06 April 2011

Three Step Sparring -- “Basic Six”

There is no fixed sequence for Three Step Sparring, so different dojang around the world teach different routines. The Three Step Sparring “Basic Six” routine is the introductory set we do at Soo Shim Kwan dojang, usually from around yellow stripe and yellow belt level, and is a variation of the “Basic Six” routine I learned from my first instructor, Mr Johan Bolton. Through the “Basic Six” routine the students are introduced to the most elementary blocking techniques in ITF Taekwon-Do. Many of the other blocks in Taekwon-Do are basically adaptations of these “Basic Six”.

The embedded video shows the “Basic Six” sequence. Both Mr De Vos and I have not done the Three Step Sparring “Basic Six” (or just Three Step Sparring for that matter) in quite some time, so we look a bit rusty. Apologies for not preparing a better video -- my time in South Africa was far too limited to record another video. Nonetheless, the video clearly depicts the sequence of the blocks with their associated counter-attacks.

For the Three Step Sparring “Basic Six” all attacks are forward stepping walking stance obverse punches. Blocks #1-3 are performed in walking stance and blocks #4-6 are performed in L-stance. The blocks and counter-attacks are as follows:

I also teach Soo Shim Kwan's Three Step
Sparring "Basic Six" routine to students
at 'The Way' ITF dojang in Seoul, South
#1: Outer-forearm outward block, counter-attacking with a reverse punch to the solar-plexus.

#2: Inner-forearm outward block, counter-attacking with a reverse punch to the solar-plexus.

#3: Outer-forearm inward block, counter-attack by stepping forward with the rear foot towards the outside into an appropriate stance and performing a rear elbow thrust to the kidney or floating ribs.

#4: Knife-hand block (to grasping block on the third block), counter-attacking with a side-piercing kick from the leading leg to the liver or floating ribs while pulling the opponent towards your kick.

#5: Ridge-hand block (aka reverse knife-hand block), counter-attacking with a front-snap kick from the leading leg to the epigustrium or solar-plexus.

#6: Forearm-guarding block, counter-attack by dodging to the outside on third step (don't block), while attacking with a turning kick from the rear leg to the epigustrium or solar-plexus. Resume a guarding block.

Once students are comfortable with the “Basic Six” they are encouraged to use it as a template and become innovative in the blocking techniques and counter-attacks they use. It is preferable that they source their blocks and attacks from the techniques in their patterns.

The purpose of Three Step Sparring is to introduce students to partner work, to acquaint them with correct angles for blocking and attacking, to conditioning the blocking tools, and to help students get into the habit of targeting specific vital spots.

An important point to remember is that pre-arranged sparring should not be confused with actual fighting. As Rory Miller puts it,“drills”, such as Three Step Sparring, are “deliberately flawed” to make them safe. Three Step Sparring is merely a tool to teach certain fundamental principles and skills to the beginning student. Make sure to read my post on the purpose and value of pre-arranged sparring. When all is said and done, be sure to keep Three Step Sparring in its proper place; in other words, do not over train it. While helpful to gain certain skills and learn certain principles, prearranged sparring can be bad for you as it also ingrains erroneous habits like stopping short of the target.

No comments: