Tuesday, 30 December 2014

All quotes from "This months quote" from 2014

The title is slightly misleading since I have included from I started with "This months quote" in November 2013.

From December 2014 I started sharing the quotes in a slightly new way, embedding it inside  a
picture instead of just using plain text. How do you like this new format?

I write about so many different things on this blog, and while all are closely related to my studdies of Taekwondo I have greatly enjoyed this series (quote of the month) as it has been so fun to find these quotes all over the internet, my own books, discussion forums, study group, email exchanges and so many more places.

I decided early on after a few "Quote posts" that republishing them together in one post at the end of the year would make a great "last post" of 2014. Read through them and gain from them what you can. Thank you for reading this blog:-) Happy New Year:-)

Monday, 15 December 2014

Micro Post; This Months Quote:

First movement of Kanku Dai
performed by Funakoshi in
This months quote was featured here on this blog in early 2012. I chose to republish it here because eventhough it was published here 2 years ago I had a talk with a 2nd Dan ITF practisioner on forms and the reason for the chambering of movements, the "ready positions" and the hand that goes back to the hip. She had been practising for 10 years and "knew" all that was to know about "traditional
Taekwondo" not sport like I practised. She knew how to apply everything in combat and not the sports arena. I asked here a couple of questions that she answered pretty much as I thought she would straight from the Taekwondo Encyclopedia of Choi Hong Hi. I then showed here applications for the pulling hand, the Chambers of most of the basic Blocks and the usage of stances and she became very quiet until she said: "This is NOT Taekwon-do!". I answered that everything I had shown could be found withing traditional Taekwondo either as Ho Sin Sul or as applications of the art (think Sihak Henry Cho`s 1968 book for instance). She refused to talk more about Taekwondo after that and thats OK, but I could not help but think about the following quote from Gichin Funakoshi (again):
Compare this to the
picture above
Sorry for the "republish" but read the quote again anyway as it is pretty profound yet very simple when you grasp the meaning. As for the relevance Gichin Funakoshi has to Taekwondo? He taught
the founders of Oh Do Kwan, Yoon Moo Kwan, Song Moo Kwan Chung Do Kwan and influenced the rest indirectly. I think that speaks for his relevance when it comes to Taekwondo dont you?

Friday, 12 December 2014

My Taekwondo is not the same Taekwondo that your kid is practising!

When People learn that I practise Taekwondo I often get comments like: "Ah I practised Taekwondo as a kid. I think I even got a yellow belt", or "My (insert kid relative here) also practise Taekwondo. He/She has (insert colour here) belt". I appreciate that they are only doing small talk and trying to
relate what I do with their own experience(s) but what annoys me a little is the assumption that what this person trained as a child himself/herself or what his/hers young relative practise today is the same as what I practise. The short answer is that there is some foundational overlap between "my Taekwondo" and "their Taekwondo" but it is not very large.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Micro Post; Quote of the Month

This months quote comes from my nightstand, or to be more precise "The book of five rings". It has nothing to do with "The Lord of the Rings" but everything to do with real life strategy for survival. It was written by legendary swordman and winner of many many life and death duels Miyamoto Mushashi. First time I read the book I was too young and inexperienced but every time I read it these days I learn something profound and new from the book. It will not suprisingly make an appearance in my reccomended reading series as well at some point;-)

The reason I choose this quote is that allthough he is strictly speaking about weapons it is a danger that many Taekwondoin faces in their studies and training. We rely so much upon the longest weapon on our body; the feet that we often neglect closer range weapons such as our arms, knees, elbows and grappling. Relying on one over the others and specialize is in my opinion not the worst thing that can happen. What is a real danger though is neglecting all other aspects so much that you are no longer able to use the other aspects. You often see this with "Taekwondo players" who are masterful kickers but once you get inside that range they no longer function as fighters. 

“You should not have any special fondness for a particular weapon, or anything else, for that matter. Too much is the same as not enough. Without imitating anyone else, you should have as much weaponry as suits you.”

-Miyamoto Mushashi

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Recommended Reading Part 5:

Alas we have reached the end of "Taekwondo books" in the series (for the time being at least). I know of several other books on Taekwondo that I have on my whish list but I decided early that the books that I recommend in this series will be books that I own and have read over and over again so I can vouch for them. Books are expensive and it takes time to read them so I will honor my readers by only recommending stuff I 100% know they will enjoy (if they enjoy the blog in general). So what is it this time? Click on the read more buttom and you will see:-)

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Variations of Poomsae; Have we lost something?

Previous in my blog I have made the case that the Kukkiwon has changed its standard over the years. These days I believe that the Kukkiwon standard has been largely if not completly the same all this time but the emphasis on standarisation became much larger after 2006. Many masters around the world tweaked the KTA forms based on their own experiences and experimentations along with whatever Kwan lineage they belonged to or hailed from. Some practise and study under insecure imature instructors who demand an almost religous cult like obidience and "loyalty" from their students, insisting that they study with them and them alone and it is not tolerated if they study under different instructors or God forbid different arts.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Micro Post; Martial ART

The word "art" has two meanings in English (Thank you teacher Ron):

1: Noun which is the most common way to use the word expressing aestaetics works of art or
2: Verb to be skilled at something.

In the word Martial Art I believe the second usage is the true meaning, but sometimes you see something so good and so beautifull you stop breathing and are just in pure awe of what you see. The hairs at the back of your neck rises, your peripheral vision ceases to exist and all your imagination and focus is drawn into the thing you see.

