if you could change a thing or things.....

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Manny, Jun 5, 2018.

  1. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    The difference I'm talking about is easiest to describe from a self-defense curriculum, but I think applies to other approaches. I cover a pretty wide range of Arm Bar applications, for instance. I only test one (in addition to the form) - and the student gets to choose which one. I also teach a near endless number of applications that start from a basic straight punch (whether rear straight or jab, or even a formal straight punch), and don't specifically test any of them. During their testing, they'll face straight punches. I'm pretty much okay with it if their response to those doesn't touch grappling techniques (which are the only things we actually refer to as "techniques", and so the only "applications" in our vernacular).

    So, there's a huge curriculum that takes many years to cover. Testing is meant to check overall level, and to ensure some specific points are up to snuff, rather than to ensure they can do everything in the curriculum.
     
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  2. skribs

    skribs Master Black Belt

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    On the one hand, where this whole discussion started was me seeking at least one application of some of the techniques, or at the very least seeking which one was the originally intended application of the technique.

    On the other hand, I've seen quite a few students whose knife-hand block and strike both look exactly the same. I think finding another application for the blocking motion is actually a hindrance to them learning the proper striking motion.
     
  3. wab25

    wab25 Green Belt

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    I believe you were asking about the spear hand. Why do we practice the spear hand, but don't condition our fingers to make that strike? I am studying Skotokan, not TKD, but I think they are similar for this discussion. Step forward into right front stance, right arm extended, right hand in spear shape, with left hand supporting under the elbow.

    1. Finger tip strike - this is out because very few condition their fingers.
    2. Its a reach into the gi / jacket, for the lapel (the back of your spear hand is against their chest, fingers reaching into the label) to set up a gi / jacket choke.
    3. Its the application of an arm bar, think ulna press, after exposing the back of his arm using your left hand, you step forward running your spear hand across his arm, rotating his arm into the arm bar as you extend past. (you left hand was grabbed in a cross grab, you executed your knife hand block by bringing your left hand up to your face, palm towards you, then making the blocking motion, putting you hand on top, and breaking his grip... this also exposed the back of his arm to you... your left hand hooks his wrist, as it goes back into chamber as you spear hand over applying the arm bar... this one is a two'fer)
    4. If you start in a judo style lapel and sleeve grip, right hand one the lapel, you can step forward into front stance, with a low block, which should off balance uke. You then advance across the front of him, extending your spear hand with your fingers in his lapel... makes a nice throw.
    5. I am going to cheat here, get much closer to uke than in #4. Everything is the same, except that your spear hand goes around his waist, this turns into a hip throw, o'goshi from judo. Without the other guy, your spear hand is showing the direction your power should be going to properly throw uke over your hip.
    Thats just 5. I am sure there are a ton more applications to that motion. Only the first one required finger conditioning.

    I am not sure I see a problem with that. (it may be that in TKD, these two arts have differences...) At the end of the day, the same motion you use for a knife hand block, will work quite well as a strike, if you move close enough. Your knife hand strike will work great as a block, if you are too far for the strike.
     
  4. skribs

    skribs Master Black Belt

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    That was one part of the discussion, but wasn't the only question. For example, I have a primary application of a spearhand strike (to strike with the fingers). The question there is why is it practiced in forms if never practiced in drills? (And if it was in a drill and used a different application than what the form suggests, that might be the primary application).

    2. I can see this if a grab motion is next. If not, then I don't really see it as a primary application of the technique.
    3. I'd have to see it in action to see what you're thinking, but in general our spearhand strikes are straight out, and our wristlocks/armbars generally involve lateral or vertical movement of the knife-hand on the elbow joint.
    4&5. I may have to see it in action to understand what you're describing.

    ---

    The knife-hand block and strike have two very different ways in which they operate. Just like a snap front kick to the chin is completely different from a teep kick to the stomach. You don't throw a teep to knock someone out and you don't throw the snap kick to launch someone back several feet.

    Similarly, the knife-hand block is designed to put a vertical bar between you and your attacker's arm. It's more of a shove than a hit. If you do happen to strike the opponent's arm, that's a bonus, the primary application is to push the attacker's arm away from your head. The knife-hand strike is designed to apply penetration damage from the edge of your hand into the attacker's neck.

