are great for practitioners who are as comfortable striking fairly deadly blows with their hands, and use their kicks in complement to their upper body weapons... or when their upper body weapons are occupied. Side snap kicks angle the body close to the kicking leg so that there is triangulation - a method to help engage the upper body to re-engage the opponent once the kick hits or misses.

In many Taekwondo schools, however you see a propensity to use the foot as the primary weapon --- or as a substitute weapon. Not to say that there are no short range kicks. But kicks are practiced and valued highly for their ability to hit the mid to long range target.

The sliding or stepping side kick (or the penetrating side kick) is a tremendous tool. Generally the exercise starts with kicking leg closer to the target. The back foot steps behind the kicking leg, with heel pointing more or less toward the target and then the knee is brought up (like for a front kick) and then piston-ed out to the target. The body is not triangulated like the Japanese or traditional yoko-geri side kick, mostly the body is aligned to the kick and together generates immense power over the distance covered.

We were practicing this sliding side kick today, and I'd like to discuss some ways to troubleshoot this weapon. Upon impact to the target:

1. If the large toe and the second or third toe is raised - you have stepped up to the target at an angle. Meaning instead of going to the target straight on, you have tended to stray toward the side of the front foot (so if your right foot is forward, you have stepped diagonally to your right). Sometimes the target shows you this by rotating around the person holding the striking pad.

2. If all your toes are raise, but your heel is still on the floor - you have not stepped and covered enough distance and have over stretched your reach.

3. If your toes are bunched up, your heel lightly lifts off the floor - this is when you have stepped either too far to the target OR you have not 'engaged' your COG over your support leg. The resultant is that you strike the target lightly and then you fall away from the target - a major problem for many beginners.

4. Your foot is flat on the floor, but you stumble forward (if your right foot is forward, you stumble to your left) after you kick - this is when you have probably leaned too far and triangulated yourself like the shotokan or karate side kick yet are trying to do a sliding side kick. In the end you trip up yourself.

5. Your heel is directly in line with the target but you spin when you try to 'recoil' your kicking leg - this is when you have not kept enough core body tension OR if you have tried to rotate your body too hard whilst doing the kick.

The best side kicks are done visualising your upper body as a bullet train that is set for the target. The kicking leg is picked up off the ground and rotates or corkscrews into the target through the second half of the kick. The basic premise of the side kick as taught to beginners (to pick up the knee and then shoot the leg straight into the target) is fine but does not allow for higher-level sparring skills to be integrated into this fine kick.

For shorter range targets (like for those in a CQ or self defence situation), the knee is not picked up off the ground, but stays close to the support knee. The heel of the kicking leg is picked off the ground, pointed to the desired target then pistoned upwards into the opponent - that's the side thrust kick. But that's another kick altogether.

taekwondo side kick defence and timing
Won-hyo: Deflection of Side Kick
Private Lessons: Toes, Turns and Twists
Snap, Cracle, Pop Go My Hips.
Won Hyo by DOnuts
The Story of Won Hyo
Tekki: Low Side Kick to Knee (More Troubleshooting)
Jumping Side Kick
Side kick and Cover
Why Yet Another Set of Side Kicks?
Side Kick in the Air and Landing it on the Bag

13 Feb 2008

My Friend Got Her Black Belt Revoked

Forum Posting by Mireille Clark

Techical details of my belt rank in Shotokan

I am respecting Mireille's view to not let this volatile situation explode. So please don't add any comments - I'll have to erase them.


3 Feb 2008

Won-Hyo: Deflection of Side Kick

I took over the kick shield and held it while being pounded by enthusiastic green belt doing a sliding side kick. However, rather than continually getting a foot sunk into my ribs (even with shield), just as foot blade is accelerating in the air, I reach out and behind the weapon with a reverse open palm and draw it quickly towards the outer side of my hip. My eyes never leave his chest. Rotating the hip towards the other side means the side kick sails easily past with little effort. Timing is everything.

Won Hyo Side kick

1 Feb 2008

Won Hyo Hyung Side Kick

We return to the side kick for our resident green belt. Last night was practice around a step and launch side kick. Meaning the back leg steps behind the lead leg so that the body is side facing the target and the heel of the back leg faces toward the target. The two points last night were to make sure the kicking leg rotates toes-to-the-ground ... and that the body is balanced slightly forward. The balancing is so that COG is centred between the ball of support foot and heel rather than on the blade of support foot.

Tekki: Low Side Kick to Knee