What is the purpose of a Taekwondo form?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by skribs, Nov 26, 2018.

  1. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    The only thing I am "Absolutely sure of" is not to be absolutely sure of anything.
     
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  2. dvcochran

    dvcochran Master Black Belt

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    Our Dojang teaches Palgwae, Taegueks, and Pyong An forms. The Palgwae are, by far, a more comprehensive set of forms. IMHO. We are a Kukkiwon/WT school so I get the "official" moniker if you compete. But I strongly recommend you dig deeper in your TKD journey. I think you will find there is a lot really good stuff to discover out there.
     
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  3. DaveB

    DaveB Master Black Belt

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    That's a fine sentiment until it becomes a defence against reality. Climate change comes to mind.

    Or to bring it back to MA, I often encountered traditional Shotokan schools who would learn applications for kata but never train towards functional skill in using them, because "There are infinite applications to kata". A phrase that simultaneously exalted the central pillar of the training culture, while making deliberate focus on something other than normal training routine seem pointless.
     
  4. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    Interesting example but not one I would use due to difference in ease of testing. Move X can be tested to accomplish Y purpose. Climate change? In the 1070's we had articles about entering anew ice age. Climate change is a a fact . Been changing since earth existed. Modeling reasons is another story. Similar to trying to model Physiology with physics. not always so easy. Like the earth, the Body is not a simple thing to model.
     
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  5. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Grandmaster

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    If the goal of a kata is to develop overall body control and movement capability, but the specific movements and body dynamics don't map directly on to application, then would it be just as (or more) valuable for the student to practice gymnastics, dance, or rock climbing as a supplement to their martial skill?
     
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  6. DaveB

    DaveB Master Black Belt

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    The link is people making excuses to ignore information that doesn't confirm their current way of doing things.

    Training culture, especially around traditional elements like forms, are a lot like climate change in this regard.
     
  7. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

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    In a way, yes. It seems to me that anything that we do that enables us to gain more self-control and use our body effectively would be an enhancement.
     
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  8. skribs

    skribs Master of Arts

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    My parents and I love TKD. My sister says it's basically just a fancy style of dance. Although she is perfectly fine letting her husband be the uke for my Mom when she needs to practice throwing someone around.

    One thing I see the forms doing is enforcing certain habits. For example, when you're dancing, you're not worried about keeping a tight fist. And while some of the moves might be stylized, or not really have a practical application, the others do.
     
  9. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    You have a valid point. I’ve said for a long time that not all kata/forms/poomsae are created equally. Some are designed well, and include good material within the practice. Others are filled with bad ideas and were very poorly thought out. Still others simply do not add anything that you would not already get from practicing the other elements of the system. Other times the forms may be quality in and of themselves, but they were poorly taught or are poorly understood so their practice does not give any benefits.

    When people insist that forms practice is a waste of time, the truth of the matter is that they could be correct under certain circumstances. It really does depend.
     
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  10. Denoaikido

    Denoaikido Yellow Belt

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    practice makes perfect in any martial art period is just my two cents
     
  11. wab25

    wab25 Purple Belt

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    Not really. Practice makes permanent. If you practice the technique wrong, you get better at doing it wrong. It makes doing it right even harder, as you have to now break your bad habits. Perfect practice makes perfect.

    The discussion here is about finding the most efficient way to practice. Some ways of practice will make you better faster than others. If the purpose of forms, is just a light warm up... why are we spending so much time on them? If they make you better at multiple things all at once, maybe we should spend more time on them. If you have no idea what they are about, then you might as well do something else. But, different people see and get different things from the forms... Reading this thread with an open mind, has given me plenty more to get from my forms, thus making my forms practice a bit more efficient than before.
     
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  12. Denoaikido

    Denoaikido Yellow Belt

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    well with out practicing wrong you will never get good practice right expertise comes average bad or not so good into the best you can be no practice means its probably also not gonna work the most effectively esp in martial arts
     
  13. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    I'm sure there is, but to be honest, my preferences go more towards passing on the official curriculum without wanting to add anything to it (or remove anything from it). I feel there's more than enough in current KKW curriculum to keep our classes busy and students minds full.
     
  14. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    This shows the difference between passing on the system and your "personal journey".

    To instruct, to be a teacher - that's where pretty much sticking to the official curriculum is good. You're passing the system to a group.

    Deeper delving is a personal thing imo, it doesn't really have much of a place in normal open lessons because (as stated) they're full enough with the official stuff.

    There can be crossover, you can seek further information from your instructor, and your students can do likewise with you.

    If even a tenth of the stuff I personally research was covered in class I'd bet 90% of the students would leave and/or there just wouldn't be time for the fundamentals, let alone normal development. There's stuff that I've dug up that my instructors have no inkling of (and more than likely more in the other direction).

