Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

15 Jun 2008

The Problem with Hard Style Systems like Taekwondo and Karate

Wow. Look at me. I'm so good. Haai Yahh. That's kime, focus. That's power. Check out the snap.

I'm surprised I'm posting on a topic like this at all, considering this blog is really focused on technique. However I think it's especially pertinent because of the need to apply those techniques.

This is my 25th year in the martial arts, and in the past several years I have bent my efforts into making sense of the Traditional Taekwondo syllabus I have been handed.

My assessment is that lots of the strengths of hard style martial arts LIKE focus, destructive power, and finishing blows also is where it finds its weakness.

What I'm talking about is that hard style martial arts are oftentimes challenged to equip the student practitioner to go beyond what one of my instructor's called the "kodak moment" and deal with 1) bypassing the opponent's multi-layered defences, and 2) when the opponent is bypassing your multi-layered defences.

It is not to say that hard stylists do not have the ability to deal with continuous attacks or dynamic situations. Nor am I saying that it is not necessary to develop power and focus. It is that a lot of the basic garden-variety training is only about one strike. Two at the most. And they come slowly - oh so slowly.

All the moves to deal with multiple attacks are there in the formwork. There is absolutely nothing other styles do that is not featured in a hard style system! It requires re-jigging your eyes and re-jigging your heart. Too often expertise is equated with a confidence and knowledge of all the answers. This is not true. To keep it real you need to keep an open mind, vary your techniques, and learn what works. Or how it works better.

24 Fighting Chickens: The Pros and Cons of Shotokan
A-KaTo: View from the Kyu: Building a Better Kata
TKDTutor: Olympic Taekwondo
Pat's Mokuren Dojo Aikido and Judo: The Terrible Truth About Karate
No Blog of Significance: Is that really karate?
TDA Training: Is there value in Traditional Training?
Taekwondo One Step Sparring

12 Jun 2008

Your Nuts With Taekwondo

I recently had the pleasure of attending a fantastic HAPV two man drill conducted by Renshi Chris and organised by my friends from the Wu Wei Dao clan.

During one of the drills we were required to defend against a frontal bear hug. One hand traps the opponent's arm and the other pinches his thigh OR smacks him in the nuts. Groin, I mean.

In my Traditional taekwondo school, I happily smack both guys and sometimes girls (my students) in the groin region lightly in order to increase their awareness that this area is a legitimate target for both hand and leg strikes. Most of my students are very good at wearing groin protection. However, the first guy I practiced with was, how do I say this politely? He, erm, ... was a real hang loose kind of guy. I'm just glad I was 'discreet' and didn't go all out to be too 'friendly'. Wink.

What I wanted to say is framed with the fact that with controlled strikes even a groin protector would not totally protect your groin, so a person learns really quick to increase coverage of this area whilst defending and especially when attacking. However, groin protectors allow you to apply such attacks with relative safety.

Kicking techniques higher than waist height should have the practitioner reaching down with the back or front hand to protect your nuts. No I don't mean groin. I mean nuts. If you wrongly think that a hand placed in front of your groin is sufficient, think again. Practitioners who aim for your nads will know much more than a person coming out from a 3 hour self defence course - their kicks are going to be coming from underneath and will target your nuts in a big way.

This means you have one hand up to protect your head and one hand down to increase coverage under your leg. Practice this with all kicks - prioritised in the following order: roundhouse kick, hook kick, and side kick.

Enough from me now.


5 Jun 2008

Taekwondo Articles

Again I can't believe how few resources are available for the Taekwondo community! Here is what I came up with in about 10 minutes of searching. I've seen most of these over the last 5 years of researching taekwondo information on the web!

Taekwondo Journal: In Search of a Grand Master
The Differences Between Karate`s "Roundhouse Kick" & Taekwon-do`s "Turning Kick"!
Whats the difference between
a Front Kick & a Front Snap Kick

Patterns: Are You Missing The Point ?

Something lighthearted ...
Patches from The Dojang Members

Any more? Please let me know.

Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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2 Jun 2008

Stuart Anslow Champions Chang Hon Taekwondo

I've got one more class to give this week, and have cancelled all my other taekwondo classes for the next month while I'm off to Italy for a holiday! Woo hoo!

I thought to post on a friend of mine Stuart Anslow 4th Dan who I think is doing one heck of a fantastic job making waves in the Taekwondo world. Chief Instructor of Rayners Lane Taekwondo Academy, Stuart and I met online in 2003 during the formative stages of IAOMAS, a free martial art student support organisation he founded.

Stuart Anslow

It wasn't easy to blow Stuart off as a just another Taekwondo instructor. In all our early exchanges and since then, Stuart shows great passion for martial arts, Taekwondo in particular. More so than that, he is intelligent, well read, articulate and generally knows his martial arts stuff very well.

While I have had a high regard for him from our online exchanges and from my visit to the quality school he runs at Rayners Lane, the most profound development attributed to him is the book he wrote titled Stuart Anslow's Chang Hon Taekwondo Hae Sul. This is perhaps the most important book that has come out for Taekwondo ever - given the overall lack of resources in the Taekwondo world.

Contents of the book show a man who is driven to bring value to Taekwondo. This guy has really done his research folks! I was extremely impressed with the breadth of material he covered, and I have never failed to compliment him on this work.

I have called Stuart Anslow a "martial arts personality," and Taekwondo's "poster boy," but the truth is he is a credit to the Taekwondo world at large.

I cannot more highly recommend another all rounded instructor.

Let's see if we can get him on here to answer a short interview ...

Related Links

1 Jun 2008

Dan-gun Defensive Drills Against Strikes

I thought to check out some of my earlier posts and comment on them.

This post from Taekwondo's Dan-gun session done April 17 2007 talks about two upper blocks against a downward strike. Following that are two knifehand strikes - one to the side of the neck and the other to the nose. A good variation of techniques from Dan-gun to practice with a partner.

The first ran some defences from an overhead strike. The drill centred around two upper blocks (Chukyo Marki), the second being an elbow break or strike to the triceps. We modified the timing slightly so that the upper blocks are done close together - meaning the second strike is done very quickly after the first. Then leading hand is pulled back into a vertical shuto (Soodo) striking the neck or back of the next. The second shuto breaks the opponent's nose. This session we looked for accuracy in the upper block strike and a modicum of control over the opponent's arm and body.

I'll add that after the second upper block - aimed at disabling the attackers limb, the first upper block turns into an arm control. The hand is wrapped all the way around the attacker's forearm or wrist and pulled backwards to the ribs - like a hikite or reaction hand. The knife hand strikes the side of the head - and then in turn changes into a control, either wrapping around the neck or shoulder so that the second knife hand strike can sink into the opponent.

Dan-gun Defensive Drills Against Strikes