Joong Do Kwan's Taekwondo Applications

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

30 Sep 2012

Taekwondo Won-Hyo Scoop Block


It's there in step 19 and 22 of Taekwondo Pattern Won-hyo, the arms move like you're gracefully turning a large steering wheel. In the pattern diagram above, it's called a 'Circular block,' but I normally call it a scoop block. You could use it as a block, no doubt. In fact almost any movement can offer an obstacle to an opponent trying to hit you or hurt you.



But this is more than just a simple parry. The circular motion for instance is something that I want to apply to an extended 'something,' a limb, a neck, etc. It's easy to think of it against a kick. The arms encircle the extended leg, and the front kick in step 20 is fired at the support leg, groin or lower abdominal region.

It can also be used to capture the arm and/or wrap around the neck. If you wrap your arm around the neck, the front leg kick will surely hit something that can't move back. The 'pumping' action of the arms can also indicate that your body can rotate left or right, thus wrenching the neck and the upper body left or right with you. It's a devastating hold.

In practice, I use the scooping motion as a deflection for a kick, the front hand against a jab, and then the continuing circular motion as a block to a cross. It's a nice drill against a combination attack which may come very naturally. The scoop of course can be alternated with a leg block, and the arms can continue the circular 'windshield' wiping motion to stop oncoming attacks. The scooping and circular motion is a great way to get your arms moving in front of your face to stop things from landing. Sometimes it's just useful to be able to block something you know is coming but you can't see it yet.

Why I like to envision this as a control over an arm, is that I see other techniques focusing on the elbow in Won-hyo (see Overwhelm the Opponent, Over-the-shoulder Throw, and Chulgi: Punching Across the Body). Yes, I cite a technique taken from Chulgi - which refers to the 'koshi gamae' or hip preparatory stance or the ol' tea cup saucer. The hands pull to the hip, and what do you think they drag? One of the things they get to hold on to is the opponent's elbow. It makes a lot of sense to grab onto the elbow and either hyperextend the shoulder (if the elbow is bent) or just hyperextend the elbow, if the arm is straight. Both are equally good.

Keep practicing!

Links
Taekwondo Pattern Won-hyo list of posts

--
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
Hikaru Dojo Shihan
Founder The SuperParents A Team
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28 Sep 2012

Getting the Most from Traditional Taekwondo Techniques Blog

I never thought I needed to play tour guide on this blog. But hey, we've got more than 450 posts here! Of course many were written and fired from the hip - but that's what you get from going non-commercial (and beside the point)!!! I joke, of course.

However, if you want more from this blog, we'll need your participation and most importantly, feedback. For instance, look through the image below. 1 post for Choong-moo and 5 for Choong-gun. Now, who's fault is that? (A. Yours) If you want me to keep working at it, let's talk some more. Let's present ideas, chat about what works, and what doesn't work for you. Visit our school on FaceBook and send me your video links! I'm up to discuss anything, but would probably benefit from a little prodding.

Now, the main thing here is you can surf through this site several ways. You should check out the links on the Sitemap, and then scroll through the categories list to focus in on the particular Hyungs that you are working on right now. Of course you can read the latest article, but *anyone* can do that.



Certainly I was hoping to see more people come to our Traditional Taekwondo page on FaceBook. Please come say hi and, again, tell us what you're interested in reading. This resource was built as an opportunity to look at what Traditional Taekwondo is, for both my students and for everyone else.

Looking forward to seeing readers become more proactive.

Related Pages
--
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
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26 Sep 2012

Simultaneous Attacks

The one steps I talked about in Had Enough of that Traditional One Step Nonsense typically refers to counters or go no sen type tactics. Meaning you see an opponent's move, you block/cover/parry and return the strike. That's how many of the one steps I learned early on were taught; they were a way to introduce basic techniques and to build skills to help distancing and timing.

I wanted to take the opportunity to discuss simultaneous attacks or sen no sen tactics. What I mean by this is you see the opponent about to move, you read approximately what he's going to do, and you fire off a tactic that lands at about the same time. The opponent's strike never lands because your's lands either first or because you've successfully moved away or curved out the body part your opponent was targeting.

Here are a few 'staple' simultaneous tactics:

Side thrust kick to groin or like above to ribs
The opponent is in the process of throwing a side kick (that's easy to read) or a long range roundhouse kick. You go close, lean backwards, and fire off a rising side thrust kick that aims the opponent's groin. It's a devastating kick when it hits you in the ribs, and much more so when it strikes an opponent who has a leg lifted to kick you.

Front kick to abdominals
The front kick is a no nonsense kick that's hard to read even if the opponent is facing directly at you. This can be done against many mid height or higher kicks, but is beautifully done against an opponent who likes to do that loping muay thai roundhouse kick. The front kick fired from the front leg needs to travel much less than other kicks, and will always get there first.

Low side kick to support leg
This is one of my favourites, but I'd really caution you whilst using this in training - most people (like about 90% of practitioners) don't have much control over their kicks. So if you use the low side kick to the knee to reach out to the support leg, you're going to be losing quite a few of your training buddies and popularity points. Low side kicks to support legs are great to use against almost all kicks. The opponent lifts their leg off the ground and whilst their kick is in the air, you can use your leg to block and then attack the support leg - which can't move from the ground.

