Monday, 30 April 2012

Are Kicking, Blocking and Striking the only methods in Poomsae?

Funakoshi demonstrating a
grappling attack that looks
suprisingly as if it was taken
from Koryo Poomsae!
Often when you read stuff on Poomsae, Poomse, Hyung, Tul, Kata etc you will see that each movement is described as a technique and each technique belong to a specific class of techniques. The most typical way of describing them within my own school of Taekwondo ("Kukki-style") is thusly:
  • Seogi (stance)
  • Chagi (kicks)
  • Jireugi (punches)
  • Chigi (strikes)
  • Makki (blocks).
Looking at the list and knowing that each movement in Poomsae blongs into one of these you can easily be led to believe that the only methods that Poomsae records are blocks, kicks and strikes.. Very few approach their study of Poomsae with the belief that there are more to Poomsae than this.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Wisdom from the teachers teacher

Here is another short but hopefully a little thought provocing post.
As I have explored indepth over many posts on this blog, the tradition we have with forms come straight from Karate/Quan Fa hybrid influence. Most original Taekwondo schools trace their lineage to maybe one of the most famous Karate pioneer; Gichin Funakoshi. Now much have been said about this man, and some worship him as a karate demi god, others critizise him and the brand of Karate he left (shotokan) as being to rigid, unrealistic etc. No matter what you think of him he did teach the founder of: Chung Do Kwan, Soong Moo Kwan, Yon Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan and greatly influenced the founder of Moo Duk Kwan.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The 10 000 Poomsae rule

One of the things I often hear when teaching junior grades or children is the question "How many times do I have to perform this Poomsae before I know it?". The standard answer in my Dojang to this question has always been that you need 10 000 repetitions of one Poomsae before you can truly say that you "know" it. In later years I have come to think that the 10 000 repetition rule is false as I think that "knowing" a Poomsae is more than just knowing the sequence of movements and be able to perform it well. But on the other hand 10 000 repititions before you know the performance side of it might still hold true.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Application to Chulgi il Hyung

Here is a clip from Iain Abernethy that was released a few days ago. I have written before about the history and bacground of this form (click here to read it) and that I was (and still am) very facinated by the richness of it. It contains few and simple movement throughout the form, but there are boundless possibilities for applications here.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Wisdom from the past

This is a short but (hopefully) interesting post. Many argue that the only thing that matters when it comes to Poomsae, Hyung, Tul or what ever you wish to call it is its performance. I have gone back in time to see what the Pioneers of what was to eventually be brought to Korea to become Taekwondo had to say in a time when student retention, comercialism and all the watering down of the martial arts had not yet had the profound effects that they have today. Do you believe Poomsae are martial dances with no practical intent? Read on and hear it from a man closer to the "source" than we are.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Anti-Bullying Blogging Carnival

Hi everybody. I was asked to contribute to an "Anti-Bullying Blogging Carnival" by the renowned martial artist and fellow traditional taekwondo blogger Colin Wee. Unfortunatly I have had to many projects going on at the same time lately so I could not make the post in time. But I think this is such a good thing to do and that helping people face their bullies or on the other hand help people awoid becoming bullies alltogether is very important so I still want to promote the Anti-Bullying Blogging Carnival as much as I possibly can through my Facebook account and through my Blog. I hope my readers will do the same:-) Colin started the idea of the "Anti-Bullying Blogging Carnival"  but he has also got an impressive list of participants from in my opinion many of the best martial arts bloggers out there!

Please visit the link below for a lot of reading material on this issue from some of the best martial arts blogs out there:

Friday, 13 April 2012

I dare you to define Poomsae

Yesterday I was helping out on a project where I was asked to write some information on Poomsae. When I was first aproached and asked if I coul participate I jumped on board at once as Poomsae is something that has always facinated me and this was a chance to see if I truly had absorbed some knowledge over the years. I made a short list over what I wanted to write and the first thing on a list was this: "What is Poomsae?". I wrote a few pages to answer the question, read through it and deleted it all. Not good enough. I started from scratch but the headline was still the same: "What is Poomsae?". After repeating the cycle 5 or 6 times I gave it up. What I had been trying to do was to describe Poomsae and make a definition that would work better than the mainstream one (a combination of basic techniques strung together in a predermined fashion or something along those lines).

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Practical application for Keumgang Poomsae Part Five

This is the fifth part of my Keumgang study. We have seen different usages for almost all the movements of the form, sometimes presenting as many as three possibilities of usage on one move. In the first part I looked closer on the opening move (wedge block/heocho makki) followed  by the openhanded strikes, in the second part I looked at the three following movements (inward knife hand performed in back stance), in the third part I looked at the most signature move of all in this poomsae namely keumgang makki performed in hakdari seogi (simultanious high, and low section block performed on one foot) and in the fourth post I looked at the "large hinge" also seen as a "hook punch". This time it is time for one of the most ridiculed movements of all, a great mystery to many and one of the movements that has puzzled me for ages as well. Namely the infamous Santeul Makki or mountain block.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Vital Points; Are they a part of Taekwondo study?

For a Traditional Taekwondo student the question in the headline is not even an issue. Of course it is! For the mainstream Taekwondoin (even some who call themselves "Traditional") it is a question of great controversy. I have to say that I can not blame many for a lack of knowledge in this area as even in my own organisation the study of vital points are not really dwelved into until you get close to a black belt ranking. That said all my students from white belt and up know at least three vital points that Taekwondo exploit relentlessly during Poomsae practise and they know how to attack them.