Robot poomse or forms

Master Dan

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As an official referee and traveling to Korea as well as working with the Kukkiwon head PoomSe Instructor I have seen many changes to the forms over the past few years. The first motivation as it was explained to me is to move away from the old Kwan differences and move to one Taekwondo standardization. In judging at first it was told don't deduct for differences because that is how they were taught? but now that has transitioned to it must be one way only and counting backwards from 10 deduct for every little veriation from the approved Kukkiwon/WTF rules.

Most of the changes I agree with they are quality issues but some can be rather radical compared to original thoughts of balance/power/control? Kukkiwon invested over $1 million in research to change traditional Front Stance Apkoobi to its present narrow and longer stance with rear foot at 45 degrees. It will take me a long time to adapt personally if ever but I can teach the new students who want to compete.

ROBOTS?
The new Kukkiwon way and rules for movement are very controled slower with rigid timing. Anything that varies from this is considerd sparing or demonstration PoomSe not pure Kukkiwon/WTF competition rule PoomSe.

I am disapointed it is robotic it does not allow for any individualism based on feature abilities or an interpretation of the spiritual personality of the form. However we can think of the new rule as a fourth demension of PoomSe and it can even be fun trying to see who can be the most perfect robot?

My fear is that we will loose the instruction and the memory of the other three dimensions of PoomSe especially Art Demension which allows for individual expression depending on physicall ability and what of the indignous native art form?, Spritual? where is the Diamond or the happy man dancing on the plane? Lastly Self Defense.

Everything related to self defense over time is contained in the PoomSe or Kata's in reality there is no rythmic dance against multiple atackers there are no blocks or defensive moves, everthing is offensive with each movement having its own life and maybe 12 or more variations or interpretations to the application of technique. Once a person opens that door there is no going back you see and feel different as you live the form not replay a digital play back?

Its a real challange to block all the three other dimensions out clear the mind of feeling or expression and try to conform to a pure techincal performance of the PoomSe but that creates a fun challange.

Even the Group Creative PoomSe competitions force them to be robotic inorder to keep timing issues from point deductions?

I will say this watching two Masters at a world PoomSe event being restrained from fighting because they did not agree on scoring.

Our referee pool comment was there's no fighting in a non contact event is there???
 

d1jinx

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I have noticed that since changing over to "robot" poomse competition, more people are less willing to compete in forms. I personally know several BB who were excited to compete in the "NEW" division, only to walk away saying "screw that, I'm never doing that again". (they weren't bad, just bad robots!!!!!) I wonder what the long term effect will be?

For many years, Poomse was that "extra" event that you did because it only cost $5-10 more... very few were truly there for Poomse only.

Does any one think we will see a decline in the number of participants?

Quite honestly, USAT participation has been down, "IN MY HONEST VISUAL I SAW IT WITH MY OWN EYES AND WAS THERE" opinion, so will it be just thought to be a result of lower participation as a whole rather than people not wanting to do Poomse?
 

Gemini

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Master Dan, I am not at all happy about the change and I would agree the concerns you raise as potential consequences are very real. I only wish I shared your optimistic approach to addressing the issue as you move forward. As I'm one of the guys J1jinx described, your positive outlook describing the situation as "Challenging" is inspiring.

Regards,
 

Manny

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Master Dan, your post is very interesting, and yes the people who use to compete in poomsae tend to be very robotic and I dislike this a lot, as you mentioned where is the feeling of the poomsae? where is the dramatic thing in the poomsae? where is the flavor in the poomsae.

Since Iam atending to open karate tournaments I've been liking the karate do katas more than the korean poomsae, the people that compete in kata put such an effort, such flavor and sucha a dramatic on it that really cautivate me.

Don't understand how something that must be the most beautiful thing in a MA must be so rigid, so unnatural, so .... robotic!!!

I remeber the old days of the palgwe those were beautiful, fluidity, with corporal and face expresion.

Manny
 
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Master Dan

Master Dan

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To all: I do think PoomSe competition is up in relation to total numbers especially if you get involved with Hanmadang which I really recomend in Korea it is a 15,000 person event I think some day we will see that here but it may take 10 years.

