There are a great deal of people researching the above in the fields of Karate. I can mention Iain Abernethy, Bill Burgar, Patric McCarthy, Lawrence Kane, Victor Smith and several others to name a few but where are the Taekwondo researchers? It is the same on the book front. Tons and tons of books have been written and are being written on Karate, but only a few on Taekwondo. I have yet to find more than 4 books on the subject that covers the Taekwondo patterns and they are (in random order):
- Chang Hon Taekwondo Hae Sul (ITF Patterns Stuart Anslow)
- Taegeuk Cipher (WTF/Kukkiwon Simon John O`Neil)
- Practical Taekwondo (WTF/ Kukkiwon and ITF Mathew Sylvester)
What is the reason for all of this? I think we can safely say that the focus on sport has shifted the focus from self defense towards sparring competition style. One result of this is that most practisioners are very young people who practise mainly to compete. They might start out with self defense in mind (and or competition) but with the focus on sport they either change their mindset and practise the sport or they think that the sport will prepare them for self defense. Either way, finding out the deeper application for their poomsae (if they even practise poomsae) are not prioritised by many schools today. If they practise poomsae the most schools I have seen only pratise them as performance sport or as basic techniques, but strung together in a coordinated "dance".
I have many books that I have collected over the last few years, and all the newer ones (1990s up to present day) are all how to do the correct motions of the form, but no function. Even the book entitled "The official explanation of Taekwondo" did not explain any application of the poom (movements) in the poomsae.It did however explain just how you should perform the poomsae in competition to win, and it did this in great detail. The older books on Taekwondo show applications to allmost all the movements but they are in the good old "block, punch, kick" variant. This comes as no suprise given that the "hard style Taekwondo" of old is a very simplistic and (if applied correctly) very effective striking system with a lot of effective anti grappling techniques to boot. But today even these basic striking applications are viewed in great awe as many people today just never learned them.
|This is the motion in Taegeuk 4 Jang|
That I am writing about.
|Gichin Funakoshi demonstrating|
a technique we find repeated in
What is your Taekwondo experience? Is Poomsae practise merely performance art practise or do you learn how to apply the motions in combat?