I had that kind of moment when I watched the clip I share below. It was simply perfection, poetry in movement and never before has the two meanings of "art" been so closely related.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Facebook page launched

Traditional Taekwondo Ramblings is getting more and more popular. I thought when I started writing that I would Write in English so I could comunicate With anyone who was interested in what I wrote but primarely I wrote because it was/ is a great way to gather and organise my thoughts and increase my Learning experience. After blogging since 2011 I have gone from a few hits a day to 200 hits a day and this has slowly but surely increased day by day since I started. Launching a facebook page for the blog is a logical step to comunicate better With the Readers of the blog since it is a lot easier to ask questions that are not directly related to the posts they are Reading but which they want answers to nonetheless and it will be easier to share interesting content both from me and to me:-) I do not have all the answers (never said I did) but I do love questions as they force me to think. Indeed many posts on this blog is the direct result of a question asked from a student or fellow practisioner.

If you want to see the facebook page (not much content there at the moment but there will be soon) and give me a private Message or share some interesting visit http://www.facebook.com/traditionaltaekwondoramblings/ and if you like this blog give me a "like" in there;-)

Thanks to Samir for helping me setting it up and for designing the background picture (included in this post and now proudly displayed at the top of this blog as well)

Best regards from Ørjan.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Reccomended Reading Part 4

We have so far looked closely on Kukkiwon Textbook (2005), Choi Hong Hi`s Taekwondo Korean art of Self defense (1965) and Sihak Henry Cho`s Secrets of Korean Karate Tae Kwon Do (1968).
This time I would like to bring another early Taekwondo Master into the forefront before leaving "Taekwondo" for a while. The books so far on this list are all "Taekwondo books" but of course there are books not considered "Taekwondo" that I would also like to include in this list. Taekwondo is highly eclectic in its make up, being built on the foundation of several different Kwan (Schools) each having different roots. The books I want to reccommend in this post is actually written by the 2nd Kwanjang (headmaster) of one of those Schools; The Chung Do Kwan.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Micro Post; This months quote:

This month I would like to share a quote from the Taekwondo Study Group I belong to. A question was asked about "boxing punches" and techniques in Taekwondo which spurred a great discussion on bio mechanics etc. Simon O`Neill had a great comment on the bio mechanics of punching which I would like to share with this blogs readers.

On differences between bio-mechanics used in boxing vs Taekwondo punching:
"It is not so much where you chamber as much as
what part you mainly use to generate power from 
(shoulders or hips) and what you do with your feet meanwhile.
Often the differences between boxing punches and taekwondo punches is said to be boxing punches from the guard and Taekwondo from the hips but that is really a big simplification. The real difference is as Simon says in such a short quote much more to do with structure, and where you are generating power from. Obviously boxing also uses their hips, but they rely a lot more on shoulders for power generation than in taekwondo basic technique.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Micro Post; Upward Elbow Strike Application

Jeff Rosser is a name you are going to hear a lot more about on this blog in the future. Hopefully you will also hear more about it outside of this blog as well. He is currently in the procsess of publishing his book on elbow strikes and applications and if you have followed Totally Taekwondo Magazine and read his articles you will know that this book is not simply about basic elbow strikes but a very sophisticated use of elbows in striking, locks etc. He recently filmed a few applications during a workshop he held in Korea and shared them via the study group I belong to on Facebook. I found the videos so excellent that I thought I should share them here as well because practical applications of Taekwondo technique no matter if they are linked back to our forms or not is still practical application of technique. Elbows are especially often neglected or overlooked in our studies of Taekwondo so I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did. If it Works you should be able to view a playlist With three videos at the time of writing, if not let me know and I will provide a link to the others seperatly:-)

In a few months I hope that I will get the chance to review his book and provide an interview with him so stay tuned:-)

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Did the originators of KTA forms know their stuff or were they ignorant? (FACTS VS BELIEF!)

Taekwondo never made use
of the Pulling hand because they never
learned practical applications from Karate?
What is this I am seeing?
(Picture from a Tae Kwon Do book)

Ramble alert; You have been warned! (This is not a serious article but a long rant instead)

Lately I was accused of being a revisionist (someone who alter or warps history to his own needs/views) when it comes to Taekwondo and especially so in my view that perhaps the founders and the originators of KTA poomsae knew more than we give them credit for. My study of history is
something I have done to make sense of a system that sometimes simply does not makes sense in a purely kick block punch paradigm and history no matter how you look at it tells us flat out that Taekwondo was never meant to be only kick block punch when looking at its arsenal.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Reccomended Reading Part 3:

Taekwondo does not contain
elbow strikes??
This is the third installmant in this series. I am not sure how long I will keep this series going but at least 10 books worth for the time being:-) In the first post I reccomended Kukkiwon Textbook as that is my primary system (I would say the only system:p ) I study, the 2nd was Choi Hong Hi`s 1965
book for historical reasons along With a good showcasing of what made early Taekwondo so feared and respected as a Martial Art and not only a sport. This time I want to look at old school Taekwondo applied Ji Do Kwan style!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Reccomended reading part 2:

Called "blocking apparatus" this
kind of training is not gennerally
seen in any Taekwondo book!
Since I started out with the "obvious" Kukkiwon Textbook as number one in this series I want to bring your attention to another Taekwondo writer who has influenced me (and countless others) in
Taekwondo. You might have heard his name before; Choi Hong Hi. The book I am going to reccomend is not his 15 volume Encyclopedias allthough if you are a Chang Hon Ryu practisioner you should really really get that collection or at least the condensed Encyclopedia.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Part two: Taegeuk Pal Jang

In part one we looked primarely on the first two movements (though I added that the jumping front kicks could be a follow up, and another application for the jumping front kicks). This time I would like to continue with the form starting from the jumping front kicks. The form can be seen below:

Monday, 15 September 2014

Micro Post; This Months quote:

This time I will share one quote from Kenwa Mabuni. Like Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni was a Karate pioneer and taught by legendary masters. He was the first teacher of Yoon Kwae Byung which those who read my blog will know is the founder of the Ji Do Kwan (or reopener of the Yoon Moo Kwan as Ji Do Kwan depending on how you look at it). So eventhough Kenwa Mabuni is a Karate master and that most of Taekwondo`s Karate roots are with Gichin Funakoshi, Kenwa Mabuni also had a finger in the Kukki Taekwondo lineage. Mabuni is or was famous for his knowledge of many differen forms or Kata, but he was also famous for his deep knowledge of them. Knowing that he knew A LOT OF Kata or forms I found this quote very interesting when I first saw it. So here is the quote:
"If practiced properly, two or three kata will suffice as "your" kata;
all of the others can just be studied as sources of additional knowledge.
Breadth, no matter how great, means little without depth.
In other words, no matter how many kata you know,
they will be useless to you
if you don't practice them enough"
-Kenwa Mabuni

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Reccomended Reading Part 1

My love for Martial Arts and my love for reading books has over the years made me amass a rather sizeable "library" on martial arts and martial arts related books. After being asked the question "What non Taekwondo book has enhanced your TKD the most?" recently I had to think through what books I have read and which had done the most for "My Taekwondo". The answer to the question of which book had enhanced my TKD the most (non TKD book) is probably Iain Abernethy`s Bunkai Jutsu as that book was the one who really started me out systematicly looking at the forms I practise and how everything fits together (or should fit together anyway). I have always been interested in the practical application of Taekwondo, but before reading the Bunkai Jutsu book I really did not see how Poomsae had combative meaning beyond being basic techniques strung together. Bunkai Jutsu by Iain Abernethy will therefore be in this series but not right now:-)

Friday, 5 September 2014

Part One: Taegeuk Pal Jang

I must admit that while I study applications from all the forms I practise I center my studdies around very few forms and "casually" interpret the rest of my forms. This way I can get a deep understanding of my "core forms" while still getting additional input from other sources. For this post however I
We Santeul Makki
wanted a challenge. I decided that I wanted to try to completly read a random form between Taegeuk Il (1) Jang and Hansoo Poomsae. So I searched out a random number generator and made it chose a number between 1 and 16 and got 8. So Taegeuk Pal Jang it is:p Unlucky for me this is not one of my "core forms" when it comes to applications study so this is going to be fun:-) I plan to do the same for Taegeuk Pal Jang as I did for Keumgang Poomsae; Make a series of post and give applications and thoughts for each movement in the form from start to finish.

How "deep" the applications are going to be will depend on the Outlook the reader has on forms applications. Some sequences in Taegeuk Pal Jang just lends themselves so well into a Kick Block Punch paradigm that making it more "advanced" might actually just make the sequences harder to apply in combat. I have no interest in making "advanced" applications for the sake of making them "advanced". I make "alternative" applications wherever the official or Kick Block Punch line of thought make no sense. So if you want to learn more about Taegeuk Pal Jang click the read more:-)

Monday, 1 September 2014

Open question to those who believe that Poomsae is only kick block punch

This post will act as an open question to those who believes and or states as fact that the Korean Taekwondo Association forms (Taegeuk and Black Belt forms) were based purely on a "Kick Block Punch" Paradigm. There are an awfull lot of People out there casually stating "cold hard facts" when discussing applications in Korean derived forms stating things like: "Koreans only knew kick block punch applications so there are no intentional applications within the KMA (Korean Martial Arts) forms beyond kick block punch." The Kick Block Punch Paradigm is the view that all techniques within the forms MUST be either a kick, a Block or a punch/ strike. I have written at length here about the old Kwan`s and their roots so I will not go into them here yet again. I will only say that I personally think the originators of the Korean Taekwondo Association forms knew more about their martial art than what people today give them credit for. My question for those who subscribe to the belief that the KMA forms only consists of kick block punch is this:

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Palgwe forms (+ original Koryo as a bonus)

I often see questions about the Palgwe forms on internet forums. The most common ones are how were they done/ how did they look like? Are they still practised in Kukki- Taekwondo? Why did we replace them with the Taegeuk set? etc

I will try to keep this post short but to see how they looked like etc I have tried to gather what is in my own opinion the best resource for these forms video-wise. So for the first question just look at the clips I have embedded below:-)

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Importing foreign forms into your training?

I got an interesting question the other day in a facebook group I belong to, asking about what peoples points were regarding importing foreign forms into your own training/studdies and wether you would alter the form to suit the way you move or keep it as it is in the style you imported it from).

In a normal group he would probably be bombarded with "blasphemi" and other allegations but in
this group it was discussed civilized. I am not going to repeat what others stated in the group but I would like to share my point of view on the subject. It should be mentioned that the foreign forms in the question were "karate forms" or "Kata" ("Hyung" is actually the same word for form but pronounced in Korean).

Friday, 15 August 2014

Micro Post; This months Quote

After I shared the video on North Korean demonstration team`s Secret for breaking we had quite a few comments on breaking and its role in Taekwondo plus cheating. I have written an extensive post on my view on Breaking and its Place within Taekwondo but frequent commentator "Starfish" managed to say just about all I said in a few Words instead of a long blogpost. Again this showcases the brilliant comments that are comming in on the blog so I recommend that People Reading the blog take their time and read the comments too. Often they are just as good as the blog post (if not better).

So from "Starfish" on breaking (Kyupka):
"For most I believe,
overcoming the mental anguish
and fear is the victory,
not the breaking itself."

