Bunhae/application

J. Pickard

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Just curious, how many TKD schools here train bunhae for poomsae? I don't mean the standard "block, kick, punch" only works with drills in the dojang type of bunhae. I mean trying to make poomsae as practical as possible and testing it in sparring or with resisting opponent.

I've been training with some Judo/BJJ and kickboxing guys and a lot of the techniques they use for takedowns and trapping look a lot like some of the moves in poomsae when you take their partner away. looking at the roots of TKD it makes me wonder if that was the original intention of certain moves and they were just forgotten about over the years. We have started to try to develop practical bunhae in my dojang by trying to use poomsae during sparring (we allow takedowns, leg sweeps, and head punches in our school) and we have all learned a lot from it and it makes me wonder why I don't see more of this.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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If you always have to block before your kick, punch, you may restrict yourself and always have to wait for your opponent's attack. If you just use kick, punch, you can attack your opponent anytime that you want to.

A groin kick followed by a face punch will work 100% all the time. But I prefer

- kick,
- parry,
- punch.

I can use parry to open my opponent's guard.

So may be kick, block (or parry), punch can be a better combo.
 
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drop bear

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On paper 2 step style sparring doesn't seem much different to Dutch drills. But there is a real difference in its approach.
 

WaterGal

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We picked out a few applications for each form, and teach those. For the beginners, it tends to be more like... basic principles of fighting. Like, a low level form will have a kick and then a double punch, and we'd say that what that's teaching is that you shouldn't just do one strike and stop and wait, but instead you should continue your attack with multiple strikes. And then have students practice doing striking combinations.
 

skribs

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Just curious, how many TKD schools here train bunhae for poomsae? I don't mean the standard "block, kick, punch" only works with drills in the dojang type of bunhae. I mean trying to make poomsae as practical as possible and testing it in sparring or with resisting opponent.

I've been training with some Judo/BJJ and kickboxing guys and a lot of the techniques they use for takedowns and trapping look a lot like some of the moves in poomsae when you take their partner away. looking at the roots of TKD it makes me wonder if that was the original intention of certain moves and they were just forgotten about over the years. We have started to try to develop practical bunhae in my dojang by trying to use poomsae during sparring (we allow takedowns, leg sweeps, and head punches in our school) and we have all learned a lot from it and it makes me wonder why I don't see more of this.

There's a big problem with the history of the forms. To sum up the bullet points:
  • Karate had forms with lots of martial applications
  • Those applications were "dumbed down" to simple blocks and punches when Karate was expanded from the military and started being taught to kids in schools
  • Only those school-appropriate applications were taught to the Koreans when they learned the forms from the Japanese during the occupation.
  • The Koreans then wanted to make the forms their own, so they chopped them up and rearranged them. This led to a lot of the combos from the Karate kata being broken in the Korean poomsae.
Essentially, it's like the forms were a classic book, then rewritten for children, then translated multiple times through Google translate. You can still learn the techniques, but it's going to be really hard to get much direct application from them.
 

isshinryuronin

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There's a big problem with the history of the forms. To sum up the bullet points:
  • Karate had forms with lots of martial applications
  • Those applications were "dumbed down" to simple blocks and punches when Karate was expanded from the military and started being taught to kids in schools
  • Only those school-appropriate applications were taught to the Koreans when they learned the forms from the Japanese during the occupation.
  • The Koreans then wanted to make the forms their own, so they chopped them up and rearranged them. This led to a lot of the combos from the Karate kata being broken in the Korean poomsae.
Essentially, it's like the forms were a classic book, then rewritten for children, then translated multiple times through Google translate. You can still learn the techniques, but it's going to be really hard to get much direct application from them.
I think you've got the essence of the situation. Just a couple of things to add - Re bullet #2, the explanations for the applications may have been "dumbed" down, but the potential for executing the app usually still resides in the form, although unrecognized. Re bullet #3, it wasn't just the Koreans who inherited an "incomplete" art. It was most everyone, even the Japanese. Re bullet #3 & #4, the influence of competition helped mold the style of execution of techniques a bit as well. Your closing line is correct - it does take work to discover all that forms have to offer, but for those who have the desire and solid guidance, it can be done. Much (some very bad) info is now out and available to all.
 

skribs

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Your closing line is correct - it does take work to discover all that forms have to offer, but for those who have the desire and solid guidance, it can be done. Much (some very bad) info is now out and available to all.

My personal opinion is that the forms (especially in Taekwondo) don't offer application, and that when you find application it's confirmation bias for similar movements. It might make it easier to learn applications due to giving you better coordination, but it doesn't directly teach them.
 

dvcochran

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There's a big problem with the history of the forms. To sum up the bullet points:
  • Karate had forms with lots of martial applications
  • Those applications were "dumbed down" to simple blocks and punches when Karate was expanded from the military and started being taught to kids in schools
  • Only those school-appropriate applications were taught to the Koreans when they learned the forms from the Japanese during the occupation.
  • The Koreans then wanted to make the forms their own, so they chopped them up and rearranged them. This led to a lot of the combos from the Karate kata being broken in the Korean poomsae.
Essentially, it's like the forms were a classic book, then rewritten for children, then translated multiple times through Google translate. You can still learn the techniques, but it's going to be really hard to get much direct application from them.
I guess that is an accurate analogy. But don't you think enough time and information has passed that this explanation no longer holds water?
Without question some schools do not teach application in forms. But that is not true for all schools and I think as time goes by and more knowledge is gleaned application and understanding will continue to increase.
It is up to all the future instructors to keep this going isn't it? Also, in the current climate forms are more important that ever.
Rote forms approach is applicable for kids and new adults to learn technique, coordination, balance, etc... but one of the coolest things about training is expanding into elements like forms and seeing there is much more there than just rote memorization.
I feel what @WaterGal said is spot on. And it works both ways; for the one teaching and the ones being taught.
 

Ivan

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Just curious, how many TKD schools here train bunhae for poomsae? I don't mean the standard "block, kick, punch" only works with drills in the dojang type of bunhae. I mean trying to make poomsae as practical as possible and testing it in sparring or with resisting opponent.

I've been training with some Judo/BJJ and kickboxing guys and a lot of the techniques they use for takedowns and trapping look a lot like some of the moves in poomsae when you take their partner away. looking at the roots of TKD it makes me wonder if that was the original intention of certain moves and they were just forgotten about over the years. We have started to try to develop practical bunhae in my dojang by trying to use poomsae during sparring (we allow takedowns, leg sweeps, and head punches in our school) and we have all learned a lot from it and it makes me wonder why I don't see more of this.
Not many clubs practice it in this way that I know of, but I have seen plenty of examples of what you speak of in YouTube. But that is, in essence what a lot of poomsae and kata was. A way to pass down and compress techniques and their application, in a manner that is easy to remember for your students and your style.
 

skribs

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I guess that is an accurate analogy. But don't you think enough time and information has passed that this explanation no longer holds water?
Without question some schools do not teach application in forms. But that is not true for all schools and I think as time goes by and more knowledge is gleaned application and understanding will continue to increase.
It is up to all the future instructors to keep this going isn't it? Also, in the current climate forms are more important that ever.
Rote forms approach is applicable for kids and new adults to learn technique, coordination, balance, etc... but one of the coolest things about training is expanding into elements like forms and seeing there is much more there than just rote memorization.
I feel what @WaterGal said is spot on. And it works both ways; for the one teaching and the ones being taught.

I feel like I wasted time trying to find answers where there weren't any. Most of the application videos I've seen have made me cringe. A lot of them I feel are stretching what the technique teaches, or are downright bad ideas.

