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 :-) 

Monday, 22 February 2016

Hwang Kee`s 10 precepts + important points on physical and mental training

I have translated a few sections from Hwang Kee`s 1958 book now and want to share it. I have included the two pages I have translated at the end of the post so anyone more knowledgeable in Korean can give their two cents :-) I have translated most of this myself without help (the 10 guidelines have been verified to hit the mark so to speak) so any mistakes here is mine and mine alone. I will be the first to admit that I am in no way fluent in Korean.

First out is the 10 point creed of Mu Duk Kwan as written by Hwang Kee himself in 1958. I have no idea if this creed is still in use. He starts each creed with the number 1. Similar creeds or guidelines appear in many Japanese Dojo and the numbering each as 1 means that they are all equally important. You will note that many of these points are mirrored in the more famous tenets of Taekwondo and 5 rules of taekwondo by Choi Hong Hi as well as other Kwan`s philosophy. My own teacher said in his first book that allthough there were differences in execution of techniques and forms as well as different "philosophies" their philosophies usually had the same core.

Hwang Kee includes an explanation to each guideline in his original text. So far I have not had the time to translate them but I will give it my best shot as soon as my Schedule opens up :-)

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

7 Training precepts of Funakoshi

I have written many times about the history of Taekwondo, and how important Gichin Funakoshi is in it. He is the teacher of most of the first generation of Taekwondo masters. To me at least this makes him a central figure in Taekwondo history, and when reading his works I also get an apreciation of just how much of the traditional Taekwondo I study has been influenced by him. The Yun Mu Kwan (later Ji Do Kwan), Chung Do Kwan, Song Mu Kwan, and Oh Do Kwan all have roots stretching back directly to Funakoshi. Mu Duk Kwan`s founder Hwang Kee was also strongly influenced by him allthough he did not train directly with him, he did read Karate books (most likely written by Funakoshi) and he trained a little at the Chung Do Kwan.

Recently I filled my "holes" in my Funakoshi collection and got the remaining books written by him, so now I am the proud owner of all his translated works. I am "celebrating" by going through each book carefully, taking notes as I slowly make my way through them and I will share some of those notes and my thoughts regarding them along the way. So far I have completed "The Essence of Karate", 21 Guiding precepts of Karate and Karate Do Nyumon (Master introductionary Text of Karate). Going through the latter I found 7 training precepts that Funakoshi tells us about that I think might help people who study Taekwondo too. So without further adu here are the training precepts: