Thursday, 8 October 2015

Practical application from Taebaek Poomsae

I am hoping (but never sure) that I might try to get my 3rd Dan within the next 12 months or so.
Because of that I am turning some of my attention in privat training toward Taebaek as that is the Poomsae I need to demonstrate for that rank. One of its key sequences occurs in the middle of the Poomsae with a double block, (Keumgang momtong makki), reach, grab and pull in punch (dangkyo teok chigi), middle section punch (momtong jireugi), side kick and hammer fist strike into an elbow strike.

Many strugle to make combative sense of this sequence, and for those few who dont they divide it up so that only the first half of the sequence is one application and the second half (starting with the sidekick is an unrelated application to the first half). The reason why they believe that is that the first half occurs in many Karate Kata while the rest of the sequence is a Korean "add on" to that sequence. As many believe that the Koreans knew nothing about the art they were making they dont stop to consider that perhaps this add on is just fine as is? I will share one of my takes on this sequence in this post and hopefully if it does not sit well with you at least you can stop and think that perhaps while my take on it is not your cup of tea, you can consider the posibility that there might be an application out there that fits :-)

Below is a video of the Poomsae. What we are going to focus on can be seen very clearly here. It starts from the high and middle block at the same time ending in a side kick into a target elbow strike.

Sequence against a haymaker and follow up punch

"The Fence". Seriously read Geoff Thomspons book on it!

The opponent delivers a haymaker/hook. I step in, deflect the strike and deliver
an uppward punch.

The opponent strikes with his free arm (either I was to weak or to slow
to shut down his attack completly). I parry with an inward parry and deliver an
upward punch from below. Doing it this way is sneaky and makes it very
hard to see and to stop for the opponent. 

Grabbing his arm I pull it to my hip and strikes his mid section......

..... or I strike his head if I want to ;-)

Chambering for side kick and using my elbow to strike his elbow joint

Attacking his leg with a side kick and striking his head with a forearm strike
or hammer fist strike

Deliver an elbow strike to finish. 

Below is the same application from a different angle

Step in, deflect strike and counter

If opponent manages to fire off a second punch, brush inwards and deliver
an upward punch

Grab, twist and pull his arm and punch with other arm to mid section

or his head if you want.

Chamber for side kick, you strike his elbow joint with your elbow

hammer fist strike or forearm strike to head while attacking his knee joint

Elbow strike to finish.

Below a different entry against a straight punch

Instead of moving to the inside (as you would against a round attack)
move to the outside
The "double block" that starts this sequence is often ridiculed, but it is in fact an incredible effective technique that you can use against a great number of attacks. It was also frequently used in bare knuckle boxing and the entry I demonstrate here was also demonstrated by Funakoshi in one of his books.

If this article 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 

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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  1. As usual sir, very informative! Well thought out and executed. I found the side kick - forearm/hammer fist strike a really interesting combination. All in all, an excellent example of in close fighting and the use of available weaponry - excluding just the feet - that so many say is not seen in Tae Kwon Do. They just don't look in the right places or do in depth critical analysis of the forms they are performing. I have seen it for too long - people act like forms are just a dance routine - memorize the moves but don't try to understand the application.
    Good luck on your Sam Dan test - I'm sure you'll do great!

    1. Thanks Roger:-) The Poomsae sequences that makes little sense in long range like the side kick hammer fist combo often works just great if we move the opponent much closer and lower our kick. Traditional Taekwondo (no matter the lineage really) makes use of just about the entire body as a weapon. Among the "rarer" parts my teacher has taught me is the shoulders, hips, forehead etc. If we look at the textbooks both old and new you will see that Taekwondo is very holistic. The problem is that most people including too many instructors are just fine knowing just the surface of their art, when the real gems lies just below the surface :-)

      Thanks for the good luck whishes. It`s still ahead of me but I will post here if it all goes Ok (and be very quiet if not :-P )

  2. hello, slight variation but works within your framework. this is one i did for Palgae IV

    1. Thanks for the link Richard:-) I saw Paljang 4 after I made the post as Matt made me aware of the similar sequence there. I like the "chop" instead of the straight punch and see great value in both methods. The "chop" can as you say fit in beautifully within the same framework I have established in this post as a "Byonhwa" (variation) application.

  3. Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up.
    black belt

  4. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your analysis. I will be sharing it with a student of mine who is currently working on Tae Baek, as well. Keep up the good work!

    1. Nice Craig :-) Thank you for commenting, and I do hope you enjoy the application, and that it helps your student if he wants combative meaning along with the solo movements :-) Do not hessitate to ask about other parts of the form(s) if there are something you would like to see in the future :-)