This post of this (dare I say) groundbreaking article series will focus on the "eulgeul makki, ap chagi, momtong jireugi" combination (high block, front kick, middle section punch).
The reason I call this a "groundbreaking" article series is that I am not aware of anyone anywhere on the web who has laid forth practical applications to any of the taegeuk forms, or indeed the KTA/WTF/Kukki forms from start to finish like I have in this series (in book form yes, but not for free online). I hope that it will inspire others to share their takes on their forms as well as providing a hopefully good starting point for instructors and students out there to start implementing alternative applications into their training. When you have a thourough understanding of the fundemental form (Taegeuk Il Jang) you will see and understand much more of the rest of the forms than you did before. Suddenly you will make connections between the forms and you will come to understand that while the technique (tactics) are different from one form to the next, the underlying principles do not vary. The applications you see in Taegeuk il jang is "revisited" throughout the Taegeuk series (and black belt Poomsae) with different entries, different follow ups and different variations. I will try to demonstrate this with the last sequence of Taegeuk il Jang and the first sequence of Taegeuk Oh Jang so you can appreciate this point.
Move 13-14 (or 15-16)
This is the eulgeul makki, ap chagi, momtong jireugi combination, or in English terms: the high section block, front kick, middle section punch of the form (26 seconds into the above clip). There are many key lessons inherent in this form and this particular sequence teaches you effectively what is known as a "drop punch" in boxing. Here you time the punch with the foot comming down so you get maximum power. This is taught each time you step and punch yes, but here it is emphasised as you foot comes down after a kick. Application wise this sequence is great for a any number of attacks.
The normal "traditional" application is to block a high section punch,
and then kick and punch to counterattack. This is not the worst application, and it does work if you eliminate the chamber, and the range is spot on if you deliver the front kick to a low target. It works well against a straight or round punch. If you face a round punch you move to the inside, if you face a straight punch you can do it on both sides but the "outside" of the opponent is safer and preferable in my personal opinion. Below you can see how this demonstrated with techniques where the chambers have been shortened or eliminated. A traditinal way of practical application if you will.
|Against a hook, step in and block with a shortened high block. |
NO chamber! The other hand guards the center line as it is not doing anything.
|Grab the punching arm and deliver a low front kick.|
Any number of low targets can be used.
|In this case to follow the form I do the punch in mic section.|
The other hand is pulled back to the hip controlling his arm
Applied against a lapel grab
Another "popular" application is against a lapel grab, into a forearm smash, kick punch combo. Look below for illustrations on this.
|The opponent grabs the lapel|
|I raise my arms in case a punch is comming. I also prepare for the "high block"|
|I chamber for high block, but here the chamber strikes his arm downward.|
This unbalances the opponent and tilts his head up presenting the target
for the next part.
|The high block itself. Here used as a forearm smash. The other hand is|
in control of his "holding arm"
|The chamber for front kick. Note how I am using him for maximizing|
my own balance.
|I could have used a front kick but my personal preferance was this one|
|Keep control of his "holding arm" by switching to your right hand |
to keep control. This nullifies his defenses as you punch with your left hand
over his right arm. A natural follow up is demonstrated in move 17-18.
Applied against a(n) (upward) wrist hold
A third take on this starts from a wrist grab, but a variation that we have yet to cover in the form. Incidently this application is demonstrated by Grandmaster Richard Chun in his book which he co-wrote with Doug Cook on original Koryo. In his demonstraten he used a knife hand block but I have not had any difficulty applying a normal high section block.
Forgot to take pictures of this :-(
Sequence as an introduction of the "Parry-Pass Method"
Here is where I think the sequence shines. This is against a straight attack. It is demonstrated against a straight punch, but it works equally well against an attempted grab, push, shove, etc. You slip out to the outside of the opponent, parrying with a shortened an makki or inward "block", and pass it to the other side and upwards with what most people consider the primary block.
The "Parry-Pass" Method of defense is a fundemental part of the root arts of Taekwondo which is why many of our "Makki techniques" make use of this method to deal with the opponents attacks. I usually get a comment of the likes of: "that looks like wing chun" when I apply Makki-techniques in this fashion. "That looks like Wing Chun" was also a running gag in a facebook group devoted to the practical Application of Okinawan martial arts for a long time too. The reason why this method is so popular and shows up in many different martial arts I think is because of its inherent redundancy. If you miscalculate, or if the opponent throws a second punch the parry-pass will make it much simpler for you to recover. Also against straight attacks it makes it easier to work your way to the safe side (outside) of your opponent. In addition to this it covers a lot of your body in one fluid motion and that is very good as well.
