Joong Do Kwan's Taekwondo Applications

Joong Do Kwan's Taekwondo Applications
JDK Instructors share the passion with ITF friends in Perth

17 Dec 2009

Teaching Traditional Taekwondo Techniques

This is a response to 'Do Black Belts have to Teach?' at Just a Thought.

Not to Teach: A long time ago at an Olympic coaching seminar (this had nothing to do with Traditional Taekwondo), I remember the head coach say that participants and competitors should not coach or instruct. Essentially, if you are competing, you should focus on what you should be doing, and if you have to look at anyone else, look at those who are better than you. As a taekwondo practitioner, the onus is on the individual to practice - to hone skills and to be as prepared as possible. Teaching should not distract you from your own practice.

You should Teach: There is however, the constant saying - you learn as you teach. This is especially so for the martial arts; there are many instructors who just do not teach effectively. So putting yourself in a position to transmit knowledge requires you to understdand what you have been taught, draw from your experiences, and extrapolate from whatever knowledge you already have. This approach allows you to draw from the your peers and even your students - making sense of taekwondo 'on-the-job'.

Teaching is Fun: Lastly, teaching taekwondo techniques is part of the entire enjoyment of the study of taekwondo. Martial arts have a lot to offer many people at different stages of life. Not all people have to travel the same path, but if you are ready to inspire others and if you gain satisfaction from making a real difference to individuals ... teaching martial arts is the way to go.

Intermediate and Senior students at my school know that everyone is required to teach. Teaching can be as simple as sharing belt tying skills, or providing comment on a particular technique, or assisting a student in learning a taekwondo pattern. Certainly, when they understand my method of teaching (using the pattern framework to guide skills transmission), they'll eventually understand what to expect from the gradings. When they understand what to expect from gradings, they'll be better prepared for the challenges they face confronting a non-compliant opponent.

Teaching Traditional Taekwondo to Children
Earning a Traditional Taekwondo Black Belt

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

23 Nov 2009

Promoting Taekwondo in Perth Western Australia

Anyone wanting me to promote their taekwondo club or dojang in Perth, just let me know. I am happy to put a plug in for you if you send me a message onto my Links page - make sure you include your suburb. Check out ATI Taekwondo Bull Creek and Burswood in Perth. Even if you're doing Taekwondo commercially (nothing wrong with that), you don't have to feel compelled to buy me a drink or give me free t-shirts or badges (wink). I am more than happy to put a post out for you. Regards, Colin

--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

MarksTraining.com: Muay Thai Elbow Strike

Nat and Mark have a post highlighting the very effective and devastating Muay Thai elbow strike - a great technique any serious martial artist should learn early and learn soon. It generates great power simply, forces you to get close, and allows you to have both hands up covering your body and engaging the opponent.

Original links to their posts:
TDA Training: MarksTraining.com Muay Thai Elbow Strike
MarksTraining.com: Muay Thai Elbow Strike

But the elbow strike should not really be considered more lethal or vicious than any other technique, even if they're introduced at a basic level. To do so misrepresents martial arts. Many beginners think that the techniques they learn when they're white belts aren't worth s***. WHy? Because these techniques could also be associated with their learning proper distancing in a controlled ... and often times tentative sparring/one step environment.

Within our taekwondo training program, I make concessions for this type of thinking early on due to the fact that beginners have to learn a lot of gross motor coordination. But I do try to aggressively dispel this notion that basic techniques are useless once these students are maybe 4-5 months into their training.

What do senior and more experience fighters use? They use staple taekwondo techniques all the time ... and very effectively at that. What is the recent one punch can kill campaign all about? It's about punches ... not your 560 degree tornado kick.

While control and tentativeness are a must for an exercise like sparring, there should be no question about the lethality of your 'basic' beginner strikes. The martial art student should be shown that lots of power can be generated, such power can be used to strike vulnerable areas on the body ... and they should understand the self defence issues of pulling out a properly executed martial technique. You don't just knock-out your cousin who's just insulted you at the family christmas party. Or decide to 'juice up' your uncle for grabbing a piece of your butt. There are implications.

Keep thinking, folks.

Colin

ps. Good post Marks. :-)
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

22 Nov 2009

Taekwondo Combo Kicks for Real Fighting

Taekwondo kicks for real ... I had a good training session last Thursday, I focused on intermediate taekwondo upper body strikes and kicks, and combinations of the two. Of note, there was an interesting discussion on taekwondo kicks and kick combinations that I would use only in sparring as opposed to in a real situation. Certainly a double kick where the first feints for the knee and the second kicks the head - whilst both legs are in the air, would represent a tactic which I'd only use in sparring. Why on earth would we train for something that we wouldn't use? It's not that I wouldn't use any one of the two taekwondo kicking techniques ... it's just that I wouldn't use them in that particular combination. I remember one sparring session when I stopped an oncoming 200 lbs 6' brown belt with that particular instep kick to the knee. I felt real bad, but hey ... that just goes to show you don't have to pull out the entire sequence. That first move was good enough to stop the guy in his tracks. Taking sparring-as-exercise, those fancy combinations are great to gauge what technique works, the distance, the timing, and the angle of entry. Kicks are versatile; expert kickers can kick you without you seeing the kick until it's just about to land. But you can't get that good until you're looking at all these combinations and permutations.

An interesting kicking video ...


Taekwondo Kicking Related Posts
High Kicks in Taekwondo
Training Aids that Wreck Technique
Won-hyo: Where are your eyes on the back of your arse?
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

ATI Taekwondo Bull Creek Perth Australia

Edin from ATI Taekwondo Bull Creek and Burswood [ATI Martial Arts] in Perth sent me a message and asked to exchange links. I thought I could do better than that. If anyone is in Bull Creek or Burswood and interested in taking up taekwondo, go check out their website. Cheers.

***cut***

Edin said...
Hi Colin,

I'd like to exchange links.

I have linked to you from my homepage http://www.ati-taekwondo.com.au/

Can you please link to me with the following details.

Title: "ATI Martial Arts - Taekwondo in Perth"
url: www.ati-taekwondo.com.au
desc: Teaches self defense, discipline, strength, including a 3-6 year olds Little Dragons class!

