Mirrored versions of forms

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,241
Reaction score
2,390
I got a lot of great discussion in repetitions in forms in my previous thread. There's one piece that didn't get much discussion, and I wanted to bring it up again. This is doing a mirrored version of a form. Is this something you've ever done? Is it something you do regularly? What would you think of including mirrored versions of the forms as part of a curriculum?

For example, Taegeuk 1M:
  1. Turn to the right, block with the right hand
  2. Step, punch with left hand
  3. Turn to the left, block with the left hand
  4. Step, punch with right hand
  5. Turn to the front, block with right hand, punch with left hand
You get the idea.
 

Kung Fu Wang

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Sep 26, 2012
Messages
13,720
Reaction score
4,335
Location
Austin, Tx/Shell Beach, Ca
Is this something you've ever done?
This is the way that I do.

1. I would first divide my form into a set of "short sequences" (such as move 1 - move 8, move 9 - move 14, ...).
2. I then drill each and every short sequence left and right. Sometime I like to drill 10 times on the right, then 10 times on the left. Sometime I like to drill 1 time on the right, 1 time on the left, and ... ( until I have reached to 20 reps). 20 reps seems to be my favor number.

After I have reached to stage 2, I no longer train the form from the 1st move to the last move. A form becomes a set of short sequences after that. All the duplicated moves (or combos) can be detected through this process.
 
Last edited:

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,414
Reaction score
783
Not familiar with the form. Are you saying the regular version would be :
1.
  1. Turn to the left, block with the left hand..... etc.
 

tkdroamer

Purple Belt
Joined
Sep 24, 2022
Messages
341
Reaction score
161
I got a lot of great discussion in repetitions in forms in my previous thread. There's one piece that didn't get much discussion, and I wanted to bring it up again. This is doing a mirrored version of a form. Is this something you've ever done? Is it something you do regularly? What would you think of including mirrored versions of the forms as part of a curriculum?

For example, Taegeuk 1M:
  1. Turn to the right, block with the right hand
  2. Step, punch with left hand
  3. Turn to the left, block with the left hand
  4. Step, punch with right hand
  5. Turn to the front, block with right hand, punch with left hand
You get the idea.
We have never done this. I would be concerned it would place too much emphasis on non-contact, non-pressure tested components of training and somewhat devolve into rote memorization. More akin to a dance class rather than a martial arts class.

Especially at the basic and lower form levels, we use forms as building blocks and relational identifiers to help people recognize how and when to use certain blocks and punches. As a person sheds the informational overload and gets proficient, I hope there is no argument that a person can learn to develop great power with the form movements.
Congruent to this is the refinement of motion. Learning how to take the power learned in forms and apply it in pressure testing and sparring.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,241
Reaction score
2,390
We have never done this. I would be concerned it would place too much emphasis on non-contact, non-pressure tested components of training and somewhat devolve into rote memorization. More akin to a dance class rather than a martial arts class.
All of these arguments can be made for doing forms in the first place.

Part of the reason for this is that some of the footwork (for example, the 270 degree turns) are only done to one side. Those 270 degree turns are used a lot in our self-defense or Hapkido, and sometimes are done with the right leg spinning 270 to the left. But not in forms. This would be a way to practice that footwork.

Especially at the basic and lower form levels, we use forms as building blocks and relational identifiers to help people recognize how and when to use certain blocks and punches.
How does a solo form teach you to recognize how and when to use those techniques? That's where drilling comes into play, because you have another person you can practice against.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,241
Reaction score
2,390
Not familiar with the form. Are you saying the regular version would be :
1.
  1. Turn to the left, block with the left hand..... etc.

