Looking for a Taekwondo mentor

Status
Not open for further replies.

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
929
I actually did try and go through a design phase where I would come up with 1-steps, and then come up with a form that can be used as a collection of those one-steps in an artistic fashion.

After a bit of trial and error, I decided to keep the two separate so I can make each of them better than if I tried to force them into some abominable hybrid.
Some systems use one to reinforce the other. At a specific rank the Blocks and attacks present in the pattern for that rank are incorporated into the step sparring for that rank. The solo practice reinforces the practice with an attacker / defender and vica versa.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,504
Reaction score
2,532
Some systems use one to reinforce the other. At a specific rank the Blocks and attacks present in the pattern for that rank are incorporated into the step sparring for that rank. The solo practice reinforces the practice with an attacker / defender and vica versa.
I know some systems do this. That was the inspiration for my attempt. I decided that the forms, sparring, and self-defense teach different things in different ways, so I might as well use that.

The forms teach a lot about how to move your own body. The sparring (at least, the stereotypical kick-heavy Taekwondo sparring) teaches a lot about managing range, footwork, and reading your opponent. Some footwork I was going to include in the forms I excluded because it's already present in the kicking training. I believe that's a big part of why roundhouse kicks are very uncommon in the Kukkiwon forms, despite being the most common kick in WT sparring (0 roundhouse kicks in the Palgwes, 2 in the Taegeuks, 0 in the first 4 yudanja that I've learned).
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
14,064
Reaction score
5,985
Forms teach movements. Names are given to those movements because it's a lot easier and efficient to tell your class to do an inside middle block than to describe the movement in full each time. If and when the student really understands the principals underlying the movement, the applications are obvious, and virtually limitless.
Every block is a strike. Every strike is a block. And a grapple. And whatever else you need it to be.
This is difficult for many people to understand, people often put themselves into a box and then get frustrated at why things don't work. Then they say comments like:
"Make it work"
"Change it a little"
"throw it away."

After they go through that phase they eventually get a "light bulb moment" where they understand it and they are surprised at how simple the solution was because they can now use the technique and none of the above was required to do so. It's always the same learning pattern and the same wasted time trying to make things work as they think it should but failing.

This is why I like that you say "if and when the student really understands." because some never make it.
 

J. Pickard

Brown Belt
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
412
Reaction score
420
Application of movements in kata is no more (or less) prescribed than in poomsae.
I was specifically talking about how, quite often, when learning Kata the student learns a very specific bunkai to go with it whereas TKD leaves it up to the practitioner to work it out. That's what I mean by a prescribed application, not that there aren't others. For example, when I learned seisan in Uechi Ryu I had to learn a specific bunkai to go with it and the idea of situational applications was never considered or brought up but is something I know higher dan ranks did often. I agree with what you are saying, I simply meant there was no rank required prescribed application to specific poomsae in TKD where as many kata have a specific bunkai when you learn it.
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
14,064
Reaction score
5,985
I was specifically talking about how, quite often, when learning Kata the student learns a very specific bunkai to go with it whereas TKD leaves it up to the practitioner to work it out.
I find this to be the norm. It's like math. You get an example math problem 4+4=. If you understand the concept then you should be able to understand 6594+4993=. If "+" only means 4+4= then you have missed the point and the application of "+"

The fact that I used math to explain that means I've been talking to you guys for too long lol.

I once asked my teacher what a technique did. He simply told me that I know enough Kung fu to know how to apply the technique I was asking. He never told me the answer so I gave it some thought and did some trial and error attempts. Eventually I understood it. He was right. I knew enough kung fu to figure it out. It was simply another application of something I already knew.

It makes the learning process much longer but the things that we best understand are things that we had to troubleshoot through thing and to spend time trying to figure stuff out.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
23,404
Reaction score
9,168
Location
Pueblo West, CO
I was specifically talking about how, quite often, when learning Kata the student learns a very specific bunkai to go with it whereas TKD leaves it up to the practitioner to work it out. That's what I mean by a prescribed application, not that there aren't others. For example, when I learned seisan in Uechi Ryu I had to learn a specific bunkai to go with it and the idea of situational applications was never considered or brought up but is something I know higher dan ranks did often. I agree with what you are saying, I simply meant there was no rank required prescribed application to specific poomsae in TKD where as many kata have a specific bunkai when you learn it.
I would say that, in this sense, the TKD forms have pretty much the same level of prescribed application. The prescribed application for an inside middle block is pretty clear and pretty specific.
 

