Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

25 Nov 2008

There is no first attack in Karate ...

This is a response to Nat's post Impressions, impressions ... on the TDA Training Blog.

In a deadly environment where ruthlessness was the norm, it would be the wise instructor to promote peace and harmony whilst equipping the student with the tools to defend or de-escalate the situation if it got out of hand. Funakoshi, father of modern karate, called for 'no first attack' in Karate. Ueshiba, the founder of Aikido, focused on defensiveness and spiritual oneness, rather than on the lethality of his techniques.

In Nat's post, impressions are enough for you to judge the fighting prowess of the people around you. Yet there is still a lot of dumbness that get people into road rage, bar fights, and other brawls ... especially when the evening wears on. Dare I say these guys should be at the dojo practicing?

One of the core things in our system is that we shouldn't engage the opponent in any way. The posture we sometimes favour is called 'please don't hurt me' ... head hung a little lower, hands up with palms outward, and standing straight ahead. We take some of our drills in this manner, and we dish out some strikes from this starting point. This is in fact where Traditional Martial Arts excels beyond the MMA philosophy ... which is all about the bell and getting into the zone. Traditional martial arts contains a literal plethora of techniques fired from positions which make it difficult for the opponent to recognise what exactly you are doing. Meaning you are doing things very different from the haymaker punch -- which requires you to reach out with one hand, draw the other hand back and shoulder rotate this fist toward the opponent.

Strikes to the body are legit. Strikes to the nuts are legit. Hip rotation gives you a one up on the opponent. Small conservative moves makes it seem like you are using less power and can afford you more subversive advantage.

I'm rambling on, but the key Traditional Taekwondo lesson is that you should not give away what you are doing. Doesn't matter if you're in a fight or if it hasn't even started. You can misguide, deceive, and confuse. The martial art student needs to study the psyche of the opponent. Read the situation, read the opponent, then read his techniques.

Nat from TDA Training Asked if I am Causing Conflict

Colin

--
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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Get More Striking Power from Traditional Taekwondo



Traditional Taekwondo -- generate more striking power immediately!!!
I tell my beginners and intermediate students all the time that the number one mistakes beginners make when trying to put power in a strike - any strike, is that all of them focus on the end tool of the strike itself. Might I say, the weapon of choice is only the last manifestation of the entire move. Yet the beginner's focus on power is to clench the teeth harder, tense up the shoulder muscles, grip the forearm harder and try to power through using pure effort.

Striking the target more efficiently
While this tightening to generate striking power may seem more powerful to the beginner, the more experienced practitioner knows that to generate real power for basic techniques, the priority is to generate the move from a stable base. The breath out starts a pulse through the body that moves from the legs, up into the hips, and then triggers the core muscles. The power is transmitted through the body into the arm and strikes the target. This pulse of movement from the base up means you can get more body mass involved. It is a compound movement, and thus, with more muscle driving the strike, the more striking power you can generate.

Hip vibration and rotation 101
The hip should not need to move too much. Lots of drills are done with the hips moving way too much. If the strike is going to work it's going to be a fairly contained triggle through the entire body. This means if the legs are going to move maybe 2-3 cm, the hips shouldn't need to move more than that, otherwise the arm is going to be pushed closed to the target, negating the accelerative force sent into the target. The key here is to move the hips enough so that the body tenses right at the point of impact.

Links in Traditional Taekwondo


External Links
Marks Training: "One Punch One Kill", is it Practical?

Colin

--
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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23 Nov 2008

Dan-gun: Applying the Upper Block

I was training with Christian (8th Kyu) and working on deflecting his oncoming strike and then applying an upper block to the underside of his arm (see Dan-gun: Defence Against Front Kick and Punch Combo.) I would do it once or twice and I would let him strike me several times. As the drill progressed, I would increase striking force on the oncoming arm at various parts. Namely PC2, HT2, and TH12. I did several other techniques like elbowing him in GB23, and also grabbed the skinfold over his pectoral muscles for good effect.

Applying the Upper Block
There is a stipulated angle for the upper block and you see variants of this in all the nice karate or taekwondo pictures on the net. What is not discussed is how the upper block gets there. In our school, we practice two different ways of performing the upper block: you can do a vertical punch upwards and then rotate the elbow around into the upper block or you can swing it in one motion from it folder from the side into it straight ahead of you. Allowing the arm to freely swing without institutionalising movement allows me to 'apply' the block dependent on what I want to do with it.

