12 Feb 2010
Taekwondo Yop Marki Middle Block with a Vengeance
This post discusses power generation for Taekwondo's middle block or yop marki.
Kyoshi Dr Bruce Clayton, author of Shotokan's Secret, has a parable posted on his forum about a self defence situation where defender is confronted with attackers and sees a baseball bat. If the immediate reaction is to reach for that bat as a weapon, what does this state about your karate?
The simple takeaway from that post is that karate or taekwondo techniques need to be able to generate significant amount of force when required. Furthermore, this power generation has to occur for even the most basic of techniques.
We were working on Taekwondo's yop marki or middle block last night. Without much thought to it, it is a technique which has questionable value. It is not a natural motion used for protection - the palm faces in rather than out which is typically how a person instinctively protects their upper body. However, like all basic techniques, this move does have its uses.
The stackup or the folding for Taekwondo's middle block creates a very complete cover of the upper body. The two elbows together form a very strong barrier against opponent's strikes. If need be, you can also reach down to cover lower abdomen or deflect groin strikes.
The middle block then allows for one of two very tactical responses to an aggressive force.
1. A well executed middle block allows you to continue the motion and capture the opponent's hand.
2. The end point of the middle block places your hand in a position to counter with a high level roundhouse punch or jab to the face.
My main point is that the middle block can generate a good amount of force. Not from the simple rotation of the shoulder cuff joint. The middle block applies force through the dropping of body weight. The circular upward movement draws the forearm into position. The proceeding locking of muscles of the upper body and core trunk, plus the dropping of centre of gravity then drops the entire body weight on the striking surface.
This generates a good amount of force which can be applied extended striking/grabbing arm or leg, shoulder or clavicle region, or back of neck.
Get it right and you will find that you don't need to overly use a lot of arm muscle to generate power. The entire body weight drops on the target allowing you to keep the arm more or less relaxed!
Why Go Headfirst into Attack?
Dan-gun: middle block drill
Chon-gi: Middle Block Drill with Partner
What Technique a Beginner Needs to Master
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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