30 July 2010

Hard Style and Soft Style Techniques and Principles in ITF Taekwon-Do

I’ve mentioned previously on this blog and elsewhere that ITF Taekwon-Do has evolved away from it’s stringent hard style Shotokan Karate father, to now include soft style principles like an emphasis on relaxation, circular motions and kinetic chaining. This evolution ought not be surprising as ITF Taekwon-Do has two main roots: It’s father is Shotokan, as already mentioned, a hard style; however, ITF Taekwon-Do’s mother is Taekkyeon, which is a soft style.

The official “Definition of Taekwon-Do” also includes this statement:
“Most of the devastating maneuvers in Taekwon-Do are based specially on the initial impact of a blow plus the consequential additional force provided by the rebound of the opponent's moving part of the body. Similarly by using the attacker's force of momentum, the slightest push is all that is needed to upset his or her equilibrium and to topple him or her.”

The first part of this statement reflects the hard style philosophy of force against force. The second part, on the other hand, reflects a soft style philosophy of using the attacker’s force against him and is reminiscent of Aikido, Judo and other soft style martial arts.

In this sense, ITF Taekwon-Do is quite similar to other Oriental martial arts like Tai Chi Ch'uan that believes in a combination of hard and soft into one ever changing unit – into the Taegeuk (the Tai Chi symbol, often known as yin-yang). The taegeuk-principle of hard and soft, giving and receiving, pushing and yielding, linear combined with circular is fundamental to most soft style martial arts.

However, when we think of this soft style aspect in Taekwon-Do, it’s possible to make the two following mistakes:

Mistake #1: Thinking that soft style means weak

Because the descriptive “soft” is used, it is often thought synonymous with “weak” techniques. This is not the true meaning of “soft.” Anyone that has been at the receiving end of a Judo technique (Judo translates into “Soft Way”) knows that a judo throw is anything but weak. The video below shows a master of a very traditional form of Tai Chi easily throwing a big MMA guy during a training session. This is Chen style Tai Chi, the oldest Tai Chi form. The practitioner is Master Chen Bing, head of the World Taijiquan Association.

Similarly a hit from a soft style strike can be quite devastating. In the video below Glen Levy shows (off) his hammer fist punch which he attributes to fa jin, the method of striking employed by Chinese soft styles like Tai Chi.

Fa jin is a combination of relaxation both before and after the technique and extreme acceleration achieved through kinetic chaining. These concepts of conscious relaxation and acceleration through kinetic chaining are fundamental to power generation in ITF Taekwon-Do.

Mistake #2: Thinking that now all techniques should be performed soft style

Since ITF Taekwon-Do has moved away from being an absolute hard style, the temptation may be to turn it into a complete soft style. While it is plausible that under the guidance of some masters Taekwon-Do may evolve in that direction in the future, this is not where ITF Taekwon-Do is at present.

Actually, there is an ITF Taekwon-Do off-shoot that has gone this route. Grandmaster Choi Kwan Jo, one of Gen. Choi’s demonstration team members from the seventies, broke away from the ITF after injuries and reformed Taekwon-Do into Choi Kwan Do. His reason was that he believed that the hard style Taekwon-Do of the time was the cause for his injuries. When Choi Kwan Jo did Taekwon-Do it was during a time in ITF Taekwon-Do’s development when it was still performed primarily as a hard style and still very similar to Shotokan Karate. The major application of soft style principles introduced by Gen. Choi Hong-Hi into ITF Taekwon-Do only started in the 1980s.

The video below shows a Choi Kwan Do practitioner in action. Notice the emphasis on circular motions. Choi Kwan Do is a much more thoroughly and consistently soft-style than ITF Taekwon-Do.

No, ITF Taekwon-Do has not abandoned all its hard style techniques and principles. Rather, it has a peculiar combination of both hard style and soft style techniques, which is a manifestation of its two main roots – Shotokan and Taekkyeon. Sometimes, the same movement can be performed either as a hard style technique, or as a soft style technique, depending on the desired effect. We have for instance the guarding block which is sometimes performed in a more linear fashion and other times in a more circular fashion. Take the low reverse knife hand guarding block as an example.

 The image above is from Volume 3 of the ITF Taekwon-Do Encyclopaedia. The reverse knife hand guarding block on the left can typically be labelled "soft style" and the one on the right "hard style." Both are equally valid ITF Taekwon-Do techniques; however the different applications depends on different desired effects. The circular motion is used to push the attacker's attacking limb and so off-balance the opponent. The straight line block on the right is used to cause pain to the attacker's limb and acts more as a strike than a block.


ITF Taekwon-Do has evolved to include both hard styles and soft style principles and techniques which are reflective of its two main roots, namely Shotokan Karate, which is a hard style, and Taekkyeon, which is a soft style martial art. I don’t think we can say that ITF Taekwon-Do has changed from a hard style martial art (as it certainly was from the 1950s to the 1970s) into a soft style martial art. Rather, it would seem that ITF Taekwon-Do is attempting to be a hard style and a soft style at the same time. (This “soft” aspect should not be misunderstood to mean weak.) While ITF Taekwon-Do always had typically soft style techniques (i.e. circular motion techniques) derived from Taekkyeon and elsewhere from its beginning; it didn't really fully employ soft style principles (i.e. fa jin style power generation) till the 1980s at which time conscious relaxation of the body, knee spring (and its associated sine wave motion), and kinetic chaining concepts became especially prevalent.

27 July 2010

The Value of Model Self-Defence

I posted a part of my post “I Don’t Like Your Self-Defence” on the eSAITF-forum the other day. One member (Carl, a student from ATC) responded and made me realise that my post could be somewhat misleading – it could suggest that Model Sparring type self-defence training does not contribute to self-defence training at all. Carl pointed out that this type of training, let’s call it “Model Self-Defence,” is useful for teaching certain principles and instilling good habits. I agree.

There was a time that I did not teach Model Self-Defence at all. What I found was something quite interesting; some of the students, even though they understood the principles, when suddenly confronted with the real life scenarios only, without the Model Self-Defence training as a prelude, did not know how to react.

This made me realise a number of things: Merely understanding the principles is not enough as many students (especially beginners), do not know how to manifest those principles in practical, creative ways. Although they have the head knowledge, this does not naturally manifest in body knowledge; i.e. reflexive bodily responses. They first have to think about the principles. What Model Defence teach them, as Carl pointed out, are certain habits, certain stock responses that they do not have to think about – mere reflexive motions that occurs because of the good habits that were instilled in them through Model Self-Defence practise.

Someone with years of training, whose body acts reflexively, need not be stifled by such stock responses. They have the kinaesthetic ability to react to different scenarios and situations in creative ways. Other people, without the years of training, do not have that kinaesthetic sensibility, and for them Model Self-Defence training is crucial to instil instinctive responses to certain situation. It is here that the responsibility of the teacher comes in to play. The teacher should ensure that the types of situations are reflective of realistic violent encounters. To fall back onto the illustration in my previous post – the scenarios should be realistic: Not merely a wrist grab, but a grab immediately followed by a strike.

26 July 2010

More Thoughts on Self-Defence

In my previous post ("I Don't Like Your Self-Defence") I spoke about self-defence and that what is taught as self-defence in a martial art gym should be relevant to the society in which that gym is located, or to the specific self-defence needs of the students and their most probable violent encounters.

This is not as easy as one would suppose. I’m teaching in Korea a mixed group of individuals, many of them, of course, Korean. The self-defence needs of these Korean students are radically removed from the self-defence needs of my students in South Africa (or even my American students here). Here in Korea violent crimes are so uncommon that practically every time a violent crime occurs it makes the news. In South Africa, on the other hand, violent crimes are so common that they aren’t considered news worthy anymore.

In a recent address to Parliament, South African President Jacob Zuma stated that South Africa has a greater problem with violent crime than any other country in the world. [PASCO: November 2009]

The students whom I teach here, and even the chief instructor, considers my self-defence teaching somewhat violent. Now anybody that knows me knows that I am not a violent person; one of my brothers calls me a hippie because I’m so laidback. It’s different when I teach self-defence. I’ve even been told here, once, that some of my self-defence techniques are “dirty.” True, they are dirty, but if we’re talking actual self-defence then you need every dirty trick in the book. I’m merely teaching a level of aggressive effectiveness which I think would be necessary in actual violent crime scenarios – scenarios reflective of the extreme crimes that occur in South Africa.

A typical person living in South Korea will hardly ever be confronted with real violence in the streets. (Physical abuse at home is another story, which I may talk about in another post.) In public, angry people in Korea tend to resort mostly to shouting and name calling. There are no guns on the streets, and gang violence, I’ve been told, involves sticks and knives, but is something seldom heard of and only in certain parts of a small number of cities. Violent crimes involving the general public in Korea are quite low. (It could be that crimes are under reported for appearance sake. Saving-face is an important concept in Korea.)

But let’s get back to self-defence in South Africa. When we talk about self-defence are we talking about women and children learning to defend themselves against abusive husbands and fathers? Are we talking about high school boys meeting each other after school for a brawl on the rugby field? Are we talking about young men fighting at pubs and outside of night clubs? Are we talking about attempted date rapes? Are we talking about muggings? Are we talking about high-jacks? Burglaries and raping of the women? Farm-attacks and murder?

The thing is, all of these scenarios require different types of self-defence, levels of defence, ways of training, ways of thinking and even legal considerations. Two guys vexing for the same girl at a night club, whom have decided to walk outside and have so entered into a mutual agreement of physical prowess is a completely different kettle of fish from someone ambushed in a parking lot, and this is again far removed from farmers overwhelmed by ruthless murderers on their farm.

What do you mean when you say that you teach self-defence? Who is likely to use it and in what likely situation? Unless you can honestly answer these questions, it is best you don’t pretend to teach self-defence at all.

I do not take the view of some people that suggests that martial art gyms cannot teach self-defence and that self-defence and martial arts function in two completely different realms. They are different, yes, but they also overlap enough for a martial art school, I believe, to be able to teach practical self-defence. However, the first step in that direction is honesty. The second step is clarity.

24 July 2010

I Don't Like Your Self-Defence

Whenever I look at self-defence requirements in most martial art syllabi (including Taekwon-Do) I am left with much concern. Where do these requirements come from and how are they relevant to us, here and now, to my students?

One of the first self-defence requirements in the syllabi of most Taekwon-Do and other martial art schools is a release from a wrist grab. One has to wonder why this is so? Surely this is not the most common attack, is it? Ask ten people who have been in physical confrontations and see how many of them were actually grabbed by the wrist. Of all the students I’ve taught, only one has told me of having been grabbed by the wrist. Maybe another reason for this self-defence technique being taught for a beginning martial artist is because it is such a simple manoeuvre? Merely pull the arm free at the grip's weakest point, namely the thumb. Even so, the simple wrist grab scenario is never that simple.

In a real life situation, the wrist grab is usually just a set-up for a more serious self-defence scenario. If an attacker grabs your wrist / arm / clothing, it is usually a setup for another attack. At least three scenarios come to mind: (1) the attacker grabs you to keep you close so that he can pummel you with his free fist; (2) the attacker has another weapon, probably a knife, pressed against you and has taken hold of you so that you cannot easily move away from the weapon; (3) the attacker has taken hold of you in order to pull you away for better positioning, so that he can continue his assault somewhere else. In only one of these three scenarios is the wrist grab release the first priority. In scenario #1 the first priority is not escaping from the grab, but defending against the attacker’s free fist. In the second scenario the first priority is the weapon in your side. And even in scenario three, where a release from his grip is priority, the type of self-defence technique taught in most schools are not taught against an opponent that is forcefully pulling you, with you most likely being off-balance. I’m not saying that students should not learn how to escape from a wrist grab; what I am saying is that the actual wrist grab is seldom the most pressing issue when the arm is grabbed. It is the rest of the attack, the associated punch, the weapon by the side, the pull, which are the more important problems and unfortunately these are seldom considered.

What is generally taught as self-defence is actually Model Sparring – a form of pre-arranged sparring that demonstrates idealised defence against an attack. The instructor tells your training partner how to attack you, and tells you exactly how to defend against this particular attack and also which counter-attack to exactly which vital spot will work best for this specific positioning of yourself and your training partner. When done properly, pre-arranged sparring is often quite pretty to watch, and seemingly very effective. But Model Sparring is not how a real life self-defence scenario plays out. In an actual violent encounter you seldom expect the attack, which is completely opposite to Model Sparring. You seldom know when the attack will happen or what type of attack it will be. And it would probably be better to talk of attacks (plural), rather than attack (singular), because the attacker is likely to do more than just grab your wrist and stand there waiting for you to do a wrist grab release.

When we as instructors teach Model Sparring and call it Self-Defence, we are misleading our students.

I had a student, whom I’ll call Ruth. As far as Self-Defence went, Ruth was one of my star students. During promotional tests I would tell the attacker how to attack (sometimes Ruth would be privy to what attack would come, sometimes not). Ruth would guard herself from the attack and then counter with strong successive counters, probably thumbs to the eyes, attacks to the throat, elbow strikes to the side of the head or knee strikes to the groin and thighs. Afterwards she would retreat sufficiently, not merely stepping back in a ready posture. Ruth’s self-defence demonstrations were never pretty, but anybody witnessing it would agree to its efficiency. She always convinced me that if she was to find herself in a violent assault situation that she would not be an easy victim and I therefore always gave her high scores on the self-defence section of her promotional tests. However, I also knew full well that if another instructor – one used to pretty wrist releases and picture perfect counter attacks – were to grade her, that her score would be far less than what I gave her. The reason would be not that she is bad at Self-Defence but that her Self-Defence did not resemble Model Sparring.

Since I do not always test my own students, I eventually started to teach them two types of self-defence techniques. The first type of "self-defence" techniques are based on Model Sparring:

The attacker grabs your wrist. You step forward into a walking stance, releasing your grabbed arm by turning it out in the weak part of the attacker’s grip and counter-attacking with a punch to the solar plexus with your other hand. You may include a kiap for effect. Step back into a guarding stance.

This type of self-defence is better called something else; maybe "Model Defence"?

The second type of self-defence techniques are based on likely real life scenarios.

The attacker grabs you and start pounding you with his free hand. Defend yourself.

For the first type of “self-defence” I teach specific attacks with specific counter techniques. The aim is to make it look effective. For the second type I teach basic principles for surviving an unexpected attack. There are usually no “blocking” techniques, merely guarding. Counter-attacks are not prescriptive, rather general suggestions are made based on the weakest points on the opponents body and the best attacking tools that require the least amount of conditioning. The eyes and throat can easily be injured even if the attacker is well conditioned. A palm heel strike is better than a fist (which could easily break against the hard skull of the attacker). Elbow strikes and knee kicks are very strong, even for physically smaller people.  The aim is not to make it look effective; the aim is to be effective.

I think that what is considered self-defence requirements are often traditional or cultural. Many Oriental martial arts, for instance, have self-defence techniques based on people sitting on the floor. While these are interesting to know, they are quite irrelevant to my particular students who hardly ever sit on the floor. Self-defence requirements should also have a certain profile in mind. Women are more likely to be grabbed; hence women need to learn more defences against grabs. However, most students training in martial arts are men; why then are such a big percentage of self-defence techniques taught grab releases?

The self-defence requirements for martial art syllabi should always get serious thought. Requirements should reflect the likely violent scenarios practitioners are to expect within their own society. Focus should also be given to the most likely victims of violent encounters, statistically speaking that is young men. Furthermore, pre-arranged sparring (i.e. Model Sparring) should not be confused with proper self-defence training.

I like the two videos below, directed by Master Alexandris, as they are much more reflective of actual self-defence than what is typically labelled self-defence.

23 July 2010

Attacking the Pelvic Circle

A couple of weeks ago I published a post on "Low Section Punching" in martial arts and mentioned how traditional martial artists often target the danjeon -- the centre of the body's Ki. In the video below, featuring a section from National Geographic's Fight Science documentary on self-defence, a less esoteric target is mentioned. The pelvic circle is connected in the front by a piece of cartilage, which is quite weak and can easily fracture compared to the pelvic / hip bones. This cartilage is the weakest point in the pelvic circle and therefore an ideal target.

In the previously mentioned post I referred specifically to the downward angled punch, but there are a number of other Taekwon-Do techniques that are ideally suited for attacking this weak point in the pelvic circle.

The upset fingertip thrust (found in the pattern Toi-Gye, movements #2 and #5), for instance, seems to target that point of the anatomy specifically. Unfortunately this technique requires much finger conditioning.

Another technique that will work quite well is the upset punch. Instead of reaching the target at a downward angle, the upset punch reaches the target perpendicularly and will certainly cause much trauma to the pelvic circle. The upset punch uses a lot of hip rotation, which gives it much intrusive force. This fist in the photo on the right seems quite high, but keep in mind that the practitioner is standing in a fairly deep stance, a walking stance or a long stance, which means that if his opponent is standing in a normal upright posture, the first can easily reach the pelvic circle cartridge.

A similar technique to the open handed strike performed by the individual on the video above is the side fist strike performed, in this case, as an inward strike to the low section. The side fist strike, also known as a hammer-fist strike, is usually performed at high or middle section, but there is in theory no reason why it could not be used to the low section. This technique, with its swinging torque, definitely has the potential to cause much trauma to the pelvic region.The side fist strike is best used when you are not in front of your opponent; rather to his side front, or on his side.

A technique that is also ideal for attacking the pelvic region is the low side front snap kick (e.g. in pattern Joon-Gun, movements #2 and #5). Not only is this kick at the correct height for this target, it is also quite fast with extra thrusting from the kicker's hip, giving the kick so much more forward force. The focussed attacking tool (ball of the foot) is definitely capable of seriously damaging the pelvic bone's connecting cartridge. I've used this kick on the side of the groin (kicking the hip instead of the pelvic cartridge for my training partner's safety) with great effect during training sessions. Knee kicks could also be used to great effect to this target.

Please be careful when practising and performing such techniques on another person.

Images from Sonkal.taekwondo.cz 

22 July 2010

Jump Rope

I've heard somewhere that a 10 minute jump rope routine is equivalent to a 20 minute jog. Whether this is true or not, I do not know, but it is undeniable that skipping contributes a lot to fitness and footwork. Also skipping is far more convenient than jogging since you can easily do it within the confined space of your dojang. Jump rope is a standard exercise for boxing and other combat sports. It is also a fast way to start your warm-up and get your heart rate going.

The videos below gives some suggestions on skipping.