Leg sweep. Or at least, trying to sweep the leg.
Leg sweeps are great to use against sliding side kicks or tornado type kicks. The opponent is not able to 'see' you dropping out of his radar too clearly, and the sweep takes out the support leg. Please try not to use this against people who have no clue about breakfalling.

High roundhouse against a punch or attack to upper gate.
I love using the high roundhouse closer than most - you can use the leg to reach up between the opponent's arms - and especially insinuate it through the arms when he's reaching out for you.

Hook kick to the head
One of my favourite taekwondo techniques when I was a younger black belt was a hook kick to the head. The opponent can be coming in for a jab or lunge punch or backfist. It doesn't matter - the hook kick crests the shoulder and the opponent sees the foot about 10 centimeters away from their head before it hits.

Turning back kick
The turning back kick can be used as a simultaneous attack or while retreating. The turning distracts the opponent and you are able to use your back leg to find that hole between his guard, and perhaps distance yourself away from your opponent. It's one of the more valuable 'gimmicky' kicks in your arsenal.

Short S Kick to the Knee
I've got some beef with Wing Chun instructors who talk smack about their art and put down everyone else's - of course that's only the opinion I've got from meeting the few wing chun practitioners I have come across. But one thing I really like about Wing Chun is the short range kicks they use. Their kicks counter kicks, support legs, and can be used to deal with strikes to the upper gate quite well - as can be seen above. The best is that the kick can be done without offsetting your centre of gravity too much, which means you can effectively use both your hands and legs in combination against your opponent.

Knowing the sens helps improve the way you train and how you drill techniques. As you can see, I've chosen kick heavy tactics, though when you start looking at reactive counters, simultaneous counters and then premptive attacks as a continuum, you get the idea that all your techniques are there to help you flow from one state to another.

Enjoy!
--
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
Hikaru Dojo Shihan
Founder The SuperParents A Team
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24 Sep 2012

Perspective on Punching with Vertical Fist v Horizontal Fist

This is a rehash of an old post on here titled Vertical and Horizontal Fist, which referred to Pat's Hook Punch, Vertical or Horizontal, that featured a video from Nat. I remember once in a martial arts forum, one of the older and fairly respected members inadvertently started a flame war because he began a post saying the basic punch starts like so on the ribs, gets rotated and hits when it's horizontal. That's not my aim, instead of a flame war, let's look at the horizontal fist and vertical fist from my perspective as an instructor.

In the video, Nat talked about using a vertical hook punch because of power, and varying it to a horizontal fist to gain reach in striking a taller opponent. In my original post, I talk about the 'lifecycle' of the punch where - at the halfway mark, you see the first rotating into the vertical fist, and then at full extension it corkscrews into the horizontal fist.

In our style, the staple punch impacts as a Karate punch does. At full extension we strike with the front face of the first two knuckles. We make impact using this weapon, because that's what we do - we train for it. So it is a preference, and it starts making sense trying to hit people with this part of the fist first.

Front face of the first two knuckles is our staple impact area

Generally, this contact area is used at full extension or when we're putting a lot of force behind the strike.

However, this is not the only punch we use. As I discussed, the 'lifecycle' of the punch means that we can make contact at any point before full extension, and that will be considered a 'punch' as good as anything else we got.

The vertical fist is also a legitimate tool, hitting with a different part of the fist

Yes, that's another image I ripped off the net showing a vertical fist. This is what we use typically when we make contact before the punch is fully extended. If you think of wing chun's straight blast, or any upset punch, hook punch, and uppercut - that sums it up. The contact point is no longer the front face of the first two knuckles but the lower three knuckles.

Mostly the difference between the horizontal or vertical fist is in the rotation of the arm and the closeness of the elbow to vertical axis. Meaning if I were to corkscrew and hit with a roundhouse punch/horizontal fist, this punch would be driven by shoulder rotation, my elbow is pointing out, and I would be striking with rotational momentum driven by arm and shoulder muscles. If I were to hit with a 'wing chun' type vertical fist, the elbow is dropped to six o'clock and I am hoping to lock the punch and deliver body mass through the legs at maximum impact.

The roundhouse gets the elbow lifted up, traveling parallel to the ground, and is driven with shoulder rotation


There are variations of course. I don't have to do a shoulder rotation roundhouse. I can power an 'oi zuke' lunge punch with a fist held more or less horizontal, with elbow rotated downwards to maybe 8 o'clock or 4 o'clock which allows me to use linear acceleration into my opponent. That's a great long distance tactic that few Taekwondo practitioners do nowadays.

This lunge punch is not entirely locked or connected to the body - look at the raised shoulder 


This horizontal fist is not nearly fully extended, but you can see it's held closer to the body with elbow pointing maybe at around 4 o'clock
Loads of people talk about striking power of the strike in comparison to other strikes. For instance, many would say the boxer's punch is the most powerful strike. It's the most powerful strike because that's what they train in day-in-day-out, for sure. Aren't we all trying to make each strike as powerful as we can?

