Monday, 15 May 2017

Is Keumgang a basic form?

Reading through an online discussion on an old forum the other day I came across question regarding
Palgwae Poomsae or rather who still teaches them. It was an old thread, but one of the first replies came from a 6th Dan school owner who said and I am slightly paraphrasing here:

"We teach Taegeuk and Koryo to black belt level, and then have everyone learn Palgwe 1-8 along with Keumgang for their 2nd Dan. Keumgang is such a basic form to study at that level so they need the additional material".

I am all for perserving history, and allthough I have never formally studdied the Palgwae set, I do see their appeal, and they also represent the first form set made by most of the all Kwan. I used to want to study them, but the more I studied the Taegeuk and all the Judanja (Black belt forms) I was given in Korea, plus now my teachers own creation (Soak Am Ryu Poomsae) and some of the old Kwan forms (most noteably Chulgi Chudan Hyung, Won (Original) Koryo Hyung and Ban Wol Hyung) I have more than enough for a lifetime study. I still might do it one day, but I do not yearn it like I used to do, back when I was a real and truly a forms collector. But how someone can say that Keumgang Poomsae is so basic that it is taught almost as an afterthought is beyond me.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Taekwondo "Blocks"

This will be a post that focuses on the application(s) of Taekwondo "Makki-techniques". Makki is a
Korean word that is usually translated into "block" in English. Makki being "block" is a valid translation so I will not say that it is a mistaken translation, but it is a simplified one. If you look closer on the Korean word you will get more translations, and you can look at an older blog post of mine where I did examine the word Makki and its root word Makda. In my view Makki should be translated into "defensive technique" instead of simply "block". Being defensive does not mean that you are simply lifting your arm into position to create an obstacle between you and the attacking limb (this is what you might picture in your head when reading the word "block"). Neither does "defensive technique" stop at merely swapping the attacking limb away as in a "parry". Defensive technique in this case relates to something you do to your opponent so that you receive, redirect or in any other way hinder an attack while gaining an advantageous position. This can be, but is not limited to: parries, blocks, checks, locks, pre-emptive strikes, various limb control techniques etc. This view is supported by the applications to "makki-techniques" in the Kukkiwon textbook where on at least two different occasions "blocks" are applied as joint locks!

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Basic Taekwondo limb-control drill

I "borrowed" this drill after viewing another instructor performing it. It is short, relatively simple and drills the usage of the "non striking hand", angles and several traditional techniques all in one compact drill. The traditional techniques are "round strike" (in the specific example I share it is a bear hand strike), a knife hand strike, a low block in long front stance and a middle level punch. One of the perhaps most important aspects though is the clearing of limbs and basic limb control. Many Taekwondo students are never introduced to this combative range at all, and if you only study your defenses against strikes in the ritualistic formal sparring you will never really learn how to deal with the opponents defenses. In this drill the opponent reacts to your strikes by parrying and covering, which again is something most Taekwondo students never really learn how to deal with.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Let us make Gibon Dongjak great again!

Sorry for making that terrible pun at president Trump's expense, but come on, give me this one. At
the time of writing this I have been discussing the realism and usefullness of Gibon Dongjak training. Gibon means fundamental, and dongjak can be translated as movement. In English we often hear the term "basics" which I really do not like because that sounds like something you learn, and then move on to "advancics" instead. Fundamental movements gives at least me better mental connotation as we are talking about functional movements that need to be adapted slightly for applications. It is like Iain Abernethy talks a little about in his podcast "The Case for Kihon" where he likens Kihon (Gibon Dongjak) to the foundations to a building. The foundation is vital to the health and stability of the building but it is not the directly usable bit. Again to paraphrase that podcast, as I write this I am not using the foundations of my house, but I am in a room built on top of it. There are a few issues with typical gibon dongjak training though so let us look a little on that first.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Questions and Answers Challenge Part 2:

Here is part two of the questions and answers challenge:

6: Erich: What are your thoughts on the new poomsae by the kukkiwon? Do you believe they bring back some important traditional techniques ( i.e. twist kick, hook block, etc.) to kukki taekwondo? Do they have practical applications in your opinion?

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Two basic dangkinun son drills (incorporating the pulling arm into training)

I have gradually introduced practical applications to our Poomsae during the last two years of training. There has been a lot of pitfalls by starting to teach them to people who do not "get it" and who have trained for years pulling their hands on their hips "because it is tradition" etc. One of my greatest pains was to get people to use both hands instead of one. You see we use both hands in our forms, and in our basic techniques, but once we start applying the moves in formal 1, 2, and three step sparring we usually use the one "active" hand and the other hand is just pulled back to the hip because it is tradition. So eventhough our forms and basics ingrain a functional movement, I struggled to get people to use it in a functional way. The simple punch is a great example. I realized only later what I was doing wrong. I was teaching the Poomsae applications just as they appear in Poomsae. This can surely be done, but if we are doing it that way we need to devote much training time so people understand it. Breaking the Poomsae down into single techniques and drilling the core concepts instead proved to be much faster and easier so I made two drills using the focus mitts to introduce impact too, and I did not mention Poomsae or basic techniques when I introduced them. I made it very simple.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Questions and Answers challenge Part 1:

Image source:
Chang Hon TKD Hae Sul
By Stuart Anslow
A while back I asked for questions to do my very first questions and answers post after a challenge I got:-) I got 10 questions via Facebook and while I have nearly completed all 10 (Just one that is lacking) I decided to split it into two posts since it became a little long:-P I guess I had a lot to say.. Part 2 will come in a few days, or at the most one week. I just need time to answer one of the questions on there (Thanks Jan Ivar). But part 1 should give more than enough reading material for a little while. These are merely my opinions on these questions, so if you want to contribute yourself do not hessitate to comment below :-)

1: David: In Chang Hon TKD how much are the combinations from the karate katas mixed up? I know Won Hyo closely resembles Pinan Shodan, but other seem very mixed.