Saturday, 22 December 2012

Collection of "Good" Poomsae Videos (Black Belt Poomsae)

In my last post I provided Youtube links to all the colour belts Poomsae. I though I should do the same with the Black Belt Poomsae as a service to the readers:-) This way you have all the Poomsae in the Kukkiwon System together at one site. I started the Blog as a means for me to gather my thoughts, get rid of "frustrations" and to ramble away everything Taekwondo. The blog has not gathered a lot of attention, and there is little traffic on it (somewhere between 60-100 hits a day) but I know at least a few use this Blog as a resource, and providing good videos to all the Poomsae in the Kukkiwon system is one way of expanding on this:-) Anyway I wish all my present (future and past) readers out there a Merry Christmas, and if you are reading this then the world has not ended (set to publish at 22th December 00:01 so we can relax untill the next doomsday is on its way:-)

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Collection of "Good" Poomsae Videos (Cup Graders Poomsae)

In my previous post I suggested that people should stay away from Youtube when trying to learn themselves forms. I got a few comments from my fellow students that maybe it would be more helpfull to "collect" what I would consider good videos for learning. I regret to say that I have not chosen "the best" as I consider the best videos on youtube "stolen". They are uploaded from a DVD collection that people have been working hard to produce and that they are making money from (at least trying to make money). The people who are uploading that should stop doing that and really look into what Taekwondo ethics and philosophy are all about. I have included one "stolen" video so you can see wich ones that you should stay clear of so you do not support this theft. The rest of the videos I have chosen to share are stolen too, but so long ago that they are not being sold anymore. They are in some rare sequences a little outdated, but all in all you do not go much wrong in following along these videos.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

A holliday tip to all "form-collectors" out there

This time of year many people are going to grade up to a new rank in Taekwondo as many Dojang (at least the ones I know of) usually have two gradings each year, one before summer holliday and one before Christmas. In Kukki Taekwondo this means that now that you just ranked up a notch you now need to learn a new Poomsae (form). I strongly reccomend that you do not use your holliday trying to learn it yourself but to wait untill you once again are training under the watchfull eyes of your instructor.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Is Taekwondo really a "kicking art"?

I was going through all the Kukkiwon Poomsae the other day and suddenly it hit me. I no longer compete activly in the WTF sanctioned events where kicks are just about the only way of getting points, so my training in Taekwondo (not including strength, stamina etc) is centered mainly around basics, poomsae, matchoe kyorugi and ho sin sul drills (this includes practical application of poomsae). What hit me is that we are always looked upon as a kicking art from both other martial arts and people outside the martial arts, but if we take away our competition format of fighting we are left with an art that is very much centered on the use of the arms.

Friday, 30 November 2012

An Historical View on Matchoe Kyorigi

In my last post I wrote about Matchoe Kyorigi and I touched upon something close to my heart and that is "context awareness" in Taekwondo. Machoe Kyorigi (Predetermined Sparring) are often viewed as old fashioned and or outdated combat training. In my view however this is putting Matchoe Kyorigi in a wrong context as I believe it was not originally meant to be used purely as combat training. I quoted a famous Shotokan Karate Master that:
"Matchoe Kyorigi is training to Harmonize with you opponent"

This is not a post on that theme, but rather how Matchoe Kyorigi was used and described in the early Taekwondo writings of Son Duk Sung and General Choi Hong Hi. I do not wish to be accused of "editing" Taekwondo history so it is in line with my view because frankly I can not do that as the old writings of Son Duk Sung and General Choi Hong Hi disagree with me.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Matchoe Kyorigi, Taekwondo`s forgotten art?

Taekwondo is often presented as a uniquely Korean ancient martial art with no ties to "foreign" Martial Arts. I actually believed that people today would know better, but just a few days ago I was faced with several individuals who eagerly defended "the 2000 years myth". It did not matter how much logic I presented so I gave up and said I would agree to disagree with them. I am getting older and wiser I think as a few years back I would probably not given in so easily.

One thing that does show that Taekwondo has been influenced by Karate however is something I have concentrated on in my classes lately as there is a grading for our students comming up and Machoe Kyorigi is one of the requirements for all grades (in different guises of course). Machoe Kyorigi is predetermined sparring divided in our system into:
  • Sambon Kyorigi (3 Step Sparring)
  • Hanbon Kyorigi Son Dongjak (1 Step Sparring Hand Techniques)
  • Hanbon Kyorigi Bal Dongjak (1 Step Sparring Foot Techniques)
  • Hanbon Kyorigi Eungyong Dongjak (1 Step Sparring combination* techniques)
  • Dubon Kyorigi (2 Step Sparring)
  • Mechigi (Throwing)
  • Anja Kyorigi (Formal Sparring from seated position)
*Eungyong means "practical" but it is in this case often translated into our language as "combination" because the formal sparring uses one foot technique, hand technique and a self defense technique and mixes them together into the counter attacks in that kind of sparring.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Sparring = Free Sparring = Competition Sparring?

Look at the equation in the headline of this post. That equation without the question mark at the end of it seems to be the general view of sparring in just about all the Dojang I have ever visited (and I have been to quite a few). Even in Dojang that claims to teach "Traditional", "Real", "No-Nonsense" (insert something along those lines here) Taekwondo seems to be infected by this way of thinking. Before you click the "read more" link I feel I should give a "Ramble Alert":)

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Chung Do Kwan Poomsae Training Tips

Image Source
Those of you who has read my blog for some time know that I love Taekwondo, to practise it, to teach it and to study it. Yes I do make a distinction of simply "Training" Taekwondo and to actually "Study" Taekwondo. This Blog is largely the result of me trying to put what I learn through my studdies into perspective and making sense of it all. After all Taekwondo is a far reaching term with very different meaning from student to student, instructor to instructor and from the lay persons out there. But all that is for another post in the future as this is a post on something entirely else.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Quote of the week

Back again after a looong holliday. First I had summer holliday and then crazytime at work:-) Sorry for not posting for a month now but at least you know why;)

This post is rather short I am afraid with only a small thoughtfull quote:

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times
-Bruce Lee

Contomplate this quote.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Head Turns in Poomsae

Image source
Last weekend or so I was practising outside the Dojang with a few friends. One was a 1st Cup that wanted to freshen up his basics and forms, the other was a long time veteran of Taekwondo (by Norwegian standards) and then there was me. We started doing some dynamic stretching as part of our warm up rutine, followed by some gentle kicing excersises, some Dan Jun breathing excercises (they are also good for the "core") and then we started doing our forms. First we did Taegeuk Il (1) Jang to Sam (3) Jang, followed by my teachers own creation the so called TTU Poomsae 1-3. The veteran of Taekwondo had recently come back from a long time not practising Taekwondo and it did not take long before she asked us why we did not turn our heads before turning while performing our forms. She first thought that the 1st Cup had forgotten it but then she noticed that I did not do it either.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Practical Application from Taegeuk Youk (6) Jang

Image source
The Taegeuk series of Poomsae have been subject of countless debates as to how valid they are as forms in a martial art. They are very new in a forms paradigm setting. Naihanchi from Karate is many houndreds years old, the newer Karate forms (e.g Pinan) are over 100 years old but the Taegeuk form set was introduced in 1972 making it very young indeed when compared to other forms. Even so most building blocks of the Taegeuk series (basic techniques) are taken from older forms. Some are rearranged in such a matter that there is no direct counterpart in other forms making Taegeuk series unique. There are even a few techniques/sequences that ONLY show up in the Taegeuk series.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Practical Application from Taegeuk Oh (5) Jang

Image source (Note I do not know or
am affiliated in any way to this site. It has
a lot of pop ups.)
The last few weeks I have had a blast doing one post after another with a practical application from each Poomse one at a time. This time I have come to Taegeuk Oh (5) Jang. This particular technique is something I picked up in a Hapkido class in Korea. Our teacher taught us a wrist release technique followed by a strike. We were told to play around with our strikes so we could practise what was natural to each of us. I performed the wrist release, grabbed my partner with one hand and performed my strike. Only after doing it a few times did I notice that I was practising a segment from Taegeuk Oh (5) Jang in picture perfect form.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Practical Application from Taegeuk Sa (4) Jang

Todays post is about a movement that baffled me when I first learned it. It is the second movement from Taegeuk Sa (4) Jang; The infamous finger tip strike or spear hand as it is also known as. In official or normal application the first move of that form the knife hand guarding block and the second move is seen as one sequence. In my application I see them both as seperate variations on one theme. They both give you options on how to defend yourself from lapel grab. The official application have the defender blocking the opponents lunge punch with the first block, and then the opponent imidiatly launches a second punch without moving forwards, wich the defender blocks downwards with the open handed block and counters with the spear hand to the opponents solar plexus, changing his stance from back stance to long walking stance but without the step to make the distance work.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Relationship Between Sparring and Poomsae