20 July 2010

The Soo Shim Kwan and Cross-Training

While looking at the side panel of this blog you will notice many links to other martial art sites and blogs, a big number of them non-Taekwondo. One could rightly ask why I, as Soo Shim Kwanjangnim (head of the Soo Shim Kwan), allow these links on our blog. Doesn’t the ITF Encyclopaedia say that “One shall serve only one master,” implying that we ought to do only one martial art? I don’t think that is exactly what is meant by “serving only one master.” In fact, I have been encouraged by very high ranking ITF-masters to learn from other martial arts. After all, with the modern phenomenon of Mixed Martial Arts, Taekwon-Do practitioners often forget (or don't even know) that Taekwon-Do was one of the first modern martial arts to borrow from a variety of discipines. Taekwon-Do incorporated techniques and ideas from Karate, Taekkyeon, Judo, Hapkido and other styles. But that aside for now.

The Soo Shim Kwan is completely for cross-training. I believe that cross training is beneficial for one’s growth as a martial artist.

Our Soo Shim Kwan Charter mentions that we believe in "establish[ing] and maintain[ing] friendly and cooperative structures with other martial arts . . .” As many of you know, I’ve hosted a number of  “Diversification Workshops” where I’d invite different martial arts for a day of cross-training – each martial art teaching to all the attending members something from their own style. The last Diversification Workshop we hosted at the Potchefstroom Dojang included instruction from ITF Taekwon-Do, WTF Taekwondo, Grappling, Western Boxing, and Hapkido. I've also invited individual instructors to our schools before, and have taught at different martial art schools on invitation.

Too often martial artists become experts at fighting against only members of their own style. This is inevitable if the only people you train with are people in your own style. Such myopic training is not ideal and, in my opinion, even dangerous. Cross-training in other martial arts is essential in order to keep yourself from becoming narrow minded.

There are a number of reasons why many instructors may be against their students doing cross-training. First, I fear that some instructors do not have confidence in what they are teaching. They are secretly scared that if their students were to explore other styles they may find something better. I do not share this fear. I truly believe that if ITF Taekwon-Do is taught properly, it is a superior martial art and we need not be shy of exposure to other styles. I've personally competed against other martial arts and believe that well performed Taekwon-Do is an excellent martial art.

Secondly, instructors may be afraid that students will enrol in another martial art and try to train in both simultaneously, which may hinder their progress. This concern does have some merit. Trying to practice more than one martial art at the same time, especially if the martial arts are similar, will impact each other – and often in a negative way. For instance, if you practice two striking arts where one tells you to do a turning kick (aka roundhouse kick) with the ball of the foot (like in ITF) and another tells you to kick with the shin (like in Muay Thai), you will constantly hear conflicting admonitions from your respective teachers and you will start to do the "wrong" technique in the different classes. This will slow down your progress in both styles.

Occasional cross-training will help you to keep an open-mind and will be quite beneficial.

Here are some points to keep in mind when you are considering cross-training:

  • Avoid a similar striking art. I strongly advise against taking up another stand-up fighting martial art before you have mastered the basics in your current art. Wait until you are at least a black belt. Once you’ve mastered the basics, training in another similar art will not interfere that much with your base art. 
  • Choose something very different. If you do want to take up another martial art, choose an art that is very different from what you are currently doing. Instead of another stand-up fighting art, rather choose a joint-manipulation or grappling art like Aikido, Judo, Wrestling or (Brazilian) Jiu-jitsu.
  • Choose something that will compliment your training regime. Occasional cross-training need not to be taken too seriously, but try at least to cross-train in something that’s very different from your usual training and which will compliment the areas that you think you need to improve in. If it’s more stamina and plyometric fitness you need, you may consider Parkour, Tennis or Squash. If it is strength, you may consider weight-training. If you’re dojang doesn’t spend much time in ground fighting, you may consider cross-training in a grappling class.
  • Talk to your instructor. Remember to discuss it with your instructor before including another martial art in your training regime. Let your instructor advise you. Your instructor may tell you that you ought to wait some time and first build your foundation more before including another style. Trust your instructor’s experience. Your instructor may also suggest a style that can benefit you and may even know good instructors.

Cross-training also involves the mind. Expose yourself to other ideas. It is for this reason that there are links to other martial arts on this website. Learn from other people. It is possible to borrow from other martial arts, but still keeping it Taekwon-Do. In ITF Taekwon-Do we have very specific principles, like the Theory of Power, Training Secrets and Attacking Tool and Vital Spots chart. This means that you can take practically any technique from another martial art and by merely imposing the Taekwon-Do principles over these foreign techniques, literally make them Taekwon-Do. I’ve learned a lot of novel ways in which Taekwon-Do can be applied by reading the material of other martial arts. This has actually made me more loyal to ITF Taekwon-Do because I could see how Taekwon-Do can adapt, while at the same time keep true to its essence.

Happy cross-training!

18 July 2010

Penn & Teller's Bullshit

I watched the first season of Penn & Teller's Bullshit in which they expose different common held believes as nonsense. I soon, however, realised that while many of the episodes are accurate, it is clear that they are not objective in their assessments. They are not trying to convey objective facts, but enforce their own view -- which is, to their credit, common sense most of the time. I soon lost interest in the program.

Recently a new episode in which they try to make out all martial art training to be worthless started to grab the attention of the martial art community. I tried to watch this episode of Bullshit, but quickly saw that they were up to their old antics again and decided not to waste my time any further. Since I'm not going to watch the whole episode, I cannot respond to it.

However, below are two links to other martial art bloggers whom did watch the whole episode and who wrote decent replies in which they highlighted the problems with the program:

A Strategy for When You Are Hit

(This post is an extension of the ideas discussed in the previous post “Distance and Angle” that I posted a week ago.)

The final position for most blocks in ITF Taekwon-Do is with the defender in a half-facing posture. It was explained to me when I just started Taekwon-Do that it is in case an attack breaks through your defence and hits you, the force of the blow will be less serious because of the oblique angle. If the blow were to hit you perpendicularly, i.e. straight on, your body will absorb all the force. However, when your body is turned somewhat, the impact of the blow skids off you, and you only experience the force of the blow partially.

Having studied other martial arts, like Hapkido, that requires much blending with the force of one’s opponent, I agree with the half-facing posture idea. However, I’d like to suggest a reversed application, where you actually move into a half-facing posture, if you happened not to be in one, at the moment of impact. For instance, say you were full facing when your opponent hit you in the chest; at the moment of impact you can then rotate your body away from the incoming force. By tilting the target area, you can help disperse some of the force of the blow.

