Do You Need to Get Struck in Practice? Do Children?

The following video shows me setting up my assistant instructor Mr Holder to receive impact. It's a demonstration to show how the arms come together in order to stop an oncoming strike. That's me holding the strike mitts and hitting his arms.

The fold of the arms is a prelude to Yop Markgi, often referred to as a Taekwondo middle block, or sometimes an outside block. Often it is trained in a one step sparring exercise where an opponent throws a centreline strike, and you 'block' this strike with the extended Yop Markgi technique.

The fold of the Yop Markgi is rarely trained to cover against attack - though many 'combative' or 'self defence' type instructors would use it liberally in close quarter fighting. In JDK, it deconstructing a technique or sequence to further understand its value is vital to our practice. For beginners, deconstructing it this way is helpful to learn parts of the technique before consolidation later in the lesson.

Obviously the deconstruction of the technique is a good topic to discuss but isn't what we are focusing on for this post. It is looking at the need to receive impact whilst performing the technique. Mr Holder folds his arms, and I am delivering a firm and committed strike towards his arm. Very soon after this video, we will be delivering the same force to both of the children.

The arms will act as shock absorbers. If the students drop their chins and are ready for the strike, the rest of the impact will dissipate into their system and go down into the floor. The strike may sting their arms a little, but by and large they wouldn't feel any pain. Whilst going through the motions, I will also increase the intensity of the strikes, upping the volume of the breath, and progressively applying forward pressure as I push them back through the line.

This is the start of desensitisation in JDK. And it is of vital importance that it accompanies the trainee as they progress through the ranks. We need for the student to keep their cool and their composure whilst facing challenges. They need to think clearly. And they need to move tactically. Can't do this if they're reduced to a tears at their first jolt. Can't do it if they get panicked by a little jarring of the body.

Lastly, can't do Taekwondo if you are just practicing a facsimile of it. These techniques require you to prepare your body for combat - deliberately and safely. If you don't know how the technique really works to protect you or how you work it to apply maximum power, well, you might be in for a rude shock when you need to make it work for you.

Mr Holder said that sometimes I look a little scary. And that's why it's important to slowly nurture those children. They need to be comfortable with the situations we're putting them through. So we have to read their readiness, and to push them just enough so they're excited to continue, and not too much that we shut them down.

Keep training folks!

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