Have you ever seen this technique
being used in sparring?
The relationship between sparring and poomase is something many Taekwondo practisioners ask themselves and their instructors when they have been training for some time. It is not only Taekwondo practisioners who asks this but also many other diciplines where Poomsae, Kata or something simular is used in training. The notion of a relationship between sparring and Poomsae or forms is often encouraged in the writings of past masters and newer textbooks. Most people training in a martial art "based" on forms will hear that if you are good in forms you will be good in sparring and vice versa.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Blogging Carneval

I wrote this as part of a blogging carneval hosted on

Image source
I have written about many things that has to do with Taekwondo over the course of this blog but I have never properly adressed the issue of self defense. This is a huge topic covering everything from "soft skills" to "hard skills". It is even difficult to know where to start with a post like this. I guess I will try doing something out of "common sense" as these days "common sense" does not seem as "common" as it used to be.

Monday, 9 July 2012

How to make official applications better/Practical application of Taegeuk Sam (3) Jang

Image source
In older Taekwondo textbooks movements from the forms are often explained with pictures and everything. These days however many no longer consider these official interpretations valid as they would never be usable outside the textbook. Even the striking applications that are pretty straight forward seems to be missing something as the illustrations often have the defender placing his non striking hand on his hip for no reason. In this post I want to share one tip that will often solve this problem with "official" applications and make them more combativly sound.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Practical application for Taegeuk I (2) Jang

Todays post is about another practical usage from a seemingly obvious technique; The high block. This is featured twice in Taegeuk I (2) Jang in short walking stance. I have as with many other techniques several applications to the technique in question other than the standard to block a high section punch or a hammer fist strike to the head. Those two applications are the one featured about 99% of all explonations on this technique and as beginners we take our teachers words without quetions and we never revisit the technique to see if there is other and perhaps more combativly sound usages for the movement.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Vintage video of Moo Duk Kwan 1950-60s

Hi. Just had to share this on the blog. I went "youtubing" and found a whooping 39 minutes long clip of vintage video footage of Moo Duk Kwan filmed in the late 50s or early 60s in Korea. The clip is the longest and most comprehensible video footage I have ever seen of early "Taekwondo". It contains a lot of forms, impressive breaking demonstrations, sparring, self protection, etc etc..

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Practical application from Taegeuk Il (1) Jang

Image source
This drawing stuff is just plain old fun. It has been years and years since I bothered drawing stuff, but now I have been drawing like a true artist should:p

Taegeuk Il (1) Jang or the whole Taegeuk series of forms for that matter is  often viewed as void of practical applications. In this post I have provided one of my applications for the very first move of Taegeuk Il Jang; The low block in the short walking stance (look at opening picture). I see this move as a versitale movement that can be used for a great number of things but I have only provided one of those applications in this post.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Practical Usage of Taegeuk Pal Jang

I was sitting around with nothing to do so I started "drawing" on a piece of paper. The result was a great work of art wich contained one of my main applications for the double block (low and high) from Taegeuk Pal Jang. This move is frequently interpreted as a block against two opponents attacking your head from behind and a kick from the front, and the defender blocking both attacks (eventhough he does not even see his attacker from the rear).

Friday, 22 June 2012

What is "Bunkai" in Korean?

Since I have some basic knowledge of the Korean language, I practise Taekwondo and research my forms I somewhat "often" encounter the question in the headline; "What is Bunkai in Korean?" You see untill recently there were virtually no Korean martial arts exponents who researched their forms to extract viable self defense techniques, while in Japanese or Chinese martial arts there is a long standing culture of extracting self defense techniques from their forms.

Korean Martial artists who wants to research their forms for more sophisticated combative applications beyond the basic kick, block punch explonations therefore often have to see toward other martial arts and how they go about researching their forms.

Likewise Korean terminology on the subject is not standarised, and often non existant. Many Korean Martial Arts exponents therefore borrow Japanese terminology to use in this field or even worse make up pseudo terms sounding like Korean (Bungai anyone?). This post is not going to be about how to research your forms, but it will be my contribution to give those who wants a Korean terminology when it comes to research your forms.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Taegeuk Poomsae; Why does "Everybody" Hate Them?

