How much leeway in changing movements to discover poomsae applications?

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
19,665
Reaction score
6,393
Location
Pueblo West, CO
I actually think the inclusion of a limited "application" section for each pattern is a good idea on the KKW's part, although I wish they had done more than just one or two examples from each poomse.

Couldn't agree more.

I was a little disappointed by the example in Koryo, though. Am I missing what the first side kick is supposed to be doing? All it looks like is a feint low before a high kick (which is fine, I'm just curious). It doesn't act as a check on the opponent's kick, as far as I can see.

The application section is done no contact, and I think this one was poorly done. Given that the person on the left begins, but does not complete, a kick, I believe that it is intended to show the low kick being used to jam that kick.

The use of 응용동작 in the videos is interesting. It translates, as far as I can see, to "applied action," which is somewhat different from the "analysis" translation one gets from "bunkai," IMHO.

I'd say this is in keeping with the KKWs position that the applications within the forms are not hidden.
 

chrispillertkd

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
2,096
Reaction score
107
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
The application section is done no contact, and I think this one was poorly done. Given that the person on the left begins, but does not complete, a kick, I believe that it is intended to show the low kick being used to jam that kick.

Ah, got it.

Interestingly, the ITF has a "side checking kick" used for that kind of defense, which is executed differently from a regular side piercing kick or even a side pressing kick but there is also a picture of a side pressing kick used to block another kick in Gen. Choi's encyclopedia, IIRC, even though it's a kick that's supposed to be used to attack the leg or knee joint. There are a few techniques that specifically have more than one application in ITF Taekwon-Do, in fact.

Pax,

Chris
 

SJON

Blue Belt
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
206
Reaction score
6
Location
Spain
Much has been said since I last checked in, and Im pressed for time, so Ill concentrate on giving Andys first post an answer for now.

However, I thought your book/concepts stemmed from the fact that there are alternate or hidden applications
OK, heres the first important point. I dont think theyre hidden or secret applications. I think they are sequences that make little sense when applied (a) with the conventional labels in mind and (b) at arms length or further, but make a lot of sense if you simply perform the MOVEMENTS (forgetting the labels) at the DISTANCE an assault takes place (i.e. less than arms length) against the kind of ATTACK the aggressor is likely to be trying (i.e. grabbing you and trying to punch, butt, knee or wrestle you). Nothing hidden about them. You just do the movements and see how you make contact with the attacker.

to the exact movements done in Kukki-Taekwondo patterns? Maybe I've misunderstood and you consider some artistic licence to be acceptable in doing the movements differently to achieve your alternate application. Your website states "The four [snip-to-remove-advertising] DVDs show step-by-step and full-speed applications for every sequence of the Taegeuk patterns."

In the video you posted, the palm block goes to the head instead of solar plexus (different height, same striking area) and the backfist front strike has become an inner forearm block (a completely different movement with a different striking part and direction)?

So, could you explain your concepts/understanding of these applications of Kukki-Taekwondo poomsae? I understood from the sub-title of your book ("the patterns of Kukki Taekwondo as a self-defense system") that you used the patterns as-is and showed alternative or hidden applications, rather than making new sequences loosely based on the patterns.


Second important point. I dont think I change the performance any more than people change the performance of other aspects of TKD every day. Consider a high round kick. For technical performance you do one version, for applied performance (hitting those paddles as hard and fast as possible) you modify it and for real performance (in sparring) it can come out any of several ways, depending on the dynamics of the situation and your ability to pull it off.
So naturally, when I perform the technical solo pattern sequence it looks one way, nice, neat and stylised. When I do it for applied demonstration purposes with a partner it looks a little different. And when I do it for real, with a resisting partner and contact, then it looks a bit of a mess.
Having said that, in the Taegeuk Chil Jang sequence, I dont alter it very much at all, if you think about it. Yes, the palm block comes in from a high and wide starting position, but thats the way I learned it; I dont know if thats the current standard or not. Yes, I strike the head with the palm block, but the head at that point is practically at solar plexus level due to the weight shift back and the action of the reinforcing hand. Yes, the forward backfist has become an inner forearm strike, but the movement hasnt changed much, if at all.
I do think some artistic licence is acceptable, as Korean and Japanese pattern technique tends to be very robotic and stylised compared to Chinese and even Okinawan equivalents, but in the main, the difference between the pattern standard and the applied version of the movements is due to their deterioration under somewhat unpredictable circumstances.

