Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

27 May 2017

Why Karate Training is Not Good Training

Quite a number of years ago now, I remember being in a Wing Chun class, and getting increasingly annoyed by the teacher. Every time he'd see me - and he knew I was a practitioner because of my knuckles, he'd be saying some demeaning stuff about hard style training. Be it Taekwondo or Karate, he'd be saying how bad that stuff was, and how good his Wing Chun really is.

Much of his rants were about how scenario-based or contextual Karate is -- now when I say Karate, this was a term used toward my general vicinity because I didn't really tell him what I do. Basically, according to him, Karate needs you to face a certain kind of situation, and then your prescriptive training would allow you to then deal it. It was tiresome listening to this guy's tirade - what a loser. And more so because he was correct - to be allocated a scenario and then to be offered an application in response is a very limiting way of training.

It's not that I don't use this method of training myself, it is that I don't feel limited to using this method - meaning there comes a time when you do need to show a student, and to tell him to follow your every move. But there also comes a time when that student needs to move on, to learn to play with that technique, to look for options, to modify based on the nature of the attack, and when that time comes, you need that student to be able to vary the skills in order to accomplish what needs to be done.

Read the preamble I wrote for FaceBook video I uploaded. The above sequence started with a leap into a backfist similar to what you have in Yulgok. The difference in Bassai is that there's a flat open palm guarding block placed vertically on the attacking forearm. We were playing with this move to deflect and brush the oncoming weapon both inside and outside the striking tool.

The sequence proceeds to draw from another part of the form, and we then do a leg takedown both from the front and from the side. This means we can throw the opponent from approaching him face on, or reach out and throw him if he turns even up to 180 degrees to face the other way. The crux of the video is my student asking what to do if the throw fails.

This is an unscripted part of the class. I did not 'figure out' what I wanted to do before class. I was putting the technique through its paces, and I was doing what came natural to counter the counter. Much of what I am doing is not innovating anything. We are drawing skill from our library of techniques, and the subsequent moves show how far away from the initial application I've gone YET how well I am honouring our practice of Traditional Taekwondo.

Stay well.

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