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Common uncorrected mistakes in Poomsae

Its been a long while since I last wrote about Poomsae performance or a strictly Poomsae only post. To remedate this I have collected a few musings I had a long while back on a forum regarding common uncorrected mistakes in Poomsae. The post will only focus on the KTA/Kukki/WTF Taekwondo forms. People Reading this will probably Wonder about my rank and training
experiences so I will make this short before starting: I have trained Traditional Kukki Taekwondo With two masters since January 2000. My Teachers are 9th and 6th Dan and I spendt the first 13 years With the same amount of training With both Tea
chers (unlike all of those who spend a week a year at best With a 9th dan and then proclaim him as their teacher instead of the guy doing the day to day training). I myself have 2nd Dan (I have not bothered With testing and I am in no hurry either). I have travelled to Korea about 10 times to Train intesivly and stayed there 3 weeks each trip. I also did one Whole year of study at Choson University in Gwangju Korea in 2007-2008 where I learned all Poomsae in Kukkiwon from GM Yoon 9th Dan. Prior to 2007 I had learned Taegeuk Il (1) Jang to Poomsae Taebaek by my two primary Teachers. So With that out of the way let us start:

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Please... Stop with the WTF VS ITF Nonsense!

Ok this is a "rant" and not a serious blog post/ article. You have been warned!

I have been Reading up on Taekwondo/ Tae Kwon Do/ Taekwon-Do (insert Your prefered spelling here) and one thing that I have come to hate these last few weeks is the eternal: "WTF is sport, ITF is Martial Art!"/ "WTF = Sport"/ "WTF = Only sport and leg fencing" (insert similar statement here). More often than not these statements comes from People who Train either under one of the ITF organisations or someone training in an independent Dojang. This is only my personal opinion and as this is a rant everything I say will not be pure facts just my own observations these last few weeks.

What bugs me With the statements above is not the fact that WTF = Sport because it really is:-) It is the fact that all Kukki Taekwondo students are told over and over and over again that they practise only sport and that ITF is what really is a Martial Art. I hope as many ITFèrs as possible will read this and be a little more enlightened on this subject because they are all doing the same mistake.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Honoring the Pioneers of Taekwondo; Yun Kwae Byung

Yun Kwae Byung
(Image Source)
Those who follow my blog closely might remember that I started writing a series of posts about the Kwan founders/pioneers of Taekwondo. The reason I started doing that was plentiful. The most important reason for me personally is to do what I say in the headline; honor them. We have a lot to thank them for when practising Kukki Taekwondo (often mistakingly referred to as "WTF" Taekwondo) but unfortunatly many Taekwondoin do not even know about them and if they do know their names they only know that they at one point founded a Kwan (School) and usually nothing more. The man in this post is perhaps one of the most unknown pioneers and my sources are therefore limited but I will present what I do have gathered of information because I feel it is a shame that Yun Kwae Byung should go unnoticed in the annals of Taekwondo history.

The reasons behind the series are indeed plentiful and other motivations are:
  • To put the myths of the nearly "untrained" founders of Taekwondo to rest!
  • To put the myth that Taekwondo = Shotokan with added kicks to rest!
  • To spread the "true" and the least propoganda history of Taekwondo as possible (hey I can only be as good as my sources and critical thinking allows.
So if you want to read more about Yun Kwae Byung read on:

Friday, 25 July 2014

Micro Post; Taekwondo Death Touch

First of all the headline is a joke, but I have seen the same break performed under (insert martial art style here)`s death touch/ strike. I will explain what happens below the clip but first watch the clip:

What I did was that I drank a bottle of beer (no beer was hurt in this clip) and nearly filled the bottle with water. I then gripped the bottle tightly with my left hand and used "Batangson Naryeo Chigi" or a strike with my opened hand on the opening of the bottle. When done with sufficient strength you actually push the air inside the bottle downwards usually resulting in the bottom of the bottle to fall cleanly off (this time almost the whole bottle broke instead). Kids do not try this at home:-)

Martial applications or relevance? Almost zero. It only demonstrates that the "breaker" (me) has strong gripping strength and that he can focus a lot of power on a small surface resulting in the break. My guess is that any traditional trained Taekwondoin blue belt and above should be able to replicate this with no problems at all. Even untrained adults should be able to do this as long as they can strike hard with their opened palm and possess enough gripping strength.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

(Part 4) Applying Eulgeul Makki

This is the 4th post in a series focusing on how one technique (in this case an Eulgeul Makki or Face/High Block) can have very different Applications and this needs to be adressed when looking at Our forms for combative meaning. The technique itself has many Applications, but the Eungyoung (practical Application) of Poomsae will depend on how you do Your "Boonhae" (breaking Down of forms into smaller pieces). You will have to consider the technique before or after the high Block and pick the Application that fitts the best within the form. The forms role as an mnemonic for self defense function in that it shows techniques or movements within a dynamic context vs drilling of basic techniques (Gibon Dongjak) which focuses on the single technique or movement that focuses on static context. You could therefore say that this series focuses on static context or Gibon Dongjak and not Poomsae Application since that would have to consider the form (techniques before or after or both) and pick one of these (or others) Application that fits within that context.

In Part 1 we focused on the main movement as "Block" both against haymakers and straight punches to the head. In Part 2 we focused on the movement from a closer range against a wrist grab. In Part 3 we looked at it as a "lifting up" grappling move (upward tension on the Lock so the opponents gets up on their toes to help With the pain). In this part I want to focus on both the primary movement (blocking hand) and the secondary movement (Non blocking hand) and how they together can work defensivly for the Taekwondoin.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Micro Post; This month`s quote

"Compliments aren't for the ego,
they are for fueling the fire
to make yourself train harder,
push further and to
make sure that you are better next time."
-Damian Adams


Thursday, 10 July 2014

(Part 3) Applying Eulgeul Makki

This series was started to demonstrate that one singular technique (in this case Eulgeul Makki or Face/High section Block) can have multiple Applications. In Poomsae you will have to pick the one Application that fits in With the technique before or (and?) after the one you are looking at to find its combative meaning within the form. The reason why I started the series was to show that eventhough the basic movements that we have inherited from Taekwondo`s mother arts are "jumbled" around in Poomsae, we can still find practical Applications within them. Personally I think that the originators of Poomsae knew far more than we give them credit for and I find it likely that they designed poomsae With practical Applications in mind whilse still grading them for difficulty of performance etc. In Part 1 we looked at the movement of the "blocking hand" as a Block against straight and round punches to the head. We also looked at the movement as a part of a simultanious defensive/offensive move in one as recorded in several Places in Our Poomsae. In Part 2 we looked at it as a wrist grab release showing allready that the single technique could handle 3 different attacks!