I think more importantly, it is important to communicate that different strikes and angles of entry help us achieve tactical advantage.

o Roundhouse punches for instance, allow me to crest the lead arm or shoulder and strike to the head.
o Lunge punches allow me to reach an opponent and strike through raised arms.
o Vertical punches allow me to flow between blocking and trapping, striking and locking very quickly.
o Short range reverse punches allow me to generate a lot of power in the short range while not looking like I'm doing so.

Punching over barriers is no problem


The most common mistake I see nowadays occurs because many beginners train with bag and gloves outside class. Many practitioners who use a bag tend to prefer lifting the elbow for a roundhouse punch, and to impact with the bottom three knuckles. That is a fine punch for when you're using a bag and gloves. However if you use those mechanics for all your strikes, it starts to reduce the versatility of punching angles and may in fact result in injuries if you impact really hard areas of the head with the smaller bones in your hand.

Punching with gloves is great, but you don't wear your bag gloves anywhere else


To gain the tactical advantages mentioned above, beginners should be allowed to make impact with targets at various ranges. Specifically using a dropped elbow and vertical fist in the short range, a horizontal fist with dropped elbow at full extension, and a relaxed shoulder rotated horizontal fist at medium range. Of key importance is to develop the front face of the knuckles as a viable striking tool first - given that the bottom three knuckles are used intuitively by most untrained students.

We also make it very apparent when beginners start, the difference between a lunge type strike and one that is driven by shoulder rotation. This distinction (fingers crossed) helps the beginner understand different punches generate power differently. Of course you can move from one method of generating power to another, stepping and rotate at the same time. But if you've just got the stand-there-hit-the-bag mindset, that fluidity may not be as intuitive as you think.

Keep training tiger ...


Links
Making the Taekwondo Punch less Upsetting
Traditional Taekwondo Perspective on the Chambered Fist
Taekwondo's Close Quarter Punches ... say again?
Reverse Snap Punch on a Makiwara


Cheers,

Colin
--
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20 Sep 2012

Had Enough of That Traditional One Step Nonsense

... so said the MMA Warrior to all who cared.

Last night, we visited a cornerstone of that 'traditional' nonsense - the one step sparring exercise.

I'm sure you're familiar with this worn routine. It was performed with a side step to the outside and a knife hand parry to the oncoming extremity, countering with a roundhouse kick to the midsection, and then control/trap reverse punch to the floating ribs.

Photo One: Colin wearing standard battle order
What we wanted to do with this exercise was discuss what happens if the opponent varies the level of the strike, and the underlying assumption is that we don't want to leave any part of our body near the oncoming weapon. This could be because it's a knife or a broken bottle, or because you haven't really seen what he's actually packing and you certainly don't want to leave your body in the way to find out. 

Photo Two: Side-step-drag into a back stance variant to displace upper body

I side-step-drag into a back stance. As you can see my body has shifted off my previous centre-line. What is the first thing you might pick out is that instead of the normal upright back stance, Colin is in this wierd crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon position. That's because the opponent has come at me with a high section attack; I want to get my head away from it, cover nicely, and then use my front leg as the first choice to counter the opponent. Of course the choice of counter is entirely dependent on you and the situation. 

Photo Three: Emptying the body and pulling that leg back
The opponent is now taking a slash to my mid section. I've chosen to pull the front leg back and empty or curve out my body. Hey, it's a neko ashi dachi cat stance! And here you thought you'd would never see that outside a competition arena. Now instead of the high section knife hand block, I've performed a low knife hand defence which parries or deflects the slashing motion. As you can see the upper body and head has not been displaced as much as in Photo Two, and the hips are pulled as far back as possible in the same side-step-drag motion we used in Photo Two.  

Photo Four: Pulling that leg away.
In this last photo, I've side-step-rotated into a 'horse stance' or straddle stance or whatever 'nonsense' traditional label that's been applied to it. This is in response to not wanting your leg anywhere near a downward slashing motion or a strike aimed at the leg itself. As you can see, the leg has moved much more than in the first two photos, and the blocking hand is now an open hand, downward parry. The back hand has moved to cover the upper right quadrant - a position which could be used in the other two photos with good effect too.

There are many positives about 'situational combat' training that traditionalists should take heed of. It is important to cover, be aware of primary and secondary weapons, getting the body out of the way, cover/parry/block/trap tactics, etc. And doing all of that in a fluid dynamic exercise.

There is nothing wrong with tradition if tradition was the opportunity to discuss valuable 'street worthy' options. Are you progressively being stressed? Is your body moving enough to make your heart pound in your chest? Do you feel like your opponent is attacking you for real? Or are you just going through the same routine without thinking?

Don't knock it, folks. Traditional training is good training - it always has been. Being locked in the past however ... that was never what it was designed to be.

Keep practicing.

Colin

Links



--
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
Hikaru Dojo Shihan
Founder The SuperParents A Team
[Traditional Taekwondo Techniques | Subscribe | FAQs | Sitemap | FB]
And help us rank on Google by clicking the '+1' icon, why don't you?
How much do you know of Taekwondo? Come take our Taekwondo quiz to find out.