    Now, if you use the motion of the knife-hand block, what you might have happen:
    • Hit the shoulder instead of the neck, because you are using a more vertical arm position
    • Push the neck instead of strike the neck, because the motion you are using isn't optimized for striking
    • Strike with the wrong part of the hand, because you do the motion of the block and then extend the arm straight out, which means you're more likely to hit with your fingers than the blade of your hand
    I'm not saying you can't take a knife-hand block and apply it as a strike. Nor am I saying you can't take the motion of the knife-hand block and build that into your practice towards a strike. I am saying that the motions aren't exactly similar, and so if I practice a knife-hand block, I can't neglect practicing the strike as well.

    ---

    Going back to my discussion on what the discussion was about...the other aspect are things in which it's not clear at all to me what the primary application is. Things like augmented blocks, double blocks, etc.
     
  5. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    This is a Good Thing (tm). A knife hand block IS a knife hand strike. If I do a knife hand block to your arm, it's going to hurt. Because it's a strike. And I'm likely to target one of the pressure points in your arm, so it might well hurt a LOT.
     
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  6. skribs

    skribs Master Black Belt

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    A knife-hand block to an incoming punch is going to be a slightly different motion than a knife-hand strike to the neck.

    Just like a jab is a different motion than a lead hook punch.
     
  7. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Sure. Because the arm is a lot closer than the neck. If you think ANY movement in a fight is going to be exactly the same as it is in forms, you are mistaken. Principles. Not carbon copy movements.
     
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  8. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    You're using radically different targets in those examples. If I were chopping a target at a similar range and angle to where I'd block, my chop looks like my knife-hand block. In fact, it looks exactly like it (because I use a chop to block), unless I'm altering the block into something else/more (like using the block to drive down to break structure). Once I do that, it has a different purpose. Still starts out quite like the chop, though.
     
  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Purple Belt

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    If you were able to get the attacker in semi-static position the knife hand pressure point attack might make sense. But at full speed or more so in an unexpected attack, does a knife hand strike make any sense? It's a very narrow surface. I would call the application of a knife hand BLOCK an advanced skill.
    I also teach the KH strike as a penetration or crease strike, working its way around blocks and body parts because of its small surface area.
     
  10. wab25

    wab25 Green Belt

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    You are focusing on the wrong end... the hand. Try focusing on the other end first, the feet, then the hips, then the body and shoulders. Where is the power coming from? How is it being generated? How are you arresting it? What direction is the power moving in? What is your body alignment? ... When you make your punch or block or spear hand strike... look more at what your body is doing and less at what your hand is doing.

    As for my examples... I wish I were better with words to explain those applications. I have demonstrated those applications to both Danzan Ryu guys and Shotokan guys. What I find very interesting is how little I have to change from the "spear hand strike" technique in order to demonstrate these applications on an uke, causing him to tap, choke or be thrown. I am sure there are many more applications of this technique.

    If thinking of it as a finger tip strike, helps you do it properly in your kata... keep doing it. Don't worry about the finger conditioning... unless you want to go that route. Now, focus on what your body is doing, and don't limit yourself to one application.
     
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  11. skribs

    skribs Master Black Belt

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    First off, I'm actually focusing on the elbow and forearm, not the hand itself.

    1. The feet & hips - both are typically done in a back stance in our curriculum.
    2. The direction of power from our rear leg is usually more forward in a strike than in a block, which is more lateral. The power in the block is more generated from the shoulder, while the strike is generated from the elbow.
    3. The block is usually arrested by purposefully stopping the motion before we swing too wide. It might transition into grabbing the attacker's arm, into a strike with that hand (as in a palm strike), or into a technique with the other hand. The strike is arrested by the extension of your arm (as in, if the strike continued, you'd break your elbow), and we typically follow up with the other hand, or else grabbing the lapel for a sweep (which is a slightly different grab than grabbing a wrist).

