Thursday, 25 August 2011

How many poomsae do you know? Part 2

Could this be one
intrepretation for the move
in part one??

This is the 2nd part of two parts. Part one can be read by clicking here.

In my last posting I wrote a little about what it means to actually know a poomsae. I wrote that it was a lot more about your knowledge of how to apply poomsae movements and principles in self defense and combat than your performence of the patterns. The performance part does have its purpose, but it is not the end of poomsae practise.

If the name Iain Abernethy rings a bell then you are probably aware of where I am going with this, but if it is not then I strongly advice you to look him up. He is a Karate practisioner, but his research in his chosen arts patterns are strongly related to our patterns. Therefore go to and read every "bunkai" article you can find.

Bunkai is the japanese word for pattern study. The Korean reading of the same phrase is Boonhae. But in Korean it means simply to take appart. If you add "Hae Sul" as in "Poomsae boonhae hae sul" you have a meaningfull phrase meaning to disect poomsae and study it indepth. Hae Sul is indepth study or analasys. Personally I like the Kukkiwon textbook term: "Poomsae oongjung dongjack" wich means something like the practical meaning of poomsae movements.

No matter what term you use for it, patterns study is a hugely overlooked part of Taekwondo study. If you are wondering why you have the hand on your hip, why you are in this exact stance, why you chamber your blocks and techniques then serious pattern study is the way to go. In Taekwondo however the most common way of doing patterns study is to memorise the sequence of movements and when it comes to apply them in combat the majority simply say that the movements of poomsae is outdated and in real life we would/should be doing this instead, followed by a major change in technique to make them more like kick boxing or in recent years like MMA.

After reading the bunkai articles of Iain Abernethy try to honestly ask yourself again just how many poomsae do you know. My answer regarding my self after many years of research is two:)

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