Wednesday, 25 May 2016

This summer`s first outside training

In Bergen the schools gyms close very early for the summer. Last Friday (20th of May) was our last training and now we will only have sporadic training sessions outside (because we lack a place to be) until the government opens up their school gyms for us again. This is despite the lack of a place to be one of my favorite parts of my taekwondo year. I simply put out on facebook or by phone that I`m going to practise at such and such place at such and such time and People who genuinely want to practise show up. It is less formal, and I often use this part of the year to experiment on training drills and poomsae applications. Yesterday was the first of these training sessions and we had a small group of 4 people show up.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Taekwondo Philosophy and ethics

Kwan Heon

«All Kwan generally has the same Heon, but they express it in different ways»

-Cho Woon Sup (Quote from «Taekwondo» page 12)


Kwan can be translated as «school» and «Heon» can be translated as instruction or directive. Taekwondo as we know it today came to us through several different Kwan. Chang Hon Taekwondo (often called «ITF Taekwon-Do») is one style of Taekwondo that was first taught at the Oh Do
Kwan, with several of the first instructors being trained in the Chung Do Kwan. Kukki Taekwondo (often called WTF Taekwondo) is the result of a merger of all the major Kwan (including Oh Do Kwan) in the 1970s. In this article I want to look at how the different organisations and Kwan of Taekwondo expresses their Kwan Heon and see how they all are indeed variations on a theme. My hope is that after reading this article you will have a greater understanding of Taekwondo philosophy, ethics and goals.

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Micro Post; This months quote

"His smile can win even the hearts of little children, his anger can make a tiger crouch in fear. This succintly decribes the true martial artist" - Gichin Funakoshi, Karate-Do Nyumon 1943

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Poomsae are "FIXED", you however, are not fixed.

I wrote in the last blogpost about how the teaching of poomsae applications for a new audience was going, and remembered a brief exchange between me and one of the students. The reason I am writing about this is that this is also an issue I have encountered online, and during teaching this kind of material before.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Teaching applications from Poomsae to a new audience

The last three Fridays I have had the pleasure of teaching the grown up class. I always start with Taekwondo done. Dont get me wrong though we kick during class as well. We do have multiple partner drills (Matchoe kyourigi) which are set, so we do kick a lot no matter what I do. Of course Poomsae and free sparring gives us ample time to kick as well. Since we started up the class after the Christmas holliday I have spendt a lot of time doing pad work drills focusing on punching and the last three Fridays I have also spendt some time covering applications from Poomsae movements in general with a focus on Taegeuk Il (1) Jang.
some stretching, and then focus mostly on "dynamic stretching" (i.e. "leg swings") so that I have gotten the "kicking part" of

Friday, 1 April 2016

Micro post; This months quote:

When we read about Funakoshi`s early training we often read that he was a student of Itosu. This is correct but if you read his autobiography or his own works on Karate, he often mentions and seem to consider himself a student of Azato as his primary instructor and teacher, with aditional training and input from Itosu. We know a lot about Itosu, and many karate lineages comes through him so we can clearly see his influence in Karate today. Azato on the other hand does not seem to have any "living" lineage except Funakoshi. Little is therefore known about him, which is a shame as Funakoshi describes him as the finest karate person the world has ever seen. We know he studied Karate, sword fencing and archery among other things so he was a very ecclectic martial artist, but we only have a few anecdotes about how he viewed the martial arts. This months quote is from one of Giching Funakoshi`s books on Karate where he attributes a quote to Azato.

"Invincibility in battle does not make a man virtous; a virtous warrior is one who defeats his opponent without engaging in battle" -Azato

The above quote mirrors a famous line in "The art of war" by Sun Tzu, and it is likely that Azato being schooled in the Chinese classics had a lot of knowledge about that book. It can indeed be were the quote of Azato originated in the first place. I agree with the sentiment from an ethical standpoint. It is always preferable and better to not fight at all and if forced to fight, do as little damage as possible. It is morally and ethically a great goal to strive for. It is also something that alignes itself very nicely into most of the self defense laws I have read.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Micro post; This months quote

"This months quote" is back! I mentioned a while back that I am currently working through all the translated works of Funakoshi, carefully taking notes as I go, and I just could not help to write down many quotes as I went along. Funakoshi is one quoteable guy! Eventhough this is a blog dedicated to Taekwondo, Funakoshi had a tremendous influence on the art we practise and so I think that his works are highly relevant to us as martial artists. We call ourselves "Taekwondo students" (or some variations like Taekwondoin) but eventhough we use other forms, we use Korean terminology and have aspects of our system that is unique to our system (most noteable the sport sparring system and high kicks), much of the base of our art comes from Funakoshi.

"You can not train through words. You must learn through your body."
-Gichin Funakoshi Karate Do Nyumon 1943

I read this statement and had to read it again. We can talk about Taekwondo, watch videos, and blog all we want, but true learning happens on the Dojang floor. Sometimes that is easy to forget, but it is true. Sure we can gain new insights through watching, listening and reading about Taekwondo or related material, but we need to actually train it and study it on the Dojang floor to make it an integral part of "our" Taekwondo and not just something "interesting" that you read/ listened to/ watched.
Over the next few months the quote of the month will come from Funakoshi. I am planning to go through a different book series when I am "finished" with Funakoshi, so if you do not like Funakoshi quotes, do not worry, he will be followed by other martial artists in due time :-)