Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

30 May 2014

Yulgok Backfist Cross Stance



I guess I might be crazy enough to leap into the fray armed with a backfist. But no, it's not going to be my number one weapon, nor would it pop into my head as a weapon of last resort.

So here I am training with a student who's preparing for his blue belt grading and who's asking about this leap-into-the-fray backfist that you see off step 36 in Taekwondo Yul-gok. Beautiful and balledic. But the first impression of this technique seems to miss the mark as being something that you could use with any sort of seriousness. .

In my description provided for this video on Youtube I compare this jumping step to the leap you also see in Bassai. Bassai, as I understand it was a pattern favoured by none other than Bushi Matsumura - a giant in terms of the development of linear Karate. The opening sequence of Bassai features the exact jumping backfist except it's done on the right side rather than Yulgok on the left.

I reckon the most devastating application I can come up with for Bassai is a finger lock done on an opponent just in front of you, and a 'walk up' to control the opponent by the head (one palm on the chin, the other grabbing hair) before performing a literal head-smashing takedown and a footstomp. The back leg 'tucked' behind the front leg was a way in which I could pivot to deal with another opponent - as in the case of Bassai. However, discussions on the X-step talk often of how this be a leg attack and trap. The difference being that a leg attack or trap requires you to fold the back leg in front and then press downward using the front knee.

So the leap forward in Yulgok encouraged me to explore this leg attack perspective. The back leg fold seem to say the dynamic of a torquing body would require me to turn into the side of the opponent's leg. That more or less justified the cross stance. The back fist in that position was easy to use as a takedown either in the front of the opponent's body or from the back. Or if you want a less 'glamourous' end result, I suppose I could use the forearm of the striking arm to hyperextend the opponent's arm.

Why would I want to leap in in such a way? Again, it's definitely not just for a Kodak moment. I'm not here *just* to look good. In those instances where I've sparred and I've spun on the spot with both legs close together, I spin because it makes the target area much more difficult for the opponent, and I can use different weapons from 'the other side' of the opponent. In this application however, it prompts the practitioner to change angle of entry on the opponent rather than to just chase into him head first. Who's wants to play chicken if the opponent has a weapon? Or if you had a wall to your back, wouldn't you want the opponent to run into it? Or if you have more opponents to your back wouldn't you want to 'bypass' this one in front of you so you can then use him as a shield?

Lots to think about.

--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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12 May 2014

Happily Using Dosan's Spearhand

Taekwondo Dosan Spearhand right into the opponent's eyes. Or how about a finger jab right on the side of the neck. Yeah, let's see both of that on video!



No, no, no. Who conditions their fingers int he 21st century? Not me. So I'm not going to hit anyone with the tips of my fingers. I can't advocate that move anyway - who can justify the need to blind someone in any situation?

So here I am with the open palm trap and spearhand. I'm going to apply that to deflect any oncoming strike, wade in with a nice over-the-shoulder vertical heel palm and then rotate the opponent's head into a takedown. As you can see, protect yourself during the takedown and proceed with immobilisation.

Dosan would approve of my civic naturedness!

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--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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11 May 2014

Drive that Wedging Block into the Attacker

Have you've noticed there are some instructors on the internet nowadays that try to present almost any move you see in a pattern as some esoteric lock or take down. Look, it's the first pattern a beginner learns. Cool - I'll show you a gazillion locks you can do with this one block and turn. Ridiculous.



Here is an application that blocks a swinging type attack and counters at the same time! You can strike the attacking limb or you can elbow the head. Then you get to use your front kick not as some Muay Thai pushing kick, but as a devastating short range inside-the-thigh or worse yet, inside-the-knee kick. See that destructive power? You have that tool under your belt!

Once you're in, you happily apply two short range punches however you like. Higher levels get to strip one of the lead hands of the opponent away and then plough into the ribs with the second punch. Sorry, you don't get to see this on the video.

Train safely!

Links



--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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7 May 2014

Creating a New Upper Limit to Your Punching Power

I am 5'7" barely and about 72kgs. There is an upper limit to my ability to punch an opponent. If I wanted to compare using the same punching dynamics as I was taught as a young black belt, I would be outpunched by almost any MMA, gym, or wannabe streetfighter junkie.