To say that the upper block is one way and not the other is to reduce the value of it as a taekwondo technique. Today we saw how to apply this chukyo marki upper block to the arm at shoulder level or neck level. Where you apply the force - meaning, striking with the forearm, or elbow, or fist ... is up to you.

Dan-gun: Is a Block Just a Block?
Dan-gun: Defensive Drills Against Strikes
Dan-gun: Windshield Wiping Technique
Black Belt Coaching Course
Martial Arts Grading Oral Section
Do-san: Rising Block or Chukyo Marki or Age Uke
Upper Block, Chukyo Marki, or Age Uke

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog.

21 Nov 2008

Only True Taekwondo Practices the Sine Wave

I just posted the following in a friend's discussion forum in response to a question regarding Taekwondo's Sine Wave.

***begin edited version***

Taekwondo Sine Wave

The Sine Wave, in relation to the entire Encyclopedia of Taekwondo written by Gen Choi Hong Hi occupies maybe about a paragraph or so. The Sine Wave is about using the natural falling momentum of the body (with the effect of gravity) to generate force. The stepping up within forms allows the practitioner to reiterate this movement, and if you're tracking his profile from the side, it ultimately looks like the practitioner is moving in a sine wave. The usage of the Sine Wave as a way to differentiate TKD away from other hard style martial arts is the most significant development in recent years that Taekwondo has undergone.


The up and down motion you see is what the Sine Wave is about.

Sine Wave v Traditional Taekwondo

Most any traditional hard stylist would probably think the Sine Wave is complete bullocks; given that I am a traditional stylist, that indeed was my immediate and most outstanding opinion. HOWEVER, saying that, there are a number of ways to generate power and to effect natural movement. The Sine Wave will be and has to be included as a legitimate tactic to either generate power or to effect movement or directional change. It is just that few other martial arts would make one specific tactic a major strategic differentiator.

But it is not unheard of. Shotokan Karate for instance, practices drills that focus on ikken hisatsu/kime/hikite tactics with great abandon ... and such institutionalization of their practice in the early 20th century forever changed the nature of karate as we know it now.

Sine Wave for a Modern Taekwondo Practitioner

Returning to the Sine Wave ... while the effect of gravity on the 'natural' falling of the body is an extremely foreign concept to the traditional stylist, the TKD practitioner (who remains reliant on a high knee position, high Centre of Gravity, and head high kicks) requires the Sine Wave movement to drop the vertical rotation of the pelvis, the exposed gonads, and the raised hip.

As I see modern TKD, the Sine Wave does not play a major role in power generation. Most kicking techniques create power through a pendulum or circumfrential movement and lots of hip thrust and leg extensions. Most traditional methods of generating power in hand techniques like lunging type oizuke movements or hip rotation/vibration are not in evidence save for shoulder rotation or extension to drive most hand techniques.


See the above video from GM Park for more of an explanation about the power generation of the Sine Wave. Please note that this does not show an exhaustive or objective view of the legitimacy of Sine Wave as compared to other forms of power generation.

Opportunities for Modern Taekwondo that Need to be Explored

Where I am quite disappointed is that TKD as a modern-day and unique system has myopically focused on moves that ride high on the apex of the Sine Wave ... but has otherwise failed to explore techniques that might occur within the trough of the wave. Maybe there are open minded instructors out there who have been saddled with the Sine Wave but have identified possibilities beyond its association with high kicks. Who knows.

***end***

Check out Sine Wave? Here we go ...

For more information related to sine wave, look at Slow Motion Otoshi and Guruma from Mokuren Dojo and the corresponding thread Otoshi-guruma as a direct force.

External Links
Patterns: Telling it like it is (Sine Wave)
Drysdale Taekwondo Explaining the Sine Wave
Fight Authority Forum
Sine Wave in TKD, is there any real point?

Colin

--
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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17 Nov 2008

American Karate and Taekwondo Organization in Dallas, Texas has launched a new website



The A-KaTo has launched a new website.

I trained with A-KaTo, then called Southwest Taekwondo Association, from 1991 to 1996, and joined their ranks as a young black belt from another style. Up to then, I had 8 years of martial arts experience, but was never more warmly greeted by any other martial art school.