Personally I treat poomsae as a health benefit (like Tai Chi) and a Mr Miyagi style "muscle memory" building exercise and not a tool for describing real world self-defence/applications. For those we do self-defence training and step sparring.

Funny you should mention that. I also study Taijiquan (i.e. the martial version of what is commonly known as Tai Chi). The popular image of Tai Chi, the senior citizens and new age people doing slow exercises in a park, is a kind of leisure/health activity derived from the martial art of Taijiquan. Actual TJQ is rather brutal. Once you take your opponents balance, you do all kinds of nasty spine-wrenching, throat-punching, face-planting stuff to him. And heres the thing: the balance-taking stuff is in the push hands exercises, the horrible stuff is in the forms. The health stuff is derived from both these, and has in turn become a kind of separate leisure activity to the extent that most people dont even know there is a martial art called Taijiquan.
To me, this rather parallels TKDs development. It was once a rather brutal, largely offensive martial art. It has some forms that dont seem to make much sense, although some people claim they have combative applications. And to the vast majority of people, TKD has become a leisure and health activity far removed from what it once was.

Cheers,

Simon
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
19,665
Reaction score
6,393
Location
Pueblo West, CO
KKW stances tend to be shorter and narrower than some other systems. And he lower taegeuks have a lot of walking stances, which are even shorter and more upright.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk.
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,257
Reaction score
640
Ah, got it.

Interestingly, the ITF has a "side checking kick" used for that kind of defense, which is executed differently from a regular side piercing kick or even a side pressing kick but there is also a picture of a side pressing kick used to block another kick in Gen. Choi's encyclopedia, IIRC, even though it's a kick that's supposed to be used to attack the leg or knee joint. There are a few techniques that specifically have more than one application in ITF Taekwon-Do, in fact.

Pax,

Chris

Maybe the blocking the kick thing is anoter example of a "Mistake " that never got fixed as Mr. Anslow and I like to discuss:) (where is this shown?)
 

Kong Soo Do

IKSDA Director
Supporting Member
Joined
May 17, 2011
Messages
2,419
Reaction score
329
Taekwondo Poomse don't have hidden applications. Anything you "discover" in poomse is simply your own creation. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn't the intention of the people who created those forms. By the way, I am specifically talking about the Taegeuk and Palgwe series of poomse and the current WTF Dan poomse.

I understand what you're saying and many people feel this way. I'm going to offer a different viewpoint for consideration. Let me paint a picture to help explain where I'm going. TKD, generally speaking, comes from karate. Karate kata over the years has been relabled, specifically the Pinan katas by Itosu Sensei. I don't think anyone would disagree with that. He did so to bring karate into the Okinawan school system and years later his student Funakoshi Sensei followed suit in the Japanese school system. Funakoshi in his writings has demonstrated various applications in the forms beyond the commonly used block/punch/kick format. Call these hidden or lost or deeper or whatever terminology you feel applies. I personally feel that the term alternate is the most applicable. Karate (and by extension TKD) can be like an onion in that it has many possible layers.

Now lets look at karate kata and TKD forms. It isn't a hidden fact that TKD/TSD forms (not all but many) are based on karate kata. I don't think any would disagree with that. Some TKD forms came later and aren't directly taken from karate kata, but have the same movements in a different pattern. So my premise is that if a 'down block' in a karate kata is also a hammer fist strike to the lower extremities and a 'high block' such as seen in Pinan Shodan is also a shoulder lock...then it follows that the same movement pattern in a TKD form is/can be the same thing.

Now it very well may be that it was NOT the intention of the designers of a TKD form. Thus it can be correct to state that hidden/lost/deeper/alternate applications were not the intention. But that would not remove the fact that if they are in a karate kata (and according to many karate masters they are) the same movement patterns would hold the same information in a TKD form. Whether or not they are used is entirely another matter. Remember, and this isn't meant as an insult to TKD pioneers, that with very few exceptions the founders of TKD were very low Dans...or didn't have Dan ranking at all. It stands to reason that many simply did not know this additional information. I stand by my assestment that there is a childrens version of karate and an adult version. And without insult intended, TKD by-and-large is based upon the teachings of children's karate. Now if we're looking at TKD as a sport then there is really not problem with that at all. Sport venues use that skill set for competitions without issue. B/P/K work very well and 'deeper' meanings to the forms would be a complete waste of time in that pursuit. For those that desire more of a self-defense focus, 'deeper' meanings can provide a wealth of information even in the TKD setting. Now again, without insult intended, karate masters designed kata with specific movements. In a literary sense they wrote a full and complete story. TKD pioneers as noted may not have had this training or had it in depth. So while they knew the letters they may have only been able to piece together fragmented sentences on TKD created forms. Now this is only my perspective and YMMV, but it may take a bit more effort to extract a 'deeper' meaning from a TKD created from than its karate kata parent. But it can and has been done by many in the TKD community. Stuart Anslow and Simon O'Neill being focal points for TKD like Iain Abernethy is for karate.

