|Chetdari jireugi anno 1986|
The technique appears first in Poomsae Sipjin (required for 4th Dan). In the later half of the Poomsae you do a bawi milgi (rock pushing) followed by a front kick and as the foot steps down into ap koobi seogi you do the chetdari jireugi. At the very end of the Poomsae you do it again, but this time you are in back stance. According to Kukkiwon Textbook the technique in question belongs to a group called "Teukso Jireugi" (special punching), wich in it self underlines the "exotic" and "strange" nature of the technique.
The Kukkiwon textbook offers no illustrated or detailed application for the technique but it does describe how it can be used:
Quote from Kukkiwon Textbook 2006 edition page 241:
Chetdari jireugi (fork shape jireugi): the two fists punch the opponents trunk equally. Two arms shaping the form of "u" letter horizonally. In fact, the left fist makes a momtong bandaejireugi, when the left foot is placed forward, while the right fist a momtong barojireugi in the same stance (The strange sentece building is just a part of the quote it is not me I promise:-p ) At that time the left shoulder turns 45 degrees and the right elbow slightly bent, the fist closer to the left forearm by a fists width."
According to the Kukkiwon textbook you use this punch to strike your oponents upper body with both fists at the same time. In a competition setting I see this work just fine. In a matter of fact I have used it extensivly in my Olympic sparring as a tactic to increase the distance between me and my oponent if we got to close. Shoving is not allowed in the sport of Taekwondo but a chetdari jireugi works brilliantly and is within the rules of the game. The problem arrises when we take the technique out of the olympic sparring context and into a self defense or more realistic combat setting. The chetdari jireugi is a truly all in attack as you leave yourself so incredibly open to counterattack. This is fine in a sporting context where facepunching is not allowed but a punch to the face is a good and simple counterattack to this technique.
|Chetdari Jireugii in usage|
With this we saw that our questioning had to come to an end because that was one of the worst applications I had ever heard. The rest of the students was very happy though so this application is undoubtfully being taught at a great number of Dojangs today:-p Actually the Iraq Master might not have come up with this application out of thin air. You see one of my older books (forerunner to todays Kukkiwon Textbook written in 1986) uses this excact application to the technique. The distance between the front and back hand was also longer at that time.
Obviously the Kukkiwon teaches the technique as a double punch either against one or two oponents, and they have no intention (at this time at least) to think of other ways to use it. I do not doubt that different teachers around the world teaches several different applications for the technique but the official Kukkiwon application is the most widely practised and taught. To find the key to use the technique in a more "realistic" setting we have to look elsewere. Where does the technique appear in other styles and how is it applied there?
|Shotokan`s Chetdari Jireugi|
That was a little better application for the technique but I was still not satisfied. I remembered that Choki Motobu was famous for his fighting prowess and he based his fighting style on the Naihanchi/Chulgi Kata/Hyung, and so maybe I could find an even better combat application in his writings? I got a hold of "Motobu Choki Karate My Art" translated by Patrick McCarthy and started to study his writings.
|Choki Motobu performing|
the technique in 1935
On the technique Chetdari Jireugi he writes (Quote from page 90): "Here both hands are thrusted out to the left side without changing ones posture. It represents a way wich to receive and respond to the opponents attack. When the hands are used together like this it is referred to as Mefutode (married couples hand)." End Quote. Here I learned something truly amazing. remember the post "Get some function in your form"? I wrote that you had to use the whole motion to come up with a practical meaning of the movement. Here you have one of the Pioners of Karate say that the technique represents a concept regarding how to tackle an attack using both hands together. The motion is therefore not that important in this case as it is the concept of dealing with an attack with both hands working together that is important. The movements making use of this concept might look like Chetdari Jireugi or it might not. karatebyjesse.com feature a great article on just this very concept (click here to read the article. It will help your Taekwondo a lot). Actually that might have been the end of this study, but I am not done quite yet, you see in the book by Choki Motobu I found several different fighting drills making use of this concept and as a bonus staying relativly close to the motion of Chetdari Jireugi. The ones illustrated in the article I linked to above does not follow the motion of Chetdari Jireugi, allthough they are also good examples for conveying the concept of husband and wife hand. I do not want to plagorise the whole book by Choki Motobu but I will give a few example photos here so you can see the chetdari jireugi motion used in a practical context. Remember that Choki Motobu thought the technique showed and represented a concept and as such you will not find picture perfect examples of the technique here.
|Hammerfist strike to the ribs|
After looking at the motobu-ryu Karate application of the move I remembered one more place that could shed some light on the technqiues combative context. The place is "Chin-na" wich is not a seperate martial art but a part of the whole in many styles of Kwon Bup (Quan Fa), like Ho Sin Sul in Taekwondo today. Chin-Na is the art of restraining the oponent with locks, grabs etc.
|Illustration from "Analasys of Shaolin Chin Na" page 211|
This is essentually a variation on the last application from Choki Motobus writings.
Instead of using a trapped arm as a fulcrum here we see the oponents shoulder used instead.
I find Kukkiwons application striking one oponent with both fists simultainiously to be a "good" application but not the most effective one. In a sporting context were face punching is not allowed this application works very well. Most of todays instructors only experience of combat being the sportive context it is no wonder why such an application is taught openly. I think that the founders of Taekwondo included the technique because they thought it was an effective combat technique as it was legal to punch to the face well into the 70s (until after Sipjin was created) and as such the application Kukkiwon teaches today would not be effective in the sport at that time.
The founders did unlike most of todays instructors have a lot more experience with real world violence since they grew up under harsh conditions. First in a land conquered by Japan and afterwards in a war torn land during and after the Korean war. It is therefore not strange if the original application the makers of Poomsae Sipjin intended was more inline with the ones shown in this study than the one presented and taught by the Kukkiwon today.
What we can learn by a study like the one I have embarked on is that the notion of "styles" is a very artificial way of cataloging the martial arts. As they all are made for self defense or combat they will all when realisticly applied look very much the same. If a Taekwondoin or a Karateka or a Kwon bup student use the chetdari jireugi in combat it would all look the same no matter what style he is in.
I think that after all of this digging what most important to learn is that styles are artificial and limiting and we need to acknowledge that and start studying everything from a realistic point of view. I am no less a Taekwondoin if I choose to use Chetdari Jireugi the same way Choki Motobu used it instead of how Kukkiwon says it should be applied. Every motion in Taekwondo and in the martial arts have multiple applications. They are only movements and it is important for any serious student not to be contempted in being on the level as their teachers but push trhough boundaries and develop as well as take charge of their own learning. I am myself learning Taekwondo from a 9th Dan teacher, but the most important thing he has ever learned me is to think for myself and not blindly follow him. I appreciate his sentiments and hope other Taekwondo students have similar wise teachers:-)