Taegeuk 1 (Official)Taegeuk 1M (Mirrored)
1. Turn to the left, down block with left hand
2. Step and punch with right hand
3. Turn to the right, down block with right hand
4. Step and punch with left hand
5. Face front, down block with left hand, punch with right
6. Turn to the right, inside block with left hand
7. Step and punch with right hand
8. Turn to the left, inside block with right hand
9. Step and punch with left hand
10. Face front, down block with right hand, punch with left
11. Turn to the left, high block with left hand
12. Kick with right leg, punch with right hand
13. Turn to the right, high block with right hand
14. Kick with left leg, punch with left hand
15. Face the rear, down block with left hand
16. Step, punch with right hand, and kiyhap
1. Turn to the right, down block with right hand
2. Step and punch with left hand
3. Turn to the left, down block with left hand
4. Step and punch with right hand
5. Face front, down block with right hand, punch with left
6. Turn to the left, inside block with right hand
7. Step and punch with left hand
8. Turn to the right, inside block with left hand
9. Step and punch with right hand
10. Face front, down block with left hand, punch with right
11. Turn to the right, high block with right hand
12. Kick with left leg, punch with left hand
13. Turn to the left, high block with left hand
14. Kick with right leg, punch with right hand
15. Face the rear, down block with right hand
16. Step, punch with left hand, and kiyhap
 

tkdroamer

Purple Belt
Joined
Sep 24, 2022
Messages
341
Reaction score
161
How does a solo form teach you to recognize how and when to use those techniques? That's where drilling comes into play, because you have another person you can practice against.
That is what is meant by relational identifiers. Taking that repetitive motion of a form and learning when to apply it.
Drilling can be mindless repetition as well if not done correctly. I find repeatedly drilling single techniques can become a trap game where people turn off their mind and just let the limited muscle memory take over. In this respect, forms have more value.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,241
Reaction score
2,390
That is what is meant by relational identifiers. Taking that repetitive motion of a form and learning when to apply it.
Drilling can be mindless repetition as well if not done correctly. I find repeatedly drilling single techniques can become a trap game where people turn off their mind and just let the limited muscle memory take over. In this respect, forms have more value.
Oh no! Not muscle memory!
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
13,395
Reaction score
5,481
This is doing a mirrored version of a form. Is this something you've ever done? Is it something you do regularly? What would you think of including mirrored versions of the forms as part of a curriculum?
I do this in my form training but I think it just depends one's purpose. For most people it doesn't matter if you only do one side. But if you use applications then it will be beneficial. Sometimes the set up for a technique will be on the right side, sometimes the setup will be on your left side. I'll use myself as an example

Recently I discovered why I wasn't able to use one of the beginner techniques that I know. I often train it on the right side. But because of the way that I stand and the way that my opponent punches, the opportunity is only available when on the left side, so I have to use my left hand to do the technique. Not only do I have to do the technique using my left hand. I often find myself using the technique with my rear right hand.

In short, sometimes the opportunity doesn't present itself in the manner that we train. The opportunity for the technique may be there, but it also may require you to do the technique using different hands and use a different stance. But if someone has no interest in using the majority of the techniques in a martial arts system then you don't need to train both sides. If a person is only doing martial arts for fitness then they can just focus on one side.

The minimum benefit of training both sides is a brain function (because you are rewiring your brain) and a motor skill function (you are improving movement and strength on both sides.) Think of it this way. When we lift weights to we only lift weights with the right side? There are exercises where my left arm is weaker but over time it gains in strength. This is the minimum that happens when training both sides. Having your brain move the left side in unfamiliar ways is a good thing.
 

JowGaWolf

Sr. Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Aug 3, 2015
Messages
13,395
Reaction score
5,481
Drilling teaches how to do something
Sparring with the techniques that were drilled teaches how to use something

Many of the students that I taught drilled everyday. Many were unable to use the techniques. It wasn't until they took what they drilled into sparring that they began to learn how to actual use those techniques. Sometimes a person will be able to use something they drilled on the first try in sparring, but that doesn't happen often. Many kicks and punches will come before the next occurrence of it.
 

isshinryuronin

Master of Arts
Joined
Feb 28, 2019
Messages
1,573
Reaction score
1,615
Location
Las Vegas
Taking that repetitive motion of a form and learning when to apply it.
Drilling can be mindless repetition as well if not done correctly.
Both forms and drilling can devolve into physical repetition, just going thru the motions. This has limited benefit. For maximum benefit in either of these the techniques must be done with intent, visualizing the application as if there is an opponent before you.
In short, sometimes the opportunity doesn't present itself in the manner that we train. The opportunity for the technique may be there, but it also may require you to do the technique using different hands and use a different stance.
This is true. Train left, and the opponent may go right. Mirror training in forms may help account for this, but also, there is more than one way to defend any particular attack. Rather than relying on a mirror image of a form's block-counter, a different technique may be used from the position practiced in the basic form.

