Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

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

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--
Colin Wee
Joong Do Kwan Chung Sah Nim
Hikaru Dojo Shihan
Founder The SuperParents A Team
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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree Colin, traditional does give us a solid background, as i tell my students its not locked in stone on the street!! we give them foundation and licence to adapt!! On our combat nights i encourage the attacker to always counter and find holes in the `set defence" i have taught so the student has to adapt! We cant ask our attacker on street to step back and come through with the right hand please! Phil Mc

OldManKarate said...

So true, I too have difficulty making the students do the same one step sparring techniques over and over. Once the foundation is understood we mix up the attack and defense parameters. This allows students and teachers alike to adapt both physically and mentally to the situational conditions.

Rick said...

There is a reason that specific drills and practices have been carried from generation to generation - they are effective training methods IF you understand what you are doing and why.

Colin Wee said...

"we give them foundation and licence to adapt!! " Not all instructors do, Phil - so good on you. :-)

"Once the foundation is understood we mix up the attack and defense parameters" - I like that, OldManKarate. Would you like to describe some of the things you do?

"There is a reason that specific drills and practices have been carried from generation to generation" - Exactly. It's far too easy to sum them up as obsolete and impractical without really looking at what they could do.

Cheers,

Colin

OldManKarate said...

Hey Colin,

In response to some ideas for changing up one step is to simply vary the height of the punch, kick, or other leading attack.

If you take the simplest one step of step forward with a reverse punch to the abdomen, how would one modify the defense if the attack was aimed at the groin or the nose? And to go further if the attack originated in a crowded location or you had your back against a wall?

One of the topics we discuss is the concept of barroom ready or school yard ready. We have the Uke and Nage face off to do the drill but have the rest of the class fill the space in, around, and near the two with their bodies. Having extra people in the way really changes your perspective.