Dan-gun: Soodo - Don't get slowed by the fold

The basic soodo or knife hand taekwondo technique is introduced in the second pattern 'Dan-gun'. It has a large fold, much larger than the karate crossed handed shuto - and requires the practitioner to pull back both hands, held parallel, and then swing them forward to perform the strike. Look at my post 'Knife Hand on Premium Unleaded' for more info.

I teach the knife hand fold as it allows me to communicate proper objectives of the technique. The folding helps present the entire body dynamics to help generate power for the strike. Without the fold, the beginner will probably be sloppy and not generate the kind of energy that is possible.

The fold for the taekwondo knife hand is also an opportunity to discuss tactical variations. The fold to me can show deflection of oncoming strikes, blocks, handlocks, throws/takedowns and chokes. It is a great way to expand the technique for more senior belts to link additional tools with basic techniques.

But the challenge is to be able to perform the first strike or block with sufficient speed, and not get too slowed up by the huge folding. Personally I can strike fairly hard without a very big wind up. Of course it'll be more powerful with a nice big pull back, but sometimes you don't get the luxury to do that. A chinese sifu friend of mine puts it nicely "you strike from wherever your hand is". This is very different from the 'traditional' starting point of the hip/ribs where your hand is chambered.

THe fact is that once you get proper technique to generate the required power, you are able to replicate that power using body dynamics - travelling much less distance with your hand. Sometimes this has got to be the way - to sacrifice the pull back or fold in order to make it to the point of impact.

This has got to be practiced during weekly sessions. Otherwise beginners start to get psycho-ed with the hip chamber or big folding movement.

Pseudo Soodo


Potatoe Fist said…
You remind of something our senior instructor hints at. Punching at where the fist at has been difficult for me so he would have me use the other arm in a reverse action to create the counter even if there was no chamber to speak of.

So if I punched with my left from a natural posture (down by my side) I was supposed slam my right into my chest to create the counter and offer some protection for follow-up. I've never been able to create the energy he has demonstrated doing the same thing, but I imagine the years of experience have something to do with that.
Colin Wee said…
It takes a different mindset to start off the strike at mid-point. I personally introduce a concept early on that the punch (say for instance a lunge punch) evolves from chamber to point of impact, and at mid-point you'd be looking at an uppercut.

Power generation ... that's an equation I guess. If you have less distance, you're going to have to give up on power. But then you get gains in speed, so I guess you've got to see it in strategic terms.

If you look at Chinese martial arts, they have a lot of techniques starting from wherever the fist is at, but power generation for those techniques comes predominantly from shoulder rotation, only some from hip rotation, and less (for these speed base techniques) from linear acceleration.


Colin Wee said…
Check out this post I made on a shoulder rotation strike from Dan-gun pattern. Colin

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