Taekwondo v Raw Beginners

In front of me stood a beginner. She's not even wearing a martial arts uniform - coming instead in quite trendy good-looking exercise gear. She is shorter than I am, but quite coordinated, athletic, and strong.

My arms are smarting and I feel quite alert. The sparse instruction I have provided is for her to surge forward, pretend like she has a knife, and to stab me good and proper. Well at least that's the instruction I communicated when she was facing off my other Taekwondo student - a yellow belt.

The response was to stop the downward slash with a same-side upper block and to quickly follow-up with another upper block either to the arm, or to the elbow, or to the neck. My other beginner faced a huge level of difficulty - she was more than a foot shorter than he was and was managing very well to stab him "good and proper". Basically his technique was failing him.

So yes, that left me standing in front of the beginner and making me apply my basic technique to an untrained attacker. She was trying to stab me hard, and when other students would reduce their strength when I stopped the blow, she would add more body weight to see if I was adequately dealing with her stabbing motion.

I am of course confident with the technique and the application, but whilst it would be totally easy with the others who have trained in martial arts, there was a good and healthy level of challenge to apply the technique correctly, time it well, and to make sure proper body dynamics and muscle tension was present in order not to get overwhelmed by a changing and changeable strike.

Taekwondo tips for beginners in dealing with random attacks

1. Respond when you see the attacker moving - not when the strike is about to kill you.
2. Make your block or strike BLOCK the attack. Just performing the technique like I said may not be the best for you.
3. All basic skills like relaxedness first and then focused tension at the end works - tense up first and you slow yourself down.
4. Sometimes it is to your benefit to step off the line!
5. Meet the aggression with your own aggression.

This kind of randomness is highly valuable for Traditional Taekwondo training. If you haven't already had this opportunity I highly recommend you pass around raw beginners amongst your ranks in order for people to face off attackers who are determined to do 'you' rather than a specific 'something'! Both my other student and myself felt it was one of the best training sessions we had in a few weeks.

Beginning Taekwondo Links


Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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Dan Djurdjevic said…
Lovely anecdote Colin!

I've lost count of the number of times I've underestimated beginners; my own students have learned to yield when blocked (particularly so as to allow their arm to slip out and counter etc.). But typically a beginner will simply thrust for all their worth with arms that are as determined and unyielding as a battering ram. Nowadays I often relish training with new beginners - particularly determined ones - because I know I will have a more "honest" experience!

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