Choong-gun Mid-reverse Knife Hand Block

During the Smash with Your Foot Workshop Feb 2012, I wanted to show what we would do if and when our leg gets caught by an opponent. The move requires you to drop to the ground and take out the front leg of the person who's 'caught' your leg. After my turn, I then had one of my students kick me so I could talk about what each partner had to do.

As the roundhouse kick speeds toward me, I push my cover slightly away from my body and meet the oncoming kick with exposed elbows. My back hand is covering my face, and my front hand reaches downward to cover my gut. If I've read the move wrongly at all, at least there will be one hand between any strike to my head, and I could drop the front hand to cover my groin.

I'm keeping my stance more or less light and mobile. As soon as I feel the impact of his shins on my elbows, I allow my front arm to 'pop up' under the opponent's leg. I basically give my arm 'permission' to move this way so that any pressure at all allows for a very fast counter capture of the leg. Voila. There you have a beautiful application of Choong-gun's mid-reverse knife hand block. That plus the follow up quick front snap kick.

I don't particularly think that the elbows out will hurt the shin as much because most of the force of the roundhouse is taken by the front elbow - which will strike higher up the opponent's leg and thus contact a much harder part of his shin. The contact with my back elbow is minimal because I'm also pulling that part of my body away so that if I misjudge the kick, I don't get utterly wasted.

To really capture the leg, both hands have got to work together. It's not good enough to just present the 'reverse knife hand' - you've got to use the back hand and front hand to capture the leg. You don't have to specifically use your hand, of course. You can apply enough pressure using your forearms, and you can use your hands to hook around the limb.

I teach the move subsequent to the mid-reverse knife hand block (as it turns down and before the opposite hand delivers that upset palm strike) as a grabbing or clawing motion like Karate's Kakete. Before you laugh me off, look closely at the historic video and you'll see the knife hand turn downwards before the rising heel palm strike. IF you subscribe to this for Choong-gun, then using such a clawing motion to augment the capture of the leg makes quite a bit of sense - not to mention adding the ability to grab a chunk of the opponent's inner thigh just for laughs. If you don't subscribe to it, sure ... let the opponent pull his leg out of your grasp.

Once you have your prized leg in your grasp, you could of course fire off that front kick just like Choong-gun says. Or perhaps wrap your leg behind opponent's support leg and perform a takedown. Or even funkier, use the leg just like you would an arm, drop to one knee and perform an over-the-shoulder throw. I've even seen someone do a tsubame gaeshi with an outstretched leg - pulling it down to the ground and diagonally up laterally to take a person down on his behind.

If you don't hold on to the kick, retract your hands back into original cover position, compress your body and be prepared for a hand strike or retaliation to your mid or upper level. In turn you might want to lean back and attack the base while the opponent's footing is still finding itself.

One of the participants (from a Chinese martial arts background) said that he thought the move which he also learns from his traditional training was one of the worse blocks he knows ... until he saw me use it to capture that kicking leg. Do we have a convert??? Don't hold your breath! :-)

Have a great weekend, folks.

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Taekwondo Pattern Choong-gun Links

Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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