So rather than relying on mirror imaging of forms, I would prefer to go through the form and ask myself, "What would I do here if the attack was from the other side?" and come up with an alternate response. Or "What would I do here if my first move missed?" (Sometimes, the form actually accounts for this.) A great way for advanced belts to revisit their forms and get something new out of them.

Such practice leads to better understanding and unleashing the form's potential and adapting it to realistically changing situations. Forms, drilling, and some type of resistance training, all done with intent along with thinking, "What if..."
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,241
Reaction score
2,390
Both forms and drilling can devolve into physical repetition, just going thru the motions. This has limited benefit. For maximum benefit in either of these the techniques must be done with intent, visualizing the application as if there is an opponent before you.

This is true. Train left, and the opponent may go right. Mirror training in forms may help account for this, but also, there is more than one way to defend any particular attack. Rather than relying on a mirror image of a form's block-counter, a different technique may be used from the position practiced in the basic form.

So rather than relying on mirror imaging of forms, I would prefer to go through the form and ask myself, "What would I do here if the attack was from the other side?" and come up with an alternate response. Or "What would I do here if my first move missed?" (Sometimes, the form actually accounts for this.) A great way for advanced belts to revisit their forms and get something new out of them.

Such practice leads to better understanding and unleashing the form's potential and adapting it to realistically changing situations. Forms, drilling, and some type of resistance training, all done with intent along with thinking, "What if..."
In TKD, HKD, and BJJ, all three we've been told that we should be able to do the same thing left or right. A boxer who is only orthodox (or only southpaw) will have different reactions to something coming to the left or the right. But for TKD, it's more about open or closed than left or right. Is the technique coming to your open side or your closed side?

I shoot left-handed. Everyone else I know shoots right. One of my pet peeves is when a gun advertises itself as "ambidextrous", when in most cases it means "some of our controls are reversible, and the other controls we didn't even bother to try." For example, a handgun where the safety is ambidextrous, the magazine release is reversible (meaning I need to take it apart for it to change sides), and the slide catch is right-handed only.

This post kind of reminded me of that, because I've read the same thing about Karate. "We train both sides." That would suggest you train similar strategies for both sides.
 

Damien

Blue Belt
Joined
Mar 17, 2021
Messages
247
Reaction score
204
Location
Sydney
For me it depends on the movement. If there are other forms or parts of the form that have the same move/a similar mechanic on the opposite side then I wouldn't bother. For others I try to from time to time. When teaching I'm more likely to do it to help people get certain difficult body mechanics right on both sides, that way they can use it on both sides.

I know a lot of people say, I only need to do it this way, but having the other side as an option.. gives you more options. You may usually fight left foot forward, but sometimes you will end up switched, its useful to not have to switch straight back. Many a boxing/kickboxing match has been won after someone ended up wrong foot forward and didn't know what to do.
 

Gerry Seymour

MT Moderator
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2012
Messages
29,511
Reaction score
10,206
Location
Hendersonville, NC
I got a lot of great discussion in repetitions in forms in my previous thread. There's one piece that didn't get much discussion, and I wanted to bring it up again. This is doing a mirrored version of a form. Is this something you've ever done? Is it something you do regularly? What would you think of including mirrored versions of the forms as part of a curriculum?

For example, Taegeuk 1M:
  1. Turn to the right, block with the right hand
  2. Step, punch with left hand
  3. Turn to the left, block with the left hand
  4. Step, punch with right hand
  5. Turn to the front, block with right hand, punch with left hand
You get the idea.
Speaking from outside TKD, I do encourage students to practice the mirrored version. I think its unimportant relative to MA skills (time better spent practicing closer to application), but a useful task for challenging brain and body.

I dont personally spend a lot of time on them, but its a fun frustration from time to time.
 

