Movement variance

With a little bit of work and coming from a principle based approach a lot of the movements of the patterns will have application that will come fairly easy. It is not meant to be a complex art as to make it complex would be to make it impractical. However, there are a few movements that are more difficult to apply than others. W-shaped block, straight fingertip thrust, and some of the back fist strikes that appear in the patterns to name but a few.
This does not mean that they are useless or over complex movements however it just means that maybe we have to look at them from a different angle. Very often I see instructors changing these movements to suit themselves and make the application easier. They will alter the timing and direction of the arms and legs to create, sometimes effective, sometimes ineffective, applications.
For me whether the application is effective or not, the habit of changing the movement to suit themselves is incorrect.
Now, often when I make this statement I get people arguing with me stating that the movement can’t be performed exactly the same way that they are in the forms due to opponents being a different size or at a different angle etc. this is a good point but it has nothing to do with what I mean by movement variance.
When we look at a movement, we have to consider the whole movement. By this I mean the stance, the motion, what comes before and after, is the ‘attacking’ tool viable, and the co-ordination between the hands, feet hips etc. all of these things were put into the movement for a reason and should be taken into account. They shouldn’t be cast aside so we can say that we have the application
As an example let’s look at W-shaped block. Basically both hands come up either side of the body, we turn 180 degrees with a stamping motion, and both hands move at the same time with the force generated from the hips. Those, for me, would be the key points, whether you use a twisting motion in the forearms is dependent on the organisation and the height is dependent on your opponent.
When looking at the application for the W-shaped block it is very tempting to change it to a one-two block and inward hammer fist strike while trying to squeeze a front kick in. Whereas this may be an effective application, I don’t see it as the application to that particular block. The reason is that we have ignored the principles that I mentioned before. There are lots of block/attack movements in the forms so why is W-shape block done differently? Of course movements have been changed over the years for sporting or aesthetic reasons but only through thorough research and practice can we make that determination and be free to alter the principles of the movement. Otherwise the danger is that we will start changing everything to suit ourselves and we will be left with a formless art where any movement could be anything.


4 thoughts on “Movement variance

    1. tacticaltaekwondo Post author

      it is actually a tough movement to apply, maybe thats why most people try to alter it. the way that it is done in the forms, i see it more as moving round the back of an opponent. this would involve using what is commonly seen as the non blocking hand, to control the opponents arm with the other , commonly seen as the blocking hand, to guard for any spinnig attacks. the stamping motion would be to the opponents leg.

      i am looking to get some videos done for this blog, i’ll include the above application

  1. Stuart

    General Choi assigned applications to each movement, including the w-shaped block. That his applications sometimes deal with situations that will never arise (the parallel block in this blogs header being a fine example), or are simply not practical (like an upwards palm to block an upset punch), or are generally inexplicable like the raised reaction arm in the w-shaped block, is not all that relevant here.
    What is relevant is that the execution of these techniques has been matched to these applications.
    The original karate positions have been largely kept but the movement is re-engineered to make these applications work.
    If you are not going to accept these applications, then you don’t need to accept the execution of the technique as performed in the pattern either.

    That said, there is probably some advantage to starting with the application that most closely resembles the pattern-based motion, if it can be made to work .

  2. Pingback: San Makgi – The most misunderstood ‘block’ in Taekwondo | Tactical Taekwondo

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