Patterns with high kicks that students can't do

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Acronym, Oct 4, 2020.

  1. Acronym

    Acronym 2nd Black Belt

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    How do you approach the situation in which a pattern prescripes a high kick that a student finds challenging?


    You could argue that it's better to do a good kick at a lower height rather than a mediocre one at high level.


    However, the actual formal requirement of the pattern is head level, and postponing this might work against you, and passing him or her might be talking the short cut in their development.

    I personally would not allow the person to be graded unless he or she can reach jaw level, since that is what the pattern states and ones own jaw level does not take unreasonable flexibility.

    I talked to a 4th dan who took the first approach but to me this negates the hole point of personal development in martial arts. You are suposed to push yourself past what you used to be able to do!
     
  2. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    FWIW the Chang Hon system does not designate Jaw or head level . The levels are (with some exceptions) High = eye, Middle = Shoulder and Low = Umbilicus and technique specific.
    Situations are different. Is the student unable to reach the level currently because they have not developed to that level but can? Then they need to keep working at it. This matter was addressed at an ITF IIC and the consensus was to have the student do the kick at a level where they could do the best kick if they had physical limitations. I have extrapolated this to some difficult jumping kicks and advised that instead off doing a jump with an unrecognizable kick they do a non jumping variation or a jump that is not technically accurate but still looks like the kick. I have dubbed this the "Old Man" version.
    It is really not something to be argued - it is something the student's instructor needs to determine.
     
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  3. skribs

    skribs Grandmaster

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    Form comes first. Everything else is secondary. A poorly formed head-level kick is not going to look as good as a proper kick at belt height. The funny thing about it is that if you do the kick with proper form as high as you can, you're working on both your leg strength and flexibility so that you can kick higher.

    As to grading, one thing you need to understand: a white belt testing for a yellow belt isn't supposed to have black belt level skills. Heck, even a black belt isn't supposed to have a mastery of the art yet. It is up to the Master what is expected of each belt. These are things that can always be improved on later.
     
  4. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    Fully agree. I suspect the OP is thinking in terms where the kick end upon contact. Of course that is far from true. Where most kickers get swept is when they get way out of position or have difficulty returning to a guard position.
     
  5. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    I would definitely agree with that.

    So you require 100% accuracy to pass your gradings? I documented how we do our gradings (1) as I feel it's a very fair system - but the basis of it is you start with X marks for accuracy and marks are removed for minor (slightly wrong heigh, slightly bent knee, etc) and major mistakes (wrong move, missing move, wrong target). So they'd get a major mistake for not a head kick, but that in itself is not a failure.

    I could understand it if it was a movement that we'd expect everyone to be able to do, but Taekwondo is about a lifelong journey and as long as improvement is there, you shouldn't expect perfection on every movement.

    So what if they could only kick waist high at the start, but have pushed themselves to be able to do it at chest high now? Still wouldn't test them because they can't get to head?

    (1) How to do a Taekwondo promotion test objectively
     
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  6. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    To me, it depends on two things: 1) why they can't do the kick at that height, and 2) what the point of the test requirement is.
    1. If they can't do the kick at that height because they simply aren't there yet, they should definitely be marked down. If the requirement in question (see point #2) is important enough, it might fail them. However, if they can't do it because of some permanent limitation, I'm likely to look for something else - either a functional equivalent, or maybe test them on an entirely different technique.
    2. Is the test about getting a specific result for fundamental purposes, or about testing their functional ability? There are requirements that were built into NGAA's testing at a time when the average new student was in their teens or early 20's. With that assumption, certain requirements were held for 2nd dan (usually 10-13 years in). If someone starts at 40, those requirements (jumping kicks, in a system that doesn't emphasize kicks) may no longer make sense, if their original point was to give folks another level to work to and exercise their athleticism (meant for someone who would be in their late 20's to mid-30's, not someone in their early to mid 50's).
    Mind you, there are times when their own limitation means they simply cannot meet reasonable guidelines for ranking. If someone has weak hands due to a neurological disorder, there's no reasonable way to grade them up in a grappling system unless they figure out a way to be fantastic without a reasonable grip (something I can't fathom). So a corrollary to #2 is a question about what they can't do: is this fundamental to the system they're trying to grade in? In your OP, is a head kick fundamental to your TKD system? If so, at some point the inability to do one means they can't progress.
     