Author performing
the last technique of
Taegeuk Oh Jang
I find Taekwondo history very facinating. I think most of my blogposts has a history element in it to a lesser or larger degree. Our forms history is likewise also very facinating with the evolution going from the "borrowed" forms under the term "Hyung" (pronounced Kata in Japanese) from Chinese, Japanese/Okinawan sources, to the Korean masters own creations like the Kuk-Mu forms and Chang Hon forms, the latter still being used in the different ITF`s and Dojang from a Chang Hon Ryu lineage (Ryu is often used in Japanese martial arts but it can also be used in KMA as they do have "Ryu" in Korean as well. Translated directly it means "Flow" but usually translated into lineage, school or style). A little later what was to become Koreas Taekwondo Association started developing their own forms. First they produced Palgwe and Judanja/Kodanja Poomse and later in 1972 they came up with Taegeuk and a new Koryo Poomsae wich replaced the earlier Palgwe and original Koryo Poomse.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Ho Sin Sul Is Not Completly Forgotten:-)

This is the third part of a long rant (so long I divided it up in three parts) about Taekwondo`s largely forgotten aspect of Ho Sin Sul (usually translated into English as Self defense). It seems that the majority of Dojang all over the world today practise and focus on basics, forms and competition sparring. This leaves out both breaking (allthough that aspect is usually dusted off at most demonstrations) and the before mentioned Ho Sin Sul. I went "youtubing" and found three clips entitled "Taekwondo practical skills 1-3". It was a bit reassuring to see that "old fashion" Taekwondo Ho Sin Sul still lives on in this world where most "Ho Sin Sul" demonstrations are "Movie Ho Sin Sul" or "Circus Taekwondo" as one of my seniors so diplomaticly put it.

Friday, 8 June 2012

There Is Still Hope For Taekwondo "Ho Sin Sul":-)

I was almost moody the other day thinking about how Taekwondo is now seen as a childrens martial sport
Taekwondo "Ho Sin Sul"
demonstrated in the Olympics
with no emphasis on "martial" and big emphasis on "sport". I am 27 years old and in Olympic Taekwondo terms that is old. Ancient even.. You see most competitors in an Olympic Taekwondo setting is pretty much finished around 25 years old. Yes there are a few that can keep going to the ripe old age of 28-29 but you will not see many in their 30s competing in Olympic sparring at a high level. Taekwondo today is a "fun" martial activity with plenty opertunities for competition. Great for kids but grown ups practise grown ups martial arts like Karate, Muy Thai, JuJitsu, MMA, etc.

One of the things that made Taekwondo great "in the old days" was the Ho Sin Sul aspects. Ho Sin Sul is often translated as self defense in English and for many this is the joint lock, release technqiues and grappling part of Taekwondo. This is partly true as joint locks, release techniques from grabs and grappling are a part of Taekwondo only seen in this segment of Taekwondo training but it is really about applied Taekwondo not exclusively Taekwondo grappling, but how you can use your Taekwondo for self defense.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Taekwondo`s Ho Sin Sul was not dead:-O

Korean Hangul Writing
Ho Sin Sul
(Image source)
For those who does not come from a KMA background: Ho Sin Sul is loosely translated as "Self Defense" in English and refers to one of the "Pillars of Taekwondo" training. Today this part is almost lost in mainstream Dojang all over the world with the focus being on Sport Taekwondo (both Poomsae performance and Olympic Sparring). Sometimes it feels like this part has "died" in Taekwondo. I recently watched a promo video for the Kukkiwon that presented Taekwondo as a martial sport consisting of basics, poomsae and sparring (breaking and self defense was not mentioned in the video).

The few who does practise and include Ho Sin Sul does so often by incorporating outside influences (particulary from Hapkido it seems) and making it up they go. Cross training and incorporating techniques from outside sources are in my view a good thing, BUT grabbing techniques from outside sources just to have them in the system is not necesarily a good thing. You must consider the overall strategy of the art and pick techniques that enhances that strategy. If not then you get a "mish mashed Martial art" with plenty of techniques but no way to apply it.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

TKD just is Shotokan with with serial numbers filed off and aggressive marketing.

"TKD just is Shotokan with with serial numbers filed off and aggressive marketing..." 

I found this quote all over the internet the other day. Actually I found it by accident googling "martial arts quotes". I then copy pasted it and searched the quote to see how widespread it was and yes there it was all over the interenet. For those who have read my blog for some time now you will know that i strongly acknowledge my arts martial roots and I have done many a blog post to set the reccord straight on the Taekwondo history. My latest project with writing more indepth about the pioneers to honor them in a "kukki Taekwondo" setting as the Kukkiwon often overlooks them in their official history writings is just one small part of what I have written about this subject. Even in my three latest blog posts (General Choi Hong Hee, Hwang Kee and Lee Won Kuk) I explain their martial arts training prior to Taekwondo being made.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lee Won Kuk the original Taekwondo Pioneer?

