Criticising the Low Block

To be sure, I'm not really criticising the low block - I'm criticising my video 'Using Taekwondo's Down Block as Limb Destruction'. I'm also criticising the lack of negative feedback as people lap up what could be a poor approach to developing self defence skills by sticking to a by-the-numbers training exercise.

In the video I'm shown stepping to the inside, deflecting oncoming strike, holding on to the proffered arm, and then performing a down block or hardan markgi to the extended limb. In later iterations of the move, I counter strike to the opponent's head before hitting the top of his forearm, and add in a headbutt when I'm up close.

To be fair, there are some good takeaways here - the deflection of the striking arm, the ability to use the down block in a devastating strike to an extremity, and of course the introduction of a function for this basic technique which tends to be ignored by yellow belts and above.

This video is public - yet no one has picked me up on why I chose to step inside the strike. Why would anyone in their right mind do that? And if ultimate relates to self defence why the adherence to a regimented one-step framework for the exercise?

If the opponent is going to strike me, he's going to come barrelling into me, striking me with both hands. Tactically, I would prefer to be on the outside and counter striking him. If he has a weapon and striking to my centreline, that deflection is only going to work for maybe a split second, and then I'm going to have to deal with the secondary tool and the follow up strikes with the primary weapon.

Of course there is the situation where I had no choice but to go to the inside. In which case, the above video should be contextually part of a larger series which shows how to control the limb and to fight back from exactly the position I have found myself in. Just compare this down block with the Wedging Block from Dosan used in that position.

All these videos and blog articles are great - but people need to be aware that training methodology hardly comes through from a specific video like this. Guard against thinking such a one shot approach covers it. Guard against the tradition-was-how-we-did-it teaching. And you should question everything you see online - even if it comes from a well respected practitioner.

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