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David Price
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ITF/Chang Hon Tae Kwon-Do Applications

I wanted to start a specific thread regarding ITF style TKD patterns, if you have videos of your own displaying applications to the patterns please share those too.

It is an area of great interest to me which I do not get to train in very much. 

Starting with pattern Chon Ji, can someone give me some input on the applications of the blocking movements in this pattern? 

PASmith
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I'm currently going through the Chang Hon patterns and attempting to bring out realistic applications for as many movements as I can. I've trained with Iain a few times now, read and seen a lot of his work and draw a lot of inspiration from that. I've also trained with Stuart Anslow and read his work. It's not an easy task as the patterns aren't set out logically or with an eye to pragmatism but I do like the challenge.

I'm trying to formulate a number of 2 man drills for each pattern with associated pad work and additional variation that can be drilled with various intensity and resistance. Much in the way Iain has formulated 2 man drills associated with the Heian/Pinan kata.

I actually start wih Saju Jirugi (1/2) and Chon ji together. They obviously share common techniques (but different foot movements of course). And aside from being told Saju jirugi isn't a pattern I can see no reason not to treat it as a pattern. Calling it an exercise is just semantics IMHO.

I like looking at Saju jirugi first as it's one of the first things learnt by the beginner AND starts with a standard stepping punch from a neutral stance. As such it's offensive and pro-active right off the bat (as self protection should be). It can be seen as pre-emptive in nature (again as we should be). The initial hand reaching out is acquiring targets, setting datums/indexing, clearing limbs and disrupting posture/balance while the punch finds the target.

It's simple in theory but introduces some important core concepts for practical bunkai/boonhae. Indexing/datums, both hands working, husband and wife hands, using the reaction hand, transfer of body weight, etc.

After that we have the middle and low blocks (again common to both Saju and Chon ji). There are multiple uses here but both can be used in a clinch/cross hands position should your pre-empt elicit a flinch, cover or otherwise be negated.

One for low block is a head wrap takedown using it as what combatives people call a chin rip.

Tau
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This may be a controversial and/or unhelpful view but it's my honest view. As someone who has studied Karate and ITF TKD into Dan grade levels I strongly feel that that best way to understand the ITF forms is to study Karate kata bunkai.

PASmith
PASmith's picture

Tau wrote:

This may be a controversial and/or unhelpful view but it's my honest view. As someone who has studied Karate and ITF TKD into Dan grade levels I strongly feel that that best way to understand the ITF forms is to study Karate kata bunkai.

I completely agree with that.

The way I put it is that TKD was formed from the poorly understood or poorly passed on DNA of Shotokan Karate. Which in turn was formed from the poorly understood or poorly passed on DNA of Okinawan karate. That acknowledges the role of karate in it's formation (something Gen. Choi spent much of his time trying to cover up) while also acknowledging that the DNA is still in there to work with if we care to look and do some work. Albeit in a re-arranged and mixed up form. The vast majority of the "traditional" looking TKD techniques and pattern sequences have direct Karate predecessors that go back further than the formation of TKD (with some, largely aesthetic IMHO, changes to execution and detail).

TKD has a varied and multi-faceted lineage (okinawan roots, japanese university karate, korean military cross-training, modern influences and synthesis, sport sparring) but that's something I try to see as a good thing rather than something detrimental. The big failing I think in modern TKD is not making a cohesive whole out of that mix. It's generally a disjointed multi-headed chimaera pulling in different directions where it doesn't need to be.

David Price
David Price's picture

Thanks greatly appreciate you reply. I’ll look into saju’s and Chon ji . Do you by any chance train with TAGB? I saw you said Saju Jirugi 1/2 which I think number 2 is unique to TAGB, most other groups do Saju makgi.

David Price
David Price's picture

I have started to look into the karate Kata as you suggest. Ive got a couple of Iain’s books and also his Pinan Kata bunkai jutsu dvd And Naihanchi/Bassai dvd.

PASmith
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Do you by any chance train with TAGB?

Yep. Although I'm back in the TAGB these days I've done lots of training outside it too between getting my 1st dan about 20 years ago and re-joining about 3 years back. Think I've been in contact with you on FB when you had a Stuart Anslow seminar planned that never happened? :)

David Price
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Yes I’ll PM you about that...

PASmith
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A couple of things I do when looking at ITF/taekwondo patterns...

I pretty much ignore the spinning, high or jumping kicks in terms of application. They were never part of the original karate kata that inspired the patterns and don't really fit into the "style" of fighting that the kata encode. The flashier kicks are an add-on as part of Gen. Choi and others trying to re-brand "korean karate" as "Taekwondo". I can justify learning them as part of the wider TKD style for athleticism, body control, fun, the challenge, etc but feel no push to try and make them "practical" in a real go. Some of the kicks (for example the front kicks of do-san and won-hyo and the side kicks followed by an elbow from Yul-gok) are in keeping with the previous karate kata and so can lead into good applications (even if they may have crept up in height over the years).

Rather than try to find applications for "technique A, technique B, combination C, etc" try and embrace the style of fighting that karate kata/patterns are trying to impart as an overall context.

It is close range, dirty, grab, pull, smash and run fighting. Not the athletic movement based long range sniping and blitziing of continuous TKD sparring. Smash them in the head and neck with your forearms, knifehands and fists. If they flinch, clinch or block grab hold of them, push/pull and unbalance so you can keep smashing them some more. In many ways the fighting "style" of the patterns is a different (but complimentary IMHO) fighting style to the sport style of sparring that most people revert to when trying to "fight" using TKD.

PASmith
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Another thing I do with patterns. It's common in TKD to look at patterns as having a certain number of moves. 19, 21, 24, etc. But actually you can break them down into more elements than that. There's more information there once you start to dissect and examine.

For example the start of Dan gun has 4 movements - A knifehand guarding block followed by a punch. First to the left and then repeated on the right. If you asked someone to do the first 4 moves of dan-gun that's what you'd get.. Although widely regarded as 4 moves when I start to look at it I see 12 moves or 12 elements.

1 - Both hands raise up and to the side

2  - Right hand comes down to the midsection

3 - Left hand come down to shoulder level

4 - Left hand goes out

5 - Left hand retracts to the hip as you step

6 - Right hand punches

Then repeat on the other side for all 12 "moves". Each of those 6/12 moves has a use when I break that part of the pattern down into 2 person drills. You start to see transitional moves and linking moves that don't get an official number when counting techniques but can still form part of the application and be very useful.