My teacher Sensei Bryan Robbins was a patient, nurturing, and wise instructor. My other senior instructors Mike Proctor and Paul Hinkley were extremely knowledgeable and I thrived in the 'tough love' environment they provided. My relationship with the A-KaTo has changed somewhat because of the distance, but I still keep in touch with a few of my old training partners ... and have immense respect for GM Keith Yates who has just been so generous with his time. I can't talk more highly of these people. Even after all this time I dearly miss my training there.

If you have the opportunity and find yourself in or near Dallas, you should go check out their karate seminars and maybe say hi.

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Sitemap]

13 Nov 2008

Aikido Philosophy, Taekwondo Technique ... Is it possible???

In Pat's 'The Aiki Gift that Keeps Giving' post, he talks about the congruence of Aiki philosophy with Aiki training. It is the idea that Aikido advocates non-confrontation, evasion, and conflict reduction; and whether or not this is compossible at the technique level.

Well, come on, now, how many aikido practices are really congruent with that ideal?
  • When attacked, do you, “turn aside and lead uke into offbalance?” You've just attacked him!

  • Do you, "enter inside his force and strike him down?" Well, that's pretty blatant.

  • Do you, “get offline and set your strong stance line so you can do shomenate?” You just chose to participate in a fight with him.

  • Do you, “blend with his energy and lead him into an immobilization?” Again, you just chose to engage the enemy and do something to him.

  • And you think your art is all about not fighting? Knock it off!

    This is a very enlightening post as many arts and schools would benefit in addressing the alignment of their philosophical, strategic and technique perspectives.

    From my point of view, I think in a feudal culture and environment, it is a wise man that recognised that a reduction in conflict and a de-escalation process is of primary concern - regardless of culture or geography. So while everyone is wearing a mean looking sword at their sides and ready to strike you down, it is way better to not incite a fight which can then turn into a riot, which can then turn into a battle.

    In my own style however, I find it more important to look at the objectives of the fight or self defence scenario rather than to peg techniques against a set strategy.

    In Taekwondo, like Karate, our punch line is linear force. We specialise in generating a lot of power in a straight line toward the target. However, if this is the only recourse we have, then either you aim your accelerative force into the opponent or away from the opponent ... bugging the hell out of there first.

    This is a limited approach, and therefore we also train in evasion, coverage, lock ups, and strikes. This means we can engage multiple opponents and can use one opponent as a shield to make our escape. Or we can cover up and reduce risk to ourselves in order to escape. Or we can strike first, then escape.

    Certainly the block-strike karate/taekwondo approach presents a very limited range of options to the practitioner, and such a methodology should be re-assessed by any instructor thinking that this is 'the' traditional method of training.

    I think Pat has got the idea to review the intent behind the technique. I would suggest that this is a very valid point. You should always evaluate what you are doing with your martial arts. Are you trying to fight or are you trying to get away? You'd be the better man for following Savage Baptist's advice to look for the exit and make a break to that direction.

    Once you finished thinking about my response, and have visited Pat's blog, check out Nat's response at Escape as a Strategy in Self-Defense, which has some really good self defence and combative tips.

    Colin
    --
    Colin Wee
    Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Sitemap]

    10 Nov 2008

    Punching with a Crooked Wrist

    I'm getting old. At least that's one explanation for my getting tendonitis. Or of course you could say my students have been bashing me up, and that's why my joints are inflamed. Nevertheless, this was what I got recently ... and which earned me two steroidal injections to resolve.

    In treating my wrist a little more delicately, I thought to share what I communicate with my students regarding the drawback or pullback hand as a taekwondo technique, and the manner in which we punch. On chambering at the side of our ribs, the hand is aligned with the hammer fist or blade of the hand straight with the outer blade of the arm. This is more like how a wing chun practitioner would hold their wrist and fist in their lead guard, and how they would fire off their punch.

    When we corkscrew our forearms forward, past halfway our fist -while rotating - flexes so that the front two knuckles are drilled into the opponent. The blade of the hand is no longer aligned with the outer blade of the forearm. The two knuckles face the opponent. The fist strikes differently to how it was thus chambered.

    At this point in my class, I typically would stop talking, stare at my students in turn and ask them ... what are the implications of this for our style, our art, and for all the other taekwondo techniques we do. I present some information but I want my students to think about this peculiarity and what it means to us.

    So I ask you, dear reader, ... what are your thoughts on this?