Lee Won Kuk
The headline might seem strange if you are reading this as a Kukkiwon Taekwondo student. In mainstream dogma Taekwondo is thousands of years old with little to no foreign (non Korean) influences. Taekwondo according to Kukkiwon Textbook is a hybrid of native Korean martial arts wich has been fused together and developed through science in later years.

I do not support this view of history, BUT I do understand why that view was developed and spread through the world. I have read up on newer Korean history and have an idea of how difficult the world of the "true" pioneers of Taekwondo was.

Lately I have been doing my own small contribution to set things straight. Our beloved martial art Taekwondo was developed largely out of foreign martial arts but with small influences (directly or indirectly) from native Korean arts. Those who has actually studied Taekwondo history will agree that modern Taekwondo was developed in the period 1940s untill today. In the main stream history the 1940s and the founding of the various "Kwan" (martial arts schools) marks the beginning of the "modern" Taekwondo.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Hwang Kee and his innovations

In my last post I explored one of Taekwondo`s great pioneers; Choi Hong Hi and his theory of power. This time I turn my attention to another of the great pioneers of Taekwondo namely Hwang Kee.

In the "Kukkiwon-deriative" Taekwondo-world Hwang Kee is almost unknown. In most texts he is sometimes mentioned in the history chapter as the man who founded Moo Duk Kwan in 1945 and that is just about it. I for one find Kukkiwons treatment of Taekwondo history perplexing at times. The official story in their Kukkiwon textbook almost leads people to believe that Taekwondo is thousands of years old and focuses a lot on the three kingdoms era untill the beginning of 1900s. The period from 1910 and onwards is not explained indepth just mentioning the schools that were founded in the 1940s onward that were going to be united and found Taekwondo.

Moo Duk Kwan was one of those schools and an important root of the present Kukkiwon system. I therefore find their treatment of history perplexing as they only spend about one or two sentences on a man that should be devoted a chapter (as should all the founders of the 9 original Kwan). This is post is just my small contribution on setting the record straight and honoring those that should be honored.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Choi Hong Hi`s Theory of Power

(I must appologise but for some strange reason this whole post gets messed up each time I try to post it. I have tried to clean it up but it is still "scrambled" in that some of the paragraphs are a little out of place. I managed to rewrite some of them and now the post does make sense eventhough it looks a little messy. Sorry for the inconvinience)

Choi Hong Hi does not really need an introduction on a Taekwondo blog, but I will give him one nonetheless.

Choi Hong Hi (often known as "General Choi") founded along with Nam Tae Hi one of the most influential Kwan during the 1950s the Oh Do Kwan. This was the millitary Dojang and since all able bodied men had to do service in the army all were exposed to Oh Do Kwan methods. Choi Hong Hi and his pioneers made the earliest attempts (that I am aware of) of making their original Karate art into something new. One of the things they did was to make the Chang Hon form in the period 1950s-1970s.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Honoring the Pioneers of Korean Martial Arts

In the near future I will try to write a series of posts focusing on honoring the pioneers of Korean Martial Arts, their history, innovations and more. Many Taekwondoin choses to overlook the part of Korean Martial Arts history from 1940s onward and focus exclusivly on the period from three kingdoms era to the beginning of the 1900s.

I think this is really disrespectfull of the pioneers as most of the modern Korean Martial Arts true history starts in this often overlooked period (1940s onward). I want to honor the pioneers of Taekwondo by writing about them and their contributions to our art.

I will not do this in any particular order though and will start with the man who got me into Taekwondo (as opposed to any other martial art); Choi Hong Hi.

Monday, 30 April 2012

Are Kicking, Blocking and Striking the only methods in Poomsae?

Funakoshi demonstrating a
grappling attack that looks
suprisingly as if it was taken
from Koryo Poomsae!
Often when you read stuff on Poomsae, Poomse, Hyung, Tul, Kata etc you will see that each movement is described as a technique and each technique belong to a specific class of techniques. The most typical way of describing them within my own school of Taekwondo ("Kukki-style") is thusly:
  • Seogi (stance)
  • Chagi (kicks)
  • Jireugi (punches)
  • Chigi (strikes)
  • Makki (blocks).
Looking at the list and knowing that each movement in Poomsae blongs into one of these you can easily be led to believe that the only methods that Poomsae records are blocks, kicks and strikes.. Very few approach their study of Poomsae with the belief that there are more to Poomsae than this.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Wisdom from the teachers teacher

