Joong Do Kwan's Taekwondo Applications

Joong Do Kwan's Taekwondo Applications
JDK Instructors share the passion with ITF friends in Perth

30 Apr 2011

My Perspective on 'Taekwondo Sucks?'

I typed in 'Problems with Taekwondo' and the first post I see is 'Taekwondo Sucks?' by an online friend Bob Paterson from Striking Thoughts. His post presents a fairly even debate, so I don't think I've got to rehash the dialog much. What I'd like to do is bring out issues with highlight how we do things.

Is Taekwondo primarily a kicking art? You may be surprised to learn but there are actually more hand techniques in Taekwondo than leg strikes.

I've heard this logic and reasoning before. If you look at Traditional Taekwondo forms, kicks not only make a very late entry, they are outnumbered by hand techniques all the way to black belt! But look at the video posted on Striking Thoughts and you see two hard style fighters who are predominantly kickers who do not cover for hand strikes to the head - and from this I presume have not yet spent enough time on hand strikes, proper coverage or defences against a person who is going to come out from their corner punching.

The issue is not whether or not there are more hand techniques, it is that these hand techniques are not being applied in training so that the practitioner can rely on them for strikes, coverage, or defences. Having them in the form is not sufficient for them to be assimilated by the student practitioner. What students need is for techniques to be pulled out of the form and to be used in a reiterative sequence, offering practise for one or both hands.

The problem is that somewhere in history taekwondo proper decided to emphasize kicks over hand strikes. 
That would have to be after the mid 1950s, after early Taekwondo was brought to the US by GM Jhoon Rhee, the father of my lineage. This is evidenced by my system treating both hand techniques and leg techniques rather equally. This however doesn't mean that hand techniques are optimised from what is available from the syllabus. Techniques MUST still be synthesized from the forms, as I mentioned above, so students are able to have the right upper body skills. The analogy that I use in my class is that of a 'windshield wiper.' All you do is turn on the windshield wiper and it works, without you having to think too hard about it. Of course this is not the be all and end all, but where would you find techniques within the forms to create this 'windshield wiper'? Yep, start thinking. When you have some answers, perhaps we should reconvene and share notes?

Even now I realize that with taekwondo’s popularity there are some pretty watered down schools out there.   
While I don't think I run a watered down school, I've thought about this long and hard. I think some of it is because of the myth that 'masters of old' would pass down only an incomplete portion of their knowledge. You would think after several generations of this, most arts (not just Taekwondo) would have been eroded, and would have significantly have diminished their worth.

I don't think this is the entire story. I think lots of the degeneration which afflicts any art or seen through  McDojos is created through apathy. A combative art can't promote the institutionalisation of thought. There is a huge need for independent thinking which leads to the questioning of assumptions, and the identification of the objectives of practice. Think that all you need is kicking speed, fitness, and flexibility? Then join an aerobics class for crying out loud.

For another external article on the issue, see Why are Korean Martial Arts held in such Low Esteem?

I'd like to hear from anyone interested in keeping things fresh. Instructor or student alike. What has inspired you to look at things differently? How have you improved lately?

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14 Apr 2011

Common Strategy

I don't see fight strategy being discussed in books or magazines much. With martial arts, discussions always seem to dwell on the most powerful kick or how good Bruce Lee was. So I decided to highlight long standing fight strategy, and state them in plain English. 

Respond to Attack
You avoid the attack by blocking or moving out of the way and then countering by launching an attack.
(You kick me, I deflect and knock you out with a punch to the face.)

Simultaneous Counter
You see the attack being initiated and you launch your attack to land at the same time. 
(You kick my face, I lean back slightly and kick you in the groin. Ouchy.)

Pre-emptive Attack
You launch an attack on the opponent to block any future attacks or ability to defend.
(I know you're going to kick me. So I gap close, trap your lead hand and punch you in the face.)

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.

11 Apr 2011

Taekwondo Pattern Yul-guk Close Quarter Drill

This is a video of a drill we use for intermediate belts based on Taekwondo Pattern Yul-guk steps 15-20. These steps describe an outer open palm pressing 'block,' done using one hand after the other and a mid level punch at the end of the sequence.

The primary application that I teach using these techniques are two takedowns similar to an Aiki Takiotoshi and a Sayunage. One throws the opponent forward and the other, backward.



[Note: the previous video is unavailable, so I'm uploading a new video which may not be entirely similar to what I've previously commented on when I wrote this post. But I'm trying to look for the video. Bear with me.]

I associate the above close quarter drill for this sequence to help develop good hand skills for the intermediate belts. Intermediate belts need to start using both hands fluently to get out of the habit of having their reverse 'pullback' fist at hip or ribs. Aside from this particular drill seen above, we have 4 other drills that have hopefully developed patterns of hand movements allowing students to have both hands in front of their faces - covering, blocking and returning fire to opponents.

Jacob is speeding through this drill, but there are two blocks/deflections occurring. The first parries a punch from the outside with back hand and raises what looks like a knife hand but using the forearm to contact the oncoming punch. The second parries a punch from the outside with open backhand and drops what looks like a hybrid knife hand/lower block to the outside of the oncoming punch. Both 'knife hands are held vertical, similar to the onset of the fold for the pressing block.

The use of both hands for the oncoming strike allows the practitioner student to gain the ability to use both hands in an effective practical manner. The final 'block' with the mid or upper end of the forearm allows the practitioner to use the hand as a striking tool. So the point of this coverage is not to just tie up the hands waving off the strike, it is to free the hand in order that it can be used as a striking tool. Essentially you are 'endowing' the tip of elbow to tip of hand with two main tools - one is the elbow end of the forearm, the other is the hand/wrist bit of the forearm.

Success with this drill is improved with generous hip rotation, chin held down, and both hands held tight to centre line. Intermediate belts getting used to the drill can play around with gap closing, stepping into the opponent just after parrying/blocking.
1. With hand held up, you may try an open palm strike to face.
2. With hand pushed downward, you may try an open palm groin strike and grab.

With both hands deployed, a number of close quarter strikes and takedowns are easily added on to expand on the above sequence.

Good luck.

For more information on this technique, please see Soo Shim Kwan's The Hooking Block.

Here's another application from the same sequence ...



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.

8 Apr 2011

The Art of the Head On Collision

One of my instructors told me once that hard style martial arts were concerned with one thing. And that one thing is in the way your centre of gravity moves in relation to your opponent. The goal he said, was to ensure that your centre of gravity takes the place of your opponent's centre of gravity. Knock him back, or knock him out, then take his place. 


Taking over your opponent's centre of gravity is very different from how many student practitioners practise sparring. Sparring becomes a duel, a play of technique and strategy. It does not entirely help you learn about hard style concepts. Don't get me wrong, it's a good exercise, but it isn't the be all and end all of martial art training.

This picture above shows how even the simplest of techniques - a forward stance - can be applied in a devastating 'hard style' manner. Once the knee strike is applied, you can be sure the next move will allow the operator to take the place of his opponent.

We need to seek instances during class, like when you practice self defence scenarios ... or when you do one steps, to apply our bodies and our techniques in such a manner than we are literally using our techniques to attack the position of our opponent's centre of gravity.

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.