Saturday, 16 May 2015

Basic Taekwondo Theory for Gup Graders (coloured belts) Part 2

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In the last post I wrote about basic Taekwondo theory aimed at coloured belts and people doing the jump from 1st gup to 1st dan. In that post we covered what does Taekwondo mean, how to write Taekwondo in Korean Hangul, the different heights of the body in Korean as well as counting to 100 and some body parts. This time I wanted to provide a quick reference to the 8 "Gwe" and a chart of Vital points as well as a few examples of techniques to use to attack a few of those points. I will keep this relatively basic but it is always good to review this material as this is what people usually get on a theory test and knowing this stuff will make you able to answer many lower graders questions if you are a senior student or an instructor. Again a short caveat: I practise Kukki Taekwondo, I follow the Kukkiwon standard and I practise the KTA Poomsae (Taegeuk and Black Belt Poomsae). If you are ITF or belong to an independant Dojang some of this theory might deviate from what you are using.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Basic Taekwondo Theory for Gup Graders (coloured belts) Part 1

Usually I write about stuff that are aimed for black belts or people nearing black belt ranks. I write for people like me who have practised for many years and who wants a little more than what you usually find in textbooks. This post is NOT one of the usual ones. This time of year many people are preparing to grade for a new belt and a part of that grading should in my opinion be a theory test. If not between the coloured belts than at least it should be a part for the grading from 1st gup to 1st dan
. With that in mind I thought many would benifit from a post that shares basic Taekwondo theory (body parts, the different heights, vital points, examples of techniques to attack those points, the tenets and laws of Taekwondo, what Taekwondo means, how to write Taekwondo in Korean plus the different "Gwe", their Korean name and a shorthand answer of their symbolic nature. If you are reading this keep in mind that I am a Kukki Taekwondo practisioner, I follow the Kukkiwon standard and I practise the KTA forms (Taegeuk and Black belt forms). So if you are ITF or belong to a different independent Dojang your words and theory might differ from mine.

I can not promise that I will get all that down in this one post but I will start writing and see how much time I get, and if I cant finish I will write (a) follow up post(s). So with that lengthy introduction out of the way lets just dive straight in:

Friday, 8 May 2015

Keys to understanding Poomsae

This post is a result of my thoughts and notes after hearing a podcast by Iain Abernethy on called "Keys to understanding Kata". I will not remind the readers too much about Taekwondo`s relationship and close kinship with Karate, but suffice to say no matter which Kwan (School) your Taekwondo comes from that Kwan will have a strong Karate link. Likewise no matter if you practise and study Hyung (Pyung ahn, Kongsookoon, Pal Saek, Chulgi etc), the KTA forms (Taegeuk, Palgwe and Black Belt forms) or the Chang Hon Tul (Chon Ji, Hwarang, etc) the tradition with solo forms was imported through Karate. Therefore it makes sense to read and listen to Karate masters and from that gain additional insights into our own current system of Taekwondo. I am not saying that we should just incorporate blindly everything the karate people are saying, but I think it is foolish not to even consider their point of view.

Friday, 1 May 2015

The Past often holds the answer to todays problems

In my last blogpost "Principles of defending with "Makki" techniques" I shared some (in my opinion) great insights into the principles of defence as taught in the older Kwan (forerunners of modern Taekwondo) and Karate. Those principles were gathered from the book: "Karate; The art of Empty-Hand" by Hidetaka Nishiyama and Richard Brown" and as I said in that post if you enjoyed the writings in Choi Hong Hi`s 1965 book or any of the more classice Taekwondo books out there this book is also for you:-)

Friday, 24 April 2015

Principles of defending with "Makki" techniques

I recently got myself a copy of "Karate; The art of Empty-Hand" by Hidetaka Nishiyama and Richard Brown after there was some speculation about it being related to my study of Choi Hong Hi`s 1965 book (the Karate book was published in 1960). While the two works do share a few editorial tricks to save printing space, a similar layout and cover many of the same techniques (well Taekwondo in 1965 would be very very close to Karate so no suprise there) the information in both books and examples of application of the art is so different that I do not think that there is a closer relation between the two books other than the shared lineage and timeframe. The books cover many of the same techniques but each one contributes something the other does not so if you enjoy Choi Hong Hi`s 1965 book and want something similar but not the same I recommend "Karate; The art of Empty-Hand".

Friday, 17 April 2015

Karate and Taekwondo; A strained love affair

The headline might seem a little strange but an online discussion I read the other day made me think a little about the relationship between Taekwondo and Karate. The discussion was about Chang Hon Ryu forms (or ITF forms) and one commenter commented a new and for me interesting fact on the relationship between Chon Ji Tul and a form practised in Shotokan in the 1930s called Junji No Kata which shared the same floor pattern as Chon Ji. This quickly degraded into a Karate vs Taekwondo argument that luckily got resolved so there could be a productive discussion. But the heated words from both sides made me think about the issue. Why are we really arguing about the Karate vs Taekwondo in the first place?

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Martial Principles as they relate to our forms

I read a very interesting article written by a Goju Ryu Master last night. I am not sure if it is available online but it was entitled: "The Lost Secrets of Okinawan Goju Ryu" and it was written by Giles Hopkins. He proposed a very simplified way of looking at the Goju Ryu forms when compared to the multitude of application each technique seems to get. Simpliefied in the sense that instead of a multitude of Applications for each technique there should be one definitive one for each technique that fit within a sequence. I have myself written on this blog before in passing that there is a difference between looking at the application of a "technique" (Dongjak Eungyoung) and the application of the technique as presented in the dynamic context of a form.

When you simply look at "technique" you get so many different applications to it because you look at a general movement and you can put it into any context you want. That is not the case when you look at application of Poomsae, because in Poomsae the "technique" is demonstrated in a dynamic context. There is a technique before the technique in question and there is a technique after the technique in question (or if it is the very first or last technique in the form you are looking for you can scratch which does not apply). So when you look at Poomsae you need to see the application in the context it is presented within the form. Looking at the application of technique in isolation is very very simple when compared to looking at it in context of its form. It is way easier to find 10 different applications to the first move of Taegeuk Il (1) Jang when compared to looking at the application of the first two moves or three moves or four moves (depending on how you do your "Boonhae" or dividing up the form) in the same form. Once you look at the form and not only on technique you have not only to find an application, you need to find an application that fits the form itself.