Friday, 13 November 2015

Training Video: Working on Taekwondo Makki techniques

It is not often that I post videoclips on the blog and especially not with myself in them. In the martial arts if you stick your head out it gets quickly hammered down by the "keyboard warriors". Also I thought I needed someone to actually film me, but I see that with my new phone I can do it myself when the conditions are right. This time I spendt a couple of minutes after work to show off a few drills you can use with a partner or if you are in lack of a partner like I was, against a stick.

This clip serves two purposes. Purpose one is to bring the "Makki Tul" into the spotlight. This is a training apparatus described in detail in Tae Kwon Do Korean Art of Self Defense by Choi Hong Hi published in 1965, as well as being in the Encyclopedias until at least 1986. Despite this and its popularity in Taekwondo`s root martial arts it has all but dissapeared in modern Taekwondo. My contraction is of a much simpler sort though so it can not really live up to the older Makki Tul but it is good enough for sideways blocks.

The second purpose is to look at how the sonnal bakkat makki in taegeuk sam jang can be used for dealing with straight attacks.

  1. First stage which most People learn is the "an makki" or inward block.
  2. Second (if you were my student) you would add a bakkat makki for parry pass method
  3. Openhanded version for easier trapping
  4. Grab and pull
  5. Punch
If you have a partner have him feed you with straight punches. Move on the outside and do an inward parry. Do this until you get the comfortable. For most Taekwondoin this is known material as this is just a regular Momtong An Makki Application. Nothing fancy. When you are comfortable start to do the parry as you did and add the other arm as in a momtong bakkat makki. The chamber is the an makki and the block itself is the pass or bakkat makki.

After getting comfortable, start trying it with openhand variation. This makes it (at least for me) easier to integrate a grab into the mix. From there a punch counter is not far away. When you do the full combination (inward parry - pass - grab and pull - punch) you are actually applying the L-Stance or back stance middle section knife hand block, into a long front stance middle section punch found in the middle of Taegeuk Sam Jang. It is a nice short drill I think :-)

The great thing about the Makki tul is that you get some feedback on the blocks. Since I have used elastic cargo strops I get some resistance from the blocked arm when going side to side. Also you get something real to deal with. It cant compare to live partner practise, but when you dont have any partner available this is a step up from shadow boxing as you have something live concrete thing to play with. The distance between you and is also real. If you get too close you cant strike effectivly. It is great to practise "defensive entries" and what to do from there. I hope to share some more videos in the future playing around with this, + some partner drills to put them into perspective.

Dont hessitate to share your thoughts and feedback on this :-)


  1. fun to see this. i have a specially made wooden dummy that was designed for baqua (different in configuration than wing chun type). it offers more resistance than yours when locked down (about 10-15 degrees of play) and can spin freely, a wonderful exercise on courage as it will happily take out a tooth if your second block isn't fast enough. one thing you learn fast though is you can't hit it with the bones of your arm as they will quickly hurt and bruise. your blocks will develop speed and timing as a lot of it becomes pattern recognition, even on a subconscious level.
    with regard to a partner, the way it was explained to me, is that you want to practice on something alive. your partner (while alive) will tire of getting hit hard after a while. dogs, cats, and other animals, being much smarter than people, will never show up again after the first hit. so, you have to move on to something that was alive. hence the use of wood. my teachers thought that items made of plastic and other materials were not good for your spirit as practice tools. keep banging away!

    1. Sounds like a dentists dream Richard ;-) Do you have any video or Pictures of that dummy? It sounds like a great concept. My own teacher eccoes your teachers words on plastic being not good for the spirit. I will indeed keep baning on the "blocking apparatus" :-) Thanks for commenting

  2. Excellent video and thank you for sharing Mr. Nilsen! A question...I noticed in the movements you used (yes, I realize it's a short demo, and please realize this is NOT a criticism) - the parrying/blocking mechanism became the outside arm by way of the direction you stepped (again, nothing wrong with that)...when/what would you use if parrying/blocking with what becomes the "inside" arm based on the initial step?

    1. Nah I dont take that as ciritzism at all Ron :-) What I was referring to is the youtube comments that are bound to come: "Your techniques suck!" etc. Not really a constructive type of comment.

      The parry/blocking as seen in this video are all about getting on the outside of the opponent from the get go. I love being here and if I can have anything to say about it here is where I want to be and want to stay during an altercation. The reason being that I have all my "weapons" targeted directly at the opponent, while he is very limited in his choice of weapons, and he has to reorient himself to me to get fully "online".

      I believe that most of the Poomsae shows us how to work our way to the outside too, while at the same time giving us options if we "have to" go on the inside.

      I hope I am answering your question now as I understand it you are wondering how I would "parry/block" if going on the inside from the get go?
      My footwork would change little if anything I think as I believe getting offline of the attack is paramount. The parries shown in the clip will all work on the "inside" as well, but they will no longer be "optimal". The reason they will still work is wholly dependant on me getting offline of the attack though, and I am aware they will be slower because the arm has to travel longer which is why I say they are no longer "optimal".

      Another way the bakkat makki or double parry or parry pass as I call it can work is that you parry the first punch on the outside with the inward block, but a second punch is launched by the attacker imidiatly which is taken care of by the second "block".

      As for what I prefer to block if I get on the inside which I often do if I am defending against circular attacks or if I am too slow, I like the "outward blocks/parries". You see it in the Taegeuk il jang series where I use the inward block to block and elbow strike with the chamber or block and jam the other arm with the chamber, flowing into a hammer fist strike.

      You see the taebaek entry where I block with a high block and uppercut punch at the same time. The "logic" I try to adhere to no matter if I go inside or outside is to move into the opponent (forwards or at an angle) and use the initial parry from the same side as the attack comes from. For example he throws a haymaker punch with his right arm, I step in and parry with my left arm and vice versa. You see this when I move to the outside in the video as well: I first parry inwards with an inward block/ parry which is the same side as the similated attack comes from and pass to my other hand.

      I hope some of that made any sense and that it answered your question? :-)

      There will be a lot more videos focusing on this in the future as it was incredible easy to set up with my phone. I`ll try to film some with a partner as well allthough it that might take a few weeks.

  3. Thanks for the idea(s). I definitely see myself practicing my makis using your concept. First I have locate some pillar which I could drill a hole true it. :-)

    1. There are many ways to make this and similar apparatuses (is that an English word?). In the Clip I have just fastened the stick With elastic luggage strops so I have not made any holes or anything.

      If you want examples on how to make this or more training material on this I would refer you to youtube and blogs discussing kakiya, or kakete-biki. This form of training has all but dissapeared in Taekwondo (despite its usefullness) so if we want more material to reintroduce it, we should look to those who have preserved that kind of training (which means to either scour the back alleys of Korea, or looking to Karate for more information. The latter approach is both easier and cheaper).

      Ryan Parker is someone you should look up on youtube With his kakiya drills :-)