Monday, 7 July 2014

Micro Post How to break bricks like the north koreans do

If you see the whole clip and especially the last 30 seconds or so you will discover the legendary north korean method of breaking like they do in their incredibly awsome demonstrations. Of course they are cheating instead of showing how true Taekwondo can be used for breaking so I have just lost all respect for the north Korean demonstration team....

I have written about breaking before and its role in Taekwondo and I still say that I am more impressed by those who do it less flashy but with proper technique and hard breaking materials than this flashy cheating stuff..

Friday, 4 July 2014

(Part 2) Applying Eulgeul Makki

Following my last post on Eugeul Makki or high section block, I pick up from where we left off (applying it as a defensive "block") and change it up a little. The point of this series is to demonstrate how common Taekwondo basic techniques like for instance the High section block can have multiple application depending on what situation you find yourself in. In Part 1 where we focused on the
"block" and the primary movement of the technique we touched on different ways of using it both as a purely defensive static "block", as a deflection and as a part of simultainious defense/ offense. Also the attack ranged from straigh head punches to wild haymakers, so allready in Part 1 of the series you can appreciate how important and varied technique it is. Now for Part 2:

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Micro Post: 100 ways to attack the groin!

The groin is a vital target of every serious combat art in the world. It is not a definitive fightstopper and you can not really only rely on one kick to the groin to save you in a fight but it is a valuable target nonetheless. In the excellent video below you can see 100 ways to attack this vital target. The video is only a few minutes long and it will be required material for all the future black belt gradings I will conduct at my future Dojang. So you just know this is some serious shit (pardon my french).

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

(Part 1) Applying Eulgeul Makki

I recently had a discussion going on wether "deep" Applications can be found in the KTA Poomsae (Taegeuk/Black belt Poomsae) or if it was impossible to find them because they were never meant to be there. This is a discussion I have had time and time again. I use my forms as a fundemental part of "my" Taekwondo and everything I do when it comes to Taekwondo and the martial arts are found within Poomsae. So for me practising Poomsae empty performance will make me better at all Things Taekwondo since my mental intent is different to those who practice for movement education, Block,
kick punch Applications, etc. After debating the historical facts for a long time (we agreed upon most Things but interpreted them differently) I said this (which the other party did not have a good Counter argument for):

"All Poomsae consists of roughly the same building Blocks as Karate Kata. We agree that Karate Kata had practical Applications. We are both fans of the excellent work that Iain Abernethy, Vince Morris, Patric Mcarthy, Jesse Enkamp and others has put forth on Karate Kata. They all say that each technique in Kata can be several Things however. So each basic technique has several different Applications. Making New forms out of the same building Blocks would therefore be like playing Scrabble With only the white pieces (the ones without letters). They can be any letter you want so eventhough there are New unique sequences in KTA Poomsae that are not found within Karate Kata we can still make Words and sentences With them."

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Kukkiwon shares grappling techniques on facebook

Lately I have observed that Kukkiwon has shared a lot of grappling techniques on their Facebook page. This blog has for a long time stressed the combative applications of Traditional Kukki Taekwondo and I have referenced Kukkiwon Textbook in my earlier writings, but it is one thing to read a short mentioning that
Bilde: <Nulleokkeokgi(눌러꺾기) Pressing and Snapping>

A snapping technique by pressing the assailant’s joints. This is a snapping skill to grab the opponent by the arm and press his or her elbow or shoulder joint with an arc hand or to grab the opponent by the leg and press his or her knee joint.

      □ Mureup-nulleo-kkeokgi / 무릎 눌러꺾기 / Knee Pressing and Snapping

      □ Palgup-nulleo-kkeokgi / 팔굽 눌러꺾기 / Elbow Pressing and Snapping 

<눌러꺾기 Nulleokkeokgi>

상대방의 관절을 눌러 꺾는 기술입니다. 상대방의 팔을 잡았을 때 팔굽이나 어깨 관절 부위를 바탕손 또는 아금손으로 누르거나 다리를 잡았을 때 무릎 관절을 눌러 꺾는 기술입니다. 

    □ 무릎 눌러꺾기
    □ 팔굽 눌러꺾기
Pressing and Snapping
Taekwondo has pressure against joints in them and the Kukkiwon going out on their facebook page and write about techniques many people believe are not part of Taekwondo. This makes me EXTREMELY happy and if this continues I believe that the old stupid myths about Taekwondo lacking vital components in their arsenal as a combative martial art (not sport) will dissapear over time. We do have a long way to go though as evidenced by one man who imidiatly commented: 

"So now we're officially mixing Tae Kwon Do and Hapkido?"

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sparring against 2 opponents!

A few weeks ago we did a belt test at our Dojang. The main instructor at the Dojang could not participate and I am a few Dan ranks short of taking care of a belt test on my own so we had a master instructor who has not trained with us in a few years come in and help us with the grading. Comming from the outside in he asked the highest ranked people who tested that day to spar two opponents at once (they were red belts).