While this is not an ideal – the ideal is not to get hit in the first place – it is consistent with other Taekwon-Do principles. One can extrapolate this strategy from these principles. First, there is the half-facing preference already mentioned. The Encyclopaedia (Volume 3), when discussing principles for defence, states: “Always maintain a half facing posture during maneuvers toward and away from an opponent with a few exceptions.” Clearly preference is given to the half-facing posture. Second, the Encyclopaedia also admonishes the defender to keep a “flexible ready posture at all times.” That the defender’s posture should be “flexible” implies that it should be able to move easily, even when being hit – it should not stiffly absorb a blow, but with flexibility disperse the blow. The Encyclopaedia also says that the blocking tool should be “withdrawn immediately after contact.” I believe the same principle is applicable for the whole body, not only the blocking tool. One is therefore to keep relaxed and flexible, withdrawing from an impact. Furthermore, the Theory of Power, when discussing Breath Control, suggests that one exhales at the moment impact is received from an opponent. We also have the principle of Distance and Angle that teaches how techniques have certain distances and angles at which they are at their most powerful. The implication is that one can weaken the force of an opponent’s attack by changing the distance at which the attack reaches you (you can either move in and smother the technique, or move away and let the blow dissipates its force). Alternatively, you can weaken the attack by changing the angle at which the force hits your body. For instance, if a punch hits your chest straight on, if you are able to turn your torso – even at the moment of impact – some of the force from the blow will slide off at an angle. One often sees this Distance and Angle strategy used by boxers when they receive body blows. They literally roll their bodies into the blow or twist their torsos so that the force of the blow is lessened. This "rolling" and "twisting" ("bobbing and weaving") motions changes the angle at which the punch hits the body and changes the distance so that the blow is somewhat weaker.

Watch this video in which a pro-boxer explains "How to Take a Punch":

If you should get hit, try to apply the following:

  • Keep the body flexible.
  • Change the angle at which the attack reaches your vital spot. Turn into a half-facing posture or other appropriate angle.
  • Try to change the distance at which the attack will reach the vital spot so that it does not hit the body at its most powerful point in motion. Either move the body closer and smother the incoming blow, or move the body away and let its force disperse.
  • Breathe out at the moment of impact. 
  • Finally, the Encyclopaedia says that one should "remain constantly aware so you are able to execute a counter-attack the instant an opportunity avails itself."
One can easily practise the points in this "strategy" as exercise drills in class. All these exercises should start out slowly and at moderately low force. Under the supervision of an instructor the drills can be speeded up, and the power of the attacks may be increased proportionally.

Drill 1:

Two partners square off punching distance in full facing postures. The Attacker uses his palm and strongly pushes the shoulder or upper chest of the Defender. The Defender "accepts" the blow, but immediately turns his body so that the force skids off to the side.

The exercise can be amended to include a counter-attack. When the Attacker pushes the shoulder or chest, the Defender uses that force as part of his Reaction Force that helps him to propel an attack from the opposite side. For instance, if the left shoulder is pushed back, the Defender can use that turning motion to strike the Attacker with the right arm.

In the video below, John Graden explains a similar concepts which he calls "Riding the Power." Here the attack is done to the head (rather than the shoulder or chest) and the Defender moves with the force of the blow, leading his head backward. Later in the video he intercepts the blow with his head. Both of these examples rely on changing the Distance so that the punch does not reach his vital spot when it is at its most ideal distance (the moment in the motion when the technique is at its most forceful).

In the Discovery Channel clip below, from their Time Warp program, we see how not to do it, unless you like experiencing your face warped.

Drill 2:

This is also a conditioning exercise. The Attacker punches at Defender's abdomen. The Defender try to intercept the punch with his abdomen before the punch is at its most forcefully. At the moment of impact the Defender also changes the angle at which the attack is met by tilting the attacking surface. (See how the Shaolin monk does it in the video.)

Drill 3:

This is also a conditioning exercise. Start of by standing, facing your training partner (the Attacker) in a full facing posture. The Attacker then hits or kicks your body square on. Apply the strategy points above in order to weaken the force of the blow.Try to change the Angle (turn your body) and Distance (either smother the blow or retreat from it). Remember to breathe out at the moment of impact. An example of this exercise could be a side kick to the abdomen. As the kick comes to you, move into it quickly and so smother it before the Attacker's leg has time to properly extend. Alternatively, as the kick reaches your body, dodge back a little and shift your weight back into a rear-foot stance, and stiffen your abdominal muscles as you strongly breath out to absorb the kick's force.

The drill can be amended with a good guarding posture where the Defender is allowed to "guard" but not yet to block. "Blocking" occurs by turning the guarding arms ("rolling" the torso) into the blows and so deflecting the force. Focus only on body turning, but no actual blocking.

The tempo of this exercise can be increased, changing the drill into a sparring exercise with one person only attacking and the other defending. Later, start to include counter-attacks.

17 July 2010

Impact and Momentum Techniques

In a previous post ("ITF Taekwon-Do: From Hard Style Karate to Soft Style Tai Chi") I mentioned that I think ITF Taekwon-Do has more in common with a soft style, as far as power generation is concerned, than a hard style like Shotokan Karate. I explained that ITF Taekwon-Do has evolved into using similar mechanics employed in "fa jin," employed by soft style martial arts.

In the video below, Glen Levy explains "fa jin" as impact oriented techniques, rather than momentum oriented techniques. He mentions hard style martial arts that uses linear style attacks and names Karate as an example of such a hard style that uses momentum oriented techniques. He also names Taekwon-Do as another hard style example. For most Taekwon-Do styles this would be a fair assessment. However, ITF Taekwon-Do has evolved much since its days as merely Korean Karate. It is my conviction that modern ITF Taekwon-Do, when adhering to its inherent principles, is not a 100% hard style -- like Japanese Karate -- any more, and that when Levy describes the fa jin principle, that is in fact how modern ITF Taekwon-Do performs its techniques -- even its longer, pulling-back techniques. ITF Taekwon-Do uses kinetic chaining where one muscle groups contributes to the force of the next muscle group, it requires the practitioner to "explode" from a relaxed posture, almost like "a sneeze", and then it requires complete relaxation -- a "sinking feeling" -- after the technique has reached its target

While I am convinced that ITF Taekwon-Do is not a 100% hard style any more, I am also convinced that its far from being a 100% soft style. The transition is still in progress and I doubt a full conversion from complete hard style to complete soft style will ever occur. Rather, I believe that ITF Taekwon-Do is attempting a balance somewhere between hard and soft style principles.

For this reason, what we see is actually a big number of techniques that are performed as impact techniques and a big number that are momentum techniques, to use Glen Levy's description. A reverse turning kick, for instance, is a momentum kick, while a normal turning kick is an impact kick.

