Chon-ji Step 1 & 2: No Opponent Wants to Get Hit

Sooner or later in Taekwondo, you'll find yourself in front of an opponent in a sparring session. Many meginners have real difficulty starting this aspect of their martial arts training. You fumble trying to decide what technique to use and how to land it, you're scared of getting hit, and you're trying to figure out how to not get hit. When you think of moving you might move left and right, and if  you're really jumpy - you might backpedal when your opponent surges in to you.

This is a real problem of standup fighting - an opponent not rooted in the ground can move around! And even if you can land a strike on your opponent, he might relax and absorb the strike and/or backpedal. Yesterday we practiced a basic skill - grabbing on to the opponent before striking. In Taekwondo pattern Chon-ji, the first move is a down block to the left. Before the lunge punch starts - the down block is extended forward in what should only be a reach out into a controlling grip on the opponent - and this is done in order to land a fully committed strike on an that can and may try to move backwards away from you.

So in our drill, we practiced stepping forward and 1) grabbing the opponent's extended arm with palm facing out, and 2) grabbing the opponent's arm held in a combative stance. For both we use a cross handed reach with the back hand (which of course becomes the front hand when you step forward). We then progressed to  grabbing on to the opponent's uniform. This is done slightly differently - instead of just making a circular move to grab onto an extremity, we lunged deep, applied a trap or forward pressure either on opponent's lead hand or straight onto the lapel or shoulder region before getting a control on the opponent's uniform.

When you get a grip - you need to strike immediately using other hand.

Taekwondo Sparring List of Posts
Bulldog's Martial Arts and Me Sparring Post

-- 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. Connect with Colin on FaceBook and Traditional Taekwondo Group on FB.


I remember the first time I started sparring. None of the other white belts wanted to get hit or touch anyone else. Of course, I was twelve and so were the other kids, but still, I think that in general people are a little adverse at first to the idea of sparring (I know that this isn't exactly what the post is talking about, but I thought I'd share my own experiences).
Colin Wee said…
While not particularly at the right spot, you are absolutely correct. I started training when I was 14yo and when we started sparring, we had no idea what was going on, how to use what we've learned, and little idea that we should control ourselves. It was a painful and very very inefficient way of learning how to do things well.

BTW - the post you want can be found on the sitemap under Sparring Posts. It's located at

Good hearing from you again Ninjutsu Techniques. :-)

Bulldog said…
This is all very true. In my school we have a hard time getting a lot of students to show up to the sparring class because they are afraid of getting hit. I've been putting out announcements and we have got a good group of adults now an our sparring class is really starting to take off again.
Colin Wee said…
Hey Bulldog, thanks for visiting.

Sparring is really intimidating, and not always handled very well. There are just so many little decisions that need to be made by the student in response to his opponent and to choose the best techniques. It makes for a very stressful situation for beginners.

I've found using rules to train specific skills in sparring makes it much easier for beginners to endure the exercise.

Good on you for having built up a nice group of beginners!


Bulldog said…
It's funny because a lot of these students are not beginners in the art, just in sparring. Some of these people have been practicing Taekwondo for years and have just never got into sparring which just proves the point of our conversation. lol People practice their martial arts, but how many are really practicing all elements. Many let the fear that comes with the confrontation of sparring hold them back. It's kind of funny because I recently posted on my blog on this very topic.
Colin Wee said…
Aren't you going to put a link here for us to visit your blog? :-)
Bulldog said…

Sorry that would have made sense. Here you go.
Skryfblok said…
I like that Chon-Ji exercise. Will definitely try it with my students when I teach again. It seems like you never run out of drills extrapolated from Chon-Ji.

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