Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

27 Apr 2014

I Haven't Worn Shin Guards Since I don't Know When, but I Still Have a Smile on My Face

I feel the tremble. I hear the intake of breath. Yet another person shrinks from my little love tap on their shin. The two photos I've included are of me using a knife hand on an unwitting practitioner's shin. These particular shots were taken just this April 5th 2014 - I had a 'Play in Perth' joint training between Joong Do Kwan and an fellow IAOMAS school 'Saseru Karate-do' from Dunsborough. It's all for a good cause of course. Bear with me folks, most of the people I'm hitting are way bigger than little ol' me ... I'm not bullying anyone. LOL. In all truthfulness, I'm striking them pretty hard. The strikes at the top of their shins are bearable. The strikes at the bottom of their shins however, are far from comfortable. A few discussion points arise from this demonstration - untrained legs are imperfect weapons. Calibrated wrongly, you can be in for intense pain if you collide a sensitive area with a corner of your opponent's body. On the receiving end, there's some opportunity to take advantage of this weakness to full effect. For me, there is one lesson I like to repeat, it is that if you need to block an oncoming leg strike with your leg, it is far better to cop it on the top part of your shin rather than lower down on the leg. This blocking should be incorporated for 'Muay Thai' or roundhouse kicks against your outer thigh or inside strikes against your groin. There is the case to also consider conditioning as part of your training. But ... conditioning is not a permanent thing - stop conditioning your shins AND they will revert back to normal eventually.

Keep training folks!


ps. Come check out my new blog Taekwondo Fighting Heaven and Earth.
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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23 Apr 2014

Personal Reflections on Taekwondo

I recently had an interesting conversation with a long-time associate of my school. The guy has been reflecting on his personal and social circumstances and was interested in finding out more about my practice of Taekwondo. It's his intention to continue his own training despite increasing social and personal time commitments, so wanted to know how I kept up with my own training.

Frankly, the several times a week I exercise, the twice formal trainings we do, and maybe one or two short private drilling sessions are a nominal effort on my part to keep my hand in the game. When I was in college, I was exercising 6 days a week and training officially 6 times a week - twice of those were pure 'fight' training.

What tips the scale in my favour as a taekwondo practitioner is the amount of visualisation training I do. I spend time visualising all aspects of our training. Some times to improve on the flow of techniques, but most often to understand the sequences within taekwondo patterns, and then to understand the physics behind the techniques.

This has been one of the main ways in which I have been able to improve as a practitioner and instructor, whilst leading a full and demanding social and private life. Without the sheer amount of mental discipline, I would not have been able to produce the quality of seminars or teaching material that I share freely with any other practitioner, regardless of style or school. Of course I am the first to admint not all of my material is original. Or at least it did not start off as original - I read extensively about martial history, research other authors, seek to understand the physics behind our techniques in order to build up insight and my own material pertinent to our style.

It is a running joke, but I often think of 'Traditional Taekwondo' as 'Progressive Taekwondo.' The patterns are the syllabus that need not change, it's just the material and the training methodology that needs to be addressed. Meaning if I wanted to train like the young black belt I was - happy only to spar hard and fast or throw some fancy kicks, sure ... there need not be any change. But if I was interested in surviving an attack that is more menacing, then perhaps I should make each technique manifest power in a more fearsome way. Or I should train myself to ensure I always fight tactically, as opposed to sportively.

Keep training, folks! But train ... inventively.


Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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15 Apr 2014

Datu Kelly Worden NSI

Just recently I saw this picture of Datu Kelly Worden on a FaceBook group I keep up with. The pose was reminiscent of a particular move in a kata wildly popular with traditionalists called - amongst other things - Naihanchi.

In the FaceBook group I wanted to make a point that Datu Worden often shares his approach to 'bridge the gap' - making sense of standalone techniques within the entire flow of his functional and effective combative system. This is in direct contrast to the struggle some hard stylists have in order to explain the vast collection of technique sequences in the numerous pattern sets we practice. Basically as hard stylists we often try to figure it out 'ass backward' - we look at a specific phenomenon, then gain the necessary experience, then try to reason out it's meaning, and then try to justify it within what we do.

What Datu Worden does well? Simply, he 'destroys,' 'traps,' and 'locks.' He's happy to mix and match and go back and forth, so you'd see him strike a pose like the above, yet, just a few seconds before he would have deflected the oncoming strike, kicked out at the attacker's knee, tapped his groin, bust him in the neck, hyperextended the arm, strike the eyes, then trap/capture the arm resulting in the above kodak moment.

This is going to be verbose, but aside from this shot, he'd probably swing the opponent into the ground where he'd footstomp his ankle OR if there were a video cam around he might pull on the head and send him into that wall behind him. No, I don't earn commission from Datu Worden ... but a single shot just doesn't sum up the guy, nor should it sum up a pattern or the collection of skills needed to make each technique work.

Here's another admission I'd like to share with you ... I have personally benefited from his resources and his approach to combative systems. Seeing that kind of flow shows you what you need to make your cover, blocks, interceptions, and strikes work in a dynamic and fast paced setting. He's also really good on camera and is one of the best teachers I know who can use the medium to convey skills and experience to other martial artists.

If you have the opportunity - you MUST visit and check out his DVDs.

I don't benefit from this post - I share as my personal opinion. Meaning - it's a non-commercial plug for Datu Worden.

Related Links

Stay safe,

Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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3 Apr 2014

Traditional Taekwondo in Perth, Western Australia Sitemap

Traditional Taekwondo Perth, Western Australia Sitemap

This Taekwondo blog was started in April 2007. The original aim of this blog, then called 'Traditional Taekwondo Techniques,' was to document one or two techniques practised within our weekly classes held in Perth, Western Australia. At present, we've taken a new direction with this blog - in line with the launching of our new YouTube Channel. The Traditional Taekwondo Perth blog focuses on Philosophy, Coaching, Taekwondo Applications, and Personal Growth. If you'd like, catch new articles on Monday and Tuesday of each week.

Taekwondo Pattern and Taekwondo Applications

Traditional Taekwondo Techniques Workshop blog focuses on the techniques and tactics found in Taekwondo's Chang Hon pattern set. The following are posts which contain general links to all related posts pertaining to the individual Taekwondo patterns.
Colin talks about the Taekwondo Syllabus
Taekwondo Pattern Chon-ji Hyung List of Posts
Taekwondo Pattern Dan-gun Hyung List of Posts
Taekwondo Pattern Do-san List of Posts
Taekwondo Pattern Won-hyo List of Posts
Taekwondo Pattern Yul-guk List of Posts
Taekwondo Pattern Toi-gye List of Posts
Taekwondo Pattern Choong-gun List of Posts
Taekwondo Pattern Hwa-rang List of Posts
Kata Tekki/Chulgi List of Posts and Getting Punched in the Nose

Important Stuff

Interesting Stuff

Children and Teens in the Martial Arts
Toi-gye Mountain or 'W' Blocks
The First Part of the Word Bunkai is 'Bunk'

Selection of Videos

JDK's Favourite Traditional and Obsolete Kick
Avoiding a Kick to the Gut Using Tactical Body Movement from Hwarang
Why Karate Training is Not Good
Dosan Spearhand Counter Against Counter

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Related Pages
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Kick the Habit before it Starts

This Saturday is my pleasure to welcome Saseru Karate Do from Dunsborough to our humble little training area here in Perth. This is part of a series of Pre-Sept 13th IAOMAS Conference events that I'm scheduling to promote our IAOMAS event at the end of this year.

Don't Knock Short Range Kicks

When our gang journeyed from Perth down to Dunsborough last year, we looked at traditional stances, movement, blocking and striking. This time, I'd like our focus to be on Taekwondo's kicks.

And while we talk about kicks, I'm not talking about the strikes we do with our legs ... but rather the strikes we do with our bodies that end up with our leg or foot then hitting the target. This is the problem that I most often observe while working with beginners or intermediate students - the tactic in question is boiled down to a technique, which is further reduced to the last part of the striking limb. (You must read Slagging MMA Kicks.)

A popular 'Sport-based Kick Everyone is Doing' - and not doing as well as they could be, I may add.

It is a luxury to be able to have a person in front of you teach you martial arts. What you can't get from a book or a video is the general movement or dynamic of the rest of the human body. Let us do a technique, and I'll show you how my body moves first before that kick is ever raised off the floor. Let me convince you how important it is for you to use your core muscles - aside from your want to look good. We need to take your body mass, set it in motion, accelerate it, and transmit this power through the end limb and inject it into the opponent. Once I break it down, then let us do it smoothly and transition smoothly to deliver your payload into the opponent.

There will always be discussion as to what is the most powerful kick. But certainly we can improve the effectiveness of each tool we have in our arsenal in order to get the best of that technique when you require it as a tactical option. To do so, we must understand the kinematics of our body - how we compress, how we expand, how we swing, and how we whip (see Power Generation in Roundhouse Kick Videos). Without such mental or physical insight, you'd have to develop a far stronger limb with greater muscle mass to create the same amount of power. This goes for both hand strikes and leg strikes.

To train the end technique and to coax some effectiveness out of it, we should look at varying the type of drills or training tools that we use. Vary the power, so that you may gain accuracy by targeting it carefully. Use power shields interchangeably with the human body so that you may accurately gauge targets while referencing the silhouette of the body (see Training Aids that Wreck Combat Technique). Vary the angle of entries in order to navigate three dimensional space and bypass obstacles in your way.

I look forward to talking more about this.

Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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