Hwa-rang: Calibrating Taekwondo's Short Range Roundhouse Kick

I saw Jacqui 7th kyu absolutely rocking Bob the hitman with a short range roundhouse kick last weekend. Woowee.

You should have seen the power she generated. Amazing.

Yes, I accelerated her repository of techniques and taught a 7th kyu what I would normally teach closer to Hwa-rang. But circumstances this time dictated that I should equip her with at least a functional bag of kicking skills given that she's going to leave Australia and move over to the States.

From my observation over these few weeks, I wanted to highlight the problem that is probably fairly common for hard style instructors yet few would probably verbalise it. The way we teach often creates problems for ourselves, and students sometimes have to unlearn basic techniques in order to make the techniques apply correctly against an opponent or target.

Take the Taekwondo's short range roundhouse kick for instance. At the beginner level, a method of teaching the roundhouse kick would be to get the leg horizontal, grab onto the ankle, pull it toward your backside and then fire the kick off horizontally to the target. Great simple approach.

But then I try to get Jacqui to apply some power to the hitman or striking mitt - and most of her energy is consumed by the lift and the distance her leg travels from around the butt area all the way to the target.

I had to explain that the quadrant of motion for the roundhouse (which is essentially a front kick done horizontally) is there to teach calibration and striking angle. The teaching technique to bring the ankle back to the butt and then fire it off is only to achieve that horizontality. It is not to be applied in that particular manner.

To correctly apply the roundhouse, the hip rotation to allow the leg to strike the target horizontally must occur in tighter columnation to the target. 'Columnation' was a term I learned as a medic in the army, and when I was working in the Xray department. This referred to the spread of the beam. Tighter columnation meant a smaller spread.

Anyway, the roundhouse kick must have a columnation that allows the kick to strike the target somewhere in the middle of that columnated beam. To lift the leg behind and close to your arse meant that you strike the target at the end of the columnation. All the energy is expended before the kick gets there.

You get a point but you don't ROCK THE HOUSE, brother.

Anyone like to share with me how awesome and frightening it feels when you generate the kind of power from a well executed basic kick?

Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Technique Workshop


supergroup7 said…
You know what Colin? When I put forth a well executed kick it feels effortless. In fact, it almost feels like I haven't done much, and yet the person receiving the force goes flying.
Colin Wee said…
That's right. When I put forth a well executed kick, the force driven by pure technique is so great that it makes me scared! Colin

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