Now does this mean EVERYONE needs to accept EVERY application they've developed from a form? Of course not. But it does provide a basis for one to explore a kata/form more indepth if they are so inclined. KKW TKD has IIRC around 17 forms in total. Some may think they are all needed. For sport, perhaps they are needed. For self defense I personally feel that five or less are needed if those five contain enough varied movements to contain a complete systems techincal philosophy i.e. like the Pina/Heian katas. Indeed, those five kata are enough for an entire lifetime of training. And indeed again, Uechi Kanei Sensei once stated that to know Sanseryu kata was ALL that was needed to know ALL of karate. Again this is from a non-sport perspective so take it in context.

So in short (too late ;)), I would feel, from an SD perspective, that there needs to be 'some' leeway in TKD created forms because of the way they were designed. I would also state that the applications are simply a catalog of principle and not necessarly exacting movement patterns. As a quick example, I referenced the 'high block' in Pinan Shodan as a shoulder lock. It is a very effective shoulder lock and uses the movement pattern very precisely. I doesn't show a takedown from the movement but that doesn't negate the use of one as it demonstrates the principle. The takedown is a natural extension of the movement. Additionally, that same shoulder lock can be seen used while in a prone position and you can often see it used (or attempted) in a MMA submission type competition. Now the kata does NOT show this technique on the ground, but that does NOT negate the fact that the principle demonstrated in the kata can be used at various angles and also on the ground i.e. the shoulder standing is the same shoulder on the groung.

Hope this makes some sort of sense for your consideration. :)
 

chrispillertkd

Senior Master
Joined
Apr 10, 2007
Messages
2,096
Reaction score
107
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Maybe the blocking the kick thing is anoter example of a "Mistake " that never got fixed as Mr. Anslow and I like to discuss:) (where is this shown?)

My apologies, Master Weiss, the picture I was thinking of is actuall in the 1972 textbook, in the "Foot Lifting" section (p. 226 in my edition). The first picture shows the defender lifting his foot in order to avoid the attacker's oncoming kick (it appears like he's getting ready for a front snap kick). The second picture in the series has the defender executing an outward pressing kick to the attacker's tibia after the foot has already left the ground but before the kick has reached its final extension, much like a side checking kick would do. The leg, however, is completely locked out and the description of foot lifting says:

This is usually used to avoid a pressing or sweeping technique. An added advantage is the ability to counterattack with the same foot.

IMO, a side checking kick wouldn't be a counter attack because it's a defensive technique. On the other hand a pressing kick is used as an attack, not to simply check an oncoming kick. More interestingly, a check in vol. 4 of the encyclopedia has several examples of foot lifting followed by counter attacks. But none of the examples show a side pressing kick being used against the tibia (i.e. this example, which is the only one on the 1972 textbook, wasn't carried over). Does that make it "wrong"? Strictly speaking, yes. But, as you've pointed out before, Gen. Choi stated if it worked it was a good application.

Pax,

Chris
 

SJON

Blue Belt
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
206
Reaction score
6
Location
Spain
Taekwondo Poomse don't have hidden applications. Anything you "discover" in poomse is simply your own creation. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but it wasn't the intention of the people who created those forms. By the way, I am specifically talking about the Taegeuk and Palgwe series of poomse and the current WTF Dan poomse.

Hmmm ... Well, blunt statement of opinion as fact without any kind of qualifying argument doesn't really get us anywhere, does it? Anything concrete to bring to the table for our consideration?

Anyway, further to my previous post, I think the major issue of contention isn't so much variation from the standard movement as variation from the use described by the name of the technique. As I said, I don't think I vary the movement very much at all, other than an acceptable "deterioration" brought about by the infinite variables of actual interaction. What I certainly quite often vary is the use, e.g. using a "down block" as a takedown (a sweep down ... not too big a leap, I feel) or a "forward backfist" (rather a silly thing to try, in my opinion) as a forearm strike using much the same trajectory.

If one can get over the labels, it's just a case of standing a step closer to the opponent than you would in, say, one-step work, doing the movement without thinking of the technique suggested by the conventional name, and seeing how your legs and arms make contact with the attacker in a variety of scenarios. It's not rocket science. It's just a shift in perspective.

