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.


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Mir said…
Interesting movement!

I love how you incorporate both arms in the movements... I wasn't able to see that in the video because the top part was cut off. I had to guess by the movements of your core muscles.

Would you please do another video of this showing the whole body?
Unknown said…
Interesting Mr. Wee on several levels! First - the backfist with the cross stance is how we perform the move after the elbow in GaeBek, so it is similar to the Yulgok move except on the opposite side. I have been scratching my head in terms of application - and this gives me something to think about and try! Second - in regards to your description of the opening movement in bassai and the application you describe - another to think about and try. I've worked on it as a technique v. a lapel grab. We do a turn of shoulder to the left and bring the hands back to the left shoulder, then step forward into the cross stance bringing the hands to the front with left hand open against the outside of the right hand with the right hand closed and fingers facing myself. The thought is that the lapel grab is with the left hand in prep for a right punch. Grab the opponents hand and wrist (his wrist with your right hand) with your hands, twisting to the left to pull him off balance and weaken or temporarily pause the right punch that would be coming. Roll the opponents wrist over with left hand while holding on to their wrist with the right hand. The cross stance allows the body weight to make the wrist lock work no matter how much larger the opponent is and will likely take them down. It will be interesting (and fun) to try and work on what your doing with it. Thanks for the thought provoking (as usual) post! -Ron
James Brown said…
This is good movement, thx for posting the video, also nice addition Ron Jensen..
B.warrior said…
Good movement and good video, although the top part was cut off a little.

It was a while before I accepted the back fist as a realistic fighting move. However, after seven years of training I am finding many uses for it.
M. D. said…
The cross step looks like a set-up for an uchi mata throw, and I've been playing with the timing of this application:
Colin Wee said…
Michael - thank you for that response. It surely does! And yes, we do uchi mata for our throws too. :-) Cheers for that comparison! Colin

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