30 June 2010

Low Section Punching

Downward angled punches are often considered somewhat strange, especially to non-martial artists who are so used to sport combat (e.g. boxing) that focusses on higher targets. However, many martial arts include attacks to the lower section. Some martial arts, like Hapkido, have major emphasis on attacking your opponent's danjeon 단전. The danjeon is supposed to be the plase where one's Ki is stored and is about two centimeters below and behind the navel. More practically, the danjeon is usually where the body's centre of gravity is, so by attacking the danjeon you are almost certain to upset your opponent's balance. In Taekwon-Do we generally devide the body into three sections for attack: high section, middle section and low section. Each of these sections have a prime target. For the low section it is the umbilucus, or more specifically, the danjeon.

In the video below, Instructor Tim White demonstrates how easily a downward angled punch, aimed at the danjeon (pelvic section), breaks a person's balance.

Attacking the inside of the hip from the front, rather than centring the punch for the danjeon, is also quite effective at causing loss of balance. An attack to the danjeon, however, is usually considered better according to the traditional arts, as it not only disturbs the opponents balance, but also his centre of Ki. The punch is also quite effective if performed when facing the opponent from the side and attacking his hip bone. Striking the hip down at a forty five degree angle shocks a nerve point (Gallblader 30), which, apart from causing a stinging pain or even momentary loss of function of the leg, causes the pelvis to swivle.From behind it is possible to hit the tailbone, targeting the Governing Vessel 1 point. Having never done or recieved an attack to that target, I'm not sure what the effect would be, but I suppose one could at least expect a loss of balance, similar to the other attacks to the targets around the pelvis / hip area.

22 June 2010


On Sunday morning I hosted an "Introduction to Tricking Workshop" at The Way Martial Arts Academy of Seoul.

The introduction workshop covered the basic spinning kicking techniques which are the fundamentals for doing tricking. Once these basics were covered we introduced some of the more advanced tricking techniques.

The workshop basically followed the following structure:

1. Warm up and stretching
2. Crescent Kick, Turning Kick (aka Roundhouse Kick), and Heel Hook Kick
3. Spinning Kicks
4. Combination Spinning Kicks
5. Jumping Spinning Kicks
6. Introduction to more advanced tricking techniques: Aerial Kick, 360 Degree Kick, 540 Degree Kick.
7. A Demonstration of Tricking Combinations
8. Cool down and Stretching.

Six people (three Americans, a South African, a Frenchman, and a Korean) attended, each with different martial art backgrounds and levels of experience. I always enjoy how a common interest can bring such different people together.

The video below is of Wesley giving the demonstration of tricking combos and inspiring the rest of us.

09 June 2010

Tong-Il: Breaking Boards, Bricks and Borders

Be sure to check out the trailer for the documentary, Tong-Il: Breaking Boards, Bricks and Borders, on YouTube and give it a “Thumbs Up.” This will help the documentary get exposure and hopefully be picked up by a distribution company.

I've met the filmmaker(s); the amount of time and effort that went into this film is a testimony of its quality. It is also a valuable film in that it reveals some of the ways in which Taekwon-Do is used for political agendas, but also how Taekwon-Do can bridge such political and ideological differences and in effect break the "borders" that divide people.

Please help to get this film some exposure by rating the trailer on YouTube, visiting the website, and telling your friends about the Facebook page.

07 June 2010

The High Kick Myth

I've often heard it said that high kicks are ineffective. I disagree. One of the most common knock outs in MMA is from the "roundhouse kick" (turning kick) to the head. The YouTube-video clip below shows the competitor Mirko performing the roundhouse kick with frequent success.

Of course, a person with lack of flexibility, balance, and speed would be better of not doing high kicks. Still, the idea that high kicks are generally ineffective is a myth perpetuated by those whom are not apt at doing them.

02 June 2010

C K Choi's Sparring Patterns

Grandmaster C K Choi, one of the Taekwon-Do pioneers with General Choi, created a number of Sparring Patterns, which are basically combination drills focussing on specific techniques. I think they make for excellent introduction to specific sparring techniques and is worth the effort trying out. Below is Grandmaster Choi's Punching Sparring Pattern which look at straight punches, turning punches, and upward punches.

Totally Tae Kwon Do and My Contributions: "Poetry in Motion" and "Instructor, Master, Grandmaster"

For those of you that may not yet know about this wonderful resource, I would like to introduce you to the free online magazine, Totally Tae Kwon Do. This global magazine provides articles by Taekwon-Doin around the world and part of different Taekwon-Do organizations. This means that the audience can get an understandings of Taekwon-Do that quite diverse and interesting. I’ve been following the magazine for some time and can honestly say that there is a gem or two in each edition, well worth taking note of. For instance, in the latest June 2010 edition, Issue 16, the article “Taekwon-Do & Sinewave as Sequential Motion” is an excellent apologetic for ITF Taekwon-Do’s unique “sinewave motion” which I strongly advise you all to read.

I have also started to write articles for this magazine. For Issue 15, May 2010, I submitted the essay “Poetry in Motion: A Poetic Interpretation of the Patterns” and for Issue 16 I’ve submitted the essay “Instructor, Master, Grandmaster: An Explanation of the Terms Used in ITF Taekwon-Do.” For the next issue I am likely to submit one of two articles; either “An Introduction to the Philosophy in Chon-Ji Teul” or “Developing Sensitivity to Ki in ITF Taekwon-Do.”

Sb Sanko