  7. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    well does it matter?
    there is no way on earth im ever going to kick at head level, unless they are vertically challenged, ( i mean really small)

    should thhat stop me from progessing if i can smash their thigh up good.

    its a genuine question, clearly i think not, its a fightibg art, if i can hit them and hurt them then its goal accomplished,

    added to, i really wouldnt do it even if i could, its far to easy to catch the leg, or take the standing leg, i can do that with people beibg needlessly flash, im sure lots of people could do it to me
     
  8. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    For solo practice - Patterns - Chang Hon - all levels are designated in relation to the performer's / attacker's body.
     
  9. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    FWIW in the Chang Hon system there are no kicks above shoulder level until the pattern for 1st Gup.
     
  10. Acronym

    Acronym 2nd Black Belt

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    Yeah, I do not think that they are ready.
     
  11. Acronym

    Acronym 2nd Black Belt

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    It does not designate anything beyond "high". My only point about jaw level is that it is attainable even for people who are struggling, they just need to put in the work
     
  12. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    Are you saying you do not take into consideration the motion(s) After leg extension? We emphasize that the return/back motion is just as important as the forward (with/without rotation) motion.
    I think we can agree most (not all) kicks in form pattern end with a step forward but the recovery/technique of that step is very important for more reasons than just ending up in a good stance.
     
  13. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    While that's certainly true of the majority of people, it's not true of all people. Some folks have hip abnormalities that make kicking above about chest level pretty much impossible, and others can only do so with pain.
     
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  14. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    In context, it could matter. If a style is built around high kicks (not saying TKD is - just throwing out a case), then someone who can't do high kicks probably shouldn't grade in that style. Whether that is an effective fighting approach would be a different argument, of course.
     
  15. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    But you are taking the style specific requirements out. It is like saying a person who has only practiced Wing Chun should be able to pass at TKD test.
    Yes, I get the direct logic that if you can smash the thigh that is a good thing, but that is outside the parameters since one can assume the high kicker can also smash the thigh.
     
  16. dvcochran

    dvcochran Grandmaster

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    Agree. I had two men who were very, very accomplished marathon runners. They were both in fantastic shape for that sport. But they really struggled with kicks and one of them never did get past chest level and I am convinced he never would even though he tried his best. Anatomically, he just was not going to get there, even in an excessive amount of time. From day one to about two years later he could never set on the floor and reach his toes and a split was maybe with the legs 3 feet apart. But he went really hard, had very good technique, was very solid at the curriculum and a very good presence in class. So the one limitation was outweighed by all the other positives.
     
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  17. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Running, if you only stretch for running, can result in some very strong limits around the hips that may not be correctible after a point. I'm convinced that's where some of my limits came from.
     
  18. Acronym

    Acronym 2nd Black Belt

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    I could never do any of those things and I can still kick high
     
  19. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    well no, its not,

    its my engineering back ground i supose,
    if you doing tkd just for the reason of saying your a black belt in tkd, then i suppose it matters, maybe, , but why us the requirment there in the first place, its complely arbitrary and in no way ties to an overall performance standard, it the equivelent of putting go faster stripes on your car or one of them silly wings and the car club saying no stripes no silly wing you cant be member, which is more or less true as a requirment, , turn up with a normal looking car that goes like stink and youl not join, coz, well somebody with a silly wing said so

    the car with the silly wing might also go like hell, but thats not because of the silly wing

    if i was teaching someone, who insisted on throwing high kicks at me id say," dont do that, coz three times out of 10 your going to end up on the floor, " and yes i know there are exceptional athletes, whos kick i wont see comming, but not many of them
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2020
  20. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    some people, perhaps most people when they get out of adolescence, never will,

    its not really a function of our design of our design requirments, the ones who can are the outlyers

    pick any mature adults at random and most wont be able to get their leg to 90 degrees123
     

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