Below is one demonstration on the "Parry-Pass Method":
Against straigh attack
|Do not smash the attacking punch away but pass it to your other arm and "lead"|
it upwards. This blocks the vision to your opponent.
|Grab and pull your opponents arm and do a low level front kick to his leg.|
If you pull his weight onto his front leg you will do more damage.
|Punch to any available target. Two possible follow ups are the arm bar from move|
5-6 or the application from move 17-18.
|"shortened inward block" (inward parry)|
|Pass to other arm and guide it up to block vision|
|Grab, pull and kick|
As the most observant of you will note, the above application was shown against straight hand punch, but first a lead punch and then a back punch. Works on both kinds of attacks. It also works against attempted grabs, pushes etc.
The parry pass method will be revisited in a future blog post.
Here is the last sequence of the form; the apkoobi arae makki, step forward momtong jiregi (low block in long front stance, step forward long front stance middle section punch.
Mainstream Application, block and punch
The most prevalent (and in my opinion flawed) view on Poomsae being a choreographed "fight" with opponents comming at you from all angles the most often seen application is that you have just finished one opponent with a kick and punch combo, and then turn to block an attack from your side (front kick) and then step forward to punch him or her.
The "problems" with this sequence as a pure kick block punch application is how unnatural we turn to face the attack. I am sure I am not the only instructor who has struggled teaching taegeuk il jang to beginners where 90 % turn on the wrong foot when starting this sequence. The reason for so many people do it wrong is that they are thinking mainstream applications and in that view the most natural thing to do is wrong according to the poomsae. If you where to use the two last techniques of the form as a "pure" block the most efficient way and natural way would be turning with the opposite foot. The form makes us do the block in the most longwinded way possible. This happens many times throughout Poomsae in general which is one of the reasons why I think that the originators of Poomsae meant for deeper applications when they designed the Poomsae. The following application has been shared before but then it was with drawings, this time it is a little better:-) It is also one of the few apps that I can think of that makes sense given the footwork and direction in the Poomsae as well.
Low block, middle punch as arm lock, hammerfist strike and finishing punch
This can be done in any number of ways but I will demonstrate it as if you have established a cross wrist grab on your opponent. It can also be used against a cross wrist hold.
|Aaaah.. We did this from a cross grabbed wrist hold? :-) Well just reverse|
the grip so he can not let go.
|Turn as in the Poomsae!!! And chamber for low block.|
Unlike the "block punch" application this one actually explain the turn.
|Dropp down into long front stance and strike his groin with hammer fist strike.|
I am in horse stance because I did not want to deliver the power
"into the target".
|The response that follows in my personal experience is that either you hit him|
hard and he bends over, or he flinches away from the strike and thereby bends
over all the same.
|Change "controlling hand", step forward and deliver a finishing strike to the head.|
The form has a middle section punch because the head has been brought down
in response to the preceding technique.
The Oh Jang Connection:
In Taegeuk Oh Jang the opening sequence revisists this application and share a different finishing strike depending on how the opponent bends forward
|Chamber for low block locks his arm|
|Drop into long front stance and deliver a hammer fist strike to the groin.|
This is the actual low block or move 1 in Taegeuk Oh Jang.
(horse stance used here as I am not trying to generate power into the target)
In Pyung Ahn Chudan or Heian Shodan / Pinan Nidan can also be seen as being in relation to Taegeuk il Jang and Oh Jang. Here you do combine both:
|Prep for low block to lock his arm|
|Hammer fist strike to groin|
|Hammer fist strike to any good open targets|
|Change "controlling hand", and step forward and deliver a finishing punch.|
Heian/Pyung Ahn Shodan/Chudan also known as Pinan Nidan can be seen below:
In the above clip you can also see how closely related our "basic techniques" are to those of Karate and perhaps you will also notice how closely related our forms are as well.
If this series was interesting to you, and you want to learn this from an instructor or to learn more, I am available for seminars or workshops. If you are interested you can get in touch with me via the blogs facebook page at www.facebook.com/traditionaltaekwondoramblings.
I hope this makes any kind of sense to you and I hope it is something that if you can not use then perhaps you can be inspired by it to make your own application. If you liked the application and want to see more of this in more Dojang around the world please share this post so as many people as possible can get the chance to see it ;-)
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