Sine wave, spring style, and power

Kacey

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Rather than take another thread off-topic, I'm going to start a new one here, beginning with the questions asked in this post:

Kacey, I'm open-minded. If the technique works, it works. From the various clips I've seen on the net, I concluded sine wave doesn't work. How can it? The people I've seen lose much of their kinetic energy by starting and stopping their movement as they raise and lower themselves through their forms. I've dabbled in Chinese martial arts (chaquan and changquan) and no "spring leg" movement I've been exposed to has such noticeable pausing and broken chaining.

If your version of the sinewave is different, I'd love to see a clip. Do you have one? The type of sinewave I am referring to was on Master Mac's site at one point. I stand by my statement, but I'd be happy to learn something new if it's out there to be explored.

No, I don't have any videos I can post... sorry. But I'll try to explain it in writing as best I can.

I should have put different punctuation in; spring style (hips) is what I was referring to in boxing, and I'll get back to that in a minute.

Sine wave is a natural up and down motion; watch yourself walking in a mirror and you'll see it, as your eyes go up and down fractionally as you walk. At one point, it was being exaggerated beyond the point of being useful in the ITF because of a seminar taught by Gen. Choi. He was trying to get people to bend their knees and allow their bodies to move up and down fractionally in that natural motion I was referring to, and kept repeating "down-up-down" over and over. The seniors in the front, in response to his repetition, began to exaggerate the motion more and more, dipping farther down and rising farther up; the juniors, to whom he was really talking, nodded their heads and continued to keep their legs locked, as they didn't have any idea what he was really talking about.

This morphed, over time, into the exaggerated motion most people refer to as sine wave, and which most people, reasonably enough, think is ineffective - because the exaggeration is ineffective. I do teach the exaggerated motion to my students when they're just learning, so they understand what is happening with their bodies - but once they gain some understanding, the motion is damped down from the exaggerated rise and fall most people think of. Being a natural motion, there should be no starting and stopping - it's part of the way your body moves, and should be used as such.

Once you understand how your body works, and understand the natural up and down motion, you can start incorporating it into your movements, and modify it - for example, I generally keep my head height level, and instead the down and up motions are in my thighs; that allows me to add a little more control and power, especially when I use my hips.

This brings us to spring style, or hip motion. Hips can move in lots of ways, and, being so close to the body's center of gravity, have a great deal to do with power. Hips can move in the direction of the technique, or opposite the technique; the movement can be a turning/torquing motion, a back to front motion, or an up and down motion (tied into the sine wave, but not the same), depending on the technique and the desired outcome. To turn the hips, you have to pick your heels up off the ground (or your feet will stick to the floor), which means you have to either raise your entire body off the floor, or bend your knees and take the weight change in your thighs - this is where sine wave comes into spring style, and why the two are related.

Does this make sense? It's much easier to demonstrate than it is to put into writing, but I don't have any videos I can share that show the proper technique - and anyway, it would have to be a specially created video that shows slow and then fast motion; if done properly, the motions (spring and sine wave - but especially sine wave) are not easily seen.
 

IcemanSK

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I appreciate why the sine wave would be taught to the beginer to illustrate the theory of power to them in a physical way. But I've seen it in BB's of note (including the Korean demo team) as part of demos, tuls, etc. Perhaps in some circles it's gone beyond a way to teach the theory of power, to becoming a "traditional" part of ITF TKD. (Forgive the annology, but it's the only one I can think of quickly: Like a brown belt that grabs his uniform lapels when he spars because his instructor told him to do it as a white belt to help him keep his hands up. The reason got lost & became tradition.)

I'm honestly guessing here. I'm not saying that the theory is wrong, I just not of fan of the practice at the advanced levels.
 

Laurentkd

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Thanks Kacey!
That is the best explanation of the sine-wave that I have heard. The whole concept and what it has evolved from makes a lot more sense to me now.
 
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Kacey

Kacey

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I'm honestly guessing here. I'm not saying that the theory is wrong, I just not of fan of the practice at the advanced levels.

I'm not disagreeing - see the story I told about how it became so widespread in the ITF in the US - and I remember that seminar; I was there, and more, Mr. Arnold discusses it periodically as an example of going too far based on one seminar. Following that seminar, sine wave became ingrained in techniques, with the knee dropping as far as within 6" of the ground on some walking (front) stance techniques - like anything else, it's a pendulum, that swings back and forth as understanding of technique changes. There are still people who are doing it that way because "that's what the General said". The fact that that's not what he meant - that he changed it at other seminars - does not change anything for some of the people who were there and are following their notes exactly, because they weren't at subsequent seminars, or keyed in on those things that supported their understanding from previous seminars.

The difference between black belts and color belts is (or should be) that black belts understand what they are doing - which means that, at some point, they must question what they are doing. Following a particular method without understanding it - no matter who taught it - doesn't make it right; in indicates that the student is not thinking.

