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. 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Taegeuk Chil Jang revisited (Follow up from outward backfist strike)

After posting the article on facebook Martin asked me what happen after the outward backfist strike. He had a different application, so he was wondering what to do from the position you end up in in my application. Some say that the Taegeuk forms lack applications, others say that they are there but they are there by accident. Yet others believe that the originators knew nothing at all of note so searching for applications is a pointless endevour. Personally I think that the KTA forms might be more "basic" than in some of the Karate forms, yet I think it is quite possible that the originators of the KTA forms knew more than enough to make their forms functional. The reason I say this is that when I fist figured out the reason for the transition between the low X-Block and the first outward backfist strike I was wondering the very same thing. What happens next? The Poomsae itself gave me a perfect answer, and this is not the fist time I`ve been stuck and I have gotten the answer straight from the Poomsae itself. This is the reason why I think that there is far more material in the KTA forms than what people give them credit for. It is also the reason why I have not simply switched to the Pinan/Heian/Pyungahn forms a long time ago (allthough I have been giving it some serious thought sometimes).

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Are you making this common mistake in Taegeuk 7 Jang????

Teaching yesterday (at the time of writing) was a blast! In the bulk of the session I focused on the
performance of Poomsae and drilled some applications from the Poomsae we were working on. This "jumping" from Poomsae to Poomsae let me introduce the possibilities within Poomsae and its relation to combat, combative principles, as well as some of my ideas on how to find applications for the students themselves. Among the things we drilled were the first 2 movements of Taegeuk 1 Jang against a wristhold, the end part of Taegeuk 2 Jang as a continuation on the same application, the parry-pass method from Taegeuk Sam Jang, the defensive entry into knife hand strike from Taegeuk Sa Jang as well as a variation striking drill from the first two moves, and variation demonstrating the "C-stepping" that some had learned many years ago, Taegeuk 5 Jang made us drill an armlock, hammerfist strike, sweep and hammerfist strike combo from the first two counts, 6 Jang had us drill how to recover if the drill from Taegeuk 5 Jang went wrong, and then we came to Taegeuk Chil Jang and one of the things I usually have to correct (unless the student in question learned it from me directly). This is what the post is about, and I think it will interest people who compete in Poomsae, and people who are interested in practical Applications alike.

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Apparently my writing style and a certain Mary Fraser is "somewhat similar:-P Check out her blog: How to play Taekwondo which I came across searching the Web for practical application of Poomsae.  http://howtoplaytaekwondo007.blogspot.no/?m=1 enjoy :-)