What I learned after 4 months of punching the heavy bag

Dirty Dog

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I think that is a fair statement. It is the reason I don’t teach forms until people have a solid and consistent basics practice. Not saying that my way is the only way. It’s easy to make those blanket statements, people do it all the time.
Sure, unless you have forms to teach those basics.
I also think that when people say these things they are giving up their chance to learn. A very common failing in martial arts amongst the accomplished as well as the beginners.
Agreed.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Sure, unless you have forms to teach those basics.

Agreed.
Interesting, is all tkd taught this way? So when does that start, day one? Like a short single move at a time that is part of a longer form? Is learning the forms or katas tied to belt ranks? Lots of questions…
 

Dirty Dog

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Interesting, is all tkd taught this way?
I hesitate to use words like "all", but certainly every system of TKD I have any experience with or knowledge of does, yes.
So when does that start, day one?
Yes. That seems like the ideal time.
Like a short single move at a time that is part of a longer form?
So day one... I will be teaching a number of things. Amoung them will be the ready stance, the front stance, the middle punch, and the low block. Combine those with stepping and turns and you have Kicho Il Jong or Basic Form 1. 20 moves which will have you performing those techniques with both sides of the body.
TKD forms in general tend to be fairly short compared to what I understand about CMA forms.
Is learning the forms or katas tied to belt ranks?
Yes. To earn a given rank you have to know the curriculum up to that rank. I understand there are some schools that don't care if you forget the lower ranked materials, but to me that seems... silly.
Our curriculum requires written material, forms, self-defense, free sparring, and breaking. All of which become more complicated as rank increases.
Lots of questions…
Happy to answer them, if I can. I won't claim to speak for all of TKD, but I have quite a bit of experience with KKW, ITF and MDK schools, and at least minimal exposure to several others.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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I hesitate to use words like "all", but certainly every system of TKD I have any experience with or knowledge of does, yes.

Yes. That seems like the ideal time.

So day one... I will be teaching a number of things. Amoung them will be the ready stance, the front stance, the middle punch, and the low block. Combine those with stepping and turns and you have Kicho Il Jong or Basic Form 1. 20 moves which will have you performing those techniques with both sides of the body.
TKD forms in general tend to be fairly short compared to what I understand about CMA forms.

Yes. To earn a given rank you have to know the curriculum up to that rank. I understand there are some schools that don't care if you forget the lower ranked materials, but to me that seems... silly.
Our curriculum requires written material, forms, self-defense, free sparring, and breaking. All of which become more complicated as rank increases.

Happy to answer them, if I can. I won't claim to speak for all of TKD, but I have quite a bit of experience with KKW, ITF and MDK schools, and at least minimal exposure to several others.
Thank you. How would you describe the differences in forms from one tkd style to another in your experience? Along that same line, how would you describe the differences between those styles themselves, and do those Differences drive the differences in the forms?
 

Dirty Dog

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Thank you. How would you describe the differences in forms from one tkd style to another in your experience?
The form sets are more similar than dis- really. They all cover essentially the same movements, But strung together in different orders. the KKW Taegeuk forms are designed to be more readily learned by younger students. This is in keeping with the KKW philosophy that 1st Dan is a beginner rank and can be awarded very quickly, with a year not being uncommon.