J. Pickard

Brown Belt
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
412
Reaction score
420
I would say that, in this sense, the TKD forms have pretty much the same level of prescribed application. The prescribed application for an inside middle block is pretty clear and pretty specific.
Sure, each technique is given a name to explain what it does on a basic level, i.e. inward middle block blocks an attack to the midsection with an inward motion. But there is no single specific bunhae attached to any TKD poomsae whereas many karate kata have a specific bunkai that is taught the same everytime with no real variation. If you go into any Uechi dojo and say say "show me the kanshiwa kata bunkai" you will get the same bunkai every time. If you walk into a kukkiwon dojang and say "show me the taegeuk 8 bunhae" the response you get will vary from dojang to dojang but will likely consist of a lot of confused looks.
 

bluepanther

Orange Belt
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
96
Reaction score
19
Sure, each technique is given a name to explain what it does on a basic level, i.e. inward middle block blocks an attack to the midsection with an inward motion. But there is no single specific bunhae attached to any TKD poomsae whereas many karate kata have a specific bunkai that is taught the same everytime with no real variation. If you go into any Uechi dojo and say say "show me the kanshiwa kata bunkai" you will get the same bunkai every time. If you walk into a kukkiwon dojang and say "show me the taegeuk 8 bunhae" the response you get will vary from dojang to dojang but will likely consist of a lot of confused looks.
I always thought it would be fun to put together a kata with a bunch of meaningless movements then watch a bunch of martial arts masters impose bunkai upon those goofy movements.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,504
Reaction score
2,532
Sure, each technique is given a name to explain what it does on a basic level, i.e. inward middle block blocks an attack to the midsection with an inward motion. But there is no single specific bunhae attached to any TKD poomsae whereas many karate kata have a specific bunkai that is taught the same everytime with no real variation. If you go into any Uechi dojo and say say "show me the kanshiwa kata bunkai" you will get the same bunkai every time. If you walk into a kukkiwon dojang and say "show me the taegeuk 8 bunhae" the response you get will vary from dojang to dojang but will likely consist of a lot of confused looks.
I've never even heard or seen the word bunhae.
I always thought it would be fun to put together a kata with a bunch of meaningless movements then watch a bunch of martial arts masters impose bunkai upon those goofy movements.
I like this idea. It sounds like my idea to post a BJJ video titled "Krav Maga self-defense" or "Aikido ground techniques" onto r/bjj and see them all rip it to shreds.
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,584
Reaction score
929
I always thought it would be fun to put together a kata with a bunch of meaningless movements then watch a bunch of martial arts masters impose bunkai upon those goofy movements.
Meaningless is in the eye of the beholder. You would have to create movement that never existed previously. I expect that if many watched Master Ken's motions without an application they would think they were meaningless as well. (Fr those who don't know who Master Ken is, just do an internet search.
 

HighKick

Black Belt
Joined
Apr 8, 2023
Messages
629
Reaction score
330
As far as I understand it.

You kind of have to be affiliated with either the Gracies or michardos. So to grade to black belt You have to do a bunch of service to either one or the other. Or be part of a club that does.

And that might be things like hosting seminars or paying fees.

It can get very pyramid scheme.

And then there is the IBBJF that has its own jam.

Anyway if you are any good. You can find black belts who will recognise your ability and just grade you without the shenanigans. And then you can be a legitimate school instructor without having to be under the umbrella of an organisation.

And for example compete as a recognised school and stuff.

And then there are after market organisations like belt checker. That operate outside the IBJJF. And will recognise rank.


Obviously, there are outliers in almost every system. But I feel it is a stretch to blanketly call them all a "Ponzi scheme". Keeping some degree of uniformity and yes, conformity is never a bad thing. This is simply a systemic approach which is very common in almost all manufacturing and many other creative processes. Doesn't there need to be some method AND measure of and for control?
Yes, @skribs can find someone to pay to promote him (buy a black belt for $99.99!!!). There is always someone out there willing to make money regardless of whether the ethics are there or not. That sounds as bad as the Ponzi scheme to me. At the end of the day, what would be the difference?
 

HighKick

Black Belt
Joined
Apr 8, 2023
Messages
629
Reaction score
330
The forms are largely an aesthetic exercise. Any connection between the techniques in my forms and to other related movements is a happy coincidence.
Bad juju. How/why would get people to do something that is meaningless?
There is purpose in forms, whether you call is application is partly subjective.

The simple fact is there is more than one 'application' to almost every movement. The fun is in learning or realizing all of them. This is a Big part of doing forms.
 