This is something that we did relativly often in my Dojang a few years back but which we have not done in ages. Unsuprisingly the students tried their best but it was not an effective display of strategy and tactics. Now since sparring two opponents at once is a "lost art" (in the Dojang I practise at least) I thought I should share a few thoughts that I discovered when I was engaging in this kind of training.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Nominating General Choi Hong Hi for the Taekwondowon's (Taekwondo Park) Hall of Fame

I read a post on the Sooshimkwan blog about nominating Choi Hong Hi for the Taekwondo Parks hall of fame. This is something I wholeheartedly
support and I hope every Taekwondoin who reads this will read on and then write an email nominating Choi Hong Hi (and anyone else they fell should have this honor) to the hall of fame. There has indeed been a lot of bad blood between the Kukkiwon/WTF on one side and the ITF on the other but what every Taekwondoin needs to understand is that no matter what "lineage" you hail from be it Kukkiwon, ITF or any independent group practising Taekwondo; Choi Hong Hi was instrumental in the formative years of Taekwondo. In fact he gave Taekwondo its name! In my view that should be enough to secure him a place at the hall of fame. Lets stop buckering over old politics, and lets give this man a vote eventhough you might not agree with everything the man did or said. I am not found of his "Sine Wave Theory", nor do I like the political association behind the pattern name "Juche", but I recognize the huge contribution this man has had on all of Taekwondo still. Please read on and send an email:

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Micro Post; This months quote

The bad blood between WTF/Kukkiwon on one side and ITF on the other side has in my opinion divided the Taekwondo students for far to long now. Both sides could do well to open up and take in the knowledge and wisdom that each group has gotten over the years. All of the original masters, pioneers and todays grandmasters are merely human and nobody is perfect, but we should take the positive that we can get and incorporate that into our own Taekwondo.
For Kukki-Taekwondo exponents Choi Hong Hi is merely known as the founder of Oh Do Kwan and ITF Taekwondo and little else. I think that is a shame as there is a lot in his writings that we could learn from and he did make many contributions to early Taekwondo so both sides should respect and honor his memory. Even the name "Taekwondo" we have and use today he came up with to just mention one of his contributions to our art no matter the lineage.
Below is a quote that Kousaku Yokota shared on his facebook page a while back that he attributed to Choi Hong Hi:

“A warrior who over reacts will rarely finish anything successfully.”
-Choi Hong Hi

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Making your own training equipment; "Tire Makiwara"

"Just finished assembling the Tire Makiwara"
In Karate and early Taekwondo the training was usually divided up largely by training and perfecting basics, forms and impact training on the striking post. In the west it is undoubtfully better known as "Makiwara"
which is a Japanese term meaning wrapped straw (take that translation with a grain of salt as it is me writing from memory) while in KMA (Korean Martial Arts) it is known as Kwon Go or Dallyon Joo. The latter term meaning forging post and the former meaning "Fist" and something:p (sorry but I have never seen the Hanja or Hangul for Kwon Go).

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Cheats, tips, thoughts and hints I usen when it comes to training:

The following post is just a little list of 5 Points that might help you a little in your training. They are merely my own observations and fit for me so you should take it with a grain of salt. I do however hope that the tips I share in this post will be helpful to this blogs Readers. So with that introduction out of the way lets dive right in shall we? :

5 Points on training: (Edit: 6 Points)

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Micro Post; This months quote

This month I have picked a quote by Colin Wee. A great blogger and a very knowledgeable Martial Artist. I am lucky enough to call him a friend, and we have had many great chats together about the martial arts (at least I think they are great). Each time we chat I find myself taking notes and some time ago we chatted a lot about power generation. We who practise Taekwondo practise essentually a striking system (there is grappling etc, but main strategy is striking) so power generation should be at the forefront of our training. Choi Hong Hi wrote a lot of good stuff about this, but Colin somehow got all of that into one short quote which is quite profound.... When the year is over I plan to gather all the quotes of the month into one long post and I am sure that eventhough other quotes have been said by "legendary" masters, this quote by Colin will still stand out as pure genious:-)

"We need to take [our] body mass, set it in motion, accelerate it,
and transmit this power through the end limb
and inject it into the opponent."
- Colin Wee
Author of "Traditional Taekwondo Techniques Blog "

Friday, 11 April 2014

Happy Birthday Taekwondo:-D

11th April 1955 is widely regarded as the birthday of Taekwondo. This date is significant because at this date in a meeting between officials from the government of Korea and several leading Taekwondo pioneers (at least Choi Hong Hi and Son Duk Sung was there) the name "Taekwondo" was proposed and adopted as the umbrella name of the hard style Korean Martial Arts that so far had used foreign names such as Tang Soo Do, Koong Soo Do and Kwon Bup to refer to their arts. Choi Hong Hi is the man credited for comming up with the name so all lineages of Taekwondo should be thankfull for his contributions that spreads across different lineages:-)

To read more about the pioneers of Taekwondo you could follow the links below. I have not completed the series yet, but it is fitting to take a few minutes of this day and remember those who has gone the path before us:-)

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Poomsae: Drama or collection of fighting skills?

"You need to decide wether your Taekwondo is for health or for practical application" (Paraphrasing legendary Martial Arts Master Anko Itosu).

We practise Poomsae as a group activity in the Dojang, and I believe several martial artists out there will do them solo in their own training time outside the Dojang. At least I hope they do:p Forms in Martial Arts of South East Asian origins used to be the center of training. The thing that kept all aspects of the system together and conveyed tactics that together imparted the principles and strategy deemed positive to give to future generations. My personal opinion and belief is that the Taekwondo forms today were originally designed so that the students of Taekwondo could use the forms that way, but the traditional main stream way of using forms in Taekwondo has been as "movement education".