Thanks :)

***end***

Other Perth Links:
SuperParents Family Blog
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

21 Nov 2009

New Archery Website

I'm getting a new website developed for my dad's archery business using WordPress. Check out BWarchery Archery Equipment Supplier in Singapore, if you like. Colin

--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

28 Oct 2009

Quick Thinking by Our Resident 'Hot Mama' Apprehends Crims

Hikaru Dojo, Perth, congratulates one of our female students 7th kyu who showed some quick thinking today and took the right course of action by calling the cops. Read the following note she sent to the Principal - name and school omitted for privacy. Good on you!

***begin***
9:40am, Wednesday the 28th of October 2009.

Dear Parents,

Hi, my name is and I am one of the parents here at School. I would like to relate an incident to you that happened to me this morning in the car park directly across from the school.

I was on my way back down to the car with my mother and toddler when a beat up looking vehicle parked 2 spaces down from us. Two men, one young and the other older, got out of the car and walked over to the little hut just across from where they had parked.

They took note of us and made some very unsavoury remarks such as “Hot Mama”, which made my mother and I very uncomfortable. I quickly strapped my baby into the car and urged my mother to get into the car as quickly as possible as they were taking (particularly the older man) more than a casual interest in us. I got into the car and reversed out of the parking lot, before driving off I made note of the drivers licence plate. At this point the older man advanced towards us in a menacing fashion and was obviously very keen to remove us as quickly as possible from the car park. He continued to look at us until we were well and truly away from the car park.

They were clearly dangerous and I was very concerned for the safety of my mother and child.

At this point I decided to report the incident to the Cottesloe Police station. By reporting this incident to the police within minutes of it occurring, the police officers were able to dispatch a squad car immediately and the two men were apprehended and arrested in the act of committing a crime. The police officers were very grateful for the information that led to them being able to make this arrest and would like to urge anyone seeing any suspicious behaviour to report it as quickly as possible. If you are not able to make it to a Police Station please ring 131 444.

***end***

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

26 Oct 2009

Taekwondo Side Kick Retraction

The prevailing wisdom with kicks is that for most kicks (especially the basic traditional kicks) once extended, the leg is recoiled back along the same path. This means that you don't send the foot out and then change angle in mid-air. This of course can be done, I have myself done this in sparring for kicks that were not always fully committed in order to chamber the kick mid air and send the striking leg out again. However, this is not the same for do-or-die basic kicks. With 100% power, the torque and the vibrational force if not dissipated correctly, recoils back along the skeletal structure. It typically comes back for the first major joint - your knee, but the vibration is equally happy going for your hip, neck or your support knee. Last Sunday I was practicing side kicks with my 6th kyu, and I was noticing that the kick did not seem to be coming back along the same path. It seemed more or less correct but right in the end, it looked flappy and 'wrong.' After some experimentation, we came to the conclusion that for that specific side thrust kick (the lower limb rises towards the point of impact), the kick is pushed out with the large muscles of the leg - gluts and hamstrings. It's hard to control the retraction or recoil, and some people would relax the hip and retract it using the smaller quads and hip extensor muscles. This kick requires leg muscle retraction to power the leg back to the chambered position next to the support leg. This is the best way to return your body to a 'ready' position, or to allow you to re-engage the use of your hands to counter.

--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

25 Oct 2009

Taekwondo One Step Video

Taekwondo One Step Sparring Curriculum from American Karate and Taekwondo Organization (of whom I'm affiliated with) uses six core one step techniques from the Nam Seo Kwan Taekwondo tradition. One step sparring allows us to gain insight into distancing and timing.

In addition,one steps allow students to practice bringing two hands up and placed between them and their opponents. It also allows students to strike 'from where their hands are,' and not necessarily start the strike from a hip chambered location.

The best thing with one steps are the endless variations that can be included for beginners, intermediates and advance. The strikes can be modified away from the traditional lunge punch to include faster jabs, shorter and punchier attacks. Intermediate and advance taekwondo one step sparring can also deal with the follow up punch from the opponent requiring a more pragmatic response to someone throwing several techniques your way. We do this by performing the first part of the basic one step sparring tactic, and add on what is required dependant on the follow on attack.

In the following video, we see GM Keith Yates performing one of the basic one step sparring techniques from our curriculum.



While there is a tendency towards 'making up' techniques for your one step applications, I would encourage you to look at the form or pattern you are learning at your rank to derive one step applications. There is no use trying to commit your pattern to memory if you are using your one step like a kickboxing exercise - devoid of all connection to your pattern or your daily martial art training.

Here's a video from one of our classes looking at a one step sparring exercise which includes the middle block and lower block from pattern Chon-ji.



If you liked the above, check out the Taekwondo One Step videos we took during our training session recently.

Related Links



Colin
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

19 Oct 2009

Punches to the Head - an Anonymous Perspective

In continuing to deal with an Anonymous poster who has misgivings about a drill I featured in "Do-san: Defending Against Straight Blast Punches to the Face", I am including portions of his initial post and a video I have pulled off youtube to highlight elements in his post that are legitimate. While I have communicated that I don't particularly like his tone (nor the manner he's taken to Pat from Mokuren Dojo), there is some value to what Anonymous is getting at, and we should bear this in mind while we continue our own training.

The drill itself shows a response to a basic traditional punch thrown iteratively to the defender. The defender is shown deflecting the oncoming arm off centreline using the blade of the forearm. The forearm is rotated 90 degrees back and forth around centerline catching the striking limb from the outside.

Anonymous: I can’t say I’m impressed with this drill. For one the attacker’s punch is fully extended before he even reaches the defender’s face meaning she’ll never get hit even if she does nothing, what’s the point of defending attacks that’ll never connect anyway? With a good defense his fist should pass over your shoulder nearly missing your head, this is clearly not the case here. My second problem with this is that she seems to grab while parrying: this is dangerous since he’ll be able to pull you off balance when he retracts his arm (presumably into another strike), that is if she indeed would be able to grab if he would actually mount some decent attacks: you do not leave your arm dangling after you extended and attacks should be fluid and smooth, not mechanical like in the video.

In the following video I got off youtube, you can see karate students fighting against boxers. To their credit, the karate fighters are performing technically sound moves -- but to engage a boxer using such rules of engagement as you see below is not advantageous as you can see in the following video. This supports what Anonymous is saying - most traditional schools do not deal very well with even the simplest of attacks. A fight with a boxer would be a wake up call. Indeed.



