Training Warriors for the 21st Century

Training Warriors for the 21st Century
Joong Do Kwan Traditional Taekwondo cross training with Kidokwan Perth

27 Dec 2010

Eyes Wide with Shooting Pain Shows Me You Understand

I had a fighter come to my school a while back.

He shared with me an overview of his experience and his exposure to several fighting arts.

I insisted to show him Taekwondo's basic blocks. Chukyo marki, yop marki, hardan marki - Taekwondo's staple techniques.

The application of the blocks however, seem to be done very differently to what he's used to. Against a punch, a grab, or an attempted arm control - the folds of the blocks were done as limb strikes. No I didn't go for joint strikes - didn't have to. My elbows connected with his forearms, his wrists, the back of his hands, and fingers. The pull back hand? Provided me the other side of the 'jam sandwich'.

You could see the look in his eyes as the pain shot up his arm directly into his brain.

It's not like I've not talked about block applications like this before. My point is - I earned my black belt at 17yo, and it took me literally years ... yonks ... to return to these basic lessons, and to learn them correctly. My implications of the use of the word 'correctly' is to use such basic techniques to get every ounce of power and striking force as possible from them. We should see them as the lethal techniques they are - and not for them to be neglected for other more 'advanced' techniques which might be better used in a point scoring competition.

Link



-- 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.

18 Dec 2010

Amateur Hour

Move aside instructors, it's amateur hour.

Call for a front kick. Amateurs think of only the foot and putting as much power into the leg as it strikes the bag.

Think about a jab. The amateurs again only focus on their fist and flip it out. Their elbows are low, and the punch is only powered by tricep strength.

In my hard style system, power is generated by body mass and momentum. A good stable stance is only good to propel the mass of your body toward your opponent. The breath out tenses the abs so that there is transmission of power from the lower body into the upper body. Finally, the upper body tenses in order to send the power of the entire body through the respective weapon.

The weapon is the last bit of the equation, and is chosen for it's tactical advantage.

The weapon should not be thought of first.

Unless of course, it's amateur hour.

-- 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.

12 Dec 2010

Taekwondo Yul-guk: Side Kick and Cover

I could talk about the side kick from Won-hyo, but I won't.

The side kick from Won-hyo is introduced as either a proactive attack-based kick or a defensive kick.


Just found this really cute video of this kid doing Yul-guk ...

What I wanted to talk about was of a side kick that gets you to attack an opponent and attack again. That means, your opponent has tried to hit you, is hitting you, or will hit you. You are going to perform a side kick, deal with his attack and then counter.

You cannot do this unless you are prepared to cover and defend yourself during the kick itself. Look at the side kick from Taekwondo Pattern Yul-guk. One hand is extended, and there is the retraction of the chambered fist. Something is going on! Furthermore, after the kick is launched and retracted, the practitioner is required to counter with an elbow strike either to the neck or head.

What is the main place that beginners s*** themselves on? It is during the side kick when your hands are flung every which way. The front hand is swung to the back. The back hand is swung away from the body. You're just flailing around with your hands. This is no good at all. You need to keep your hands between you and the opponent at all times. Whatever kick you launch, you need to have the leg raised by hip muscle alone. The upper body should not move and should not telegraph any kick. If you have to move your upper body you are doing the kick wrongly.

The hands should - as a rule of thumb - be either up or down. One hand up, the other down. You should try protecting both your head and groin at the same time, and interchange your hands whilst doing the kick. Yep - it's not easy is it? But don't ... and get kicked there, and it's GAME OVER. There's no point in dreaming of other ways to end the fight, because your fight will be over for you.

Links



-- 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. See Colin's other site SuperParents.

10 Dec 2010

Front Kick as Hard as a Side Kick

Colin, circa 1992 - raising that foot to the highest it's ever been.


If the front kick were 'leg only,' you'll only be able to hit as hard as the proportionate power from the muscles in your leg.