However for those of you want more attend an open tournament weve had one for almost 30 years now which is a double tournament tkd and all styles. I used to loose against open style forms but with stylization of our forms and not being restricted by rank choices I could do any form I pleased I started taking first place against more traditional flashy forms or younger people.

Still there seems to be a deeper more subtle political agenda that seeks to get rid of traditional old guard thinking of the original Master's, elimination of the Kwan's? atempts to have lower rank go around thier master's to test? Any Indiginous art form is more than just rules of competition but a feeling a conection to inner devine self and to others. PoomSe will lift you up when you are down or alone and comfort you in old age when you no longer leap over tall buildings in a single bound but why should You? If you learned anything you don't need to anymore.

Change is difficult but I am looking toward a better future what matters is what you have to give to others and if you have nothing then learn more so you can share. My favorite movie Babe when the farmer sings and dances for the pig to inspire him. That should not be equated with casting your pearls before swine?
 

Earl Weiss

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Coming from a world where patterns are judged according to a strict technical standard I will offer this.
1. If you are simply judging like an open competition (balance , speed, power, etc. ) How do you know if the practitoner is performing how they were taught?
2. How do you know if the practitioner even knows what the standard is supposed to be?
3. If each person is allowed a variation how do you stop the variations from becoming larger thru sccessive Instructor / student generations?
4. In itself, there is a challenge to being able to perform in accodance with a set standard. Meeting this challenge improves a persons abilities. Being able to perform in accordance with a standard does not mean that for any other application somehow the pattern police will jump out and sau "No, you can't do it this way? "
5. Much of the resistance to perform in accordance with a standard that is different than what people had learned is a basic human resistance to change.
6. Some reistance to change is resistance to having to do hard work - to conform technique.
7. The use of a standard to measure prformance is found in other disciplines like music and skating. These disciplines have other actvities for artisitic expression.
8. The use of a standard makes judging patterns which is extremely ssubjective in any case more objective if you can point to where the standard was not followed.
9. Pattern standards have or should have a reason for why they are in place vis a vis technique purpose, application, speed, power, efficiency. If you allow variations, doe sthe variaton use the same reasons? How would anyone know without lengthy discussion and investigation not well suited to a judging situation.
10. If variations are acceptable how do you keep from making students crazy if they transfer from one school to another.

FWIW when I started, variations were huge. International courses training, better texts and videos allowed standards to become tighter. Yes, there was plenty of resistance.
 
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ATC

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Coming from a world where patterns are judged according to a strict technical standard I will offer this.
1. If you are simply judging like an open competition (balance , speed, power, etc. ) How do you know if the practitoner is performing how they were taught?
2. How do you know if the practitioner even knows what the standard is supposed to be?
3. If each person is allowed a variation how do you stop the variations from becoming larger thru sccessive Instructor / student generations?
4. In itself, there is a challenge to being able to perform in accodance with a set standard. Meeting this challenge improves a persons abilities. Being able to perform in accordance with a standard does not mean that for any other application somehow the pattern police will jump out and sau "No, you can't do it this way? "
5. Much of the resistance to perform in accordance with a standard that is different than what people had learned is a basic human resistance to change.
6. Some reistance to change is resistance to having to do hard work - to conform technique.
7. The use of a standard to measure prformance is found in other disciplines like music and skating. These disciplines have other actvities for artisitic expression.
8. The use of a standard makes judging patterns which is extremely ssubjective in any case more objective if you can point to where the standard was not followed.
9. Pattern standards have or should have a reason for why they are in place vis a vis technique purpose, application, speed, power, efficiency. If you allow variations, doe sthe variaton use the same reasons? How would anyone know without lengthy discussion and investigation not well suited to a judging situation.
10. If variations are acceptable how do you keep from making students crazy if they transfer from one school to another.

FWIW when I started, variations were huge. International courses training, better texts and videos allowed standards to become tighter. Yes, there was plenty of resistance.
Great points.
 

