19 August 2012

Grand Master Park Jung Tae Seminar, Ireland 1987

The Republic of Ireland Taekwon-Do Association (RITA-ITF) recently did the ITF Taekwon-Do world an exquisite favour by uploading onto YouTube a series videos of a technical seminar presented by Grandmaster Park Jung Tae, who was in his time both Secretary General and Technical Director of ITF Taekwon-Do (and later president of GTF).

What I find fascinating about this seminar is that what I'm teaching today in 2012 is not that much different from what he taught in 1987. And I'm specifically referring to the kinaesthetics: e.g. the use of hip twist and sine wave motion (body raising or dropping) in power generation; the employing of a small loop-motion in order to adhere to the “once the movement is in motion it should not stop until it reaches its target”-principle (I like how he said: “No punch comes out from the hip!”); stances and stepping; real focus on “snappiness” in balgyeong techniques, such as knife hand strikes; a clear sense of intermediate positions; and the importance of relaxation. Keep in mind that my personal influences have been quite eclectic: I had trained under instructors from South Africa, England, Australia, North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan and Argentina; technically, I consider my personal techniques to be most closely in line with the Chang Ung ITF group.

Grandmaster Park's seminar goes through the colour belt patterns, starting with Dan-Gun Teul and ending with Choong-Moo Teul. While watching the videos, focus on Grandmaster Park's movements and teaching, rather than that of the participants as some of them are still adjusting their techniques and sometimes perform it clearly wrong.










Anonymous said...

I like his approach to teaching patterns. Not stressful.

SooShimKwan said...


Anonymous said...

It was the first semiar by GM park Jung Tae to Introduce the new sine wave movement to the RITA at the time .

Ymar Sakar said...

The pure amount of technical focus is huge in terms of time investment and detail orientation. This is apparent just from the video of each rank's initial techniques and movement requirements.

It's one of the reasons why I don't think it's a good idea to put so many things students don't understand into their belt promotion requirements. There is 1 form people have to remember per rank in karate and there are around 10 ranks before shodan. Some have a little bit higher in their schools, a little bit lower.

I would prefer they learn 1-3 forms "to shodan". Period. In Total. No more. Each dan rank after, they learn "one" additional form and its functions and abilities. That is it. Anything more and we're getting into the martial arts version of red tape.

The bad thing about an organization, which isn't what martial arts were originally passed down through since families functioned much better for security and trust, is that you cannot alter the curriculum and promotion requirements, the carrot and stick, much on paper. You can alter the way you achieve the details, but not the grand encompassing plan. This often has the effect of reducing things down to a lowest common denominator issue. While MA has some of the greatest individual freedom in terms of its teachers (certainly more than public education in the US), the degradation effect can still be seen after a few generations.

I can also see the massive efficiency loss from learning in a primarily visual manner via kinesthetic applications. A lot of the students kept looking around at the instructor even though they have no real view of what he is doing, vs what they are trying to copy. I see that almost all the time. People are using their eyes to "see" what they can copy, even though the angle they view it as is sub optimal. They are not reaching deep inside for internal inspiration or intuitive decision making or imaginative reconstruction and visualization. They lack the tools or knowledge to do that. Precious seconds pass by with students doing nothing but standing there because they hear nothing and see nothing. That is what they do until they get to see something and try to copy it. Thus for those precious few seconds, they are essentially doing nothing but waiting. After a few of these seconds string themselves together after awhile, we get to call it an entire life time.

If people were willing to change the way they think about training methods, they would be able to eliminate much of this inefficiency. Irregardless of what techniques they are teaching or doing.

mike bell said...

I liked and admired the guy but, and meaning no disrespect, but he forgot his club in Winnipeg and some of his original members from 1970, its seems, could be wrong...but never heard from him once he left Winnipeg - I spent a lot of time learning the art but frankly on the street it didn't do me much good, when I took grappling it changed my life and it worked better for me, as well as full contact etc. - and kickboxing. The high jumps are great for show but doesn't do much in a real street fight, once again no disrespect to the Master...scoring points at a tournament, and jumping over cars and fancy patterns and style details and uniforms are great but it could have cost me my life on the street - thank God for UFC techniques.