Such a simple match up between a karate or other hard style type martial arts and boxing replicating the same conditions above would find any of us hard pressed to do better than the karateka in the video.

To better enjoy hard style techniques, kicks should have been done to the knee and groin area, attacks or counters should have been to gap close and throw the boxers, even to fight at close range for a takedown. No controls were used and there was certainly no accelerative gap closing that some sportive karate camps use to good effect. Upper body coverage was also very sparse.

The following is a video of a sparring match between boxer and kickboxer. The kickboxer here dominates the boxer -- he goes for the legs early and consistently. It can be said however that the kickboxer does seem to have experience boxing - from the way he covers and the way he's moving. But still, it shows some benefits of using legs.



Anonymous: If you think what I said is wrong than state your own reasons and we can actually have a discussion. If you cannot take criticism and expect everyone to just agree with you and sing your praise then you shouldn’t be voicing your opinions on the internet, let alone putting up videos of any of your techniques.

Yes, Anonymous didn't really say I was full of s***. But to my credit I have ensured all of the Anonymous postings make it on the blog, and in fact I have even agreed to various fundamental areas of his argument. I am not even saying that he is wrong. My position is that he is looking at this particular drill in isolation of our entire program - and assuming we ... namely, I don't know my stuff. Such a perspective as offered by this blog does not accurately give the entire context in which we build basic skills nor does it help Anonymous really learn anything that is of value to himself.

Anonymous: I certainly don’t need to discuss MA with people who only practice pretend, pre-arranged fighting

Anonymous: If this is how you and your students train you’re in for a rude awakening, I wish you good luck if you do get into a fight with someone that doesn’t want to play by your rules and actually knows how to throw a decent punch.

I will reserve my right to continue to voice my opinions on the internet.

This blog takes maybe 10 or so minutes of my time every post. I have to pick out what I want to write about, run through it quickly, and that's it. You can see many of my posts are rush jobs, but this is a resource that I'm building for my own needs. If I am full of s***, anyone can come and critisize (I am happy to post all comments). If you don't enjoy reading the posts, don't read.

Related Links
Do-san: Defending Against Straight Blast Punches to the Face
Do-san: Defending Against Straight Blast Punches to the Face (Original Post)
Getting Punched in the Nose

Anyone in the mood to sing praises? I've not heard singing on my blog.

Cheers,

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Taekwondo Blog at Joong Do Kwan. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

16 Oct 2009

If you can't break the board, blame your assistant!



At least the guy keeps on trying! Maybe one day he'll knock some sense into himself.

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

Taekwondo Side Kick Defence and Timing

Taekwondo Side Kick Defence and Timing


A fighter can 1) Wait for the attack and counter, 2) attack simultaneously, or 3) preempt and prevent attack from coming.

Last night we had a small class, so I let the green and yellow belt practice with each other. One drill was to allow the green belt to practice his taekwondo side kick, and on the defence was yellow belt using a push kick to stop the side kick from landing.

The push kick off front foot can be used either against the kicking leg itself, the hip, or the support leg.

A huge problem was firstly encountered. It was extremely hard to get the timing right. And of course the timing was wrong -- the push kick was launched when the side kick had been identified, and was already accelerating in mid air. Both participants were doing their kicks at the exact same time like 'other' drills. It became a tae ro bics class!

To properly execute this technique, first the lead leg is used because it is closer to the opponent; the distance it travels is much shorter and thus can get to where it has to get to on time. The next is to read the opponent - when the opponent is shifting back, this is the time to launch the counter attack. Not when the side kick is already on its way. Attacking simultaneously NEVER MEANS to launch your own technique when you see the other technique. It means you need make judgement the moment before the technique is launched.

To make sure your body is responsive, the split second you recognise the body shift, tighten the abdominal muscles and exhale. The nature of the exhalation should tighten your core, and should allow you to bring your leg up and signal the larger muscles to act accordingly.

Having optimal relaxation also allows you to judge the nature of the attack and decide on whether other premptive measures should be taken to reduce the impact, if your defence fails and the side kick comes your way.

Calibrating the side kick
Taekwondo Side Kick: Yul-guk v Won-hyo
Jumping Side Kick

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

14 Oct 2009

Taekwondo's Applied or Augmented Double Blocks

While I was in Malaysia I picked up a very retro 60s 'Tae Kwon Do Secrets of Korean Karate' by Sihak Henry Cho. It was all taekwondo technique related and did not feature any patterns. Flipping through the book whilst sitting on the john, I was fixated by one particular block - the 'applied arm block' or 'double arm block' or 'yahng-pal makgu.'

From my earlier studies, I was trained to understand that the first outward double block was just like a yop marki or mid block but was supported by the back hand - and thus was 'stronger.' This is not information that I would currently transmit to my own students. Practically I see the augmented middle block, appearing in Taekwondo Pattern Toi-gye (step 29 and 30) as a whole body throw ... the crouched low x-block moving into a standing double block allows you to scissor the entire body, throwing the opponent backwards onto his back.

The first appearance of the double arm block in taekwondo pattern Yul-guk steps 37 and 38 doesn't really lead up to the throw that is seen in Toi-gye ... but I think it is introduced at a real significant point for the developing student. At this stage, the 5th kyu or blue belt or equivalent is developing some good confidence in the skills, speed, coordination and combinations. However, I have noticed that often at this level, difficulties from 'hard style' training surfaces. This is when idiosyncracies of training methodology like the chambering of the fist at the hip, or the line drills, or the need for 'kime' or focus, collides with the fluidity needed so that the practitioner can move in a more unencumbered manner.

The double arm block brings this back chambering hand forward and allows the practitioner to get both hands in front of himself - covering or protecting his centreline. More importantly is not the prominence of both hands in front of the body, but the ability to use the back hand to strike the opponent whilst the opponent has his field of vision distracted by a raised front hand.

Once upon a time these double blocks were considered vital to 'proper' karate - in Motobu Choki's Watashi no Karate, a poster of Motobu Sensei (who was famed for his fighting prowess) shows him with his arms up in this exact formation - a middle block with a back hand augmenting his extended forearm. Apparently, 'mefutode' (p83) was the skill in using both arms for offense and/or defence, and this double block (or whatever else he used it for) was part of his regular bag of tricks.

taekwondo arm block
Choki Motobu demonstrating the double arm block

Nowadays those same double arm blocks don't receive the attention they deserve probably because of this 'hard style' idea that it is an augmented type of defence.