ATC

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I know many of the other Martial Arts such as Karate, KungFu, and even MMA can't understand why TKD is in the Olympics. Well in one word, "STANDARDS". It is the same in every country. They makes for easy judging, and the rules are clear cut. Even though we may argue when a point should be given the entire game is pretty cut and dry when you look at it on paper.

This is the same for forms. You have to have a standard. If the block is to be an outside middle block then there is no variation on the height or the length of that block. Bend the arm to much or have the fist stop to low or to high then technique is incorrect. There is no middle ground regardless of the power or snap. A wrong technique is a wrong technique.

Now they do build in for flow (rhythm), power, snap, grace, beauty and so on, this is the new presentation points. You do get two scores. Technical and Presentation.

If you have two people compete and they both do the correct technique, lets say a round kick to the face, but one has extension, and the other kicks with the butt sticking out. Well then the one with the straight line extended kick will score higher on the Presentation than the one with the v shaped butt out kick. Both used the correct technique to the correct target but ones presentation was much better and when the Presentation is combined with the Technical one will win.

I really like the new poomsae competition and how they score it. It is fair as they are attempting to remove the subjectiveness out of it.

Why compete if you can only win based off of what someone likes. Oooh I like high kicks over someone head, looks cool. No no no...I like low practical kicks because I won't use high kicks, because I can't do them. You guys are all wrong, I like only power. If every move is not done with power then you lose.

So who's right and how do you get all the judges to agree? Standards.
 

Balrog

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Doing forms emphasizes stances, power, timing, balance and self-control. Part of the self-control is learning how to transition from one move or combination to another. I count off for robot forms because they lack that flow.
 

Archtkd

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I am confused. Could someone out there post a video of someone who has recently won a gold medal at the World Poomsae Championships doing this so called robot forms that have no soul, speed, rythm, flow and all the other things that "new" Kukkiwon forms are said to be lacking. Nothing beats a picture that we can all see.
 

ATC

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Doing forms emphasizes stances, power, timing, balance and self-control. Part of the self-control is learning how to transition from one move or combination to another. I count off for robot forms because they lack that flow.
Everything you mentioned is all part of technique and the flow is not removed. If the form calls for a walking stance and you are in a middle to long stance then it is incorrect. How does doing any of what you stated make things robotic?
 

ralphmcpherson

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I can only shake my head. We do the palgwes the exact same way as our GM was taught them in korea before he came to australia. He has changed nothing. Im not knocking the way others do it and perhaps we are lacking through not evolving, but the more threads I read on here about standards changing, sparring rules changing, grading requirements changing and increased fees etc etc it just makes me so happy that I am not a part of a club affiliated with the kukkiwon.
 

Earl Weiss

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I can only shake my head. We do the palgwes the exact same way as our GM was taught them in korea before he came to australia. He has changed nothing. Im not knocking the way others do it and perhaps we are lacking through not evolving, but the more threads I read on here about standards changing, sparring rules changing, grading requirements changing and increased fees etc etc it just makes me so happy that I am not a part of a club affiliated with the kukkiwon.

Mr. McPherson, since you only need to do what your instructor says then you are adhering to "The Standard".
However your post highlights an issue and this is in no way directed to you, your GM or anyone else in the KKW becuase I am not a KKW guy, but I bet dollars to donuts the same issues exist in the KKW circles.

After 18 years of training with some of the top ITF guys in the country I went to a course with General Choi. When he would teach something different than what I was taught my brain would go "That's wrong". Of course it could not be wrong since he was the definitive authority on the forms. Checking the text reference I saw that he was doing what the text said 90+% of the time. The other 10% was either an issue of interpretation or in a few cases a text error. There were over 150 things I needed to fix.

I have heard a similar story from a KKW course wheer someone told a KKW instructor about how his Instructor taught him waht the KKW taught at which point the KKW instructr said "Who do you think I am?" apparently he was the final KKW authority.

so, no matter who the GM is they are certainly fallible. In sme cases they were simply not as good / accurate as they would like you to think.
 

