Taekwondo Won-hyo Pattern: The Three Knifehands


We were going through grading requirements last night and practising applications for the three knife hands in Won-hyo. Korean knife hands are performed with both hands chambering in tandem. This introduces a great many oppotunities to interpret these type of Taekwondo techniques with a 'soft style' lens. This time, we are looking at these three knife hands as kokyunage, an arm bar, and an iriminage.

The choice of these three aiki techniques mean that with the same motion and the same side, you are able to use the same initial folding motion either against the opponent coming with a right hand lead OR a left hand lead. The kokyunage against a right lead needs you to come at the opponent from the outside of his strike. The iriminage against his left hand lead needs you to come at the opponent from the inside. The arm bar is done from a right hand lead when you can't gap close enough and have to deal with the arm, rather than the neck or body of the opponent.

Kokyunage is done by controlling the opponent's head, weighting him down and forward, and then turning him upside down so that he falls on the ground. Sheesh - what a description. The Irimi entering throw grabs the opponent around the neck, rotates him slightly and causes him to fall down where he's standing by rotating his upper body backwards on itself. The arm bar is done by stretching the opponent out and rotating his outstretched arm.

Learning the combination of all three allows for the hard stylist more of a chance to pull off a control or takedown technique when required -- this is as opposed to trying to wrangle the guy's wrist when he's grabbing some part of your body.

To understand more of these throws and locks, check out Pat's Mokuren Dojo blog.

Yes, Taekwondo has Throws and Locks!

Taekwondo Won-hyo Posts

“A noted monk who spread Buddhism in Korea during the Silla Dynasty (686 A.D.)” (http://www.itatkd.com/pattern_wonhyo.html).
Won-hyo was a Buddhist monk that propounded the Pure Land School of Buddhism (http://www.tkdtutor.com/10Patterns/04Wonhyo/WonHyoInfo.htm). This form of Buddhism centred around the faith practitioners had to have in the ‘Other Power’ of Amitabha Buddha. It spread quicky amongst the population and was said to have helped the “unification of the three kingdoms of Korea” (http://www.tkdtutor.com/10Patterns/04Wonhyo/WonHyoInfo.htm).

The key ideas that can be linked with the Pure Lands School: simple, incisive, to the point, and unrestrained. I liken Pure Land Buddhism to what Bruce Lee said about cutting through the mess. If I had to translate this for fighters, I would focus on strikes and blocks that ‘cut through’ the opponent’s attacks or defences. The idea may be to understand speed, timing, distance, reach, and vectors in order for the clever fighter to take advantage of loopholes.

Overwhelm the Opponent
Won-hyo: Defending Against a Kick Punch Combination
Won Hyo: Defend Against Anything!!
Making Kata Work for You
Taekwondo Hyung: Won-Hyo Step 27 & 28 as Over the Shoulder Throw
Won-Hyo: Defensive Side Kick
Won Hyo: Scoop Block v Kick Punch Combo
Calibrating the Side Kick
Won Hyo Hyung Side Kick
Won-hyo: Where are your eyes on the back of your arse?
Won-hyo: The Kihon Kata Koma
Won-hyo: The Taekwondo Side Kick
I've Broken My Finger and Have Lost the Will to Fight
Taekwondo Won-hyo Scoop Blocks
Walking Up the Arm
Scoop Block from Won-hyo
Taekwondo Sidekick of Won-hyo

External Links on Wonhyo

Anupriyo on Wonhyo
Kata Bunkai with Vince Morris: Double block in Step 1-3
42 Bunkai to Monk's Salutation

Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Technique Workshop


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