Training Warriors for the 21st Century

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

11 Sep 2017

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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