Why do WTF (Olympic) fighters fight with their "guard down"?

mango.man

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In addition to the billions of comments here and all over the internet a recent comment in the "How do I spar without getting hurt" thread re-established the question of Why do the WTF folks fight with their hands at their sides? I was reminded of a study I read recently that analyzed every kick, punch and penalty assessed, by weight division for both men and women during the 2004 Olympic games.

You can read the study at http://www.jcca-online.org/ecms.ashx/PDF/2009/2009-2/2004OlympicTaekwondoAthleteProfile.pdf if you are interested.

Of note are the following stats.

Not a single punch went for a point during the 2004 Olympics. This is changing though as I saw many punches score at the recent US Open. It is my opinion that as long as the lajust e-hogu is in use you will see more punches score just because referees are still required to push buttons with the LaJust crap errr I mean LaJust system and just by nature referees are going to want to be involved is the awarding of points so they will push buttons for punches, just to feel important and needed. Still you have to rock your opponent but if you land a good one I think the chances are better today than ever that a point will go up for a good punch.

Other stats of note with regards to the hands down method (offensive kicks only):
Male < 58KG - Body kicks = 89% / Head kicks = 11%
Male < 68KG - Body kicks = 97% / Head kicks = 3%
Male < 58KG - Body kicks = 96% / Head kicks = 4%
Male > 58KG - Body kicks = 92% / Head kicks = 8%
Total All Male Fights - Body kicks = 94% / Head kicks = 6%

Female < 47KG - Body kicks = 93% / Head kicks = 7%
Female < 57KG - Body kicks = 87% / Head kicks = 13%
Female < 67KG - Body kicks = 98% / Head kicks = 2%
Female > 67KG - Body kicks = 98% / Head kicks = 2%
Total All Female Fights - Body kicks = 94% / Head kicks = 6%

So maybe that will answer some of the questions about why those crazy WTF'ers fight with their "guard down".
 
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ralphmcpherson

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thanks for the stats. Its funny that being a tkdist I have lost count how many times I have been asked that question over the years , its the first thing anyone will ask me upon finding out i do tkd. At my club we get yelled at if caught sparring with hands down so I cant really relate and have never really known how to answer the question.
 

ATC

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Great post, thanks. It will be interesting to see the change in numbers with the LaJust system being used. I say many more head attempts and connections at this past US Open. I have even started to see the hands positioned a bit different. Still down but not as low and I have seen some fighter use this rockem sockem robot type arm hand movement. Trying to still cover the body but always ready for the head.
 

bluekey88

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Thanks for the stats. I will also go on record (again) and say that as a fighter, I have absoluterly no problem adjusting my gaurd to fit the situtation. Lower gaurd for olympuc sparring. Higher gaurds (yes, plural, I use many tactics depending on who I'm fighting and the ruleset at the time) for other kinds of sparring and randori.

All it takes is some training and practice..

Peace,
Erik
 

Manny

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Well my way of thinking is this, I believe we use guard down because a)it's easiere to maintain balance when kicking, b) allmost all the kicks used in competition are roundhouse kicks to the hogu so insted of blocking with the arms we deflect the kicks is much easier and safer, c) doing consecutivies or combos of kicks the arms help us to or flow easily.

With only a 6% of kicks to the head and 94% of the kicks to the body I will rather prefer to deflect the kicks with a low gard that use a high guard. I good punch to the midsection hurts but a good kick to the midsection can be devastating.

Manny
 

Manny

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I just lightly read the study and I got some points. I liked alot this.... TKD a form of Korean Martial Art originally designed for warfare and self defense has in recent times become a well recognized sport....

What about this...TKD requires skill,fitness,and high energy, and it's characterized by it's swift kicking techniques, wich distinguishes it from other forms of martial arts..... Tha's TKD and it will never change, TKD mainly is a kicking MA.

Here I almost fainted... TKD BB consisted of very low fat body percentages, a high body mass, and above average results for muscle strenght,flexibility, and anaerobic and aerobic capacities.... Ohhhhh my gosh I am screwed/fu.....d, I am fat my flexibility is low and my stamina su....s.

Oh boy I am a cero about the above mentiones what Am I gona do? Nothing I am not a Olimpic TKD Athlete.... Thanks god!!

In TKD competitor must be able to move with high velocity,speed and power.... That's why I do not compete anymore jejejejeje.

The average height of male winers was 1.83, taller atlethes have longer uper and lower limbs, wich translates into longer lever providing them with greater ability to cover a larger area with less energy... well talking about height I am in.

However I am not here...The average male winners was 75.8 Kg...... Oh boy bullimic competitors!!!!!

TKD competition consists of sudden burts of explosive and very powerful movements within a very short time period with short recovery periods wich stresses body anaerobic system.

This is why people think that TKD is only a kicking sport..... Overall in our study of all techniques used to score were kicks. This was expected due to the emphasis on kicking in TKD....but remember this is about competition.

Comparisison amoung olimpic games: 2000 Olympic games 98% of all tehcniques used to score were kicks, in these games puching was not encouraged as a technique used to score pints, instead it was a used as atechnique to close an atack or to defend ab attack..... in 2004 the inclusion of gloves encouraged the use of punches to score points, although these changes were implimented, this had no efect on the competitor's desicion to use punches during combatm possibly due to the fact that the athletes were not as accustomed to use punches, since training focuses more on kicking techniques to score. The implementation of gloves may have been more of a protective measure as opposed to encouragin the use of punches as a tecnique to score.

Afther all the above is natural the regular people see TKD as a full contact kicking sport but a MA/SD system.

Manny
 

blindsage

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Methods conform to rules. Punches give no advantage (because of the scoring system), so are used little. Kicks to the legs are generally not allowed. Given these circumstances, leaning back is a much more efficient defense mechanism than blocking when almost all counter-attacks will be medium to high level kicks as well. Hands up accomplishes nothing, there's little to no defensive or offensive advantage. Adding gloves won't change this a whole lot, but giving more weight to punches in scoring will change it a lot over time, although it generally only requires one successful competitor who realizes the advantage of adjusting his/her strategy to cause a lot of change.
 
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