There are subtle differences in the movements, but to a layperson or someone without a fair bit of experience, the movements seem the same. Some examples...
The MDK front stance is long, wide, and deep, much as it is done in the Shotokan that provided the basis for much of TKD. The KKW front stance is much shorter, more narrow, and more upright.
The MDK and KKW back stance are done with about 75% of the weight on the rear leg. The ITF is more centered.
The MDK and KKW teach roundhouse kicks (initially) striking with the arch of the foot, and with the ball of the foot later. The ITF calls it a turning kick and starts with the ball of the foot.
Stepping in the MDK and KKW is done while keeping the head essentially at the same height. The ITF standard includes sine wave movement, basically rising up and dropping back down as a way to generate power. I'm not convinced it does anything, and I learned the ITF curriculum before sine wave was really a thing. I don't teach it. And lots of ITF off-shoots that still use the Chang Hon forms do not.
Along that same line, how would you describe the differences between those styles themselves, and do those Differences drive the differences in the forms?
To be brutally honest, many of the differences are strictly political. Tang Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do exist only because GM HWANG, Kee got upset that he wasn't elected to head the KTA and left. He took about 1/3 of the Moo Duk Kwan with him. And since General Choi passed, how many branches of the ITF have been birthed? There are at least three totally different orgs that claim to be the ITF.
The other differences are, I think, primarily the result of different founders views on what should be stressed, e.g. the ball of the foot vs arch of the foot.

In my experience, it's really very easy for a person to change styles of TKD. When I decided to add KKW rank (because we offer it as an option) I spent a couple of weeks learning the Taegeuk forms and then tested with a KKW 4th and 6th Dan. The Yudanja forms for the KKW and our branch of the MDK are the same, except for when you learn them. In the KKW, you learn Koryo as a 1st Dan. In our MDK, you learn it as a 1st Geup.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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The form sets are more similar than dis- really. They all cover essentially the same movements, But strung together in different orders. the KKW Taegeuk forms are designed to be more readily learned by younger students. This is in keeping with the KKW philosophy that 1st Dan is a beginner rank and can be awarded very quickly, with a year not being uncommon.

There are subtle differences in the movements, but to a layperson or someone without a fair bit of experience, the movements seem the same. Some examples...
The MDK front stance is long, wide, and deep, much as it is done in the Shotokan that provided the basis for much of TKD. The KKW front stance is much shorter, more narrow, and more upright.
The MDK and KKW back stance are done with about 75% of the weight on the rear leg. The ITF is more centered.
The MDK and KKW teach roundhouse kicks (initially) striking with the arch of the foot, and with the ball of the foot later. The ITF calls it a turning kick and starts with the ball of the foot.
Stepping in the MDK and KKW is done while keeping the head essentially at the same height. The ITF standard includes sine wave movement, basically rising up and dropping back down as a way to generate power. I'm not convinced it does anything, and I learned the ITF curriculum before sine wave was really a thing. I don't teach it. And lots of ITF off-shoots that still use the Chang Hon forms do not.

To be brutally honest, many of the differences are strictly political. Tang Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do exist only because GM HWANG, Kee got upset that he wasn't elected to head the KTA and left. He took about 1/3 of the Moo Duk Kwan with him. And since General Choi passed, how many branches of the ITF have been birthed? There are at least three totally different orgs that claim to be the ITF.
The other differences are, I think, primarily the result of different founders views on what should be stressed, e.g. the ball of the foot vs arch of the foot.

In my experience, it's really very easy for a person to change styles of TKD. When I decided to add KKW rank (because we offer it as an option) I spent a couple of weeks learning the Taegeuk forms and then tested with a KKW 4th and 6th Dan. The Yudanja forms for the KKW and our branch of the MDK are the same, except for when you learn them. In the KKW, you learn Koryo as a 1st Dan. In our MDK, you learn it as a 1st Geup.
Thank you. That was very informative. It makes me glad I’m independent of such organizations. I see the use and the benefits, but I don’t care much for politics or the results of internecine warfare in martial arts. I do wish there were more of us in my art, there is a lot I still would need to learn to complete my training. Alas, and a lack…
 

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Thank you. That was very informative. It makes me glad I’m independent of such organizations. I see the use and the benefits, but I don’t care much for politics or the results of internecine warfare in martial arts. I do wish there were more of us in my art, there is a lot I still would need to learn to complete my training. Alas, and a lack…
On the other hand, what does it mean for your training to be “complete”?

