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.

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Patrick Parker said…
Congrats on the inflammatory response. What that tells you is that you're writing articles that are too interesting to ignore. That's just what you want.

On the other hand, this particular response seems to be some anonymous bozo who wants to nitpick your beginner students without even having the courage to attach their name to their criticism.

RE: his criticism of my response. It's cool with me that he thinks it's bull. Nothing requires him to believe me or even listen to my ideas. But again, he loses the right to have me discuss it reasonably with him when he makes anonymous attacks.

I thought your straight blast video was interesting and the students were demonstrating a valid skill pretty well.
Colin Wee said…
His line of argument has some value, even though I don't appreciate his discourtesy. I can understand his logic but I'm not going to debate him. Colin
JT said…
Why would anyone see a problem with this????
sg said…
Dropping by again linked up too thanks.
Colin Wee said…
JT - a problem with the drill or the response? Colin
Anonymous said…
I did not say you were full of it, that’s your interpretation. What I actually said was that the defense was fairly good (better than most traditional techniques) but could be improved upon. I gave reasons why I thought that so it’s not cheap, mindless criticism. 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. I want to make this clear: I didn’t pass judgment on you as a person or on your style, I merely commented on this particular technique and what it lacks in my view. I’m constantly researching new ways and ideas to improve my training and after talking to some very knowledgeable people (and training with them of course) my conclusion is that there are more effective ways of dealing with this particular attack than the one you proposed. If you don’t think so and you’re content with what you’re practicing that’s fine (to each his own) just don’t pretend you’re open for discussion or actually care what others think or what other styles have to offer.

To me it seems a lot of MA-related blogs out there are intended more for self-promotion (aided by a pat on the back from those with similar interests: you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours) and some friendly chit-chat to pass the time than honest discussion which might even lead to more quality on the mat or in the gym. If someone has a better solution to a problem than mine I’ll take it and grow, both as a martial-artist and as a person. Foolish pride and the almost unbearable weight of tradition have held the MA back long enough and thanks to MMA and pioneers as Bruce Lee and Imi Lichtenfeld we’re actually back on the right track: investigating what works and what not and how we can improve upon old concepts, techniques and ways of training to keep the MA alive and up-to-date, not mummifying them.

I actually have experience in fighting, both in the street and in the ring (amateur boxing and kickboxing), and sparred with a lot of people from many different styles. I found that people from traditional styles typically have weak and inefficient defenses and they’re just not comfortable with close-in fighting. The proof of the pudding is in the eating: try sparring a good guy with some boxing skills and you’ll quickly see why this wouldn’t work. If you want to live in a fantasy-world that’s fine but when fists are flying and someone is honestly trying to take your head off you quickly discover what works and what not. Why invent something fancy when a simple parry will suffice?

The counter to my criticism (they’re only lower belts, cut them some slack) is not valid: I did not expect them to be very fast or smooth, what I did expect was realistic attacks (if you don’t even try to hit your partner the exercise looses all meaning) and at least an attempt to bring the fist back as soon as possible. At our gym even the beginners are constantly reminded of this fact, with a pat to the head if necessary, but then again boxing-training has always been more realistic and pragmatic than taekwondo or karate. If you’re afraid of getting hit once in a while don’t get involved with the MA. If you do decide you want to learn how to fight don’t go at it half-assed punching the air in front of your opponent. 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.
Anonymous said…
To Patrick: I don’t care what explanation you could possibly have for nonsensical, empty statements as ‘a closed fist is a closed mind’. You’re not a zen-master, don’t try to sound deep and mystical trying to impress people with your pseudo-wisdom (very ego-driven btw) and I certainly don’t need to discuss MA with people who only practice pretend, pre-arranged fighting or presume they can control some mystical, completely unscientific ‘force’ to somehow subdue opponents with no use of violence at all. Even a child can throw an opponent who’s basically eager to dive to the ground in order to make you look good and I’ve never even heard of someone defending themselves successfully with aikido. As far as I can see you have no experience whatsoever with striking arts, competition or with combative systems in general hence everything you have to say about fighting is mindless chatter with no grounding in reality whatsoever.

About me posting anonymously: this is completely irrelevant since it adds or detracts nothing to what I’ve said. First of all you don’t know me so knowing my name would mean nothing even if I provided it, secondly I can easily make an account on hotmail or yahoo with some made-up nick and post it here if that would make you happy or somehow generate credibility. Perhaps it would make you feel better to write an angry mail but I’ll certainly never post my real address on the internet, I’ve got spam enough as it is.

In short: there’s nothing cowardly about it and I did not launch personal attacks, what I did was offer arguments and express my disapproval at your haughtiness and pseudo-wisdom. If you have a problem with how I put it that’s fine (I always try to be as candid and to the point as possible, no use mincing words), I couldn’t care less about some cocky traditionalist’s ego getting bruised. I’m not ‘some bozo’: if you would have any insight or skill at all you would know my points were very valid (proven in reality so the complete opposite of what you practice), as Colin at least implicitly recognizes. Have fun with your classical mess, expounding your wisdom to people who don’t know any better. Amateurs are easily fooled, aren’t they?
Colin Wee said…
The nature of your initial response was belligerant and while you did not directly say I was "full of it," my statement matches the spirit of your post.

This blog focuses on one aspect of training at a time. The drill in question is only part of a larger set of exercises. Taken in isolation, I agree that it is a contrived scenario which has limited use.

As for your opinion re:the counter argument of the drill as a beginner exercise is irrelevant -- in my program, this is not a reason ... but is a matter of our training methodology. Skills are introduced in a systematic and sympathetic manner.

Re: your researching new ways of improving. Part of anyone's research should typically seek to understand the context of a particular technique or drill. As I have mentioned, this blog does not necessarily provide such larger perspective. Nor does it seem to cater towards your specific needs.

You have made many assumptions in your posts which do not reflect the nature of our program. While you may be generally accurate to associate such thnking with other sport-based schools, this approach betrays your own objectivity.

When I fought extenstensively, I was happy to fight any and all people from all styles. Win or lose. I didn't pre-judge; clarity was provided very quickly and in a very intimate manner.

What I found however, was that people who really knew what they were on about had a good does of humility -- no one can win all the time. The best is to be rational, thinking, objective, and have a clear head.

Now please, take your attitude and leave.

scott said…
I just watched the videos of the karate students sparring with the boxers. I am by no means the sort of person who thinks one martial art is better than any other, I do however think that it's all about the student.
The boxers were just better students. Their methods are simple, cover up wait for an opportunity and go in hard and fast.
The karate students seemed to be thinking let's not block today, maybe I'll attack first with one useless technique, I won't bother setting anything up and if the boxer raises his hands to punch whilst moving in on me I won't kick him in the stomach. The karate students really forgot the basics that day.
I don't think the video shows up how great the boxers were just that the karate students need to be taught about how to use their techniques at the right time at the right target, little of which I saw.
Colin Wee said…
I think the result was a product of the way they were trained to spar. Playing around with techniques and coordination is fine for beginners, but pitting them with boxers who are going for a knockout will mean only one thing. The karate students 'game plan' was different, and they got owned. In a way, this supports what Anonymous says - the drill in isolation is not very useful; the boxer is not going to attack in a front facing stuccato arm-left-out way. Colin
Potatoe Fist said…
I can only echo Scott's comments. I was wondering about the lack of blocking as well...
Colin Wee said…
How about lack of proper attacks, counter attacks, blocking and coverage? My goodness, they really took a whooping.


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