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!

In all the different Kwan or schools that was to form modern Taekwondo the one most famous for their realistic take on live training hard full contact sparring is without a doubt Ji Do Kwan or "Wisdom way School". I have detailed the founder of the original Yoon Moo Kwan and the reopener of Yoon Moo Kwan as Ji Do Kwan before on this blog so I will not go into details regarding this Kwan but I will say that it had rich martial roots within Judo, Shotokan, Shito Ryu and Shudokan Karate and for a long time it was run by its 2nd Kwanjang who also happened to be one of the most highly ranked martial artists in Korea in the era sporting a instructors rank in Shito Ryu and Shudokan Karate from the founders of the two systems. I must admit I am a little biased toward Ji Do Kwan as this is where my "lineage" goes back to through my teacher so excuse me if I am getting a little carried away:-)

The book I want to reccomend in this post is "Secrets of Tae Kwon Do; Korean Karate" by Shihak Henry Cho.

While most books today and in the past focused heavily on technique and forms the focus on this book is on actual application of Taekwondo in a free fighting setting. It starts out with theory and history section, warm up excersises and it also contains techniques and how they are excecuted, but the emphasis is always on how to use it with an opponent. The Taekwondo this book shows is not Olympic style sparring or ITF sparring. It is not exactly Karate sparring either but continous Karate sparring would be a closer answer than modern Olympic or ITF sparring style. The reason why I say it is closer but not the Whole truth is that many techniques in the book is not allowed in competition and some fit better in a streetfigting setting than in a sparring setting. It also contains kicks and some more realistic than others. The applications are mainly block kick punch applications but not the ones you probably are used to seeing in modern books.
What? A Taekwondo
GM who knows how to
use the pulling hand??

Also of interest is the usage of blocks as strikes, inclusion of techniques not considered "Taekwondo " anymore and a heavy usage of the pulling hand for getting defensive limbs out of the way etc. In short it can be said that it is "basic" yet very very functional. If you were to base a martial art on block kick punch this is pretty much how I would apply it and this knowledge is sadly getting
lost in many modern Dojang. Today with the emphasis on basic technique and forms on one side and modern Olympic style sparring on the other it is like Learning two martial arts at once. In 1968 when the book was written the relationship between forms, basics and sparring was a lot closer eventhough the paradigm used is often kick block punch.

As for cool stuff gennerally not seen in mainstream Taekwondo anymore you will notice the aforementioned usages of the pulling hand, blocks as strikes and advanced concepts as striking with a block or a socalled "punching block". I have not seen this in Kukkiwon Textbook nor anywhere else in books regarding Taekwondo but I did learn it from my teacher but since he was trained in the Ji Do Kwan just like the author of the book was that might not be so strange. If you look below you will see the technique I mean:
Punching block
Image Source the book in question

This concept of punching or counterattacking with the block it self is featured heavily in the older root arts of Taekwondo but has all but dissapeared in Taekwondo, but not before being documented in the excellent book of Sihak Henry Cho:-)

Examples of how basic applications of basic techniques work in this book also differs considerably from modern mainstream block kick punch applications. The low block for instance is often seen as blocking a front kick. I. E. If you face an opponent and he kicks with his right foot you block with your left arm. Henry Cho uses the low block like this:
Using it like in the picture you destroy your opponents balance forcing him to sit the foot down to regain balance with his back turned completly or half facing you. The hand on the hip is ready to strike him in the back which is a lot more dangerous than just striking him on the torso. Cocking the striking hand at the hip ensures that it has a longer way to go and accellerate so it is a more powerfull punch than a one that travelled a shorter distance. Any number of follow ups and take downs can be done from this position.
The book is chocked full of interesting techniques, concepts and ways to use Taekwondo as a simple hard style striking martial art and I can not reccomend it enough for anyone wondering how to apply their Taekwondo. If you have only been exposed to Olympic sparring or basic forms Applications main stream style this is the book that will ellevate your Taekwondo into a functional striking art. Learn this first, and THEN start searching for more "advanced" applications from your forms. Without a solid foundation in these old school classic Taekwondo your Taekwondo is like a very nice rifle without your bullets to fire it. Learning these methods you will have a functional martial art (allbeit a limited one which can be rounded out with forms applications). 
In short, get this book in your library:-)
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  1. Hello
    i actually have the original hardcover of this book. when i look at its price then, either these books were cheap or my dollar was worth a lot more! (i think it was Groucho Marx who once said "what this country needs is a good ten cent nickel") his school was located about 3 blocks from where i lived at the time. i could go and watch a class. i have to say that this is the TKD that i grew up with, and part of the reason that i remain distant and confused by so much of what i experience now. while i recognize the limitations of his style (i.e. no real emphasis on locks, throws, anatomical strikes), and certainly do not mean this as a criticism it is refreshing to remember that it was taught as a fighting method not a a sport.

    1. Definitly a fighting Method instead of a sport. I love that book:-) One thing that he does not go into but which features heavily in his "Applications photos" is what the other hand is doing. More often than not the "pulling hand" in a basic technique photo is on the hip while in Application he uses that hand to pull into a strike, clearing of limbs, closing off the opponents defenses etc. The upward punch for instance is a good example of this as in the technique he shows it With the hand on the hip and the other punching while in Application he Blocks and attacks at the same time giving us a Perfect Application for the "Dangkyo Teok Chigi" in Taegeuk Pal Jang in the process (pulling in and hitting the chin).

      While the emphasis does not seem to be on Locks, throws, anatomical strikes I would be surpised if they were not taught at all in his teachings as he and my teacher shares the same lineage through Ji Do Kwan and all these Things are taught by my teacher as part of "traditional taekwondo"?

      You are Lucky to have seen this in real life though:-)