What I'm finding personally exciting is trying to figure out which techniques function better with impact, and which better with momentum.It may even be possible that one technique could function best as either an impact technique or a momentum technique depending on the circumstances.

14 July 2010

Taekkyeon and ITF Taekwon-Do

It's been two weeks since I've taken up Taekkyeon again. The first time I did Taekkyeon was in 2008, but after a number of months the classes started to clash with my work schedule. I also reached a plateau because the group of people I trained with were quite old, which did not allow me to train much of the practical applications of Taekkyeon. The first dojang I went to focussed on health. Taekkyeon was used in the same way that Tai Chi Ch'uan is practised by most people, as a recreation focussed on health. Not that there is anything wrong with this, it was just not the reason I wanted to learn Taekkyeon.

Recently, some time opened up in my busy schedule, so I decided to take up Taekkyeon again. The last two weeks I've been focussing on the basic stepping motion in Taekkyeon, which is harder than it looks. Hard especially for me because my instructor tells me that I've acquired some bad habits from my previous Taekkyeon exposure. I'm spending much of my time in class trying to unlearn wrong motions.

But that's not the purpose of this post. I'd like to talk about one of my main reasons (there are a number) why I took up Taekkyeon. Basically, I'm learning Taekkyeon in an attempt to understand Taekwon-Do better. As readers of this blog (mostly Soo Shim Kwan members) probably know, Taekwon-Do has two roots. General Choi Hong-Hi, who was the principle driving force behind the development of Taekwon-Do (and ITF Taekwon-Do in particular) trained in two martial arts -- Taekkyeon as a teenager and Shotokan Karate as a young man. These two martial arts became the chief influences in the development of Taekwon-Do. The greatest influence, at first, was undoubtedly from Karate. The techniques from Japanese Karate is typically hard and linear in character. The kicks borrowed (and altered) from Karate were the front kick, turning kick, side kick and back kick. Most of the other kicks in Taekwon-Do are derived from Taekkyeon and are typically circular in character, for example crescent kicks, sweeping kicks, checking kicks; also the pushing kicks. The spinning kicks were developed in Taekwon-Do and does not come from either Karate or Taekkyeon.

The things that truly intrigue me about Taekkyeon and the reason I decided to acquaint myself with this martial art are two other similarities I've noticed between ITF Taekwon-Do and Taekkyeon: mostly relaxed techniques and a waving stepping motion. Relaxation and the sine wave motion were not part of the original Taekwon-Do dating from the 1950s to 1970s. For all practical purposes, this old style Taekwon-Do was nothing more than Korean Karate with added techniques and new patterns. But then ITF Taekwon-Do made a sudden change, as if the Taekkyeon seeds from General Choi's past suddenly germinated and the stringent Japanese flavour that was so prevalent in Taekwon-Do was suddenly replaced with something different. This different ingredient, I have come to believe, has its source in Taekkyeon. Both the relaxation and the bobbing (sine wave) is something we see in Taekkyeon.

I'm not suggesting that ITF Taekwon-Do and Taekkyeon is the same thing; far from it, but I do believe that they are related and much more so than say that is commonly suggested. From my exposure to many different martial arts, Taekkyeon's way of stepping is the closest to the ITF sine wave. It is not the same, but it is more similar than similar body-sinking movements in other martial arts. I truly believe that in his later life General Choi wanted to make Taekwon-Do less Japanese and more Korean and therefore borrowed from his childhood experience in Taekkyeon.This has completely altered the look and feel of ITF Taekwon-Do. Taekwon-Do used to be a hard style like Japanese Karate. In the meantime it has incorporated many more "soft style" principles (as I mentioned in the previous post), so that it is now a very interesting hybrid; a strange synergy of hard style and soft style principles.

As I get to understand Taekkyeon better, and as I understand the similarities between Taekkyeon and ITF Taekwon-Do better, I will be sure to report about them here.

ITF Taekwon-Do: From Hard-Style Karate to Soft-Style Tai-Chi

In the previous post ("Double Hip") I mentioned how we in ITF Taekwon-Do pivot on the ball of the rear foot when rotating the hip for a reverse punch. I also mentioned how in Karate the foot is kept flat. In ITF Taekwon-Do the rotation starts in the foot, then the hip rotates, then the torso is pushed forward, then the shoulders, and finally the fist is flung forward. We call this sequential motion or kinetic chaining. The momentum of one part of the body is transferred to the next part of the body which continues the momentum to the next, until finally the attacking tool zaps to its target with the combined accumulated force of all the separate body parts.

Now look at a demonstration of the "gyaku zuki" (reverse punch) from Japanese Karate in the YouTube-video below:

Japanese Karate's "gyaku zuki" works differently from ITF Taekwon-Do's reverse punch. The rotation does not start from pivoting the foot, but starts from the hip. In fact, the rear foot pivots because of the extreme force working on it from above -- from the the big hip and torso rotation. Unlike the kinetic chaining in ITF Taekwon-Do where different parts of the body rotates, each adding to the momentum of the next in a sling shot fashion, the rotation in Japanese Karate does not seem to be sequential. If you look at the video again, notice that the hip, torso and arm rotates at the same time.

ITF Taekwon-Do has moved away from its Shotokan roots and has more in common, I believe, with some of the internal style Chinese martial arts and their concept of "fa jin."

Look at the video below of Tai-Chi Ch'uan Master Chen Xiaowang demonstrating "fa jin." Notice the alternation between relaxation and then sudden acceleration. This is known among the internal or soft style Chinese martial arts as "fa jin." This type of relaxation flowing into explosive acceleration using kinetic chaining is in fact the same thing we do in ITF Taekwon-Do. If you do not recognise the similarity then it probably means that you are focussing to much on vertical sine wave in your technique and too little on horizontal wave, i.e. kinetic chaining.

As far as horizontal body rotation is concerned, I believe that power generation in ITF Taekwon-Do is closer to Tai-Chi Ch'uan than Japanese Karate. Historically Taekwon-Do movements were very linear, resembling its Shotokan Karate roots. We can still see it in old style Taekwon-Do -- those schools that went independent of the ITF before the 1980s. Current ITF Taekwon-Do focus a lot on relaxation and various circular movements. For instance, when punching in Taekwon-Do the arm is not pulled to the hip, momentarily resting there, and then thrust again straight to the target. Instead, the arm is pulled back, but instead of stopping it does a small elliptical motion before thrusting out to the target. These ellipsis and circles that have become part of ITF Taekwon-Do has its cause in at least two maxims we adhere to in ITF Taekwon-Do:

1. The limbs should stay slightly bend (i.e. relaxed) through out its motion until it reaches its target.
2. The movement should never stop, until it reaches its target. (No jerky motions. No pulling back, stopping, then striking.)

