I mentioned in a previous article that Do San was the most hated pattern in TKD, but how it contains some very strong applications. The same can be said for san makgi. When teaching Toi Gye, it is difficult for new students and teachers to go through the section of the pattern with 6 san makgi in a row with a straight face. The movement looks so odd and unmartial, I have heard it called may things, cowboy walking, space invaders, this silly move, and many more things.
The mainstream application, to defend a kick or a punch, has a lot of common flaws in it, and generally leads instructors and practitioners to view it as an exercise to work the hips.
In an effort to give it some martial validity, some teachers present this as a forearm strike with a block and even a kick added. I have a few issues with this particular interpretation.
Firstly, you are changing the basis of the movement. When executing san makgi we are driving both arms, and one leg with the hips at the same time, of you change it in to 3 movements, a kick, block and forearm strike then you are changing the way that the movement is being performed. You can read more about my views on movement variance here.
Also, why a forearm strike, it seems a fairly impractical attacking weapon, when a knife hand would be much more effective and in keeping with the attacking tools that are represented throughout the patterns.
Even the kick seems like a little bit of an afterthought when I have seen this being demonstrated it always seems cramped and uncomfortable for the person demonstrating the kick. Techniques, as a rule, should never looked forced or uncomfortable.
So, my take on san magki is a little different.
Going back to a recent article I wrote on stances and applications, I suggested that sitting stance is mainly used in tripping and throwing movements. This is exactly what I think san makgi is.
What is seen as a kick, is actually stepping over/round the opponents leg. We are aiming to have our ‘kicking leg’ land either in front or behind our opponent lead leg, depending on the orientation of the opponent, either facing towards (leg behind) or away from you (leg in front). This puts us in the position to throw our opponent over our leg.
Our arms are going to be used to pull the opponent over our lead leg. The back hand on the opponents arm and the front hand on the body. Again it depends whether the opponent is facing you or facing away from as t where your hands are.
The hip motion brings the movement of the hands and feet together at one time, planting the foot as we pull our opponent over
Of course to do this we have to gain position, this s the reason for the repeated movements in the Toi Gye pattern., as the opponent moves back to avoid the first attempt then they open themselves for the second, front to back, or vice versa
To complete the sequence we have another misunderstood move, doo palmok miro makgi. If we use the application above, then the purpose of the ending block is easier to understand.
If the trip is done to the front, then there is a danger of it not having much effect, more just unbalancing the opponent. They can easily just get back up and continue their attack. Doo palmok miro makgi helps us to maintain the dominant position by wrapping the arm and helping us locate the head of the opponent.
With this application of the technique I believe that there is less changing of the movement from thr way it is presented in the patterns. Making it a stronger use for the movement rather than changing everything to make it fit the block punch system. As with everything else, the techniques cannot be taken on surface understanding, they have to be trained and adapted to the person and situation only then can it be included into a personal system
I realise that explanations of techniques are sometime difficult reading. I am hoping soon to make some video demonstrating the various application that I have discussed here.
Until then I hope that you enjoy my discussion on the various techniques.