    The only similarity is that the technique is typically done in back stance with the lead arm. The way my feet press against the mat, the direction of power through my core are both different. The chamber is different, the elbow is completely different, the arm is oriented different and the motion is completely different.

    Both a snap front kick and a teep kick (front pushing kick) will feature a similar motion, but it is a completely different chamber and motion to do a push than to do a strike.

    Maybe a video would help.
     
  12. wab25

    wab25 Green Belt

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    Maybe TKD is different. But in Shotokan, there is the idea of body unification. You want your body to move together as a single unit rather than as a collection of separate and independent entities. In Shotokan, the power for the block would be generated from the hips, utilizing the power of the legs. The power for the strike would be generated from the hips, utilizing the power of the legs. You can generate much more power using your entire body, instead of just your shoulder or elbow.

    This is similar to Shotokan. So, you are learning to do 2 different things here, from the back stance.

    Correct. You are using your rear leg differently in these 2 techniques. In one, you are learning to generate forward power from the rear leg, while in back stance. In the other, you are learning to generate lateral power from the rear leg, while in back stance. The application of that power, you are generating, can be used for what ever you want (strike, block, lock, choke, throw...). It just so happens that a block and a strike are used to teach those 2 methods of power generation. It makes teaching the technique easier... but don't limit yourself to only learning about the teaching aids. (Note that there are a lot more things going on here... but I will leave you to look for them)

    Please understand that I am not trying to argue here, but rather help you to see past your hands (and forearm and elbow) to see what is in these kata / forms. You are noticing a lot of detail about the hands, the elbows, the shoulders, the feet, the targets... Look at your center, your balance, your body unification... basically all the things between your knees and elbows... with that same degree of detail. There is a lot there to find. At least I think so.
     
  13. skribs

    skribs Master Black Belt

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    As I said in the previous sentence, I understand it starts from the foot. Did you seriously separate these sentences in the quotes so you could post some high-and-mighty "it's not in the arm, it's the whole body" speel? Is this to make yourself look better or to cut down my argument?

    Would it help if I phrased it like this? "With the block, the main upper-body joints that are moving are the rotation of the shoulder and the twist of the wrist, whereas with the strike the shoulder and wrist are relatively static and the elbow is the joint with the most movement."

    Yes. I don't really see the relevance at this point in discussing this, though.

    Are you looking at two isolated techniques and trying to extrapolate our entire curriculum based on that? The application of that motion is going to change what you do with your hand (as I've discussed plenty in this thread), but also going to change how you apply the strength and position of your legs.

    For example, let's take the knife-hand block from a back stance. If I want to use it as a strike (for example, a forward strike to the throat or collarbone) I will add a forward motion to it, which will change the direction of my power and change the interaction with the various joints in my arm. I'm having trouble seeing how the motion of an outward block would be used for a joint lock (to set up one, yes, to apply one directly, no). For a choke I would end up putting even more forward pressure than with the strike, probably combined with upward presser into the throat, which again changes the direction of everything. For a throw, I would turn into a horse stance so that my knee is pointing in the direction of force against my leg when I make the throw. This gives me more stability and less risk of injury.

    The more you look at it, the less similar these techniques become. The more details you add, the more that must be changed to go from one application to another.

    Everything you've asked me about the differences between these two techniques are things I've already known. You haven't made me think harder about the techniques at all. All you've done is highlight to me that these are different techniques, and that the entire body is doing different things with a knife-hand block to an incoming punch than with a knife-hand strike to an opponent's neck.

    And it does seem like you're trying to argue, since you've taken points of mine, broken them up, and then pointed out how the individual sentences don't cover caveats that the other half of the point talks about.
     
  14. wab25

    wab25 Green Belt

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    The bolded part is where we disagree. All of the applications I presented were for the spear hand art. When I do each one I discussed, my feet, legs, hips, and body move exactly the same, as for the spear hand art. The only time my arm changed, was for the hip throw, but even then, everything else moved exactly the same. If I get a chance to make a video, I may post that to demonstrate. The only differences I added were the setup moves. For some I did the knife hand block into back stance, prior to stepping forward into the spear hand art. The other times I step forward into a left side front stance, before stepping forward into the spear hand. The whole point being that how I apply the strength and position of my legs, hips and body does not change for different applications. Each application can be done by stepping forward into the spear hand art, exactly as done in the kata / form.