I havent learned all the forms in my system. If I lived closer to my Sifu I suppose I would hope to do that. But honestly, there is a part of me that is glad I don’t have them all. There are a lot, and it can become burdensome to have more to work on. What I have is more than enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life, and more than enough to offer a robust training regimen to my students.

Forms are a tool, meant to teach you some lessons. I am not convinced that every form has lessons that are unique to it, and don’t overlap with other forms. How many forms do you need, to get those lessons to sink in? If those lessons have sunk in after learning three or four, do you really need eight more? If you have learned eight forms and those lessons haven’t sunk in yet, will learning four more help?

In my opinion, the curriculum isn’t what is important in a martial method. The principles and concepts are important. The techniques and the forms and the curriculum are important as tools to help you understand the concepts and the principles. But you don’t need every technique or every form in order to accomplish that.

Just something to think about.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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I am not convinced that every form has lessons that are unique to it, and don’t overlap with other forms.
Agree with you 100% there. This is why you should grow tall and not grow fat. If you train the same kind of forms, you just grow fat.

In my long fist system, we have 10 must learn open hand forms. IMO, 5 of those forms may only help you to grow fat. Only 5 of those 10 forms can help you to grow tall.
 
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drop bear

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Sure. There are different ways to move and more than one way to reach a given goal. When someone says the moves in forms are "useless" all it really seems to mean is that they lack the training and experience to understand them.

Not necessarily. The issue is we could apply that logic to anything. Which then becomes this weird backwards training method where we would have to understand it to understand if we gained benefit from it. This is about the most inefficient way to train a skill.

So say I suggested singing opera makes you swim better. I mean it might. Who knows. But you are probably not expected to spend 10 years learning opera to find out.

What we do Instead would be look for a cause and effect from kata to whatever it is you think kata is good for.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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On the other hand, what does it mean for your training to be “complete”?

I havent learned all the forms in my system. If I lived closer to my Sifu I suppose I would hope to do that. But honestly, there is a part of me that is glad I don’t have them all. There are a lot, and it can become burdensome to have more to work on. What I have is more than enough to keep me busy for the rest of my life, and more than enough to offer a robust training regimen to my students.

Forms are a tool, meant to teach you some lessons. I am not convinced that every form has lessons that are unique to it, and don’t overlap with other forms. How many forms do you need, to get those lessons to sink in? If those lessons have sunk in after learning three or four, do you really need eight more? If you have learned eight forms and those lessons haven’t sunk in yet, will learning four more help?

In my opinion, the curriculum isn’t what is important in a martial method. The principles and concepts are important. The techniques and the forms and the curriculum are important as tools to help you understand the concepts and the principles. But you don’t need every technique or every form in order to accomplish that.

Just something to think about.
Complete wasn’t the right word. It won’t ever be complete. What I mean is that I know there was a lot left to learn from him( he died suddenly and quite unexpectedly). I was simply lamenting that fact. I wasn’t referencing forms at all, in fact it was the things that he could do that I can’t rightly explain or understand.
 

Wing Woo Gar

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Not necessarily. The issue is we could apply that logic to anything. Which then becomes this weird backwards training method where we would have to understand it to understand if we gained benefit from it. This is about the most inefficient way to train a skill.

So say I suggested singing opera makes you swim better. I mean it might. Who knows. But you are probably not expected to spend 10 years learning opera to find out.

What we do Instead would be look for a cause and effect from kata to whatever it is you think kata is good for.
How about as a coordination training exercise ? Footwork coordinated with punches and blocks and dips and slips. No different than some boxing drills.
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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Agree with you 100% there. This is why you should grow tall and not grow fat. If you train the same kind of forms, you just grow fat.

In my long fist system, we have 10 must learn open hand forms. IMO, 5 of those forms may only help you to grow fat. Only 5 of those 10 forms can help you to grow tall.
Absolutely agree. I'd rather learn 2-3 good forms and focus on them, than learn 10+ forms and spend time memorizing movements when I could be benefiting from the principles of it.