However, if you loosen up the frame and think of the arms as cover or deception or a fake/feint, the back hand or front hand takes on a whole new role and becomes an effective part of your arsenal. Loosen up the stance and allow the hips to rotate and you've got a system that is not unlike a boxer's ... with the ability to parry, gap close, jab, and follow through. Not something to stash away with the other items categorised under 'classical mess'. :-)

Links
Toi-gye List of Posts

Regards

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

5 Oct 2009

Do-san: Defending Against Straight Blast Punches to the Face

I got a somewhat inflammatory response to an old post featuring a drill we use for our beginners. I don't have much time to respond, but the discussion is worth reading. For the first time in about a year of posting someone has basically said I'm full of s***. Go check it out. Rgds, Colin

--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

4 Oct 2009

Off to Malaysia for the Next Week

Training was real good this morning. We did some roundhouse punch drills in the air and on a target. 'Self defence' against a bear hug from the back and full nelson. Then worked on taekwondo patterns for my 9th kyu and 8th kyu students' grading requirements. Post more when I get back.

Cheers!

Colin
--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

1 Oct 2009

Martial Art Demos ... what can go wrong, will.

What seems to be a taekwondo demo shows a kick that went awry. I thought it was pretty funny (better than a lot of the other videos that were listed when I typed in tradtional taekwondo). I'm sure my students will empathize with the assistant.

--
Colin Wee
Traditional Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]. Colin is a martial art instructor with 25 years of experience across three continents. Colin leads a small Traditional Taekwondo group for adults in Perth, Western Australia.

Join Colin on FaceBook.

30 Sep 2009

Taekwondo Sparring

Taekwondo Sparring

Taekwondo sparring is just one of the exercises to build an all-round martial artist. Sparring allows you to practice breathing, timing, tactics, and strategy against a non-compliant opponent. However, Taekwondo sparring should only be thought of as another exercise in your gym bag. You should feel relatively safe whilst sparring as both opponents learn how to improve on the various skills. Sparring should not be thought of as a real fight where an opponent will rarely if ever attack you with martial-arty combinations or timing. Rather it is more likely you will face a non-choreographed, messy, often blitz-type attack. Your opponent will probably try to grapple with you and fight you in a close range situation. In Taekwondo sparring, work on real skills that will help you in other encounters - 1) good coverage, 2) a willingness to work close range, 3) low kicks and hand combinations, 4) moving to a tactically advantageous position (towards the exit), and 5) good environmental awareness. Enjoy the links we're provided on this topic.

The JDK Sparring Program
Deliberately Losing Your Sparring Match
Taekwondo Fighting Stance
Taekwondo Non-contact Sparring Training
Taekwondo Chon-ji - No One Wants to Get Hit
Taekwondo Sparring Bingo
Taekwondo Sparring Parts 1 - 3
Taekwondo Sparring Broken Rhythm
Yul-guk: Grab Strike Control Strike
Hold a Kick Shield to Gain Experience
Aikido Philisophy, Taekwondo Technique ... is it possible?
Beginning Taekwondo Sparring Advice
Kung Faux Fighting
Won-hyo: Defending against a kick punch combination
Power Generation, Strategy and Commonsense
Fallen Angel
Keeping on the Path
Random Sparring and Competition Advice
Taekwondo v Kickboxing
Karate v WTF
Kung Fu v Taekwondo Sparring
Invisible Taekwondo Sparring Techniques
Traditional Taekwondo Goes Green in Sparring
Beginning Sparring in Taekwondo
Your Nuts with Taekwondo
Beginning Taekwondo Sparring Part Two
Multiple Person Drills
Warmup Drills to Increase Coverage for Sparring
Won-hyo: Where are your eyes on the back of your arse?
Beginning Sparring Part One
Do-san: Introduction to Sparring
Beginning Sparring Dialog
What role does body hardening exercises play in Taekwondo?
Taekwondo Sparring Past and Present by Craig Lightner
Being Good at Sparring Means You're Only Good at Sparring

--

Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
[Traditional Taekwondo Blog | Subscribe | FAQs | Sitemap | FaceBook]
And help us rank on Google by clicking the '+1' icon, why don't you?
How much do you know of Taekwondo? Come take our Taekwondo quiz to find out.

28 Sep 2009

Taekwondo Roundhouse Kick

My Taekwondo 6th kyu green belt had some hip pain recently and felt discomfort raising his leg higher than groin height. His roundhouse kick training of course did not help his condition - and he asked for my opinion.

The roundhouse kicks he was performing were short range, horizontally fired, ball-of-foot roundhouse kicks. Power generation comes from the compression of the abdominal muscles, leg muscles and some pendulum momentum as the leg is brought around. These roundhouse kicks complement powerful hand strikes and are extremely effective close range.

I contemplated his problem and decided to fire off a roundhouse kick at his inner thigh. I then told him to choose a much lower but still legitimate target, and continue his training.

No point sweating over the height of a kick when it's how you use it that counts.

How to do a taekwondo roundhouse kick to the head
Basic Taekwondo Kick a Misnomer 

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

Join Colin on FaceBook!

23 Sep 2009

Taekwondo Pattern Yul-guk: Grab Strike Control Strike

There are grab-strike combos in Taekwondo Pattern Yul-guk Step 7-10, 15-17 unlike what you see in Chon-ji, which like other basic taekwondo patterns teach you to grab and strike; and perhaps assume that you'll deal with the opponent with the first (or last, or only) strike.

Taekwondo pattern yul-guk seems to want you to grab-strike-control-strike. The forward tension presses (step 15-17) go for a neck or hair grab which and then pushes the opponent around like a rag doll. Then there's the side kick which is followed up by an elbow strike and pull-to-the-hip control (Step 22-24).

Punishing the opponent could be a part of the overall game plan, but I suggest that this is training for a multiple opponent scenario. Strike and control the first opponent, and move him around as your shield while you're looking for a defensible location.

While you are thinking of how to strike, control and strike again, you may benefit from thinking of how to strike with the same grabbing hand or perhaps strike with different parts of the same arm. You can also incorporate 'bumping' into your opponent with forehead, top of head, shoulder, knee, or foot. This approach maximises the applicability of techniques through any basic hard style pattern. Not to include this is to reduce the practicality of your combat applications.

Keep it safe! Can't practice on your opponents if you hurt them too much.