Here is another short but hopefully a little thought provocing post.
As I have explored indepth over many posts on this blog, the tradition we have with forms come straight from Karate/Quan Fa hybrid influence. Most original Taekwondo schools trace their lineage to maybe one of the most famous Karate pioneer; Gichin Funakoshi. Now much have been said about this man, and some worship him as a karate demi god, others critizise him and the brand of Karate he left (shotokan) as being to rigid, unrealistic etc. No matter what you think of him he did teach the founder of: Chung Do Kwan, Soong Moo Kwan, Yon Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan and greatly influenced the founder of Moo Duk Kwan.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The 10 000 Poomsae rule

One of the things I often hear when teaching junior grades or children is the question "How many times do I have to perform this Poomsae before I know it?". The standard answer in my Dojang to this question has always been that you need 10 000 repetitions of one Poomsae before you can truly say that you "know" it. In later years I have come to think that the 10 000 repetition rule is false as I think that "knowing" a Poomsae is more than just knowing the sequence of movements and be able to perform it well. But on the other hand 10 000 repititions before you know the performance side of it might still hold true.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Application to Chulgi il Hyung

Here is a clip from Iain Abernethy that was released a few days ago. I have written before about the history and bacground of this form (click here to read it) and that I was (and still am) very facinated by the richness of it. It contains few and simple movement throughout the form, but there are boundless possibilities for applications here.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Wisdom from the past

This is a short but (hopefully) interesting post. Many argue that the only thing that matters when it comes to Poomsae, Hyung, Tul or what ever you wish to call it is its performance. I have gone back in time to see what the Pioneers of what was to eventually be brought to Korea to become Taekwondo had to say in a time when student retention, comercialism and all the watering down of the martial arts had not yet had the profound effects that they have today. Do you believe Poomsae are martial dances with no practical intent? Read on and hear it from a man closer to the "source" than we are.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Anti-Bullying Blogging Carnival

Hi everybody. I was asked to contribute to an "Anti-Bullying Blogging Carnival" by the renowned martial artist and fellow traditional taekwondo blogger Colin Wee. Unfortunatly I have had to many projects going on at the same time lately so I could not make the post in time. But I think this is such a good thing to do and that helping people face their bullies or on the other hand help people awoid becoming bullies alltogether is very important so I still want to promote the Anti-Bullying Blogging Carnival as much as I possibly can through my Facebook account and through my Blog. I hope my readers will do the same:-) Colin started the idea of the "Anti-Bullying Blogging Carnival"  but he has also got an impressive list of participants from in my opinion many of the best martial arts bloggers out there!

Please visit the link below for a lot of reading material on this issue from some of the best martial arts blogs out there:

Friday, 13 April 2012

I dare you to define Poomsae

Yesterday I was helping out on a project where I was asked to write some information on Poomsae. When I was first aproached and asked if I coul participate I jumped on board at once as Poomsae is something that has always facinated me and this was a chance to see if I truly had absorbed some knowledge over the years. I made a short list over what I wanted to write and the first thing on a list was this: "What is Poomsae?". I wrote a few pages to answer the question, read through it and deleted it all. Not good enough. I started from scratch but the headline was still the same: "What is Poomsae?". After repeating the cycle 5 or 6 times I gave it up. What I had been trying to do was to describe Poomsae and make a definition that would work better than the mainstream one (a combination of basic techniques strung together in a predermined fashion or something along those lines).

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Practical application for Keumgang Poomsae Part Five

This is the fifth part of my Keumgang study. We have seen different usages for almost all the movements of the form, sometimes presenting as many as three possibilities of usage on one move. In the first part I looked closer on the opening move (wedge block/heocho makki) followed  by the openhanded strikes, in the second part I looked at the three following movements (inward knife hand performed in back stance), in the third part I looked at the most signature move of all in this poomsae namely keumgang makki performed in hakdari seogi (simultanious high, and low section block performed on one foot) and in the fourth post I looked at the "large hinge" also seen as a "hook punch". This time it is time for one of the most ridiculed movements of all, a great mystery to many and one of the movements that has puzzled me for ages as well. Namely the infamous Santeul Makki or mountain block.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Vital Points; Are they a part of Taekwondo study?