Why did the powers that be use those particular names for movements if they could be better employed otherwise? Who knows? Convenience, perhaps? Ease of teaching beginners? A prior decision that they were not going to use the patterns as major teaching vehicles for hosinsul (the KMA infrastructure at the time already had Judo and HKD for the grappling stuff) but that they were going to give them some substance anyway, out of ... national pride?

By the way, I quite like the idea of the low side kick in Koryo being a jamming technique prior to a second counter kick.

Cheers,

Simon
 

SJON

Blue Belt
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
206
Reaction score
6
Location
Spain
This discussion seems to have fizzled out, clearly because of the devastating logic of my last couple of posts ;)

So, perhaps I can revive it with a new contribution:


If you overlook the fact that I demonstrate the chamber on the inside in the solo form (current standard) and on the outside in the application (the way I originally learned it), then the main point of interest would be the static "crossed hands" starting point. I explain the reason for this earlier in the DVD (not shown here), but I'd be interested to know people's opinions of this kind of "isolation" of movements for drilling purposes, as it tends to attract a lot of criticism, particularly from MMA people.

Best regards,

Simon
 
Last edited by a moderator:

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
This discussion seems to have fizzled out, clearly because of the devastating logic of my last couple of posts ;)

So, perhaps I can revive it with a new contribution:


If you overlook the fact that I demonstrate the chamber on the inside in the solo form (current standard) and on the outside in the application (the way I originally learned it), then the main point of interest would be the static "crossed hands" starting point. I explain the reason for this earlier in the DVD (not shown here), but I'd be interested to know people's opinions of this kind of "isolation" of movements for drilling purposes, as it tends to attract a lot of criticism, particularly from MMA people.

Best regards,

Simon
OK, since you asked. I wouldn't drill those techniques in that way as I don't see them as 'real'. You have entered and trapped his right arm with your left arm. That is good technique. The strike with the right hand is also fine. Then for an unknown reason you let go with you left arm to enable a weak left punch. Why? Why would you give up a controlling position where you could continue to strike with the right hand, forearm or elbow, or your knee?
:asian:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SJON

Blue Belt
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
206
Reaction score
6
Location
Spain
Because at that point I'm in a right-foot-forward stance, so it's the right hand strike that's the relatively weak one, and the left hand is the power shot.
 

K-man

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Dec 17, 2008
Messages
6,193
Reaction score
1,221
Location
Australia
Because at that point I'm in a right-foot-forward stance, so it's the right hand strike that's the relatively weak one, and the left hand is the power shot.
Then why lock up the arm? It takes time to lock and let go. In your form the left hand is coming back to what we call carriage. To me that means it has something in it, in this case you have hold of the area around the bicep. So you pull back, step forward and strike with the right and your body is cocked to deliver the left, and to me they should both be power shots. By locking the arm you change the whole dynamic. Just my 2c. :)
 

SJON

Blue Belt
Joined
Oct 10, 2008
Messages
206
Reaction score
6
Location
Spain
A valid question, and one I'm pleased to answer.

I see non-sport TKD mainly as a "grab and strike" art. What you call "carriaging" (I like the term!) is basic to that. I actually call it "hooking", and it comes in a variety of forms.

In this case, I'm not actually taking any extra time to tie up the right arm. It is concurrent with the first strike, and serves the following purposes:

- It stops him from hitting me with his right arm, which is usually the dangerous one.
- It affects his physical balance to some extent, which becomes a psychological priority for him to put right.
- It pulls him forwards on to the first strike, which augments the power of that strike.
- It gives me a "feel" for how he's going to try to move as long as I have hold of him.

Arts like Wing Chun and Taijiquan practically base their whole approach around this. I don't consider the Karate-based arts like TKD to have that as a major focus or to be as sophisticated in that sense, but that's not to say that elements of it don't exist in them. As my art isn't heavily trapping/grappling-based, as soon as it has served its purpose, I let go. Plus, the "carriage" has nicely chambered the left arm making for a heavier power strike, as you point out yourself.

Notice also that while in the slow demonstration I manage to "lock" the arm to some extent, which would indeed allow for finishing with repeated lead arm strikes and/or a takedown, in the fast examples it's more of a momentary control and friction-based drag. These things need to be flexible, so if it turns out one way, fine, and if it turns out differently then so be it. The thing is that in both examples there's a pulling intention.

Best regards,

Simon
 
Top