The exception to this is I do enjoy learning/dabbling in forms from new systems, as they give me insight into other methods of fighting and power generation.
 

drop bear

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How about as a coordination training exercise ? Footwork coordinated with punches and blocks and dips and slips. No different than some boxing drills.

The reasoning is wrong. That's all.

Kata might do something. It might not. Understanding kata doesn't change that.
 

Dirty Dog

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So say I suggested singing opera makes you swim better. I mean it might. Who knows. But you are probably not expected to spend 10 years learning opera to find out.
I'm quite confident it would. Opera singers, as a rule, have phenomenal breath control and lung capacity. Both of which would be useful for a swimmer.
 

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The reasoning is wrong. That's all.

Kata might do something. It might not. Understanding kata doesn't change that.
Respectfully I think you are looking at kata from a narrow perspective. I am far from being a kata expert but I believe kata is first and foremost an attempt to preserve ideas that can be passed on from one generation to another in sort of physical tradition.

I would think that a founder of an art or system would want their system to have some method to pass on their work. I have no idea how wealthy the progenitors of the fighting systems we have today are but I suspect that there are very few in the last 100 years that have had enough wealth and foresight to find a method that would be able to create a method that would stand the ravages of time. In comparison, the cost of creating a kata is fairly low. Creating a kata is about instilling sweat equity into the ideas that can be passed along to as many or as little as the proponents are willing and able to propagate the art.

Also consider the rapid change of technology and the effect that would have to preserve information. Even though we have access to amazing technology now and we can preserve many things, this is relatively new. Think back 40 years ago and the technology they had back then. They wrote books and manuals that had to be printed and distributed manually at a fair cost. Now go back 80 or 100 years which isn't a very long time at all but look at the challenges it would have taken to preserve the work of a fighting system.

There was no real thing as IP back then either. Can you imagine spending time and energy to describe your work but have no way to protect it from being stolen by someone else who had the means to do so.

I agree that there are now other ways to preserve an art which are both affordable and protected in the modern world but I would not be so quick to judge and discard the methods that founders used in the past. In the same respect that most of us are not writing manuals and taking videos of how we parent our children. we have those that do to a greater or lesser extent and if we jump to 40 years in the future what will those generations think of us and what we've accomplished. They will probably review and dissect the information we have left behind and will still not have 100% of the picture.
 
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Wing Woo Gar

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The reasoning is wrong. That's all.

Kata might do something. It might not. Understanding kata doesn't change that.
It doesn’t? Well if I don’t understand the use, then how can it be useful? Maybe I misunderstand your meaning here. It’s a tool. Maybe there are other tools for similar purpose. Maybe some of those tools work better for some people. Objectively speaking, there have been a lot of skilled martial artists that used kata in addition to other tools to train. Some of them are likely to say that kata was useful to them. Since so many styles from so many places have produced skilled martial artists independently from one another using similar training tools, I would start by saying it must do something for some people. Remember, even placebo can be quite efficacious. Application of logic to perception is tricky. Belief can be very powerful, regardless of how science gets applied to it.
 

Dirty Dog

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Are you an opera singer?
No. Are you? And the lung capacity and breathing control isn't limited to opera singers. It's true of most singers. And most people who play wind instruments as well.
 

Kung Fu Wang

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How about as a coordination training exercise ? Footwork coordinated with punches and blocks and dips and slips. No different than some boxing drills.
I don't know about Karate and boxing, but in CMA, to cordinate punch with leading foot landing is a very important training. This will give you the maximum knock down power.
 

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No. Are you? And the lung capacity and breathing control isn't limited to opera singers. It's true of most singers. And most people who play wind instruments as well.
And you think kata is justified the same way?

Because the opera link to swimming is honestly a generous mabye.

I mean the whole yeah this will work probably is kind of the issue I am discussing.

Investing too much time in to a probably is not an efficient system.
 
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