Properly done, sine wave and spring style add power to technique; improperly done, it looks odd, at best, and is not effective. The pauses dancingalone noted are examples of incorrect execution - not necessarily the practitioner's fault, but if the instructor is taught to perform without thinking, and the student is taught to do likewise, then as student becomes instructor and the cycle repeats, details of what and why and how are lost, and only copying remains. When such execution becomes the norm, and wins in competition (because that's how the judges were trained by their instructors, in the same cycle given above), then the technical method, no matter how wrong it seems, will perpetuate itself. All arts evolve - and many have evolved through eddies and backwaters that lead to technical details that look odd, at best - but at some point, as described in the thread this post was evoked by, they come back around, as practitioners question what they are copying without understanding.
 

IcemanSK

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Wow, that's pretty amazing. It's like the story of the newly wed gal who cut off the ends of the Christmas before she baked it. When her husband asked why, she said, "because my grandma & mom do it this." When she asked her grandmother why she cut the ends off the ends she said, "because my oven was too small to fit a full ham in it."
 

dancingalone

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Thanks for the clarification, Kacey. We're really not far apart at all. What you describe as sine wave is called "grounding" or perhaps "centering" or "rooting" in many other systems, and it's a concept I practice and teach myself. It's a far cry from the mechanical up and down movement I'm familiar with from watching ITF tul videos.
 
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Kacey

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Erm, just to confirm, is what's described as "correct" in this website, correct?

http://www.raynerslanetkd.com/ARTICLES_Patterns_Sinewave.html

Somewhere near the bottom of the top third of the page.

Thanks.

As near as I can tell from a quick read, yes - certainly, the pictures are correct, as are the explanations near them. The information appears to be coming out of the same text I use, The Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, by Gen. Choi Hong-Hi; certainly the pictures are from that text.
 

chrispillertkd

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I just read Mr. Anslow's article again and while he makes some interesting points there is at least one thing that I think should be pointed out. IN Mr. Anslow's discussion on whether sine wave starts with an initial downward motion he takes a negative view and illustrates his point with pictures from the Encylcopedia of Taekwon-Do. Seems straightfoward enough. Then, to add rhetorical force to his point he states:

In summary, I don't recall anyone, especially General Choi saying "hold on,
I got it wrong" & changing the Diagram/method from A to B!


Well, it's true that the encyclopedia wasn't updated, but anyone who had taken a seminar with Gen. Choi had seem him demonstrate the initial downwards drop. Which is really a good way to utilize knee spring. He also states:

Never was I taught that the head must remain at the same height like in many Karate kata's, a slight raise & drop has always been taught, but I never learnt the sine-wave as it is being shown now (fig. B), never was I taught drop, then raise, then drop again!

Well, not to put too fine a point on things, you can see her General himself demonstrating sine wave, with it's initial dipping motion here:


Everyone agrees that sine wave shouldn't be exaggerated. But when you are teaching a room full of people (100+) sometimes subtle motions get lost in the crowd. My own Master Instructor refersto the initial motion in sine wave as a "dip." This is to try to get the point across that it's not exaggerated.

In closing, you can practice sine wave however you want, or not practice it at all. But, as can be see form the youtube video I posted, it's simply not accurate to say that Gen. Choi didn't envision it being performed with an initial downwards motion.

Pax,

Chris
 
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Brian R. VanCise

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Kacey you are correct in that some people just took it too far.
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terryl965

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Yes sometime when there is a room full of folk things can get a little out o bounds let say.
 

IcemanSK

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I'm not disagreeing - see the story I told about how it became so widespread in the ITF in the US - and I remember that seminar; I was there, and more, Mr. Arnold discusses it periodically as an example of going too far based on one seminar. Following that seminar, sine wave became ingrained in techniques, with the knee dropping as far as within 6" of the ground on some walking (front) stance techniques - like anything else, it's a pendulum, that swings back and forth as understanding of technique changes. There are still people who are doing it that way because "that's what the General said". The fact that that's not what he meant - that he changed it at other seminars - does not change anything for some of the people who were there and are following their notes exactly, because they weren't at subsequent seminars, or keyed in on those things that supported their understanding from previous seminars.

quote]

Kacey, since you were there at the seminar where sine wave was 1st explained, I have a question. I'm guessing that your TKD career started before sine wave (in other words, you knew TKD without it). What rank were you & how hard was it to basically unlearn your tul & do them differently?

In my ITF-style school, we only learned sine wave for Po-Eun as we learned it for the first time.
 
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Kacey

Kacey

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Kacey, since you were there at the seminar where sine wave was 1st explained, I have a question. I'm guessing that your TKD career started before sine wave (in other words, you knew TKD without it). What rank were you & how hard was it to basically unlearn your tul & do them differently?

In my ITF-style school, we only learned sine wave for Po-Eun as we learned it for the first time.

That wasn't where/when it was first explained - it had been introduced before - but it wasn't being done correctly at the time, thus the problems that led to the over-emphasis.

I was an I Dan at the time of that seminar, but my sahbum introduced sine wave and spring style around green belt, starting with exaggerated movements that are damped down as soon as the student understands the purpose of the movements - usually a gup rank or two later, certainly by red belt. I don't teach sine wave and spring style to white belts; they have enough problems stepping and doing blocks at the same time without confusing them further, that's why I agree with my sahbum's method of introducing these concepts at green belt.

As far as how hard it was to re-learn my tuls... I dunno. I mean, I re-learn my tuls all the time as my understanding of the movements and how to make and apply them changes over time (at least once/year), so it's hard to separate out that one thing from the others.
 
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