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.

As always first we need to clearly identify which technique we are talking about:

Defensivly I like to use the whole movement in 3 ways against frontal attacks:
  1. "Parry - Pass"
  2. "Parry - Uproot"
  3. "Parry - Strike"

"Parry - Pass"
So first number 1 which I have labelled "parry - pass" but do not get to focused on the labels I use. As you are now surely aware the movement we label "Eugeul Makki" consists of two movements which is often labeled "chambering" and "blocking". If you look closely on how the chambering Works in the Clip I have Attached and make one tiny itsy bitsy change in the movement of the "non blocking hand" you can easily see the non blocking movement being used as a shortened "An Makki". "An Makki" is translated as "inward Block" because it starts outside of the attack and moves inward to the centerline. Training the simple normal "an makki" actually helps this Application because now you are using that very "Block" in a shortened fashion as a parry. You then move Your parrying hand (which is normally seen as the non blocking hand) to the hip (or as far back as you need) and use the upward movement of the blocking hand to move the attacking limb farther away and establish Control of the arm. From here we can use a lot of Advanced consepts like "sticking" etc to continue Our defense. The advantages of this Method of dealing With the attack are noumerous and you will see it again and again in other martial arts. The comment I often get is that "it looks like Wing Chung".

Firstly this Method is very redundant and rudundancy is good in self defense. You can use this against any shoves, pushes, punches that move straight or almost straight. You can use it against middle section attacks like it is seen in basic techniques or it can be used against high section attacks (simply lift the "chambering hand" a little and do a high section inward Block instead of a middle section inward Block).

Secondly it is a good way to establish "Control". You Block With Your hand and then the second "Block" sticks to the arm and you know insinctivly where Your opponent is and where he is going. This "listening skill" is something that certain Chinese styles are very renowned for. The other side of the coin is that you get Control but also that you are opening him up for a Counter attack by moving his defensive tool out of the way of Your upcomming strike.

Thirdly it is indeed very redundant. If the opponent fires off a 2nd punch before you expected the second hand (the blocking one) takes care of the second punch while the Chamber takes care of the first one. Also if you miscalculate the height of the attack (you thought he was going for Your stomach but he instead went for Your head) there is a better chance for you to recover With Your blocking arm than if you did not use this Method of dealing With the attack.

Fourth one and this is what seperates the eulgeul makki movement from the bakkat makki (outward middle Block) is that the upward movement of the blocking hand can be used to blind the opponent from Your Counter attack giving you a fraction of a second more time to deliver a powerfull blow.

Since this Method is redundant, "safe" and effective way of dealing With plenty of different attacks it is not strange to see this expressed in many different martial arts. The most effective Things is what most People want to use because no one want to get beaten because of an ineffective martial art. Of course there are even a Fifth and a Sixth advantage to this technique but they blend into the number 2 and Three in the first list of this post:-)

"Parry - Uproot"
In the parry - uproot way of using this movement the initial parry Works as a shortened momtong an makki just like in the parry - pass Application earlier in this post. The difference here is that after the initial parry you move strongly forwards into the opponents Space and use the blocking hand to strike the opponent upwards near the armpit. This will uproot Your opponent, make him unbalanced and possible create a little Space between you again and for a short window of time you will be perfectly balanced in Your ap koobi while the opponent tries to regain Balance. Many forward moving high Blocks in long front stance in Poomsae can be utilized this way With an appropriate follow up technique to end the fight. The movement is the same as in "parry - pass" but the intention is to uproot the opponent instead and the "Blocking hand" makes contact a lot deeper on the arm than in the "parry - pass" Method.

"Parry - Strike"
Again the first part of Eoulgeul Makki is used as a shortened an makki or inward Block. In one movement you parry his attack With the Chamber part of Eulgeul Makki and then as you move forward you use the blocking part of the movement as a forearm strike to any vital target along the side of the neck, jaw line etc that presents itself. Legendary fighter Choki Motobu once said:
"The blocking hand must be able to become the attacking hand in an instant.
Blocking with one hand and then countering with the other is not true bujutsu.
Real bujutsu presses forward and blocks and counters in the same motion."
He also said:
"One cannot use continuous attacks against true karate.
That is because the blocks of true karate
make it impossible for the opponent to launch a second attack."
Now just change Karate into Taekwondo and Bujutsu into Musul and you have something that any old School Korean grandmaster would tell you:-) If you have only been exposed to the foundational understanding of the movement (or mainstream Application) you will see that the Things that Choki Motobu is saying is hogwash. But if you take the Methods I have presented in this series into account you can truly appreciate and understand where he is comming from (not that I would ever elevate my self into his Level of understanding but it is closer than the mainstream Applications out there).
I think that I will end this series here (so that you can get to read something else than high section Block applications and not "part 108":p ) but the main thing you need to remember after Reading this is that while we do have basic Applications that many these days laugh at these foundational Applications are relevant to the more "advanced" Methods. In this case the mainstream Application for inward Block was slightly tweaked into a key Component of the eulgeul makki Applications of this post. Training mainstream Applications in the Dojang is not a Waste of time but do not get completly stuck there as there is so much more if you scratch the surface. The other thing you need to remember and that I hope I acchieved by writing this series is how diverce and different applications you can get from one single movement and that by choosing the Applications that fit within the dynamic context of Poomsae you can find practical Applications and combative meaning within Your Poomsae no matter if the originators planned this or not (that being said I believe they did plan it that way).

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