The (sine) wave principle is one way we use to implement these maxims and create kinetic chaining. The wave helps us to stay relaxed and, if done correctly, prevents jerky (saw tooth type) movements.

13 July 2010

"Double Hip"

In the video below Coach Moore, an MMA instructor, is experimenting with what I would like to call a horizontal (sine) wave motion with the hip. The renowned self-defence instructor Peter Conserdine is known for teaching this "double hip" punch. It is not his own invention; rather, it is a rediscovery of an old Karate technique. We do something similar in ITF Taekwon-Do and usually refer to it as "hip rotation" or "hip jerk." It derives from the section on "Mass" in ITF Taekwon-Do's Theory of Power.

While watching the video, notice Coach Moore's legs. Particularly notice how he bends the front knee, lifts the back heel of the ground, and then slams the back heel back to the floor at the end of the technique to absorb any rebound energy. This is practically the same mechanics we employ in ITF Taekwon-Do when we do our peculiar "sine wave motion." Notice the similar mechanics between what he is doing and what we do when perform, what is sometimes known as, the "D"-formation -- i.e. the rolling of the knees, the lifting of the body in a slight arc, and then the drop of the body while thrusting the hip forward.

Of course it is not exactly the same, but there are similarities. Particularly as far as the horizontal wave, in other words, the hip rotation is concerned; although in recent years we do not perform such an exaggerated hip rotation any more. We often find ourselves with one hip already in a forward position and therefore negating the need for a "double hip" as Coach Moore is demonstrating in the video. Usually we are standing in a guarded position or in a blocking posture, which requires that we be "half facing" the opponent; this means that one hip is already rotated forward. To do a reverse punch from such a position we merely need to thrust the opposite -- rear -- hip forward. Attempting a "double hip" when the hips are not squared, when one is already pulled back, would just waste time. Coach Moore, on the other hand, is not starting off in a half facing position. He starts off full facing -- hips squared, face forward -- and then as he starts the punch (by rolling the front knee) he turns in to a half facing. This causes the leading hip to thrust forward, then followed by thrusting the rear hip forward -- hence the name "double hip" punch.

The principle is in effect the same as we do in ITF Taekwon-Do. The way he rolls his knees are also similar to what we achieve with our sine wave motion. However, in ITF Taekwon-Do we would not swivel the front knee as much. We tend to roll the knee in a vertical circle -- forward, up, and down; we do not rotate the knee horizontally as much. Our hip thrust is also a little less. Peter Conserdine's method creates actually more forward thrust, I believe, but it also creates lots of side ways forces that my hamper ones balance, especially when stepping forward. It would be very difficult to do the "double hip" punch as Coach Moore is demonstrating while stepping forward. For this reason we tone down the technique somewhat in ITF Taekwon-Do. Although we do lose some of the power, we keep more of our dynamic balance, which is very important for stepping.

What I'd like to point out in this post is that the mechanics of the sine wave motion does not merely contributed to vertical forces -- in other words dropping the body weight behind a punch -- but also contributes to the horizontal force of hip rotation. Both requires a rolling of the knees. What we cannot see in the video clearly is what he is doing with his back heel, but one can deduce some things. We know that he is lifting up the back heel. This means that he is pivoting on the ball of his foot as he is thrusting his rear hip forward. We do the same thing in ITF Taekwon-Do -- never do we pivot the rear foot while it's completely flat on the ground, as this puts a lot of strain on the knee joint. In this way we are different from many Karate systems which will actually keep the back foot flat, while rotating the hips; a potentially unsafe practise. One of my friends (she used to be a Karateka) has injured her knees this way.

11 July 2010

Distance and Angle

The Shaolin monk is demonstrating a very important principle, what we in ITF Taekwon-Do refer to as "distance and angle."

There is a certain phase during the execution of a technique where the technique is at its strongest -- usually during the last third of the technique. The Shaolin practitioner is intercepting the punch long before it is at its most forceful. His abdominal muscles can then easily absorb the impact.

When defending against an attack it is often best to block it before its at full extension. Block the limb further up -- not close to the end of the limb. For a punch, don't try and block the wrist, for instance, rather move in closer and block closer to the elbow or bicep. Most force and momentum is at the end of the limb; so rather move in, or move away and avoid contact altogether. Another method, the one employed by the Shaolin practitioner, is to smother the technique before it is at its strongest. Moving in, or moving out of range, concerns distance.

Another way to diminish the power of an attack is to alter the angle at which the force approaches you. Each attack is most forceful at a certain angle. By changing your own angle relative to the attack -- making sure that you are not perpendicular to the incoming force -- will lesson the impact. Look again at the video and notice that the Shaolin monk is not merely closing the distance, he is also altering the angle at which the fists hit his body.

The Shaolin practitioner is not using Ki or some other esoteric "magic" to harden his body, he is merely employing physics to lesson the power of the blows.

07 July 2010

Examples of "Sine Wave" and "Hip Rotation" in Other Sports

Look at this video of a baseball pitcher. The principles employed are practically the same that ITF Taekwon-Do requires of its practitioners – although more subdued.

First, notice how the pitcher throws his body weight down and forward. This is what we would call the sine wave motion, going from a high position to a lowered position.

The other thing to notice is how he uses kinetic chaining, also known as sequential motion – usually and simplistically explained as “hip rotation.” The pitcher torques his body, starting from the legs, then the hips, through the spine and shoulders, and last whipping through the arm. The momentum of each segment of the body contributes to the momentum of the next part of the body.

Of course, the martial art practitioner needs to subdue such an over exaggerated motion because it exposes you at various moments throughout the motion, compromise your posture and somewhat unbalance you at the end. When the Taekwon-Do practitioner is admonished to keep the back heel flat at the end of the technique and to square the shoulders, it is in fact to ensure better posture and keep the rebound energy from not unbalancing the performer.