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Micro Post; This months quote

Following from the last months quote on Taekwondo history this months quote is also grounded in Taekwondo history. Many readers of this blog will know the origin of modern Taekwondo lies not only within Korea but also within Okinawa, Japan and China. What many people do not know is that Choi Hong Hi founder of the Oh Do Kwan and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) included Karate Kata in his teachings at least untill 1965. That year he published "Taekwon-do the art of self defense" and included 15 different Karate Kata in the book along with the first 20 forms he developed for his own school. The Karate Kata were treated and documented with the same depth as his own creations in this book which I also find interesting. I do not know how long after 1965 the Karate Kata were considered part of Taekwondo, but in his next 1970s book they were no longer there, and the Korean Taekwondo Association would present the Palgwe forms to replace the Karate Kata in 1967. To show how highly the Karate Kata were regarded in Taekwondo at this time you can see the quote below by Choi Hong Hi on the Heian Kata:

Hei-an means safety and peacefulness. 
This name is obtained from the fact that anyone 
who has mastered this type is able to protect himself
 or herself easily in any unforseen situation.
-Choi Hong Hi; Founder of Oh Do Kwan  

The Heian forms were most often called Pyungahn in the Korean schools. They are known as "Pinan" in Okinawan Karate and most Karate styles, but Gichin Funakoshi renamed them "Heian". One of the forms along with some combative interpretations can be seen in the clip below:

Monday, 10 March 2014

Santeul Makki or "Mountain Block"

Hanja for "Mountain"
Recently (time is subjective) I started a Taekwondo "study group" and one of the first posts I shared on it was my post Myths: All blocks are blocks! (Not) and more . The example in that post consists of Hecho Santeul Makki or Spreading Mountain Block. Two other members of that Group shared videos of how they approach their systems Mountain Blocks. While their examples ends up in the same
ending position they do not show the Hecho Santeul Makki from Pyungwon Poomsae but rather the "regular" Santeul Makki that can be seen in Keumgang Poomsae. I thought it would make a great post to gather all the information on that technique from this blog that have been published earlier coupled with the new material that was kindly shared by my study buddies:-) The video that features Colin from Traditional Taekwondo Techniques blog was put together especially for the study Group which explains the names being mentioned in the beginning of the Clip as well as the youtube label:-)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Interview with author of The Taegeuk Cipher

This interview was first published in Totally Taekwondo Magazine early January. As it came to dominate the first page of that issue I waited until the next issue was out before posting it here. I think that the Readers of this blog will really enjoy it as it touches on many Things that I have written about before (a little history, training Methods, drilling, and a Whole lot more). Simon manages to say stuff in a few sentences that I need a Whole or series of blog posts to get accross, so as I said before I really think you will enjoy it, I know I did, and that I learned a lot from doing the interview.
The bold text is mine and the questions I asked him while the regular text that is not bold is Simons replies.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Micro post: Taegeuk Cipher DVD clip Taegeuk Sam (3) Jang practical aplication

Simon O`Neill has shared yet another Clip from his brilliant Taegeuk Cipher DVD where he explains self defense and fighting applications derived from the Taegeuk form series. I have confessed that I love his work and especially admire the coherent way in which all his applications fit together as a logical syllabus. I hope to acchieve the same level of coherentness myself one day. An interview with Simon O`Neill is scheduled for release on this blog the 5th of March (Previously published in the Totally Taekwondo Magazine)

In this sequence he demonstrates the "knife hand block" from back stance moving into long front walking stance and "middle section punch" from a more strikingbased viewpoint. The "blocking movement" might seem a bit off if you are used to the "Kukkiwon standard" but it is wholly inline with the older Kwan (the schools that together made Taekwondo) method of moving.

The most basic application is a simple block punch combo and as far as block punch combos go this one is not that bad, yet it can still be used in more sophisticated ways as shown below

If you like Simon`s work, or you want to buy the DVDs or his book please visit
http://palkwon.com/en/index.html and if you want to show your support you can visit the Taegeuk Cipher Facebook page and "Like" here: https://www.facebook.com/taegeukcipher?fref=ts
both will help his promotion of the Taegeuk Cipher works (book and DVD series).

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Micro Post: Arae Makki (Low block) Combative Drill

Chris Denwood has a great site with lots of good articles and clips on applied Karate. Karate and Taekwondo having common roots has a lot of overlap when you look at combative applications to the movements and I was pleasently suprised when I clicked on the video only to see that one of the applications I have covered on this blog was demonstrated the first few seconds into the clip. The application is described here: http://jungdokwan-taekwondo.blogspot.no/2012/06/practical-application-from-taegeuk-il-1.html and as you can see my post is way older than his clip:-)

He does expand this into a whole drill using mainly the low block (arae makki) movement. For more videos and blogposts etc from Chris Denwood visit his site on www.chrisdenwood.com .

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Myths: All blocks are blocks! (Not) and more.


This is going to be a relativly short post but it will deal with three Taekwondo "myths". All of the myths are being propogated by many people and even by relativly higher Dan grades too. It is time to put an end to these myths so this post will adress it and hopefully put it to rest. I will use an example from the Kukkiwon Textbook as my main argument against the myths as it is difficult to say that the Kukkiwon Textbook is wrong for the propogators of the myths.