For a Traditional Taekwondo student the question in the headline is not even an issue. Of course it is! For the mainstream Taekwondoin (even some who call themselves "Traditional") it is a question of great controversy. I have to say that I can not blame many for a lack of knowledge in this area as even in my own organisation the study of vital points are not really dwelved into until you get close to a black belt ranking. That said all my students from white belt and up know at least three vital points that Taekwondo exploit relentlessly during Poomsae practise and they know how to attack them.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Practical application for Keumgang Poomsae Part Four

This is the 4th part of a journey of disovery. Often when you try to discover and uncover the combative meaning of a Poomsae/Hyung/Tul/Kata/Form you jump from technique to technique or sequence to sequence. This is not possible when I have started doing this series the way I started. I explore one part of the form after another just as they appear when we perform Keumgang Poomsae. Before I started this series I wanted to just give some of my favorite applications to a few of the techniques/Sequences but then I decided I should challenge myself into comming up with applications for each and every move, and not only that, I should also come up with different applications to the moves that appear several times in the form.
This time I am going to continue where I left of: The next move in Keumgang Poomsae that is not yet explored from a combative viewpoint is the "large hinge" or "kheun doltzeogi ".

Friday, 23 March 2012

Are Poomsae designed to fight multiple opponents?

I had this discussion the other day on the internet with a "TKD Master Instructor". He basicly believed that everything in the mainstream texts when it comes to applications are the one and only. All the Poomsae are designed to fight multiple opponents and each time you turn you turn to face a new opponent. I said that yes this is one way to look at it, but for me the opponent is situated in front of me and the turns are to tell me where I should postition myself, to get body weight into grappling techniques, to learn how to develop hip twist as power generation etc. He then quickly pointed out the classic double blocks that are "obviously" designed to block two opponents attacks at the same time. I gave him some realistic applications against a single opponent instead. In the end he said that he would continue with the way he learned allthough I had "clever arguments":-)

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Practical application for Keumgang Poomsae Part Three

This is the third part of a series where I look closer on Keumgang Poomsae to see if the motions the form contains hold more practical applications than the ones normally taught at mainstream Taekwondo Dojang`s. In the first post we looked at the opening movement followed by three openhanded strikes.

The second part followed with the next three movements (inward knife hand blocks performed in back stance). In this post I will look closer to the most signature movement of Keumgang Poomsae. Namely "Keumgang Makki" (double block with one high section and one low section block performed at the same time) done in "Hakdari Seogi" (one legged stance also known as "crane stance").

Monday, 19 March 2012

Practical application for Keumgang Poomsae Part Two

In todays post I want to continue where I left off on my previous post. In Part One I started sharing some applications to Keumgang Poomsae that are a lot more combative valuable than the standard kick, block punch intrepretations are. Click here to read Part One. In the first part we looked at the opening moves (first wedge block, and then three openhanded strikes to the chin in a row, all performed in long front stance (apkoobi seogi). This time I wanted to continue by looking at the next three techniques.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Practical application for Keumgang Poomsae: Part One

This posture closely resembles the
signature move of Keumgang Poosmae.
Picture from summer holliday 09
Keumgang Poomsae has always been one of my favorite Poomsae in our system of Taekwondo. Even a long time before I was actually taught to perform it I loved to watch it during belt promotion tests, competitions and demonstrations. It is a very unique form in our system as it contains a lot of "Dan Jun Breathing" (deep abdominal breathing excercises used to develop "Ki") and that it does not contain a single kick. The absense of kicks makes it truly unique in that it is a form practised in a martial style often thought of as a kicking art.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

One step Sparring. To step or not to step.

There was an interesting thread on in the Taekwondo forum with this headline. The starter of the thread asked how people go about with one step sparring. (Version A): In his Dojang they stand in jumbi (ready) seogi (stance) , and with no kihap (yelll) the attacker moves forward attacking the defender with a high section punch. He goes on to say that the punch would be so close that it would conect had not the defender defended himself.
He has now changed Dojang to Germany and here they are doing it the way I was taught (Version B); The attacker and defender stand both in Jumbi Seogi (ready stance). Then the attacker steps his right leg back into ap koobi seogi (long front stance) and low block and "kihap" (yells). The defender kihap (yell) back, and on this signal the attacker moves his right leg forward into long front stance, right high section punch.

He then goes on to ask: What is the mainstream way of doing this, and what does the newest edition Kukkiwon Textbook say on the subject?

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

No first attack in Taekwondo?

