The Korean term for basic techniques is "Gibon Dongjak" (기본 동작). Gibon is often translated as "Basic" but I like the other possibility "fundemental" better. Basic implies that it is something for beginners and that once it is mastered it can be forgotten in favor of something more advanced. Fundemental on the other hand implies the basis on wich all other things rest. Dongjak means something in the lines of "movement(s)". Thereby basic techniques ---> Gibon Dongjak --> Fundemental movement(s). If Taekwondo was a house then Gibon Dongjak would be its foundation. This really shows the importance on Gibon Dongjak since a house built on weak/poor foundation will be swept away by a small wind, a rainy day or something equally trivial, while a buliding built on strong foundations will stand for as loong as it is properly maintained.
|Front Kick is one of the |
fundemental moves of
- Blocking techniques (Makki)
- Punching techniques (Jirruegi)
- Kicking techniques (Chagi)
|Typical "Line work":-)|
The early masters of Taekwondo used several training aids to help them to perfect their techniques and one of the most important ones was the "Dallyon Joo" or "forging post" in English. It was essentually what the Japanese called Makkiwara and it is a striking post with a padded surface. All the "blocks", kicks and punches was trained by relentlessly pounding the Dallyon Joo over and over again. Impact training and conditioning was seen as very important maybe just as important as line work, and a great deal of time was used to train each technique so that it could be used with great power in a combative context. This training method to help refining Gibon Dongjak has all but dissapeared in these modern times as the focus on sport with padded surfaces and strict rules make conditioning work like the Dallyon Joo redundant. Why would you strike the Dallyon joo to perfect power generation in your punches when you do not get any points for punches in a match? Why condition your hands for impact when they are only allowed to strike a padded surface (WTF) or they are protected by gloves (ITF)? The Dallyon Joo is not needed if all you want is sport but it was essentual for the original martial art that became todays Taekwondo.
|Stances are a vital part of Gibon Dongjak|
Another but largely overlooked part of Gibon Dongjak training is the health aspect. The techniques of Taekwondo if done correctly does improve health. The stances strenghtens the legs (it is just a side benifit as the stances has as everything in our training a practical purpose as well), the hip twist for power generation trains the hips, and lower back, the pulling hand tightens up your back muscles, the high kicks improve range of motion etc. Coupled with proper breathing training the fundemental movements of Taekwondo is great for your body.
Hisotricly the notion of basic tecniques that we have today does not seem to have existed prior to Anko Itosu`s introduction of Karate to the Okinawan school system. Before this time the training was forms and movements based. Your teacher would not ask you to perform a low block and a middle punch. He would just show you and say "like this, and like this". The applications were shown to the students too in some cases, but often the students needed to find out stuff on their own. In the Kukkiwon textbook (2006 edition) it is stated that the basic techniques are just training to reach and perfect the Poomsae of Taekwondo (paraphrasing yet again:-) ). So in the official Kukkiwon dogma the basic techniques are essentually just another way to practise poomsae. I say this view is wrong in that Taekwondo has more fundemental moves than the moves contained in Poomsae.
I studied Taekwondo at a University in Korea for one year, and one thing I had to learn was all the Poomsae in the Kukkiwon system (just superficial performance sport not indepth applications). One thing I noticed was that many hand techniques like one and two finger strikes, "chest nut fist", bear paw and a lot of other techniques are missing from poomsae. Yet they are described in the Kukkiwon Textbook! This coupled with the fact that a large portion of our kicks are also missing (axe kick, horse/back kick, all spinning kicks etc) makes the Gibon Dongjak training very important. If not for this part of training then the techniques will die out and dissapear.
The next part of the series regarding patterns/forms/poomsae can be read by clicking here