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

Join Colin on FaceBook!

20 Sep 2009

Taekwondo Technique - Hold a Kick Shield to Gain Experience

I got an 8th kyu Taekwondo yellow belt to hold the kick shield for our 6th kyu green belt. Part of the discussion was how best to hold the kick shield (hold it like you're in a fighting stance), and why it helps you grow as a martial artist.

So my green belt kicks the target, steps aside ... and I have a go. I performed the kick with less power, but faster, crisper, and was purposely done not to telegraph as much. I did that a few times, then kicked it a little harder to show how it differs when you penetrate the target with more thrusting power.

Most people, and thus most practitioners have to content with the same implements - two hands, two legs, and core trunk. Moving the extremities and making them work against gravity and physical laws essentially create the same preparatory movements -- basically the moves that are 'telegraphed'. These telegraphed moves are read and taken in by the person holding the kick shield.

So the more time you spend holding the bag, and the more you grow as a practitioner, the more you can make sense of the telegraphed moves before the kick comes. This growing awareness, hopefully coupled with the faster physical response time (and better technical skill), allows you to read your opponent earlier and respond with better timeliness.

Higher belts will move like they're almost predicting the future. Obviously this can't happen, but so long as you have a gut feeling, you can act on an intelligent guess and surge ahead with your own taekwondo technique.

This is the way to go for action-response type situations.

Cheers,

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

Join Colin on FaceBook!

16 Sep 2009

The Traditional Taekwondo Black Belt Journey

I watched a Masterchef episode a month or so ago and remember how each of the candidates were interrogated about their aims in the cooking industry. Those who had laser focus seemed to fare better overall, and even demonstrated more skills during the execution of cooking technique.

The panels I've sat on for Black belt gradings seem no different. Not a lot of the focus is on technique. Those grading sheets may contain perhaps one or two points per belt rank focusing on a particular aspect of some technique. But mostly I hear a lot of discussion based on a black belt's understanding of application, their personal motivation, and ... surprisingly, their continued commitment.

I remember a really interesting discussion once surrounding how a brown belt should be retained in grade because of the continued growth that retention would have created. This is the real black belt journey at a rarefied level, folks. Sometimes waiting a little while more for the belt is also important!

Links



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

Join Colin on FaceBook!

15 Sep 2009

Earning a Traditional Taekwondo Black Belt

A new black belt practitioner of traditional taekwondo is a person that ...

... has understood the teaching structure of the traditional taekwondo program - which houses martial art technique and strategy.

... has satisfactorily learned the range of basic technical skills covered by the program.

... has provided peer-level instruction as part of regular training.

... has completed an academic report as part of the black belt training process.

... has invested an amount of time training with another instructor.

... has taken a mental leap - internalising the confidence and mental commitment - which identifies their readiness and maturity for this level.

... has understood the strategic strengths and weaknesses of the teaching methodology, and has the courage to deviate from the curriculum with some wisdom where necessary.

My aims for the new black belt are modest, and a practitioner arriving at black belt should understand the magnitude of the journey still in front of the dan-level practitioner.




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

Join Colin on FaceBook!

13 Sep 2009

Traditional Taekwondo Sparring

Sparring in Taekwondo


Sparring, for the mixed bag of criticism it faces, is just one of the components of training that help a martial art practitioner learn about how to deal with an opponent and the throws that come hard and fast.

In our traditional taekwondo syllabus, sparring training starts at 7th kyu Orange and starts only getting interesting when the student becomes 6th kyu or when they don their green belts.

I was sparring with my green belt today. Essentially I throw all manner of basic kicks and punches. He covers, blocks and can use only one weapon to counter - his lunge punch. This helps him focus on baby steps - dealing with the barage of things flying at him, moving around, and then returning fire. On my part I don't overly try to conceal my stuff nor have I applied any real force. Messing around with his mind will come later, and such pain or the memory of pain shouldn't be all-consuming that it spoils the myriad little 'games' that sparring requires of a student.

Beginning Sparring in Traditional Taekwondo
Beginning Sparring Part One - Problems Encountered
Beginning Sparring Part Two - Sparring Objectives


Colin

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

Join Colin on FaceBook!

11 Sep 2009

Taekwondo Techniques - Distance and Reach

I see this often for beginners in my Traditional Taekwondo class - but I'm sure it's the same for other martial arts. You're practicing a technique against an attack, and the demo requires you to shift a little to one side and counter attack. This allows you to draw in the attacker and use the attacker's own forward momentum to augment your counter attack. However, beginners responding to the attack most often take a step backward or a huge step to the side in order to get away from the attacker. The attacker is then able to easily repeat the attack with his own forward momentum, and the poor beginner is on a worse-off footing.

In basic training, we oftentimes train at a specific distance against an opponent. This is not just a way to inculclate muscle memory for the student. The distance is essential for proper counter attack to occur; and of course proper application of power generation. Too far away from the attacker and there will be no power and no penetrative force. THis type of basic training, too often poo poo-d by intermediate and senior students helps you condition yourself to the critical success factors that will place you in a tactically advantageous position and to succeed in your counter attack.

This is related to advice I give in self defence classes - you must replicate the exact conditions which are present in your training. This is why it is tough practicing on your brother or your bf ... they are not going to be pressing the attack as hard as an opponent trying to intimidate you and who is intruding on your personal space.




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

Join Colin FaceBook!

8 Sep 2009

AFL Player Chris Judd Comes Under Fire for Using Unethical Tactics

Kyusho Jitsu came under indirect controversy with criticism of AFL player Chris Judd using underhanded pressure point tactics. I was interviewed by Channel 7 today and offered my two cents worth. Hopefully the message will get through that pressure point techniques should be used under controlled situations and/or in self defence.

Keep it safe.

Colin

Carlton - Chris Judd Eye Gouge on Rischitelli Video
Martial arts expert warns against Judd-style attacks
Mokuren Dojo: Chitards (What a great title!)
--
Colin Wee
Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]

Join Colin FaceBook!

Dan-gun: Is there a better Chukyo Marki Up Block?

The basic acid test drilled into me during my early years of training is that up block (Taekwondo's CHukyo Marki or Karate's Age Uke) left in place will adequately deal with a downward stabbing attack from an opponent coming at you with a knife.

The up block in this case is assuming that the attack will be directly at your forehead or top of your head. It also assumes that the knife holder will be considerate and just lash out once. Perhaps he'll also not retract the knife and slash you on the way back.

I think this basic notion of the up block is a decent teaching method for Taekwondo beginners to learn angles and postures. Its effectiveness however leaves me less than excited.

When we perform the up block in my school, we complement the drill by applying it against a person trying to stab you. But not in the head. The knife is aimed and should land on the victim's face or chest or somewhere on the upper body. The knife hand in particular should be crooked at the elbow - as how any sane and untrained person using a knife would do when trying to stab some cretin. The trajectory is much flatter and does not come from above (as our basic training postulated).

The chukyo marki up block done against a stab like this is different. Firstly, if you think it's going to be held over your head, you're deeply mistaken. The up block is done with lots of 'proactivity.' The block is done before the stabbing motion has a lot of chance to come down. Meaning you start the block as soon as possible and try to catch the downward stab before it has a chance to gain acceleration.

The next thing is that the block is also positioned so that the fist effectively strikes the face or jawline of the attacker. Meaning that the block is not done vertically over your head but is extended 45 degrees from vertical. It is a mirror image of the lower block.

There are a few other target variations of this upper block:
1. CHukyo marki against the tricep.
2. Chukyo marki against the neck.
3. Chukyo marki against the forearm followed by another chukyo marki as a punch to the inside of the elbow.

Go try this out against a person coming at you fast. It works! Just try not to punch your training partner in the face. Or try not to punch them too hard.

Happy training!

Do-san Upward Rising Block
Striking THoughts: Two worst martial arts techniques of all time (Check out #2)

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

Join Colin FaceBook!

4 Sep 2009

28 Aug 2009

Chon-ji and Dan-gun - Kiss and Tell

In my school, Taekwondo's Chon-ji and Dan-gun teach a very different approach to fighting. In Chon-ji you have this really powerful basic moves that seek to break and strike with lots of commitment. But the opposite is not true of Dan-gun, meaning that it doesn't teach a lack of commitment - it does however teach a very important lesson ... not all fighting requires you to switch of your thinking brain and put 100% brawn into your attack. There is the case to gauge the opponent, size up the situation, decide on the most opportune moment ... and then make your move. Switch off your opponent - don't switch off yourself!

Regards,

Colin

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

25 Aug 2009

... and that's found in Traditional Taekwondo?

Last weekend I found myself talking shop with a martial arts enthusiast who's associated with my martial arts school. The issue we were discussing was short range striking techniques, whereupon I took the opportunity to hit my friend a couple of times with a few techniques that depended on the retraction of the arm to generate power for close range strikes. He seem amazed and asked if these techniques were indeed found in Traditional Taekwondo. I gladly obliged to demostrate the technique framed with various other moves straight from the pattern. He seemed satisfied that these were really 'Taekwondo' moves. Actually, I could show him anything and say they were really Traditional Taekwondo. In fact I could pick apart most Karate techniques or ITF/WTF techniques and say they're traditional taekwondo. The fact is that for the 24 patterns we have (and the few others I practice), most any sort of move would represent whatever kind of strike or defence you may dream about. You can see anything you want from any of the moves in our patterns. This is a point of contention I have with seeing 1000 ways to do the same thing in any one pattern. While there is some value to exploring possibilities, there is also great validity in rationalising the patterns as a training program or a strategic premise for fighting. Efficacy is established through core tactics (to improve reaction time), variations (to deal with a changeable environment), and then variability of threats (to deal with non-standard attacks). But yes ... that's all found in Traditional Taekwondo. :-) Regards, Colin
--
Colin Wee
Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]

1 Aug 2009

Taekwondo Pattern Dan Gun: Variations on a Theme

Dan Gun: Step 17 and 18 Vertical Shuto to the Neck

I finished the practical demo on my yellow belt and turned around to look for another 'volunteer' and saw my green belt standing there with a surprised look on his face. You never taught me that, he said. Of which I incredulously replied, yes I did.

Basically the move in question pertained to Steps 17 and 18 of Taekwondo pattern Dan-gun. This is the vertical knife hand fold with a 260 reverse turn and a downward strike. A description of the technique, and that particular lesson is actually recorded in the above blog post.

But he is correct, I did not teach him that exact variation I taught this particular yellow belt. The variation I just taught was a faster cross over of the hands that created an additional blocking motion whilst entering the arms. It allows a smaller and faster individual some skills to be able to blitz an attacker who's not expecting hands to move that fast.

While I teach to a syllabus, there are times when the interpretation and the needs of the students 'requires' me to seek out variations on a theme that I feel will be more valuable to individual students. Sometimes I think long and hard about these, sometimes I don't think too much about them.

Given that we're a close community, he was able to see this variation ... and given he's further along the learning curve, will take a mental snapshot for the bag of tricks he's accumulating.

Keep at it folks! It doesn't get boring!

Colin

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

23 Jul 2009

Mental Attitude can help protect you from harm by Mireille Clark

I have found a very interesting e-book online written by Mr. John "Lofty" Wiseman that is available to check out a good sample for free. It is called the SAS Self-Defense Handbook. You can find it HERE:

This 78 page book is a good read that not only gives a variety of self defense options, but also brings forth the mental aspect of avoiding danger in the first place, and also what mental challenges you face when having to face an opponent. I do have to warn you that pages 29-32, 37-52, 57-77 are missing from the online book as it is only a sample.

I love how the writer speaks about modern concepts such as the fact that the addition of security cameras have actually lowered the alertness of the Bus Drivers to potential dangers.

He speaks about having three levels of alertness in our life. I understand where he is coming from.. it's not a paranoia, but more an awakening to the environment around you when you are in a place that could have potential danger. His words remind me of the second line of the Dojo Kun of the Kyokushin Karate style "We will pursue the Martial Way so that in time our senses may be alert." Being alert to potential danger can help you avoid confrontation with nasty results.

I LOVE how he states "As a good rule of thumb, if something is considered to be a foul in some combat sport or other, it is probably an excellent self-defense technique."

I can see how many times when we spar in tournaments or class, we train ourselves to avoid striking the sensitive areas, and for good reason, but when it comes to self defense our mind has to turn 180 degrees around and actually SEEK out these areas.

I feel that it is a book that a beginner, and an advanced Artist can enjoy. The suggested concepts in this book are simple, straightforward, and easily can be understood.