The fact of the matter is that it's not that the roundhouse punch is 'bad' - it's a good punch. It's a popular punch. But as punches go, if I use shoulder rotation to swing, irrespective of how rooted I am into the ground, I will need loads more shoulder muscles, arm muscles, and upper body strength so that I can throw more mass into the swing, and land it.

Using traditional training equipment however I noticed that the punching dynamics were way different from modern type punching. The arm was closer to the body, and as I pulsed the movement from the legs up to the hips and through the arm, I noticed that I could bypass the weaker shoulder muscles. Essentially I was throwing more weight into it because I was tapping into the larger muscles of my beer gut and legs.

All that was needed was the coordination, and a way of holding my arm so that the transmission of power was much more effective. I practiced and practiced, and soon discovered that I could generate a lot of power. The best thing is that I barely felt like I was doing much - as I hit that post I could hear my entire garage vibrate with the force of the strike. In truth, I was scared that I was hitting the target so hard - one slip was all it would take to break my wrist. But more than that, I was hitting the target to the point where I felt like I was at risk of hurting the bones on my striking hand and certainly the surface of the knuckles.



The incident which I mention in the above video happened for real - I was intoxicated with the sheer amount of force I got levy on that post that I was again at it AND missed. And I only missed the centre by about an inch. Maybe less. The knuckle sheered on the surface and immediately I got a sharp stinging pain that went through the dull ache that was already there.

I stopped punching with the right hand and started with the left - being a little more judicious with the striking force ... mostly. I tried to nurse the right hand by rubbing voltaren and Chinese kung fu liniment to no avail. 3 months. 6 months. 9 months passed. The medication and the massage was not helping.

I eventually went to see an old Chinese acupuncturist who laughed at my folly and my misfortune. However, in his defence ... he was able to cure me miraculously. It's true, he cured my problem with his needles in under 5 sessions. Now - as you can see - I advocate more wisdom in the way practitioners should use the striking post.

I've taken the initiative to include a video of a wall mounted makiwara affixed to a tyre - and that tyre being held for training. I think that's a brilliant idea. My only suggestion there is to make sure the wood frame backing is robust enough. Most el cheapo of the striking posts you buy, made in china, have compressed wood backing - which would just disintegrate. What I didn't like was the example of how they hit the makiwara in the end. For some really sharp makiwara practice, see ...



If you are inspired to make your own equipment, see Traditional Taekwondo Ramblings How to Make Your Own Training Equipment; Tire Makiwara.

Lastly, I'll leave you with one of students Sandy learning how to hit the makiwara.


Links


--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
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2 May 2014

The Reaction Hand with a Vengeance

This is a sequel to The Reaction Hand.

Coming this Summer .... Stop. Drawing. Your. Fist. To. Your. Hip.



I can punch really hard. I don't need to draw my other hand (The Reaction Hand) to my body for me to hit you. Do I have to explain it again? The reaction hand isn't the primary way for you to generate striking power.

Here's a video I uploaded on how to hit the makiwara or striking post. This is the way to learn how to strike with great power.



The only time you sincerely practice The Reaction Hand is when I insist that you do. During line drills. When you do your forms. When you do one step sparring. You do this so you follow the ritual of practice and help your opponents out. In your mind, your reaction hand should have grabbed hair or clothes or body part and drawn it toward you. The Reaction Hand is not used to generate power, it is used to stop the opponent from stepping away from you. But even if that doesn't occur in your mind, when I tell you to draw your hand back to your hip in practice you do so. Likewise when I don't tell you to do so, you don't. :-)

When you do practice The Reaction Hand, I'd like the reaction hand to be pulled smartly back, in balance with the strike, and held tightly next to the body. I don't want it inching past your ribs and I certainly don't want to see the elbow floating away from your body.

When you are not told to practice the reaction hand and you are engaged in combat or self defence moves ... if you pull your hand away from covering your face, your centre-line, or that part of your head or neck vulnerable to attack, you will get into trouble. If not from me, then from your opponent.

Next year, wait for it ... The Reaction Hand-er.

Links



--
Colin Wee
Principal, Joong Do Kwan (Perth)
[Taekwondo Techniques | My new blog: Fighting Heaven and Earth | Subscribe | FAQs | Sitemap | FB]
Please support us by liking our FaceBook page click here