Image Source: Kukkiwon Textbook

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Micro Post; This months quote

I really enjoy making "This months quote" posts. I get to sift through a lot of interesting material and then choose one quote to share with the world. In the first "This months quote" post I wrote last year I wrote that I would chose Martial Arts related quotes and that some would be funny, some would be serious and some would make you think. I chose the following quote for 2 reasons:
  1. I get brilliant comments on this blog (both questions, discussions and further Insights to what I have written) and often they are just as good as the post itself. I relly want to highlight this fact by chosing a quote from the blog. (Sorry Richard this time it is not you, but to all the readers out there if you see a comment from Richard please make sure to read it as they contain a wealth of knowledge and additional Insights from an experienced and knowledgeable martial artist).
  2. Taekwondo history is very controversial because people like to believe in the 2000 years myth, and focus exclusivly on the Korean roots of Taekwondo. While the Korean side to Taekwondo is not to be ignored this view on Taekwondo history (ignoring all the other factors involved in the development of Taekwondo) can be likened to a guy researching his family history solely on his father side and ignoring what happened on his mothers side of the family tree. Obviously you are the sum of both sides just like Taekwondo is the sum of several different sources. The quote sums up a very healthy attitude on Taekwondo history that I think all should endevour to follow

So With that lengthy introduction (this is almost starting to become something else than a micro post) here is the quote itself:

"I'm convinced about the karate roots of taekwondo
(I know there is some chuan fa influence, too, although it is not explicit in KKW forms),
and I just won't deny them --
instead I will dig them up and try to use them in favour of our art"
- Samir Berardo

Saturday, 8 February 2014

There are throws in Taekwondo!

In my last blogpost I wrote about an application from Poomsae Jitae. Actually I wrote about two applications from that Poomsae one being a leg sweep and the other being an armbar followed by striking techniques. One thing that really bugs me when surfing the world wide web though is all the people out there who says Taekwondo has no throws, Taekwondo has no locks, Taekwondo has no grappling etc. Most of this critique seems to come from people not practising Taekwondo, but there are also quite a few who says
they are black belt holders and even a few who call themselves "Master". I am not naive and will readily say that Taekwondo`s focus is on striking, and that the grappling contained therein is of a simple variety and not as sophisticated as the grappling contained in arts focused on this area, but please lets not make the mistake and say it is absent from Taekwondo. This post will introduce a few throws to the ones who believe they are not in Taekwondo. They might not be taught in the mainstream, but they have been part of our art from the start, and traditional Taekwondo contain them.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Practical Application from Poomsae Jitae

I highly doubt that many who knows this Poomsae will ever read this post as it is one of the higher black belt Poomsae in the Kukkiwon system, but there might be some use to read it either way. We will look at something unique in Kukkiwon terms but which also appears in Karate "Kata", older
Taekwondo "Hyung" as well as in alternative forms sets (my teacher uses the same sequence of moves in his soak am ryu forms). It is a sequence consisting of a simple kick-punch combination but if you look a little closer at it you will notice something strange about it. If I have your attention now please read on:-)

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Honoring the Pioneers of Taekwondo; Ro Byong Jik

A while back I started writing a series of posts on the pioneers of Taekwondo. So far I have written one on Lee Won Kuk who founded the Chung Do Kwan, Hwang Kee who founded the Moo Duk Kwan and a commentary on Choi Hong Hi`s Theory of Power (Choi Hon Hi co-founded the Oh Do Kwan). There is a great deal of material on these three individuals as they were important throughout Taekwondo`s history or maintained a great deal of followers after the Kwan-merger in the early 70s in Korea. I am not saying that Ro Byong Jik is not one of them, but I generally find less material on him and the school he founded (The Song Moo Kwan) when compared to the Oh Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan and the Chung Do Kwan and their founders. I want to contribute with one post here so people can learn a little more on this Taekwondo pioneer who was an important factor in early Taekwondo history.
Image Source

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Micro Post; This months quote

This time I have picked a quote from a fellow Traditional Taekwondo exponent; Master Doug Cook. His books on Taekwondo are well written (allthough I never fully agree With what he Writes but then again that is not a bad thing since his writings makes me think) and he is indeed one of very few People out there writing about traditional Taekwondo these days when most books printed about Taekwondo focus primarily on basic techniques, poomsae and competition sparring he Writes about the "whys" of Taekwondo training, the philosophy and history behind the Martial Art. I thank him for his job With promoting traditional Taekwondo.

“The most difficult part ot traditional taekwondo is not learning
the first kick or punch. It is not struggling to remember the
motions of a poomsae or becoming aquainted with Korean culture.
Rather, it is taking the first step across the threshold of the dojang
door. This is where roads diverge, where choices are made that
will resonate throughout a lifetime.”
Doug Cook, Taekwondo - A Path to Excellence
I do not have this book in my Library but his book; Taekwondo: Traditions, philosophy and technique comes highly reccomended (as long as you are not looking for a poomsae Applications book).

Friday, 10 January 2014

Micro post: Taegeuk Cipher DVD clip Taegeuk chil (7) Jang practical aplication

Hi there:-) This is the first real post of 2014 the first one being more of a "what do you want to see next" post. In the (so far only) reply the wish was for practical applications to our forms. I have written and shared quite a few of my own, but at the end of 2013 with the launch of the brilliant Taegeuk Cipher DVDs from Simon O`Neill he shared a few clips on Youtube from the DVD. He has done it again now this time with a puzzling sequence from Taegeuk Chil Jang. The application is almost (about 90%) the same as my own take on the same movement (I use it from a slightly different situation but the same mechanics apply).

I write "puzzling sequence" because from a dogmatic block, kick strike point of view this sequence makes very little sense if any at all. In my personal view the fact that there are so many instanes of the Taegeuk forms set that makes no sense from that point of view is one of the main points in favor of the belief I have that they were designed with more depth in them than what is usually said to be.

So with that being said, here is the clip itself:

Monday, 6 January 2014

2013 retrospect plus what would you like to read in 2014?

It is that time of year again. Time to sit back and see what 2013 brought and look forward to this years writing. I have allready had a survey (17 voters) on what People would like to read more about. The interest seemed to be
  1. Historical articles/posts
  2. Practical Application of Poomsae
  3. Basic Techniques/Poomsae (Performance)
  4. Philosophy (only 1 vote!)
I will try to keep philosophy out of my writings the next few months and focus on history, basics and practical Application of Poomsae. Allthough I never know where my writing takes me:p