Earl Weiss

Senior Master
Joined
Jan 27, 2009
Messages
3,414
Reaction score
783
Form variations are a fun exercise. However, doing a form really well takes lots of time and energy so it is a question of how you use your resources. Fun variations provide a nice break from the routine. Examples include: Combat Speed - Do it as quickly as possible without regard to classical positions, In a Box. -Replace every step / turn with a jump in place changing legs . Tiger - Front Kick before every front punch, Dragon, Jumping Back kick before every front punch, White Dragon - Back Kick (No Jump because white dragons can't jump) before every punch.
 

tkdroamer

Purple Belt
Joined
Sep 24, 2022
Messages
341
Reaction score
161
For me it depends on the movement. If there are other forms or parts of the form that have the same move/a similar mechanic on the opposite side then I wouldn't bother. For others I try to from time to time. When teaching I'm more likely to do it to help people get certain difficult body mechanics right on both sides, that way they can use it on both sides.

I know a lot of people say, I only need to do it this way, but having the other side as an option.. gives you more options. You may usually fight left foot forward, but sometimes you will end up switched, its useful to not have to switch straight back. Many a boxing/kickboxing match has been won after someone ended up wrong foot forward and didn't know what to do.
Well said.
To build on @skribs boxer analogy (I hope), let's break it down to a punch. Or punches. A basic middle punch (usually the first one learned) can be with the lead hand, reverse hand, stepping, sliding, or a jab. And I am sure to be forgetting something. My point is that it is as much or more about footwork than left or right mirrored.
I hope that made senses.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,241
Reaction score
2,390
Well said.
To build on @skribs boxer analogy (I hope), let's break it down to a punch. Or punches. A basic middle punch (usually the first one learned) can be with the lead hand, reverse hand, stepping, sliding, or a jab. And I am sure to be forgetting something. My point is that it is as much or more about footwork than left or right mirrored.
I hope that made senses.
Those are two different variables. It's like saying a banana can be green or it can be long. A banana can be both green and long, or neither green nor long.
 

Olde Phart

Orange Belt
Joined
May 11, 2022
Messages
85
Reaction score
57
Mr. Skribs -

Interesting question to start a thread, and even more interesting to read the responses. It seems the various responders all train (or, at least their forms do it) by working to one side. In the MA system I train in, ALL forms/katas/hyungs have mirrored movements within them. If a form has 30 moves, then 15 of them will be to the left and 15 will be to the right. Not necessarily all 15 to the left and THEN all 15 to the right, but interspersed throughout the form. It would seem that the goal is to develop "muscle memory" so that our physical response would be more automatic no matter from which direction the attack came. We also train in Muy Thai and boxing as added training, and it is within those that I seem to notice that the focus is on the right side, with very little mirroring (if any at all). I would think that if a martial artist couldn't adapt to a "southpaw" confrontation vs a "normal" one, then they would be greatly hampered in their abilities.
 
OP
skribs

skribs

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 14, 2013
Messages
7,241
Reaction score
2,390
Mr. Skribs -

Interesting question to start a thread, and even more interesting to read the responses. It seems the various responders all train (or, at least their forms do it) by working to one side. In the MA system I train in, ALL forms/katas/hyungs have mirrored movements within them. If a form has 30 moves, then 15 of them will be to the left and 15 will be to the right. Not necessarily all 15 to the left and THEN all 15 to the right, but interspersed throughout the form. It would seem that the goal is to develop "muscle memory" so that our physical response would be more automatic no matter from which direction the attack came. We also train in Muy Thai and boxing as added training, and it is within those that I seem to notice that the focus is on the right side, with very little mirroring (if any at all). I would think that if a martial artist couldn't adapt to a "southpaw" confrontation vs a "normal" one, then they would be greatly hampered in their abilities.
Even then, I'd be willing to bet that some of those movement aren't exactly mirrored.

For example, using Taegeuk 1 (the video earlier in the thread), you have:
  1. Turn to the left, down block with left hand
  2. Step forward and punch with right hand
  3. Turn to the right, down block with right hand
  4. Step forward and punch with left hand
Steps 2 and 4 are a mirror of each other. Step 1 and Step 3 are a mirror as described. But Step 1 is a 90-degree turn from a neutral ready position, and Step 3 is a 180-degree turn from the punch in Step 2.

Teageuk 1 has 16 steps, and 14 of those steps are mirrored (except for the footwork). However, the last two steps are not mirrored. I'd consider the form basically 90% mirrored. I think it's a theme throughout most of our forms that they will be roughly 80-90% mirrored.
 

Latest Discussions

Top