28 December 2009

Yul-Gok Teul

Yul-Gok is the pseudonym of a great philosopher and scholar Yi l (1536-1584) nicknamed the "Confucius of Korea" The 38 movements of this pattern refer to his birthplace on 38 latitude and the diagram represents "scholar".

Below are YouTube-videos of Won-Hyo Teul. You can read a description of the seperate moves here.

A signiture technique in this pattern is the palm hooking block (sonbadak golchyo makgi) (movements #15 & #16 and #18 & #19).These are "soft blocks," in other words their intention is not to hurt the oponent. Rather the hooking block functions to merely redirect the force of the incoming attack. The palm hooking block, in particular, is used to grab an opponents arm. When practising this technique on a partner reach with your hand high up the arm (the closer to the shoulder the easier it is to successfully grab the arm) and pull your palm closer to secure the grip. The grip is tightened by turning the hand from the little finger.

Although there is a hooking block in Shotokan Karate too, ITF Taekwon-Do's hooking block has its roots in Taekkyeon. In Taekkyeon it is not used to grab the arm, but to reach around the neck to the back of the head and pull the opponent off balance. The name for this technique in Taekkyeon is Bakkdeolmijabgo, and can roughly be translated as outside/reverse-turning-grasp, followed by a pull (dang-gigi).

Another interesting, and possibly related, technique from Yul-Gok Teul is movements #1 and #4. It is described as "a sitting stance . . . while extending the . . . fist . . . horizontally." The movement is often explained as a measuring technique. Personally I am of the opinion that this is also a hooking block, but instead of using the palm, you are using the forearm; i.e. a forearm hooking block (palmok golchya makgi). This is also a soft block and merely redirect the opponent's attack, while opening up a vital spot to counter attack. [In issue 15 of Totally Tae Kwon Do magazine, in my essay "Poetry in Motion: A Poetic Interpretation of the Patterns," I give a detailed explanation why I believe these movements in Yul-Gok Teul should be interpreted as hooking blocks.]

14 December 2009

Cartwheel Kick

The Cartwheel Kick above is by Saenchai

In the video below you can see a pretty impressive Cartwheel Kick to knock out an opponent during an MMA fight. This is the first time for me to see this kick used during a tournament, and not merely as a fancy technique during a demonstration.

Some of you may remember that we practised the kick on one or two occassions at the Potch Dojang, including the Aerial Kick, which is basically a Cartwheel Kick without your hands touching the floor. The video below is a tutorial that shows the basic cartwheel, as well as aerial.

The tutorial focusses on the technique, but does not put emphasis on these motions as actual kicks. To transform the cartwheel and aerial into a Cartwheel Kick and Aerial Kick you need to focus on the attacking tools, namely the footsword (balkal) and reverse footsword (deung balkal).

While a Carthweel Kick would be illegal during an ITF-tournament because ones hands are touching the floor, an Aerial Kick would technically not be illegal, although I've never seen it performed at a tournament before and I'm sure you'd shock the referee.

09 December 2009

4th Dan

Dear Soo Shim Kwan friends,

This is just to let you know that I have received my 4th Dan certificate last night, after passing my 4th degree promotional test earlier this year. My new ITF number is: KO-4-150.

Taekwon-Do regards,
Sabeom Sanko

01 December 2009

A Review of 2009 and a Preview of 2010

Dear Friends,

Please find attached the SA-ITF President's Report for 2009. The report covers the main achievements of our national governing body during this year, and also point out the direction we aim at for 2010.

A main focus for 2010 is the Best Practise Instruction Project. Th BPI project will aim at improving the quality of teaching by all instructors, and will also emphasize the "Do," i.e. the Way of Life, in Taekwon-Do. As Research-and-Education Director I will be closely involved with the project alongside many other members of our governing body.