13 August 2010

A Pattern Demonstration

During my recent Thailand trip I performed a Taekwon-Do pattern for a group of ministerial personnel from the Thai Police Force.

I started by explaining shortly the difference between WTF (sport) and ITF (art) and mentioned Taekwon-Do’s involvement in the Vietnam War.

Next I introduced the form I would do: “Choong-Moo.” I gave a little information on Admiral Yi Soo Shin, whom after the pattern is named, and his successful defence of Korea against the Japanese navy. I also encouraged the audience to see if they can extrapolate strategies used by Admiral Yi against his enemy from the movements of the pattern.

Lastly, I explained the typical methods of power generation in ITF Taekwon-Do, using both vertical and horizontal forces (sine wave and hip rotation) and explained how this may relate to a Muay Thai round house kick that swings horizontally but also pushes down with the shin.

Having given the audience some specific points with which to interpret and appreciate the pattern, I finally performed it. It finished with a wonderful ovation.

I do not attribute the great applause to my excellence. I know all too well that patterns is not my speciality anymore and there is still room for improvement. The success of the performance, I believe, is in helping the audience to interpret what they saw. If I merely performed the pattern without my initial explanations, I doubt the response would have been as animated. But because I educated the audience with certain background information, helped them to look at certain technical principles like hip rotation and wave form, and provided them with a connection to something they are already familiar with—Muay Thai—the audience was able to understand and interpret what they saw.

Of course, mere words cannot make up for sloppy skill. Even a layperson can see the difference between poor proficiency and experienced practise.

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