    --
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    8 Nov 2008

    Protecting ourselves from our "selves" ( Part 1) by Mireille Clark

    We all have weaknesses, and trigger points within our psyche that bring forth a strong emotional reaction. This reaction changes our focus from the task at hand to our sensations. We feel our faces turn red, our body may start to shake, our breathing quickens, and each change makes us uncomfortable as it isn’t how we want to feel. These changes can happen with embarrassment, anger, or fear, but regardless as to what triggers it, our minds become preoccupied with the emotion, and we start making decisions to relieve ourselves of this state of being. We will yell, cringe, hold our breaths, remove ourselves from that situation, etc. Our blood pressure rises quickly at this point. We are told that expressing our emotions will help these reactions be relieved, but this isn’t necessarilly true. One’s distress can become worse especially if our own reaction is evoking more personal feelings of guilt and shame, or the response of others to our behaviour is critical of our actions, and/or feeds off of our negative emotions to escalate the situation even higher.

    Suppressing the emotions isn’t good either as it involves the energy of the mind to do so, and actually affects our physiological system. I have personally felt this more than once in my life where I suppressed emotion. The stress tightens the muscles around my eyes which reduces the automatic eye movements that allow my eyes to focus, and my vision blurs. How many people have felt dizziness, stomach aches, nausea, sharp cramps, etc from mentally forcing down intensely stressful emotions? This is the result of such activity.

    A Martial Artist needs to learn how to defend him/herself from that inner psychological stress that builds up when faced with confrontational situations. These negative emotions can occur at any time, any place, and with anybody including your close family and friends. In fact, one might find that their closest relationships can cause them the most daily stress in their lives as we have higher expectations from them.

    We are in more danger from daily stress, and stress related problems than from the random attack that we may meet walking down the street. In my next installment, I would like to address the psychology of our Martial Arts training, and how it provides opportunities to improve our mental stability/control, and gives us techniques to handling such problems with stress.

    --
    Mireille Clark
    Check out Mir's blog at Going My Way, and
    Traditional Taekwondo Techniques and Patterns at Colin's Traditional Taekwondo Technique Workshop Blog. Sitemap

    6 Nov 2008

    Teaching Taekwondo to Children

    I've had a wonderful exchange (see Won Hyo: Side Kick with Jeremy, a 3rd dan instructor, who seems extremely cluey and resourceful when coming around the issue of teaching taekwondo techniques and self defence to children. Check out the following post from him.

    One advantage I have is our taekwondo basics program. It's a 12-class (once a week) program that all kids under 12 are required to take before they can sign up for traditional classes. It's a low cost way for kids to try out it before committing to joining the traditional class and getting a uniform.

    The basics class covers all the basic stances, punches, blocks and kicks that are learned at the white belt level. The learn front kick, side kick, axe kick, roundhouse and back kick. However, we do not teach the kids to pivot at this point. Side kicks and back kicks are done from chun-bi "ready stance" with hands up in the guard position. Side kicks are done side to side and back kicks are done looking over there shoulder kicking straight back.

    Roundhouse kicks are done from an L-Stance but with both feet pointed in the same direction (sideways). The kids kick with their front leg so that their leg and foot are already in the roundhouse position and they can just work on the chamber and slapping motion.


    While I currently do not deal with children, I am looking at all these wonderful approaches and am quietly growing a program for the little ones. Maybe sometime in the future I'll come around and get a children's class together.

    Related Links

    Thanks for the input, Jeremy.

    Regards,

    Colin
    --
    Colin Wee
    Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. Sitemap

    2 Nov 2008

    How to do a High Roundhouse Kick to the Head

    How to do a High Roundhouse Kick to the Head

    How do I kick someone in the head? How do I do a flashy kick? How can I get more flexibility to kick high?

    A High Roundhouse

    Photobucket
    High roundhouse kicks make for good kodak moments!

    For all the negative press that high kicks get, there is absolutely nothing wrong with doing a fabulous high roundhouse kick at head level!

    Still yearning to achieve that high kick so that you can take my advice on board in your next brawl? Consider this 80/20 rule of high kicks ... 80% of the kicks (meaning all those flashy spinning above-the-shoulder numbers) should be done only by 20% of all practitioners. Read on ...

    Origins of the high kick

    From my readings, high kicks started being in vogue after the 1960s with a changing of competition rules allowing kicks to the head and no contact to the groin. So it was easy to go for the head with a kick, if you can, and not get nailed in the nads whilst doing so. So kicks started getting higher flashier, and because there were no reproductive repercussions ... the offspring of those early (and brave) kickers also started promoting high kicks.