This book is available for sale for around $20.00 Canadian on www.amazon.ca
$13.57 American on www.amazon.com

See Child Safety in the Face of an Aggressor



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

20 Jun 2009

Promotions by William Mioch

The kyu-dan belt ranking system is a relatively new invention for the martial arts. It was adapted by the founder of Judo (Jigoro Kano) from a ranking system used in Go and other traditional arts, such as Flower Arranging. (He also invented the judogi, the training clothes used in Judo, Karate and many martial arts around the world.) He introduced the dan ranking in 1883, when he graded 2 students to Shodan.

Many traditional chinese schools don't have an equivalent system of ranking. So, I asked myself the question, should my Kung Fu students have grades and belts? What are the pro's and con's?

For the instructor:
The biggest advantage to instructors is organisation. A single instructor can look at the students in a class, see their progress from their belt and know just what stage that student is at.

Let's say the first instructor is sick the next week. Another instructor can come into the class and know very quickly what level those students are at.

By following a widely recognised system like the kyu-dan system, even instructors from other schools can get some idea of what level these students are at.

For the student:
Although a student can set themselves a goal such as "I will learn this Kata in 3 months", it is not a very specific goal. A well-defined syllabus with attainable levels can help the student to set SMART goals.

Students also know what level other students are at. This can help to avoid accidents and injuries and allow students to explore their leadership skills when working with lower ranked students.

Being able to have a physical representation of their achievement, such as a belt, is a big motivator to many people. It renews motivation and keeps pushing the student to attain the next level.

Cons:
The classic negative pointed out in regards to using belts and ranks is that they become more important than the actual martial arts! However, in my experience, like technique, this kind of attitude would have to come from the top to get any grounding.

Overall, the idea of grades has many benefits and few negatives. It is a great motivator and tool for instructors to keep organised and for students to measure and drive their performance.

Let me know what you think, or if there's any points I missed out on!

PS: Keep an eye out for my next post, how SMART goals apply to your martial arts training.
--
William Mioch
Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]

11 Jun 2009

William Mioch Making Us Proud

William Mioch practicing weapons form

Bill Mioch, a contributor to Traditional Taekwondo Blog and an associate black belt of mine was recently in Taiwan training.

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

Oldman's Boobishi 'Nintendo Wee' Traditional Taekwondo Post

Oldman's Boobishi is a collection of martial art cartoons that provide a humourous and insightful look at the world of martial arts. The blog is scheduled to be decommissioned - or at least no new posts are expected in the horizon.

Some time ago The Daily Oldman produced a cartoon strip referring to my blog and traditional taekwondo. It slipped me to mention it here.

Oldman is right. There is a certain realism that the martial arts brings to my life - a directness and 'truth'. Check out his Nintendo Wee post - it's a fantastic title, isn't it? More so given I don't ever play video games.

Please let me take this opportunity to wish Oldman aka 'Mark Cook' all the best in his new role at his company.

Colin

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

10 Jun 2009

The Single Most Important Lesson in Martial Arts

From the post with the same name at Martial Development.


When flying down a hill on a mountain bike wearing neither helmet nor pads, and when that front tyre explodes, the single most important lesson when the odds are stacked against you is to take control of your own destiny and perform that forward roll — or really whatever technique you’ve got — like there was no tomorrow. And there will be.


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

5 Jun 2009

Thank You to My Seniors

Where would I be without their guidance?

Exec-Level Coaches
Keith Yates A-KaTo
Tim White MLCAA

My Direct Teachers
Bryan Robbins Yokage Aiki Ju Jutsu
Michael Proctor Renbudo Karate
Paul Hinkley
Tony Tan Suan Hee

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

Thank You to My Online Martial Arts Buddies

I'm just checking my site stats, and was reminded to thank my online buddies (and their fantastic blogs) for pushing traffic my way. From my top 10:

Christian's TKD Journey
Pat's Aikido and Judo Mokuren Dojo
Ikigai
Striking Thoughts
Dan Djurdjevic The Way of Least Resistance

Cheers guys!

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

Risk and Reward

I remember speaking with an 'old school' black belt from the 60s and he was telling me of the weirdest training exercise I've ever heard of. Black belts in his school were required to put their hand into a plastic bag full of roaches - reach for a handful and squeeze them dead. He justified this by saying once you got over the idea that your hand is precious, it was much easier using it as a weapon and letting it fly.

This theme of self-sacrifice in the martial arts is not a new one. Old school training and fighting methodology is replete with anecdotes and myths. The idea that with the right amount of self-sacrifice, you can commit yourself to those techniques which will stop your opponent in his tracks.

Commitment and intent are two highly prized traits for a martial artist. But as modern practitioners, we must also value intelligence and survival. Each technique and tactic will have its own risk and reward. It is up to the practitioner to know how much force they can generate but also understand what kind of rebound or injuries can occur if you are met with non-compliance or if you miss or if you didn't get the right angle of entry ... etc.

I've seen a really large experienced black belt fall to the mat after getting his hand broken - he was side kicked and he left his hand near his hip. The hand got sandwiched between his hip and the foot. Now if someone like him drops to the mat from a relatively 'small' injury -- the assumption is anyone else will be affected similarly by even lesser pain.

Be alert.

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

2 Jun 2009

Taekwondo Pattern Chon-ji White Belt Grading Oral Test

Taekwondo Pattern Chon-ji

I've had more than a few questions pertaining to the oral section of the upcoming white belt test this weekend. The oral section for beginners is a good way to get beginners understanding bast knowledge of their art, definitions, etc. 9th, 8th, 7th kyu or gup would focus on definitions and terminology. The oral component of the test represents about 10-15% of the entire grade. Students should expect around 3 questions.

Some of the questions white belts can expect are:
1. What is the meaning of Taekwondo?
2. Who is the founder of Taekwondo?
3. What is the meaning of Taekwondo Pattern Chon-ji?
4. How many techniques feature in Chon-ji?
5. What is the technique hardan marki?

Intermediate belts may be asked about important dates in taekwondo, definitions of the meaning of other martial arts and other variants of TKD. Intermediate students will also be asked about the comparison of technique sequences between forms and within forms.

Senior students may be asked on strategic implications of techniques, distancing, philosophical terms, roles, advantages/disadvantages of kyu-dan grading structure, personalities in the martial arts, etc.

