Keumgang Poomsae

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by dvcochran, Nov 15, 2019.

  1. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Keumgang has always been an intriguing form to me. As the typical student works up to 1st Gup and then to 1st Dan they are at or near the peak of their physical abilities. Tae Kwon Do, regardless of style, typically is thought to use a lot of kicks. A persons journey to 1st Dan will literally require performing thousands of kicks to become proficient. Simply put, kicking is as strong an emphasis in TKD as punching is in boxing. Being a very out fighting style, kicking skills are a main focus.
    Of course there are many more techniques and skills a person will learn. Strikes, stances, and footwork are just a few. It takes the average student about 2 1/2 to 3 years to get to 1st Dan.
    Most people "peak" at 1st Dan. Some have made getting a black belt the goal. Some people respond to the incremental progression of moving through the color belts and the excitement of reaching black belt. It is the pinnacle; the where point many people truly start their MA life as a journeyman. Experienced, but knowing there is much more to learn. This is highlighted in the progressive nature of most form sets.
    TKD as a whole uses several different form sets. ITF, WT/Kukkiwon, MDK, and the many other offshoots use various tools to train. The two most common 1st Dan black belt forms are Batsai, and Koryo. Koryo in particular highlights classic side kicks, front kicks and crescent kicks. So again, kicking is an emphasis.
    Then out of the blue come Keumgang.
    No kicks, primarily only one stance, and no new techniques. What the heck??? Boring? Yes, to many. It seems so out of place in the progressive nature of forms. On the surface, it is more akin to a Kicho or basic form. So what is the thinking of the TKD Masters who created it and placed it as the 2nd Dan form? What is the intent of this seemingly easy form at the 2nd Dan stage?
    There is quite a lot of historical perspective regarding the forms name and the pattern is associated with Chinese term for mountain.
    So, not in historical terms (which we can get into if anyone wishes) what do you feel it the logic behind Keumgang?
     
  2. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I haven't seen @skribs post in a while. It would be great to hear form him/her.
     
  3. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    Not AS much as punching is in boxing, or it would be the only striking taught.

    More like 8, in our system.

    Keumgang is also the least "offensive" form, with only three palmheel strikes at the beginning. The rest of the movements are all taught as blocks (though they certainly have offensive uses as well).
    But I must disagree with other things you say.
    Keumgang uses front, back, horse, and crane stances.
    The double mountain block is new. As is the diamond low block. A single mountain block and diamond middle block are taught earlier, and I'll agree that the student should be able to extrapolate the double and low versions from that. But they are not explicitly taught.
    Keumgang does mean mountain, and it evokes Mt Keumgang, which plays an important role in Korean mythology. But it also means diamond, unmoveable, unbreakable.
    A proper horse stance is extremely solid and immobile, while a crane stance is far more unstable.
    At this point, the student needs to learn to become the mountain, as it were. Spending a large portion of the form in crane stance is a balance drill.
    As for why it's in the order it's in, I think that is, in part, arbitrary. But there is a LOT more to Keumgang than meets the eye. It is deceptively simple. Virtually every student I've ever taught it to has said it's a lot harder than it looks.
     
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  4. paitingman

    paitingman Purple Belt

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    I'm pretty certain there is a relationship between Sip Soo/Jitte kata and Keumgang.

    As to the logic of the placement of the form, I have no idea.
    I've always loved Keumgang, but many students find it boring and can't wait to get to the next lol.

    I agree with DD that balance and solid stance are obvious key points in this form.
     
  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Interesting. Is Jitte (Jitae in Kukkiwon) also a TSD form? Is Keumgang also done in TSD? We practice Sip Soo but do it with slight differences. I do see the connection with Sip Soo and Keumgang being predominately hand/stance movements.
     
  6. paitingman

    paitingman Purple Belt

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    I was referring to Jitte in Shotokan, which definitely is connected to Sip Soo in TSD.

    I just like finding connections between he arts

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  7. paitingman

    paitingman Purple Belt

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    @dvcochran
    I'm curious what applications and drills you may have been taught or worked out from Keumgang.

    Any insights on the pivot steps and turning punches? If you even see them as punches

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  8. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    Good questions. I think it makes sense to think of each move individually. That way it can be broken down into basic punches and palm heel strikes, low, middle and high blocks. Which is how the form flows with few exceptions; the mountain block/low block combo for example.
    I can see the punch but it is a stretch in application; it's advanced application at the very least. You have to back up a move to see the whole picture, especially on the 2nd punch on the right side of the long line. After the mountain block and punch, you rotate Around the person you just punched and into another person.
    Did that answer your questions?
     
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  9. paitingman

    paitingman Purple Belt

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    Yes. Similar to what I've experienced.
    I was also taught perhaps spinning around and individual after punch. Or even stepping behind and spinning them.

    I have drilled keumgang makki to stepping down side punch as sleeve controlling sweep defense into a side punch or sweep of your own. Difficult for me to clearly type out.
    Sort of raising that leg to avoid a sweep and using the arm position as grabbing the opponents arms for balance and control.
    You can step down into a punch. Or if you have good footwork and jacket wrestling skill, a sweep of your own rather than it being a punch.

    Either way a very fun and challenging way to drill Keumgang! I wish more students could try and enjoy learning from Keumgang. So many techniques to explore and movements that are not seen in other forms under kukkiwon

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  10. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    It is a very underappreciated form. As you said, the opportunities are almost endless. I have always felt that is part of the reason it is a lower BB form. As a persons "ages" and expands their horizon and understand a wider variety of options, they see much more in Keumgang than what is typically seen on the surface.

    I hope more people jump in with their views.

    I plan to continue the discussion with the other Yudanja poomsae.
     

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