Gemini

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Coming from a world where patterns are judged according to a strict technical standard I will offer this.
1. If you are simply judging like an open competition (balance , speed, power, etc. ) How do you know if the practitoner is performing how they were taught?
2. How do you know if the practitioner even knows what the standard is supposed to be?
3. If each person is allowed a variation how do you stop the variations from becoming larger thru sccessive Instructor / student generations?
4. In itself, there is a challenge to being able to perform in accodance with a set standard. Meeting this challenge improves a persons abilities. Being able to perform in accordance with a standard does not mean that for any other application somehow the pattern police will jump out and sau "No, you can't do it this way? "
5. Much of the resistance to perform in accordance with a standard that is different than what people had learned is a basic human resistance to change.
6. Some reistance to change is resistance to having to do hard work - to conform technique.
7. The use of a standard to measure prformance is found in other disciplines like music and skating. These disciplines have other actvities for artisitic expression.
8. The use of a standard makes judging patterns which is extremely ssubjective in any case more objective if you can point to where the standard was not followed.
9. Pattern standards have or should have a reason for why they are in place vis a vis technique purpose, application, speed, power, efficiency. If you allow variations, doe sthe variaton use the same reasons? How would anyone know without lengthy discussion and investigation not well suited to a judging situation.
10. If variations are acceptable how do you keep from making students crazy if they transfer from one school to another.

FWIW when I started, variations were huge. International courses training, better texts and videos allowed standards to become tighter. Yes, there was plenty of resistance.

First, I'd like to say this is a great post and represents the POV very well, but I'd like to present another viewpoint.

What is a poomse? Can you accept that a poomse by its original intention was meant to be a physical representation of a symbolic meaning? As artisitc? If so, then you would agree that initially it had nothing to do with competition. By turning it in to something it was not originally intended to be, you change the dynamics of its purpose. Essentially turning art into abstract. Like telling Van Gogh not to paint outside the lines. Not everyone sees everything as a competition and by turning it into one, it has become something less than what it was.

Just a different perspective.

Regards.
 

ATC

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First, I'd like to say this is a great post and represents the POV very well, but I'd like to present another viewpoint.

What is a poomse? Can you accept that a poomse by its original intention was meant to be a physical representation of a symbolic meaning? As artisitc? If so, then you would agree that initially it had nothing to do with competition. By turning it in to something it was not originally intended to be, you change the dynamics of its purpose. Essentially turning art into abstract. Like telling Van Gogh not to paint outside the lines. Not everyone sees everything as a competition and by turning it into one, it has become something less than what it was.

Just a different perspective.

Regards.
Another valid point. That is why competition poomsae is what it is. It should not be looked at as anything other than a sport and not be use as anything other than a sport.

Competition poomsae and poomsae are two different entities or subjects.
 
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Master Dan

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Coming from a world where patterns are judged according to a strict technical standard I will offer this.
1. If you are simply judging like an open competition (balance , speed,

Earl you state the obvious in a one demension world. My point is that MA is more than just purist competition and comformaty. Yes there must be order in the class room and yes some form of overall comformaty to rules inorder to have large scale competition and I find that interesting and chanllenging.

My point is people are loosing the richness of the artform to leave out 2-3 other demensions of PoomSe in thier personal training and it is what will nurish them later in life. Any master who has trained more than 25 years and really get in touch with a form will start to feel the need to yell at certain power applications of the form. This is natural and should be done in personal training and in demo. No it cannot be done in group performance or training it would sound like popcorn. But too much of Martial Art in the name of order, conformity and even secrecy has been lost by getting out 2-3-4 generations so far the original thought is lost?

By the way long time experience tells a judge the difference between a mistake and training. Open style rule looks for quality, difficulty of technique and many other subjective scoring levels which in theory six judges should all score the same but humans are vary?
Even with strict WTF rules I have watched complete scoring differences from Korean and non Korean judges using same peramiters in World competition and an American group was ripped off by 40% because the Korean group had to win due to money and polotics.
 
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Master Dan

Master Dan

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I really like the new poomsae competition and how they score it. It is fair as they are attempting to remove the subjectiveness out of it.

So who's right and how do you get all the judges to agree? Standards.[/quote]

Your right purely for a technical competition and that is and can be fun for competitiors of all ages but my point is that pure technical PoomSe competition is only 25% of why people should be doing it in the first Place!
Yes standards is why tkd is in the Olympics but it is no friend to the art. It has ruined TKD full contact sparring so boring the networks won't even cover it they give more coverage to fat people swilling bear and waving a broom in front of some round object going down the ice!!!! give me a break 90% of the people training in TKD are never going to be Olympic athletes yet they supply 100% of the money for 1% of the competitiors? This is why there has been such an increase in MMA gyms everywhere. The Olympics is just a big money rip off to the common people and it teaches all the wrong values that if you don't get Gold your a looser!! Its participation doing your best and all effort is its own reward is why people shoud do TKD basic life skills are what kids need.

The good news is the new interest in Poomse competition and Hanmadang will be the future especially in revenue for Do Jang owners.
 

dancingalone

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Coming from a world where patterns are judged according to a strict technical standard I will offer this.
1. If you are simply judging like an open competition (balance , speed, power, etc. ) How do you know if the practitoner is performing how they were taught?
2. How do you know if the practitioner even knows what the standard is supposed to be?
3. If each person is allowed a variation how do you stop the variations from becoming larger thru sccessive Instructor / student generations?
4. In itself, there is a challenge to being able to perform in accodance with a set standard. Meeting this challenge improves a persons abilities. Being able to perform in accordance with a standard does not mean that for any other application somehow the pattern police will jump out and sau "No, you can't do it this way? "
5. Much of the resistance to perform in accordance with a standard that is different than what people had learned is a basic human resistance to change.
6. Some reistance to change is resistance to having to do hard work - to conform technique.
7. The use of a standard to measure prformance is found in other disciplines like music and skating. These disciplines have other actvities for artisitic expression.
8. The use of a standard makes judging patterns which is extremely ssubjective in any case more objective if you can point to where the standard was not followed.
9. Pattern standards have or should have a reason for why they are in place vis a vis technique purpose, application, speed, power, efficiency. If you allow variations, doe sthe variaton use the same reasons? How would anyone know without lengthy discussion and investigation not well suited to a judging situation.
10. If variations are acceptable how do you keep from making students crazy if they transfer from one school to another.

FWIW when I started, variations were huge. International courses training, better texts and videos allowed standards to become tighter. Yes, there was plenty of resistance.


If one takes seriously the idea that there are multiple fighting applications embodied in the forms worthy of being analysed and then practiced, one also has to reject any standardized method of performing them.

The cadence will vary as you insert, replace, combine, or delete specific techniques within the flow of the action. Not to mention, various artistic artifacts such as the method of chambering and foot stepping are likewise modified to an extent, too.

I need to cut this short at the moment, but will be glad to discuss this further if anyone wants. IMO, when you are dictating the exact parameters of how a form should be performed, you are actually viewing it more as a belt/rank by-the-numbers requirement or sport competition vehicle than as a teaching drill for combat.
 

Earl Weiss

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What is a poomse? Can you accept that a poomse by its original intention was meant to be a physical representation of a symbolic meaning? As artisitc? If so, then you would agree that initially it had nothing to do with competition. .

I could but I pretty much don't. Perhaps not for competition but for a syllabus used in treaching and training.

"I reject your reality and substitute my own."
 

Earl Weiss

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My point is people are loosing the richness of the artform to leave out 2-3 other demensions of PoomSe in thier personal training and it is what will nurish them later in life. <<>>


>>Any master who has trained more than 25 years and really get in touch with a form will start to feel the need to yell at certain power applications of the form. <<<

>>>I have watched complete scoring differences from Korean and non Korean judges using same peramiters in World competition and an American group was ripped off by 40% because the Korean group had to win due to money and polotics.

Let me take this opportunity to once again make some "Obvious" counterpoints

Point 1. Requiring a strict standard for competiton does not mean people need to leave out other dimensions of foms from their training.

Point 2. I have trained more than 25 years. I feel no need to yell during certain power applications. I prefer the stealth approach.

Point 3. People getting ripped off seems to be a topic wholly unrelated to the matter at hand which I understand to be the pros and cons of strict standards for pattern performace within a specific style.
 
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