That's why I prefer to double down on this part: "Rote forms approach is applicable for kids and new adults to learn technique, coordination, balance, etc..."
Instead of making it into something I believe it isn't, I'm going to get the most mileage out of what I believe it is.
 

dvcochran

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I feel like I wasted time trying to find answers where there weren't any. Most of the application videos I've seen have made me cringe. A lot of them I feel are stretching what the technique teaches, or are downright bad ideas.

That's why I prefer to double down on this part: "Rote forms approach is applicable for kids and new adults to learn technique, coordination, balance, etc..."
Instead of making it into something I believe it isn't, I'm going to get the most mileage out of what I believe it is.
I knew where you were going and I understand. My hope is you will eventually find more in them. Possibly from another form set or another way they are taught.
The video thing will make me cringe often as well. Just like when breaking down one steps into component parts for teaching, forms can be done the same plus each person can find alternate uses for various movements. Pretty cool to me.
 

Earl Weiss

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I have always felt the "Applications" debate to often have 2 perspectives. 1. Patterns Applications are what the head of system said they are or 2, The "Real" applications weren't known to various heads of systems because they were never taught to them and they were dumbed down.
I had an article (actually 2) published on a 3rd perspective (not unique to me) . If anyone wants a copy PM me your e-mail.
 

Acronym

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I have always felt the "Applications" debate to often have 2 perspectives. 1. Patterns Applications are what the head of system said they are or 2, The "Real" applications weren't known to various heads of systems because they were never taught to them and they were dumbed down.
I had an article (actually 2) published on a 3rd perspective (not unique to me) . If anyone wants a copy PM me your e-mail.

The main argument against 2 that I can see is that there is too much left out that is assumed by the side arguing this motion.

For instance, if all blocks were actually intended as circular parries, why don't they end that way in the kata? Why do they stop exactly like a block would?

For instance,the first block you learn in a pattern Karate and TaeKwondo ends as if it was meant as a hard block, not a scoop. The argument against why it would be a block is that it makes no sense blocking a kick with your wrist.

Anyone trying to use the first beginner block will know that it is useless against anything, and would most likely hurt yourself rather than the opponent. But that is assuming it is actually a block, rather than a circular motion that got dumbed down.

Both arguments have holes, and it's hard to know how people tought in an age when they knew so little about fighting and didn't analyze it.
 

skribs

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The main argument against 2 that I can see is that there is too much left out that is assumed by the side arguing this motion.

For instance, if all blocks were actually intended as circular parries, why don't they end that way in the kata? Why do they stop exactly like a block would?

I agree with this, except then...

For instance,the first block you learn in a pattern Karate and TaeKwondo ends as if it was meant as a hard block, not a scoop. The argument against why it would be a block is that it makes no sense blocking a kick with your wrist.

Anyone trying to use the first beginner block will know that it is useless against anything, and would most likely hurt yourself rather than the opponent. But that is assuming it is actually a block, rather than a circular motion that got dumbed down.

I disagree with this. Block a front kick with your forearm, and you're not taking the force of the kick. You're hitting the leg from the side. With a roundhouse kick, you are taking the force of it, but you can block the thigh instead of the shin, and you're not going to take catastrophic force to your arm. This is the same concept that Muay Thai fighters use when they frame their hands on their opponent's hip or thigh to block them from using knee strikes in the clinch.

When you're blocking a kick, you either hit it at a weak point in the fulcrum, or you bypass the direction of the kick.

However, I will agree with the sentiment of the two-handed blocks. For example, the scissor block is either 1) block a punch and a kick on different sides, or 2) a grappling skill used to create a Figure-4 lock.
  1. It would be better to dodge one or both kicks than to block both of them.
  2. The Figure-4 would probably be at a different height, and your hands would be oriented to grab instead of in the position they are for the blocks.
Instead, I believe it's #3: It looks cool, and it trains coordination. I believe it's a good way of training where the down block and outside block are supposed to be, by comparing them to each other. And thinking this way allows you to focus on that, instead of trying to figure out how to block 2 moves at once.[/quote][/QUOTE]
 

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