Thursday, 11 July 2013

Application to Taegeuk Oh (5) Jang

The most searched for content on this blog seems to be the practical applications for our poomsae. That fact coupled with the fact that one Reader of the blog expressed great interest in the applications through comments  and mentioned that he studdied Taegeuk Oh Jang at this time made me inspired to write this post that focus exclusivly on Taegeuk Oh (5) Jang and the (hopefully) practical applications to that form:-)

This can also be the first move of Taegeuk Il Jang
 as well as Taegeuk Oh Jang
Note that there are endless possibilities of Applications in the Poomsae. The one I provide now is purely as Food for thought..

Sequence one: Groin shot and hammer fist strike

The first two techniques done in the form is a low Block (arae makki) followed by a hammer fist strike (Mae Joomeok Naryo Chigi). In a previous post I wrote extensivly about the Word "makki" and its possible translations. You might want to read that one before Reading on. One of the Cardinal rules of Poomsae is that everyone starts With a defensive technique.

Done in long front walking stance
the body weight and height of the hammerfist
is better suited for the groin shot.
I see many uses for the low Block hammer fist combo, but for this one I will use it as a defense against a wrist hold. The opponent grabs Your wrist, you Counter the grab by grabbing his wrist (With the arm that was held by the opponent without freeing yourself), you then apply an arm Lock followed by a hammer fist strike to the groin of the opponent. This will most likely make the opponent bend forward, either as a flinch response so the groinshot does not Connect or as a reflexive pain reaction because the groinshot Connected. This makes the downward hammer fist strike a Natural follow up With many good striking Points being exposed for you (the back of the head, the neck, the spine etc).


Forgive my bad drawing skills but I do hope you all understand what I am trying (desperatly) to

The situation you might use this or a variations can be quite different from one another. It can be used as a defense against a wrist hold, it can be used proactivly if you grab the opponents wrist, it can be used mid fight if you are clinching as a hammer fist strike to the groin and to the back of the head combo, etc etc. If you look at the Taegeuk Series as one series of Poomsae aimed at teaching you combative skills then it makes sense that the early ones focus on the early stages of the fight and the later ones focus on the middle stages of the fight. Taegeuk Oh (5) Jang being the Fifth in the series it makes sense to me that it opens up mid fight rather than in the opening of the fight.. But thats just me:p

The techniques are repeated on the other side in the form and you can always be "lazy" and think that is because it is the same Application done in the Mirror image, but you can also give it another Application and thereby enriching the form further. We can look at the official Application here too so we get both:

The opponent kicks you With an ap chagi (front kick). You Block the opponent who (for some reason) grab Your wrist and you use the prepetory movement of the hammer fist strike to free Your arm and imidiatly Counter attack the opponent With Your now freed arm. The target can be the elbow joint, shoulder or collar bone or the top of the head (no I did not make those targets up nor the Application it is straight from the Kukkiwon Textbook).

Normally the official Applications might be a little less realistic than the ones I come up With (if they were realistic to begin With I did not have to come up With my own), but there are many Things here that is Worth looking into:

First lets get the unrealistic aspect out of the way: The attack that is specified (the low front kick) from an opponent that is attacking from the side. The front kick is not a common attack on the street but you might encounter it. The inclusion of it in the Fifth form in the series is Ok as you would have had more realistic attacks in the first four. If you use the Mabuni theory of angles in forms you will put the attacker straight in front of you and the turn in the form is to teach you where to move in relation to the attack using evasion coupled With the Block. The attack comming from the front and you going out to the side away from the force of the kick is OK, so far so good. The follow up strike is a little weird in that the front foot is retreated so you move out of range and deliver the Counter attack in thin air. And why would the attacker grab Your wrist anyway?