A teacher told me once that the side kick is the most difficult, non-gimmicky kick to do correctly. It is also the most powerful. It can be one of the benchmarks to measure all other basic kicks in terms of striking power.

Most beginners focus only on the lower aspect of the leg whilst kicking. Similarly most beginners focus on the end bit of the weapon when trying to generate power. For instance, if punching, they'll focus on the fist. If kicking they'll focus on the leg extending. In my school, I try to emphasize the power from most basic techniques coming from the ground up.

Stable base. Dynamic leg action. Knee drop. Hip twist. Breathing out. Abdominal tension. Shoulder rotation. Tightening of muscle structure to focus the strike. And then landing the weapon. See? The weapon is the last to impact. Beginners only think of the last few elements whilst trying to increase power.

For the front kick I was talking about, we want to send body mass through the leg. The leg muscles shouldn't have to work any harder to increase striking power exponentially. The support leg has got to be supple and dynamic. A stiff support leg is only good to hold you in a standing position. Bending the knee allows much more maneuverability and allows the support leg to push down and backwards on the floor.

The body in a state of forward motion cannot have it's mass transmitted easily if the hips are freely rotating either clockwise or otherwise. I try to tell beginners to align their hips so that the kicking leg is directly in front of the support leg. If you kick like you're doing some red army march, you'll see the kicking leg quite unaligned to the support leg. On point of impact there's going to be some triangulation occurring. Reducing this triangle allows you to transmit body mass through the hip and into the kicking leg.

If the kicking leg is kicking forward, what does the support leg do? The support leg has to drive into the ground and push back as hard as you're intending on going forward. Part of this is to shift body weight towards the opponent so the support leg doesn't have to do so much work. But you can't think that the kicking leg is doing all the work. You're learning a system aren't you? Well, this is the system. Everything is connected!

On point of impact you'll need to follow through and maintain optimal muscle tension. Are you kicking the shield or the person holding it? Stopping the leg on the wrong surface doesn't allow you to feel how to apply your power correctly.

Good luck!  

Links



-- 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.

1 Dec 2010

Martial Arts Effectiveness and Religion

I'm talking through my hat when I say there are many instructors who extend their martial art practices to include not only spiritual growth, but religious thinking.

Much of good martial arts training focuses on combat effectiveness but also covers ancillary aspects of personal growth. I would like to think that this is a value add aspect of the training and in fact beneficial to combat effectiveness. Engaging in combat requires a person to be able to mentally focus on the task at hand (overcoming the opponent and reduction of risk) whilst being confronted with physical and mental intimidation.

Spiritual growth through the various forms of meditation and dedication through training creates maturity but more importantly is an activity that allows the practitioner to 'get into the zone.' Getting into the zone or mentally focused for optimal performance is an accepted part of modern sporting endeavours - but has been included in traditional training for a very long time.

Where we nowadays identify this aspect of traditional martial arts as being part of 'spiritual growth,' it was probably not always like this. Martial arts, mostly influenced by Asian culture, has practices intertwined with cultural norms. Where we now practice things such as bowing or other reverential motions or intonations, back in the day this was part of normal everyday living.

So when I visit a modern day martial art studio with instructors that have no cultural background that is similar to the source of its lineage AND I see that the instructor has taken some liberties to include additional religious information along with his training - I have to fight to keep a straight face.

I feel that very little value is added to 'accepted' practises leading to spiritual growth by forcing students to ingest semi-religious concepts labelled as Buddhist, Zen, Taoist, or what have you. Worse is to propagate these concepts in the name of Budo. Somewhat bad is to decorate your dojo with religious artifact to hint at a higher level purpose of your style.

If you want to transmit a religion, transmit a religion. Don't disguise it as a martial arts class.

And for goodness sake, if you find yourself having to continue talking about pseudo-religious Buddhist thought, at least please read about it. It's not at all about waving joss and bowing to a Buddha statue!

Please convince me that I'm talking through my hat. Anyone?

Links



-- 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.