    Again, I disagree, assuming that both the strike and the block are horizontal in nature, and done from the back stance. Whether my knife hand impacts a forearm for a "block" or a neck for a "strike," they are the same. (my feet may be closer to his feet for one though, so that I don't have to reach) If one is moving the power forward, that is a second technique and that can also be used as a strike or block (or throw, lock, choke...) The target or application does not change the body motions.

    I don't wish to argue. I apologize if coming off that way. We will just have to agree to disagree here. I will move on to other threads.
     
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  15. skribs

    skribs Master Black Belt

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    With a strike, the payload you are moving is the hand. With the block, the payload you are moving is the forearm. This is because it is a lot easier to hit a relatively still target like the neck, than a rapidly moving target like a punch.

    If I do the block like a strike, then I've significantly increased the margin for error, as I have to exactly hit their arm with my hand, or I fail to block and their attack lands. Instead, I make my forearm, elbow, and knifehand into one large bar that I use to deflect the strike. If I'm 6 inches high or low, I will still block the strike. If it's just my hand, or if everything is level, then I need to be within an inch to be successful.

    On the other hand, if I do a strike like the block, then I'm shortening the lever arm to make my strike more accurate, when what I need is more speed and strength. Even if I want to use the forearm instead of my hand, the goal becomes to deliver my power to a specific location, whereas with the block, the goal is to provide a barrier to my enemy.

    You can hit people with a shield and you can block attacks with a sword, but that doesn't mean you want to primarily use a shield to strike or a sword to block, and all 4 combinations of weapon/technique are going to involve different motions.
     
  16. dvcochran

    dvcochran Purple Belt

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    I agree. However, I don't think I have ever seen a knife hand from a back stance. I assume the motion is from the back side of the body, not across the front like an outside block? I have never been a fan of power strikes from a back stance; they seem somewhat awkward if I am the slightest bit off balance of out of stance. Any chance you have a video?
     
  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't see the difference you see. If you put a striking target where I can hit it with my hand (so I'm now focused on a strike, rather than a block), not much changes. In both motions to that target area, my hand moves faster than my elbow, but the entire arm is in motion (shoulder is moving, elbow is moving). I am a bit more circular with the block, to ensure it covers more area in the middle, but that's a change by degrees.
     
  18. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

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    I personally don’t see a need to come up with 20 different applications for techniques in poomsae. Part of that stems from the fact that I don’t need to be able to use every technique in sparring/fighting/self defense. The other part for me is that I don’t believe that Taekwondo only includes techniques found in poomsae. No one seems to take issue with this when it comes to kicking techniques, as many kicks recognized as Taekwondo are not found in poomsae.

    I include joint locking and some groundwork in my Taekwondo curriculum, but I don’t need to connect everything to poomsae to make it work. I’d rather spend my time practicing techniques and applications without forcing a connection that may or may not be there. For me, there are better uses of my time than reverse engineering techniques because I want my poomsae to have something in there. Having said that, I don’t really care if someone else wants to do that, as long as they’re not high and mighty about it.


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  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour Sr. Grandmaster

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    I like that approach. I don't mind if someone borrows movement from forms to help students understand part of a technique/application ("so here, you're going to step and move your right hand like X in Y form"). That makes the form useful shorthand. I don't see a big need to find depth in forms - they are movement, and can be used in any way that serves the practitioner/student. Some folks are by nature rule-followers, and I suspect their brains are more likely to want - and see - those ties back to forms. I don't have a problem with them doing that, so long as they don't expect me to follow their line of reasoning, because I'm more conceptual than that.
     
  20. pdg

    pdg Master Black Belt

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    Is a back stance the same as an L stance?

    If so, in the Dan-Gun pattern there are knifehand guarding blocks (moves 1 and 3) and knifehand strikes (moves 18 and 20) in L stance.

    There are more instances of the same (and different) knifehand techniques in other patterns too, which I can cite if you like?
     

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