I will have to make a post on the wristholds proper Place in fighting and Martial Arts but for short here are a few reasons why the opponent might grab Your wrist:
  • Control Your movements and cutting off Your ability to flee
  • Stop You from attacking the groin
  • Stop you from attacking the throat
  • Stop you from attacking the eyes
  • Stop you from reaching and pulling out a weapon
  • etc
So if you look at the first movement the arae makki and its height in relation to the opponent coupled With the bullit list above you might put two and two together and see that the first move might be an attack toward the groin and the rest of the official Application falls into Place:-) The form opens up With a realistic no nonsense attack (or some variation of a defense that involves striking the groin of the opponent) and shows you how to Counter the most likely what if the shit hits the fan scenario. There are unlimited combative variables in fighting but the most likely ending to the scenario of striking the opponents groin is:

  • You hit:-) Continue striking or flee
  • You miss:-( Continue striking or flee
  • You miss and your wrist/ arm is captured to stop you from striking again. Free youself continue striking or flee
Taegeuk Oh Jang is a valuable and Rich form, both in terms of techniques, applications and strategy contained within it. Its symbol Seon or Wind is also very intruiging in terms of linking the Applications to the Taegeuk symbol of the form.

I will try to post more on Taegeuk Oh Jang in the relative near future:-)


  1. Thank you so much, sir. :)

    i was eagerly waiting for it.

    Sir, i would like to know what is your opinion regarding the effectivity of hammer fist strike to the top of head (in a self defense situation, where the priority is to end the fight as quickly as possible) ?

    i personally feel that human skull is made of hard bones and thus a hammer strike to head may not be able to incapacitate the attacker or knock him out there and then

    1. Hi there:-) I will try to give more Applications from Taegeuk Oh Jang in the relative near future.

      In the Application I provided the hammerfist strike is delivered to the back of the head not the top of the head. The back of the head is a great knockout point:p

      A knockout is the result of the brain chrashing into the skull. I do not think that the top of the head is the best knock out point, but it is one of the structural weak Points of the skull. The plates that make up the skull join together there if I remember correctly making this point along With the temple one of the Places you can break the otherwise extremly durable and tough skull. You do need to produce a lot of Power to do any damage though, so I would not rely on this point for self defense purposes when there are a lot of different more accessible Points to chose from:-)

    2. of course, the target(for hammerfist strike) which you suggested is a more vulnerable spot as compared to top of the head (as suggested by 'official application' and even by master lee kyu hyun in this video, after 5:33

      i only wanted to know your opinion about striking the top of head.

    3. Ah Ok:-) I forgot to add the Third Picture so thought maybe you missread the target for my Application. But as I said, I view the top of the head as a valid target as I was told that it was a structural weak point of the skull (but as it is not one of my main Points I have not researched it further than my teacher said so..). I prefer other Points over the top of the skull because there is so much more data you can look at and therefore it is more reliable than the top of the head. Once I get my "Library" unpacked I can see through my notes and see if there is anything I have missed though:-) Lee Kyu Hyun is one of the greatest grandmasters in the world and if he says it is a good point it is good enough for me:p He learned Taekwondo pretty much straight from the beginning in Korea so his knowledge is wast. Also he is not afraid to look at the root arts of Taekwondo to gain more understanding.

  2. Hello
    top of the head is ok. suture lines of the skull are somewhat weaker there (i forget the cluster of acupuncture points name there. anyway less danger of damage to the skull than of a potential C1,2 burst fracture as most peoples necks are not that strong.
    watched video with really annoying english guy (Royal School of Overacting?) the area of the forehead he is striking is not really conducive to a hammer fist strike, if it was there would be no soccer players left. that particular GB cluster is best struck with an open hand with a twisting motion. no use breaking your hand.

    1. I saw the video again With sound this time. Hearing Master Lee Kyu Hyun speaking like a western cowboy really made my day:p

      You are completly right that the point they advocate is the forehead which to my knowledge is one of the strongest parts of the skull... That said Master Lee Kyu Hyun strikes "Annoying English Guy" on top of the head at least once instead of the forehead.. Maybe he got enough of the overacting too?:p I still think it is a good video Clip demonstrating in great detail the steps of Oh Jang and its Applications (even though it is the most basic kind of Applications). The self defense scene however they could have done without...

    2. Hello richard sir :)

      well, it may seem master lee kyu hyun is advocating forehead as a target, but actually seems like his actual words in korean might be mistranslated in english while dubbing. Also in the video after 5:52, andrew(the annoying english guy :D ) and another actor are seen striking each other's top of heads

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