03 October 2010

Guarding Blocks for "Blending" and "Breaking"

The video above illustrates a set-up for Aikido's Ikkyo, i.e. Arm-Bar. Before doing the Arm-Bar the Aikidoist "blends" with his opponent. Such blending is fundamental to basically all Aikido movements. The idea of blending is also apt in Taekwon-Do. In this scenario I would use the Knife-Hand Guarding Block in a back-turn step to blend with the opponent.

In my years of thinking about the Guarding Blocks in Taekwon-Do I've found them to be very multi-levelled. It would do all Taekwon-Doin good to spend some time thinking about the Guarding Blocks and the different ways in which they can be used to engage with one's opponent. When contemplating the Guarding Blocks its useful to remember that the Guarding Blocks, which can be done at all heights (high, middle, and low section), are done in generally two fashions -- the one in a hard style, more linear fashion and the other in a soft style, more circular fashion. The former is generally used to hurt the opponent's attacking limbs with a much more aggressive attitude. The latter functions more as a push to unbalance the opponent and requires a "blending" attitude.. 

In the scenario above I would use the latter -- more circular -- Knife-Hand Guarding Block to blend with the opponent's forward moment. While using the front hand to grab (Grasping Block) the opponent's wrist and slightly pull him off-balance, one can use the rear hand of the Knife-Hand Guarding Block in a striking motion to attack the opponent's bicep -- striking appropriate pressure points. The rear hand then replace the front hand with a Grasping Block as I reverse my stance to move into the Arm-Bar position. Reversing the position resembles the Forearm Guarding Block with the rear closed fist clenched around the opponent's wrist and the forearm of the front hand attacking the opponent's elbow joint. In Taekwon-Do the Arm-Bar is achieved with the forearm or elbow putting pressure on (or just behind) the opponent's elbow joint. In Aikido, the Ikkyo is intended more to control the opponent, hence the palm is used to press on the elbow joint. In Taekwon-Do the Arm-Bar is categorised under "Break" techniques, so a forearm striking into the elbow joint is more appropriate within our stylistic context. Of course, we need not go to such measures if submitting the opponent with a control technique would suffice.

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