    Why shouldn't I do a high kick? They're great!

    Strategically high kicks are great for sparring. If you do a high kick well, they are fast, they get your head and body away from the opponent, and they can travel through some impossible angles to absolutely nail that target on the head. Get it? (see Hitting Opponents with Invisible Taekwondo Sparring Techniques).

    So why shouldn't everyone learn a couple of high kicks to add to their arsenal? In my opinion high kicks aren't for everyone - they're a high-risk high-yield move. Most average people don't have enough fast twitch reflexes, hip/leg flexibility, nor combat experience to pull off high kicks. The worst thing too is that it could be too easy to adapt a simple basic kick to aim higher even without the combative experience to deal with the consequences of missing the target.

    The high kick leaves you open, and it is harder to get other taekwondo techniques back around your center of gravity to defend or counter attack an opponent who chases the missed kick back in. You're left high and dry. (see MarksTraining.com: High Roundhouse Kick Defence/Counters


    How to do a high kick

    The long range roundhouse done at head height requires you to torque around your hip as a fulcrum. Traditional stylists would prefer to keep their weight firmly under their hips and do short range kicks and retain their ability to counter strike. High kicks require you to raise your center of gravity somewhat, tilt the hip, lean back and swing the leg forward. Where traditional stylists doing short range roundhouse kicks have a support foot that's more or less perpendicular to the target, the long range or high roundhouse requires your support foot to turn away from the target in order for you to allow your hips to have freedom to rotate with the kick. The movement of the body backwards and in the opposite circumfrential direction helps bring the kicking leg forward in a fairly powerful motion.


    Power generation for the high kick

    Where traditional stylists would rely on kime or focus to generate power, this whole body muscle tension to send body weight bearing on the impact surface is absent from the high kick -- relaxation is much more important as the power is generated by the speed of the swing. But yes, if it sounds like some crazy balancing office toy, you're right! You are required to maintain balance on your support foot whilst you're accelerating both your leg and body around your hip. See video Power Generation in Roundhouse Kick.

    Raising the kick to head high

    I don't want to get your hopes up. But you don't have to do a full split to kick at head high. But of course, if you need to kick an experience opponent head high, you need to come close to full split in order to cover the right distance and raise the kick sufficiently to reach at least his jaw. At this outer limit of your range of motion however I can tell you right now ... this WILL WREAK HAVOC WITH YOUR JOINTS WHEN YOU GET OLDER. So train and use these types of kicks sparringly.

    Now to raise the kick all you have to do is to raise your knee! Relax your hips, and push them forward with your support leg. You have to lean backwards somewhat to accomodate the change in COG.

    For more exercises to strengthen the legs for a high kick, check out MarksTraining.com: Superfoot Training for high kicks and the video he posted by Bill Superfoot Wallace.

    How not to do a high roundhouse kick

    I said raise your knee and lean only slightly. At no time should you ever drop your hands to balance off your legs. Nor should you jerk your body forward to use your oblique muscles to heft your leg upwards. The leg is raised PURELY USING HIP MUSCLE only. If you can't do this easily, don't do it at all. Otherwise raise your leg everyday to build your hip strength. Try using your toes to switch on and off light switches. :-)

    Targeting and your new high kick

    Lots of beginners don't understand the high kick and think it is a baseball bat swung at the opponent. This works well for pitting the kick against a power bag or striking mitt. But against a human opponent who is intent on blocking or deflecting your strikes, the kicker needs to have enough understanding of angles of entry and distances in order for him to unhinge the knee and the ankle so that the kick does not get stopped by his coverage. The foot is sent 'through' the arms and gets 'injected' into an appropriate strike zone for maximum impact. What this means is that the leg is not held fully extended or unchanging. The bend in the knee and the ankle allows the ball of the foot to strike the opponent. (see Training Aids that Wreck Combat Skills).

    Strategy for high kicks

    If you are blessed to have fast twitch muscles, speed, reflexes, flexibility, and some brains consider this -- a person who is going to high kick you in the head will also probably be expecting you to high kick him in the head. So don't. A person who won't high kick you in the head will probably not expect you to high kick him in the head so you could probably *try*. HOWEVER, that same person would be more willing to knock you out with a punch so if you miss that &%(#$@* kick, you're toast!