Now look at Randy Barnes perform a shot put. Notice how the same two power generating principles are evident, a sine wave motion and kinetic chaining. Look at the slow motion section starting at 1:00 and note how his vertical movement goes down, up and down (this is where we will punch); however, from here he is pushing the iron ball at an upward angle, so he needs to thrust his body up again. (During the entirety of his technique Barnes moves down-up-down-up.)

There aren’t any hand strikes that require us to do two rotations like Randy Barnes does for his shot put. We do have a spinning back fist strike that requires one rotation; take for instance the spinning back fist strike in the pattern Do-San, which follows the spear fingertip thrust and release (movements #6-8).

The two principles of dropping your raised body mass into your technique and using kinetic chaining / sequential motion are present in many sports concerned with speed and power generation.

05 July 2010

A Philosophical Look at Chon-Ji Tul

A Philosophical Look at Chon-Ji Teul -- Sanko Lewis

The first official pattern of ITF Taekwon-Do is Chon-Ji. The ITF Encyclopaedia defines the first Taekwon-Do pattern as follows:

Chon-Ji [천지/ 天地] means literally "the Heaven the Earth." It is, in the Orient, interpreted as the creation of the world or the beginning of human history, therefore, it is the initial pattern played by the beginner. This pattern consists of two similar parts; one to represent the Heaven and the other the Earth.

In Korean philosophy these two elements (Heaven and Earth) form a syncretic unit often depicted as a red and blue Taegeuk [태극 / 太極] (Korean for the Taijitu). Taegeuk literally means “supreme ultimate.” The symbol is based on the Chinese Taoist idea that all of creation is made up of two opposing forces. These opposing forces are often referred to in the West as Yin-Yang – the Korean term is Eum-Yang. Unlike the Chinese Taijiitu which is usually depicted in black and white, the Korean Taegeuk is usually red and blue. There exists thus a slight difference in the Chinese philosophical understanding of Taijitu and the Korean Taegeuk. Although in essence the same, there is an emphasis in the Korean version on Chon-Ji (i.e. Heaven and Earth). Heaven is symbolized by the red lobe and Earth by the blue lobe in the Taegeuk.

The observant practitioner of Chon-Ji Teul[1] will note that the pattern actually consists of three parts, not two; there are three additional punches at the end (movements 17, 18 and 19). This is actually consistent with another symbol from Korean philosophy known as the Sam Taegeuk [삼태극 / 三太極] (”triple grand ultimate”). The Sam Taegeuk (“sam” meaning three) is a three lobed Taegeuk; the extra yellow lobe representing humanity. The Sam Taegeuk reflects the Korean philosophy of Sam Jae, or Sam Yoso; meaning “Triple Essence,” or the three fundamental essences that defines the universe: heaven, earth, and human being.

Marc Tedeschi explains it in his book Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique as follows: “In this aspect of Korean philosophy, the mind and body are inseparable within a human being, a human being is inseparable from heaven and earth, and heaven and earth are inseparable from each other. Thus, heaven, earth, and human being are destined to exist in unity.”

When looking at the number of movements in each part of the pattern Chon-Ji, it is plausible that the movements have special symbolic meaning as well. The Taegeuk and Sam Taegeuk are often portrayed as surrounded by a series of eight trigrams, known as Palgwae in Korean or Bagua [八卦] in Chinese. A trigram is symbol made up of three horizontal bars. The bars can be either solid or broken and each combination has a particular symbolic meaning. In Chon-Ji Teul, the first part, symbolising Heaven, and the second part, symbolising Earth, each consist of eight movements, which is the number of trigrams in the Palgwae, seen surrounding the Taegeuk. Furthermore, the last part of Chon-Ji contains three movements that coincide with the number of bars in a trigram.

Whether Chon-Ji Teul does refer to the Palgwae is speculative as the ITF Encyclopaedia does not directly refer to it. Regardless, it is clear that Chon-Ji Teul is full of deeper philosophical meaning worth exploring. As "the initial pattern played by the beginner," Chon-Ji sets the practitioner within a specific worldview. It is a worldview based on ancient Oriental and Korean philosophy. The Chinese Taijitu depicts a universe in balance and the Korean Taegeukdo shows Heaven and Earth in balance. The Sam Taegeuk depicts man in blance with Heaven and Earth. There is therefore a possible ascetic interpretation to Chon-Ji Teul: Through the study of Taekwon-Do a human being is to attain harmony with him or herself, and harmony with the universe. This journey towards harmony starts with the initial pattern in Taekwon-Do. This would imply that innate to Taekwon-Do is a quest for achieving harmony: harmony with onneself, harmony with other people, harmony with the Earth, and harmony with Heaven.

An interesting side note may be that a trigram is embedded in the SA-ITF’s logo[2]. Noting that the trigram is a symbol from oriental philosophy, the SA-ITF Constitution explains that the trigram represents the philosophical underpinning of Taekwon-Do, known as Moral Culture. In the logo the top bar of the trigram represent the “spiritual creation and heaven”, the middle bar represents the “human race” and the bottom bar represents the “physical creation and fauna and flaura”.

You can read a more comprehensive version of this post in Issue #18 of Totally Taekwon-Do Magazine, starting on p. 45.


[1] “Teul” is Korean word for pattern. Hyeon and pumsae are synonyms that are also sometimes used.

[2] The explanation of the meaning of the SA-ITF logo was primarily done by Boosabeomnim Chris van der Merwe during his involvement as the SA-ITF’s Director of Constitutional Affairs.

Works Cited:

Choi Hong-Hi. ITF Taekwon-Do Encyclopaedia
Marc Tedeschi. Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique
SA-ITF Constitution

02 July 2010

Developing Sensitivity to Ki

You can read my essay "Developing Sensitivity to Ki in Taekwon-Do" in this month's edition of Totally Tae Kwon Do magazine. Judging by the cover, it would seem to be one of the feature articles.

There is also an essay by Jay Boyle, one of the black belts at the dojang here in Seoul where I am an instructor about "Coming Home: Training with the ITF in South Korea." Jay recounts how difficult it was to find an ITF school in Korea. This parallels my own struggle when I first came to Korea.

One of my favourite articles is the concluding section in Manuel E. Adrogue's three part article on "ITF Taekwon-Do and Sine Wave." The whole article is probably the best apologetic for sine wave I have read so far. Links to the previous issues of Totally Tae Kwon Do where you can read the other parts of the "ITF Taekwon-Do and Sine Wave" article can be found at a previous post.

You can download the current issue of the eZine here: Totally Tae Kwon Do -- Issue 17.