Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

25 Jan 2011

Taekwondo Doesn't Have Orange Belts

"Taekwondo doesn't have orange belts!"

That's what a student of mine got from talking to a friend who is a Taekwondo black belt, and who was adamant that Taekwondo didn't have Orange belts. Instead the kyu or gup range had other colours plus lots of 'stripes.'

How many times do I hear what Taekwondo is and what Taekwondo isn't? And how many times do I have to use the word 'Traditional' in front of Taekwondo to denote that what I'm doing is the old forgotten cousin of ITF and WTF. The misbegotten love child of Karate.

In GM Keith D. Yates' Taekwondo Forms Book, it does explain, "colors will vary" due to the differences between "various schools of Taekwon Do" (1982 p29). And yes, if GM Yates says there is Orange, Orange is good for me.

What he doesn't mention is the presence of 'lots of stripes'.

Man ... I gotta keep up!

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

21 Jan 2011

What Good is a Taekwondo Kick?

What good is a Taekwondo kick if only for kicking?

I'm not trying to be funny. If you only need a powerful kick, you'd probably just settle with the basic front kick, the side kick, and the roundhouse kick. See the opponent and fire off the kick and hope it lands. Most often it does not. Sometimes it does.

Lots of beginners and intermediate belts see the kick as a backup strike, firing it to keep the opponent at bay. There's no difference between this kick and a battering ram. Just do it fast and do it powerfully.

So let me ask you, why don't you just punch the opponent in the face, or finger him in the eye and be done with it? The arms are a whole lot more accurate, and certainly the ability to land the strike is a whole lot higher.

The kick if compared to the punch seems to be a more attractive weapon. You can strike the enemy at a further range and land a more powerful strike. Wow. Too good.

This however is not the best strategic way to use kicks from Taekwondo.

Advantages of the kick as a weapon:

1) Versatility of Taekwondo Kicks: Due to the joints of the striking tool (i.e. your leg) and its length, there is much more articulation along the length of this weapon. So far from being just 'a battering ram,' the leg is a versatile weapon which can place strikes into surprising angles of entry and bypass defenses. Students just need to start 'calibrating' their use of their kicks to a) land strikes more accurately, and b) to see 'flight paths' of the kick around 3 dimensional space.

2) Visibility of Taekwondo Kicks: Due to the height of the hip joint, kicks originate from lower than where most amateurs hold their gaze - at eye level. Amateurs looking at your eyes can hardly see your legs. They have their hands held between you and their eyes, and legs can work their way up this blind spot. As a result, kicks can literally appear out of nowhere, cresting the shoulder and knocking your opponent out. (See Invisible Sparring Techniques).

3) Feints with Kicks: The fear factor allows you to distract and set your opponent up with a diversion. Go for one kick, let the opponent fall for the bait, and then fire off a different kick through loopholes in his defence. No one wants to get kicked, so a well executed feint will ensure an opponent reacts in very predictable ways. Let him fall for your kick and either kick him with a different tactic or use a punch whilst he's occupied.

Colin

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.