    The next idea is this - the front kick moves quite quickly. It's like a jab. If you can kick a high kick with the front leg, that's all you need, though mostly it'll probably be a tactical move and may not land with much power. The back leg however travels farther, takes a whole lot longer and therefore needs you to feint or distract the opponent before using the back leg to exploit loopholes in his defence.

    Who is the best person to kick in the head?

    The person most likely to not deal well with the high kick is that person who doesn't have much combat experience, who doesn't do high kicks, and who is a little more reactive and defensive ... basically unlikely to do a blitz attack on you at any opportunity. For all others, you might consider aiming a little lower - like in their groin! Have I mentioned that before?

    Protecting your nuts

    All you people out there who spar and fight with no consideration of your privates ... let me tell you right now there are a good deal of fighters who go for the groin often. Your nuts can be access with any kick irrespective of whether you have your leg up or if you are side-facing. THis is also irrespective of the height of your kick! So my advice to anyone is to learn how to drop your hand (palm heel, palm or blade of hand) in front of your nads to protect yourself from being shut closed like a book.

    High kicks for self defence

    You read over and over again how high kicks or worst still jumping kicks are basically a no-no for self defence. I won't say I will never ever do a high kick in such a situation. I will however say that I would be more happy to rely on traditional kicks in such situations, you have more control over balance, you've got your hands to back yourself up, you can generate a lot of power in a short distance ... and traditional kicks are by far more difficult to stop. So I won't rate high kicks at the top of my list of preferred techniques in a fight. (see TDA Training: What if you want to do a high kick on the street?)

    So back to my 80/20 rule. If you don't fall easily into that 20% range, you'd probably know it by now and this would indicate you should stay well clear of high kicks. If you however have some natural ability and can do a high kick nicely, you should also reconsider the amount of talent you really should have before using it often as a combative tool. Work on your basics first, won't you? Get some exposure then do some experimentation. Don't get too excited with it.

    Interested in Acquiring Roundhouse Kicking Power?

    Posts on Roundhouse Kicks on this Blog



    Good luck!

    Colin
    --
    Colin Wee
    Taekwondo Techniques, Taekwondo Patterns and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog

    Taekwondo Perth

    JDK has been established in Perth since 2000. While I started on this lineage in the early 90s, I don't have that many links with the Taekwondo schools here in Western Australia. Please let me know if you'd like any link included on this page. And lastly, while I list these links, I cannot vouch for the websites nor for the school - until of course we play together a little.

    For more on Taekwondo Perth, see the Reddit Article Best Place to Learn Taekwondo in Perth.

    The top sites that come up for 'Taekwondo Perth'

    First Taekwondo - Perth Western Australia

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    1 Nov 2008

    Everybody wuz Kong Faux Fighting ...

    Dan Djurdjevic is one of the most intelligent martial artist that I've encountered and his recent post Faux Boxing on his The Way of Least Resistance blog is an excellent analysis of the disparity between areas of practice within hard style systems.

    This was one of my pet peeves with the training I had started with a long long time ago - the basics we were learning were not related to the 'self defence' techniques, which in turn were not related to kata, and certainly did not filter into the sparring sessions. This made me ponder the martial arts long and hard and frankly I nearly threw the towel in a couple of years ago when I got tired and bored of this empty training.

    I reiterated this point to Mir (from Going My Way) when she saw me sparring in the States end 2006 and thought it was a fantastic demo of skills -- she was extremely generous, but I told her that kind of sparring was really more prancing around throwing a few kicks and punches to some really nice opponents. Truly not a very serious demonstration of skill level.

    To be fair I certainly think there are clear and communicable skills that traditional kata theory does teach for sparring. There are also takeaways from sparring that can be in turn brought back into kata practice. This is what Dan indicates when he ask "... is whether kata alone is sufficient for realistic defence. The answer would be of course not." But I think that it is far from common to have modern sportive practitioners with an equal distribution of skill which goes from one area of their training to others.

    A lot of skills are honed by the overlap in training methods. So when I train my students kata, I'm also communicating to them essential skills needed for combat/sparring/self defence. A case in point - several years ago I remember asking two young students trained for about a year with us what is the most important thing they learned from my school. They replied the most important thing was they learned how to tuck their chin down, protect their noses, and lead with their foreheads. They said that they used that skill both in basketball and football in order not to catch balls with their faces!! :-) And yet these two young gentleman never started their sparring training with us - this was only from basics and kata!

    Links



    Colin
    --
    Colin Wee
    Traditional Taekwondo Technique Workshop