Last edited:

drop bear

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
23,381
Reaction score
8,125
Obviously, there are outliers in almost every system. But I feel it is a stretch to blanketly call them all a "Ponzi scheme". Keeping some degree of uniformity and yes, conformity is never a bad thing. This is simply a systemic approach which is very common in almost all manufacturing and many other creative processes. Doesn't there need to be some method AND measure of and for control?
Yes, @skribs can find someone to pay to promote him (buy a black belt for $99.99!!!). There is always someone out there willing to make money regardless of whether the ethics are there or not. That sounds as bad as the Ponzi scheme to me. At the end of the day, what would be the difference?
The method of control is the adversarial system.
 

bluepanther

Orange Belt
Joined
Nov 18, 2023
Messages
96
Reaction score
19
Meaningless is in the eye of the beholder. You would have to create movement that never existed previously. I expect that if many watched Master Ken's motions without an application they would think they were meaningless as well. (Fr those who don't know who Master Ken is, just do an internet search.
If every movement has meaning then why limit yourself to a set form. If literally every movement can have multiple martial arts meanings, then a "tie my shoelaces" form that may appear to you as I am tying my shoes actually is a combination of strikes, takedowns, and joint locks.
 

Dirty Dog

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
23,404
Reaction score
9,168
Location
Pueblo West, CO
If every movement has meaning then why limit yourself to a set form.
You don't. Only a fool would think that any set of forms could cover every possible movement or application. Forms are a teaching tool, nothing more, nothing less.
If literally every movement can have multiple martial arts meanings, then a "tie my shoelaces" form that may appear to you as I am tying my shoes actually is a combination of strikes, takedowns, and joint locks.
Now you're starting to get it.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,504
Reaction score
2,532
If every movement has meaning then why limit yourself to a set form. If literally every movement can have multiple martial arts meanings, then a "tie my shoelaces" form that may appear to you as I am tying my shoes actually is a combination of strikes, takedowns, and joint locks.
This is the problem that I ran into when trying to find meaning in the forms. Where is the line between a legitimate application of a technique and someone just reaching? A common one for me was that a step could be a kick. By that logic, someone could go for run, claim they did 10,000 kicks and ask for a black belt.

However, when I stopped looking for practical application, and instead started to look at what else a form can do for you, I started to connect with them a lot more.
  • I don't believe the direct explanation of a scissor block (block a kick and a punch at the same time) makes much sense.
  • I believe other explanations of similar movements to a scissor block make sense, but those movements are different than the block in the form, and the form does not describe these movements. I think it's apt to say that forms help teach the coordination required for these movements. I think it's a stretch at best to say that forms teach these techniques.
  • I believe the biggest benefit of forms is the conditioning, coordination, and mental benefits. I think these are more than enough reason to train forms. I also think that targeting these reasons instead of practical application (and leaving practical application to sparring, pad work, bag work, and partner drills) helps make the forms better.
You don't. Only a fool would think that any set of forms could cover every possible movement or application. Forms are a teaching tool, nothing more, nothing less.
To be fair, lots of people will say that "the forms are the art". I don't agree with them, but that argument is made enough online. And it's made so vehemently that if someone doesn't fully connect with the forms, it can be used as a personal attack.

This is also why I don't feel any guilt or trepidation about creating my own forms, and why I edited out some things I wanted to include in the forms and decided just didn't fit. Things that are already covered in other areas of training (i.e. certain kicking footwork). It's not like the Taegeuks are an ancient cipher handed down over millennia that contain all of the secrets of Taekwondo. Their main purpose was to replace the ITF forms for political reasons. I know they were replacing the Palgwes, but timing suggests they were being worked on concurrently, and the reason the Taegeuks replaced the Palgwes was organizational politics.

As far as the benefits you get from the forms, I believe I've recreated that quite nicely. I also think I've paced it better. 8 forms up to black belt, no new forms after black belt. My forms are slightly more difficult than a typical Taekwondo colored belt form, but much easier than the types of forms I see Kung Fu guys post on here as "Form 1". The idea behind only having 8 forms is that once you get to a certain point (i.e. black belt), you've learned enough forms already that learning more forms is just proving you can memorize more stuff. The time it takes to learn a new form is much less than the time it takes to go from one degree to the next.

I'd rather folks spend that time creating their own form, an endeavor which would much better help them understand what form training does than just memorizing another 50 moves. And an endeavor which allows them to show off their creativity at testing, instead of their ability to do the same thing as everyone else.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top