I had a really good taekwondo training session last week. We had a small group looking at close quarter techniques from the pattern Do-san. Things like the vertical fist, centreline punching, trapping techniques, backfist, bong-sau, etc ... are more like techniques taken from a wing chun book rather than things you'd expect in a taekwondo class. But it's all there in the pattern, and I demonstrate it to show how the steps match with the applications and drills we've just been doing. "Oh..." was the reply I got from an associate who's been trained previously at an ITF school, "I was taught that move as a long range backfist." Then adding "that other technique was taught with the guarding hand done closer, rather than allowing me to put forward pressure on the opponent." The end result? No, you can't ask for your money back in those situations. Taekwondo's Do-san is an integral part of the beginner syllabus, it rounds off and completes the range of beginner skills which allow the practitioner to effectively strike long distance, gap close, deal with the opponent and bring him down to the ground. But gap closing means fighting up close, and therefore needs the student to come really close to the opponent. Replicate the distance used in the dojo exercises and you will be really effective when you pull those magic bullets learned in taekwondo's Do-san.
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