Check out Grading Results Sample for more grading posts.
Also see Martial Arts Grading: Oral Section for more surprises as to how I use the oral test to add more complexity in the testing.

Links



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

29 May 2009

Taekwondo Pattern Dan-gun: A Momentary Lapse is Devastating

Taekwondo Dan-gun


You sometimes forget that these techniques are lethal.

We were practicing a defence against a lapel grab and punch - using a technique from Taekwondo's Dan-gun pattern. Essentially the grabbing arm gets a forearm slammed downwards on it before an upper block or chukyo marki is applied to the attacker's neck.

I partnered up with my 7th kyu student - and momentarily had a lapse - basically forgot that I was facing off with a guy who outweighs me by some 15 kilos. All I became aware of was something crashing into my forearm, my head being whip lashed backwards and forwards, and a series of cracks and pops coming from my neck.

The headache that followed is still with me after more than 24 hours.

It's a simple technique, but when performed with commitment and form, the entire body weight is accelerated and punctuates each move.

Let us not forget what we are capable of doing.

Colin

List of Posts on Taekwondo Pattern Dan-gun
--
Colin Wee
Taekwondo Techniques, Patterns, and Applications at the Traditional Taekwondo Blog. [Subscribe using email or RSS feeds] [Tkd Sitemap]

27 May 2009

Article: The Best Defense

The following is an article I wrote for A-kato.org. For more self defence articles, please see my posts on self defence.

***

I had the stock of the paintball rifle pulled tightly into my shoulder as I leaned my back against the rocky mound. Thirty feet away, my opponent was doing the same. "Schnak. Schnak. Schnak." Enemy fire brought paintballs whizzing half a meter away from where I stood. We've been exchanging bursts like this for about thirty seconds; an eternity on the paintball battlefield. It was a standoff.

Either my martial arts training or some good sense kicked in and I decided to take the initiative. I started firing measured bursts, broke cover, and sprinted to close the gap. Twenty feet. Ten feet. The enemy had no choice but to stay behind cover. In seconds I had the snub nose of the paintball rifle held at point blank range. He was forced to surrender.

That game was over 10 years ago, but was a prime example of the favorite martial art saying "The best defence is a good offence." Meaning you should proactively take control of a situation rather than passively holding your ground. The statement is a valid strategy for the modern martial artist. It implies that one should not be passive during an onslaught, but to launch a counter-offensive immediately. The 'best defence' calls one to commit to a first strike, lashing out quickly. Personally, I liken the statement to the ideas I communicate in my self-defence course. Teaching untrained participants to defend themselves requires empowering them to go against the grain; to use an unfamiliar aggressive force. However, this "best defence" worldview is not altogether aligned with the philosophy propounded by traditional martial art systems. Many traditional schools, concerned with developing spiritual calmness, advocate non-violence. The Father of Karate himself, Gichin Funakoshi Sensei, stated in point three of his niju kun, "there is no first attack in Karate." Thus I'm exploring the mirror opposite of the "best defence," which is:
The best offence is a good defence.


The " best offence" makes one think that the way to win an encounter is to improve your defensive skills to a point where your opponent loses his fighting spirit because of his perceived inability to win. This is counter to the self defence idea of a counter-offensive.

Let's look at how the "best offense" relates to martial arts training, and let's start with Taekwondo's first pattern Chon-ji.

Most beginners dismiss Chon-ji for its basic two moves. Does the "best offense" draw our attention on Chon-ji's lower block? The purposeful block to a front kick. Or can it also relate to the high fold of our arms before the low block snaps downward?

In recent years I have taught the folding for the low block as an elbow strike to an oncoming arm or leg. Landing the hard point of your elbow on an opponent's inner forearm or lower shin creates immense discomfort. But think about the reaction hand. If you've got your left arm up and over for a left lower block, what is your right arm doing? Your right arm could be the other part of a powerful defensive sandwich. The opponent's arm being caught between your left elbow and the right forearm (or the palm of your right hand) is subject to crushing forces, bringing us back to the idea of the "best offense."

In this approach to the "best offense," the practitioner robs his opponent of striking tools. It's hard to concentrate on the fight if you've got a broken hand.

This is where martial arts and a good self-defence syllabus overlap. Taking the elbow sandwich idea, a resourceful practitioner could look through all the patterns and discover devastating techniques from rather innocuous, oft-discounted techniques. The following techniques are drawn directly from our Taekwondo patterns and are a few examples of moves that literally rob the opponent of the will to fight.


1. Dan-gun's knife hand fold can be used as an elbow break.
2. Doh-san's cross arm fold for the double knife hand block can be applied powerfully to a double lapel grab by dropping your body weight on your opponent's arms.
3. Won-hyo's cup and saucer hand positions can be used to grip the fingers of an attacker's hand and then wrenched apart separately as one performs the following sequence in the pattern.
4. Yul-guk's jump backfist could deliver a powerful foot stomp to end a fight.
5. Choon-gun's middle block followed by circular block could entrap the opponent's arm, locking out his shoulder joint.

Aside from self-defence type applications, students learning to spar can also explore the "best offense." It is when you wait for your opponent to attack, and as soon as he's committed, you launch a simultaneous counter on obvious loopholes. The trick is learning to read the subtle body shifts before the opponent attacks, and of course, moving quickly to take advantage of them.

This sparring tactic is simple to learn, and can be done with such basic strikes as those learned from Chon-ji and Dan-gun. The interesting point to note is that it contradicts the 'attack first' self-defence strategy for the beginning student. Beginners who use this counter-offensive know that it is fairly easy to successfully score against practitioners of similar skill.

But if you're reading this you might be thinking that there's a certain "trick" to sparring. Or worse, there's a certain "trick" to self defence. I know of a martial arts instructor who says Karate and Taekwondo practitioners "have gotten it all wrong." We train and we add more and more techniques to our repertoire, and finally when we're faced with a real threat, can't pull it together. To this, Funakoshi Sensei, in point fourteen of his niju kun, reminds us to "Move according to your opponent." Meaning, there is no one way to win. Stick with one strategy and you're setting yourself up for failure.

While I myself juxtapose martial arts training with self-defence training, the truth is that there are many overlaps. It is not true that sticking with a routine in one will result in success in another. This is why examining conceptual rules of thumb for both martial arts and self defence should be done throughout your training.

Funakoshi Sensei drives home the message again, "Devise at all times."

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