No first strike in Taekwondo?
When reading about Poomsae or traditional Taekwondo in general one often finds statements like: "Every Poomsae (form) starts with a defensive technique to symbolise that the Taekwondoin will never throw the first strike." Another common statement regarding the philosophy of Taekwondo is "There is no first strike in Taekwondo". The last one is obviously "borrowed" from Karate our sister martial art. They have a maxim wich goes "Karate Ni Sente Nashi". This is often translated as "There is no first strike in Karate", a more correct translation of the term would be however: "There is no first initiative in Karate" or in other words a Karate person would not intentionally start a fight.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Pillars of Taekwondo training Part Five; Breaking

In an earlier post I mentioned "The pillars of Taekwondo training". I defined them as Basic techniques, Forms training, sparring, self defense and breaking.(The post I am reffering to can be read by clicking here:)This has long been the format of what is usually labeled "Traditional Taekwondo" and I thought that I should write a little more indepth about each "pillar" this time. In this the fifth and last part of this rant I will look closer on what many consider "the fifth pillar" of Taekwondo training namely breaking (Kyopka). I would recomend readers to go through this series in the order they came out. Click here to go to part one, and here to go to part two, here for part three and here for part four.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Effective training method: 4 minutes of hell!

After the 4 minutes of training
Sometimes if you are like me there does not seem to be any time left for training. Work, family and whatever takes up a lot of time and so natuarally your training time dissapears. Faced with this problem I have been on a quest for finding methods that are effective and yet little time consuming. A few months back I found one real treasure when it comes to Taekwondo and that is the Tabata method.

Friday, 17 February 2012

How to organize your training sessions

Today I wanted to share some of my thoughts on how to structure your training sessions in a Dojang setting.
This came about after talking with some friends who are training in another dicipline about their latest training session. They explained how they had been pushed to the limits during warm ups, been doing some grueling strength excercises after the warm ups, and pushing themselves down into the side splits for 30 minutes and then moving over to forms training, some stretching and finished training. Is there anything wrong with this kind of training? I for once think that there are issues with this kind of training structure but many "traditional martial arts" do this because it is "tradition". I am not saying it is a black and white picture, but click on the read more button to see my thoughts on how a training session should be structured for optimal training

Monday, 13 February 2012

The key to Poomsae Competition Success: Less is more

Todays post is about Competition Poomsae performance. Todays tip wich you can see in the headline is really the key to success in Poomsae Competition. Many people do not really understand this but here it is: The key to Poomsae Competition success: Less is more.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Taekwondo Punch vs Boxing Punch

One of my students asked me a brilliant question the other day. "Why do we bother learning and practising "The Taekwondo punch" when we start doing "boxing punches" in sparring? Is it not a complete waste of time practising one method of punching when we really use another method?" Why is this a brilliant question? It is brilliant because this clearly shows how unrelated the basics/forms on one side is vs sparring on the other side. Remember I wrote a few posts back on the gap that has developed between Poomsae and Kyorigi (Forms and sparring)? This is it. The students of today only experience Taekwondo combat through sport

Unattached punching

Attached punching (note the pulling hand)

Monday, 30 January 2012

Poomsae Performance (Competition style)

The year 2006 was a special year for Taekwondo competition. Up untill then the only way to compete in a world championship in WTF/Kukki style Taekwondo was through sparring. But in 2006 the very first Poomsae World Championships was held in Seoul, and now you could compete not only in sparring in a global scale but also in Poomsae.

Up until that point in history most masters were totally free in how to teach Poomsae around the world, and there was as many variations in Poomsae performance as there were people. One thing that was decided for the world championship was that there needed to be one and only one standard or "true form" to be followed so everyone could be judged on the same basis. This lead to a reprint of Kukkiwond textbook as well as a whole host of other books on Poomsae so this new "standard" could be taught.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Poomsae and the math book. My attempt at an analogy

As the readers of this blog will know by know I really like Poomsae. Not only for their "form" (what you see) but also very much because of their "combative content". I firmly believe that Poomsae was the pioneers of Taekwondo`s way of preserving combat strategy by stringing different "examples" together into a mnemonic. I see them as "Taekwondo Textbook".

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

New years resolution problems?

Happy new year 2012
Hi and happy new year everyone:-) Yes we are already come to the middle of January, and I guess many of the readers have made themselves some kind of new year resolution. Many wants to do more excercise, be kinder to their spouses (or husbands;-), and then there is the other kind of new years resolution. Quitting a bad habbit. There are suprisingly many people who starts each new year trying to quit something. It is difficult to kill a habbit and it is partiqulary difficult to stop a "nice" bad habbit (something that feels good but is bad for you really). I came accross a really good guide that would help the last group, and this is a little out of my usual writing, but maybe this will benifit more people than my usual target group. Note that the guide is not my own, but it is well written and extremly well researched.