Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Opening of Taebaek Poomsae

Merry Christmas everyone:-D

I have often tried to showcase the practicality of Taekwondo Poomsae by showing practical applications derived from the Poomsae. I usually focus on simple techniques or the coloured belt Poomsae (Taegeuk series) since these are the Poomsae that most people practising Kukki Taekwondo are familiar with. I do however practise and study the black belt Poomsae as well as the Taegeuk series though and this time I thought it would be fun to give two applications to the opening movements of Taebaek Poomsae. If you are not familiar with it, it can be seen in the embedded video below (please let me know if the link dies) and you only need to watch the first sequence of movements (spreading low block, front kick, two punches to midsection and then repeated on the other side).

The first application is against a double wrist grab. I have shown it before on my blog so feel free to skip it if you do not want to see it. It starts roughly 2 minutes and 34 seconds into the clip below

The next one is against a two handed lapel grab. First the opponent have grabbed your lapel with both of his arms (picture below:)

Sorry about the poor drawing but on the bright side the information is free:-) As you are grabbed you use the opening presented by the fact that both of his arms are occupied by thrusting your fingers into vital points just under his jaw line and into the neck at a 45 degree upward angle. This is the preperation to the lower spreading block. The crossing of the arms in this application signifies the follow through. You do not need to break your fingers here, the attacking tool (spear hand) coupled with the correct target (keupsu or vital point) means that you do not need to use full force to get a response.

The first drawing below shows the strike:

As my drawing skills totally suck (but the information is free:-D ) I have included a second drawing below detailing the vital points along with the optimal attacking angle:

Then you shift your weight down and back (into tiger stance) and strike with the knife hand the attackers arms just above their elbows on the inside. The stance or shift of body weight and the knife hand strikes to the attackers arms are to be done together as in the form. This is the spreading block itself. You will either break the grip (good for you) complete the movement and open his defenses by moving his arms out of the way. If not you have weakened his grip and unbalanced him (not bad). This is illustrated in the drawing below:

You can then keep your arms low if you broke his grip and by doing so keeping his defenses out of the way for the incoming strike (knee strike or front kick or both) or you can grab his shoulders and pull him down into the aforementioned knee strike/ front kick (or both). In forms performance you lift your arms into a guard with closed hands so this could be interpreted as a grab and pull down of the shoulders. The knee strike front kick or combo follows imidiatly shown below:
First knee strike to a suitable target

Followed by a front kick shown above and two punches to any opening and suitable target you can take advantage from. In the form you do the strikes with a dangki son (pulling hand to the hip) and this is great if you use it as an unbalancing technique or as a form of limb control etc but in the drawing below I have opted for a boring simple punch without the pulling hand in use. The other hand that it not punching is not in use so it is held high in front of the body to be ready. Do not hang up on this detail as the situation warrants what you do and in this case no limb control was called for (since I draw the picture:p )

And that was it for today. I do hope you all have a very nice Christmas (this was published on December 24th 2013)


  1. Hello
    so nice to see what apps others have created for moves that i have written about! it keeps me thinking.
    a few observations:
    1. i generally dislike spear hands, at least the way they are commonly demonstrated for these kinds of attacks. they tend to hurt you more than the other guy. i prefer the older way of doing them.

    2. thumbs are an excellent way of attacking what appears to be st. 9 or the hyoid bone (not sure which you are showing, not a criticism as my drawing is far worse than yours), not only is it more accurate, it can be done with your eyes closed.

    3. the blows to the Lung 5 (inner arm) combined with the weight shift back will bring them forward, but you have to move out of the way otherwise they will smack you right in the face with their forehead. not shown in the form.

    4.I have never been successful in pulling a resisting individual over by their shoulders, or their head for that matter. it really can't be done although it is always shown that way. However, the knee into the inguinal crease will fold them over like a cheap suit! it will also attack three meridians at once for those who are into that kind of stuff.
    anyway, keep them coming.

    1. Hi Richard:-) Glad to hear from you.
      1: I do have issues with spearhands, but using fingertip strikes with less than full power to a soft weak spot is something I do. Also the founders of Taekwondo did not seem to have any issues with the spear hand strike application (they demonstrate them as application and in breaking). Could you please elaborate on what you mean by older way of doing them? All fingers together in one point?
      2: Agree:-) And I will look up the acupoint reference when I get the time and share it so you know excactly where I mean. We usually just use Korean words or the HHM (Hit Here Method) :-)
      3: Thanks for pointing that up. Could it be adressed by moving your weight even further back though? Or a little diagonal? I have not pressure tested the ap yet, only the ap against two wrist grabs as they are part of our syllabus.
      4: Our experience is not the same here, but if we take for granted that the opponent will be a lot stronger than you, I will agree. Also the strike against lung 5 and weight shift have allready made them bend forward (more or less).

      Thanks for all the feedback and thoughts, they are much appreciated:-)

  2. forgot! Merry Christmas.
    on another note, i have blasted my way through the new season of Lillyhammer. harmless fun to pass the time, especially like the hot blonde.
    however, in the first episode, they are driving a Ferrari around at high speed, with the amount of snow that seems to be in all their scene setting shots, who in their right mind would want a car like that there? do they keep sliding off the road or use it only one month a year?

    1. I do not know anyone owning a ferrari, but for those a lot more "afluent" (rich) and car enthusiasts out there, there are some who have one car for standard use and an expensive car for the spring and summer time. I hope they get to use them more than one month of the year though:p We do have spring and summer eventhough Norway is a northern country. It is warmer here than what is expected because of the Gulfstream.

  3. hello
    i am of the opinion that many of the karate type attacking positions have been modified after the transition to school and group type of learning experience. in short "if it looks right-it is right". many were changed to make them less effective than they were originally. fist and spear hand formation are prime examples of this. the way they are usually demonstrated is designed to make them less effective,e.g. they structurally weaken the hand so that the fingers or wrist will fold on impact. in my opinion, people over the years have learned to work around these problems. through training and practice ( also, hard work and pain) they have made it work. things could have been easier with starting out the right way.
    to keep it simple (honestly, with topics like this things can get exotic and weird very quickly) here is link to article that you had linked to before: http://ryukyuma.blogspot.com/2013/04/small-surface-strikes-structurally.html specifically the "nukite"
    that piece was striking to me as i had learned much of this in Chinese arts as i noted in the comments. while not exactly the way i learned it, it is very close. also, quite effective in use.

    i did post a bad quality video on striking surfaces from a class i had given at another school. it really just touches the surface as i didn't want to differ from the schoolmasters curriculum. perhaps i should redo at some point.

    lastly, you have been successful in pulling peoples head down. very often this is because their structure is poor and they are not actively resisting. i mention this because if they are resisting it is a very difficult to do, not impossible, but difficult. however, if you break their structure this can be done easily (another video i should redo) but the knee in the inguinal crease always works no matter how hard they try.

    well i guess that is enough for now. time for a Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks for Your further thoughst:-) I do hope you have a Nice New years eve and whish you a happy New year:-) I hope you continue on Your articles on "structure" as this is an interesting and often completly overlooked part of Taekwondo. I really apreciated Your series on Your own blog on the issue.

  4. Thanks for the free info and drawings, its the effort and thought that counts=)

    It nice that you share what you have learned in martial arts.
    Happy New Year!

    Martial Arts Brisbane

    1. Happy New year to you too:-)

      So you give me an A for effort and a F for the end result?:p I am a really bad "artist" but it helps a little to have a few drawings than the other option With only text. Besides they are quite funny to watch too:p