    And this kinda leads into where the whole 'purpose of forms/patterns' thing comes in as well. Anything over and above what is "in the book" is for the individual to discover.

    The instructor should show you the form, explain the basics of interpretation and help with your development - but not to just try to insert all the possible meanings into your head.

    What works for them is unlikely to work for you, or me, and is it really possible for any one person to have all the answers anyway?

    Put simply, you can't break down and decide every movement and expect a single coherent outcome - you more need to feel the movement and find where you can use it, or not. That's not something an instructor or a bunch of random internet people can do for you.
     
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  15. dvcochran

    dvcochran Master Black Belt

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    It is always a "personal journey". It is an individual art/sport.

    You are just thinking about the evolution of learning a form wrong. Most forms are an amalgamation and there is a lot of overlap in nearly every form I have ever done, regardless of set, system, or style.

    We are each taught a down block. While each may have slight differences the purpose is the same. So, physical issues aside, the "what works for you doesn't work for someone else" is not true in forms. It means more time needs to be spent on the form/move.

    Excluding the Yudanja forms, there is no "stylization" in the color belt forms, all moves are practical. Even true of the moves in the Taegueks where the transitions often make no sense.

    Especially when first learning a form, trying to visualize every outcome of a move has nothing to do with it.
     
  16. wab25

    wab25 Purple Belt

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    MT is currently having a 2 for 1 sale on periods and commas... Maybe pick up a few while they are cheap and use them... its very hard to figure out what you are saying.

    I never said you shouldn't practice. As you point out, you need to practice. But the process of practice, does not produce perfect. It ingrains the actions you are practicing. If those actions are wrong, they will not magically become right, through repetition.

    In the context of this thread... its more about what to practice. If you want to learn Aikido, then practicing guard passing and Shotokan katas... will take a long time to teach you Aikido. It would be much more efficient to practice the Aikido katas to learn Aikido. If you want to fight in the UFC, learning Aikido will take you a very long time to get there. Aikido is not the most efficient type of practice, to learn the skills needed in an MMA fight.

    Whatever you practice, will become permanent. What you choose to practice has a great deal to do with what you get good at. If practicing something does not move a person closer to their goal, its a waste of time, for that person. The point of this thread, was for those who do practice forms or kata, to share what they get from that practice. As evidenced here, we all get different things. However, by taking in new ideas, you can make your form / kata practice more efficient, by teaching you more in that same time. The trick is to identify your goals, and pick the ideas to work on, that move you in that direction.
     
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  17. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    I think you're misunderstanding my point really - which may be on me for my explanation, or on you for reading with preconceptions - whatever ;)

    Anyway...

    That down block - yeah, sure, there's an explanation for it. There's a movement, and a chamber position, and a transition in and out of position.

    It's the teacher's job to show you the movement and give you a possible application ("this is to block a snap kick").

    I firmly believe it's not the teacher's job to explain why the chamber is there or it's purpose (other than "preparatory position"). Or what you can do with the lead in and lead out. Or what else you can use that "block" motion/position for.

    They should be able to help you find your answers to those questions, but any answer they just hand you is no answer at all.

    Memorisation comes from instruction and repetition. Learning comes from discovery.

    This specific part **So, physical issues aside, the "what works for you doesn't work for someone else" is not true in forms** is only correct if your sole purpose of doing a form is to learn the form...

    Case in point - I can perform a takedown using what is presented in a pattern as a "punch followed by a turn into a low block". I'm using the same movements and the same transition. Present that as an alternative application to a 9th kup instead of "punch, block" and it'll only serve to confuse. It doesn't mean they need to practice the form more, it means they need to evolve their understanding of what is possible.
     
  18. wab25

    wab25 Purple Belt

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    I agree with most of this. But, I think that additionally, the instructor needs to open the door for the student to see that there is stuff to discover beyond the first possible application. The instructor needs to teach the movement. And the teacher needs to get the student on that path of discovery to see what is there. Just like the instructor should not hand you all the answers... they should at least get you to find the door. Its a fine balance there. They may need to show a few other uses of a movement, with the goal of getting the students to look for themselves. Unfortunately, there are too many students learning these movements, that don't even know there is a door there. As you say, the learning does not start until the student goes through that door and starts their own discovery process. Otherwise, they are just copying movement for the sake of copying. Might as well be dance choreography or a cheer routine.
     
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  19. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    The only nit I'd pick with what you're saying is that, as teachers, we should be saying something more like "one use is to [...]" because all too often students will assume that is the only application. I think it's best to have them thinking of alternate applications from day one.
     
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  20. pdg

    pdg Senior Master

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    Certainly, I can support that one.
     

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