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gerasimos
gerasimos's picture
Moving Backwards and Spinning 360 Degrees (or 180 with a head turn) in Original Koryo (and anywhere else).

I understand that moving backwards whilst performing techniques and spinning are general concepts across many Forms and it is my hope that a fresh perspective on these concepts can help me figure out how to best approach Bunkai for "the final 1/3rd" of the Original Koryo Poomsae.

What I would like to discuss:

- do we move backwards for the sake of practical room, or is this a rare example of an apparent retreat that is anything but?

- are there some other examples of 360 degree spinning in Forms and applications that I haven't stumbled across and how have you interpreted these in your applied studies?

The current version of the final 1/3 sequence involves a carotid strike, grab into a lock, taking of the back (spin 360 degrees move) into a lock, then a sequence that attacks the adversary from behind putting them on their knees to a neck break.

Link to form for reference:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10_17xvGdpM

PS: This is a shorter version of what I originally wanted post. I will clarify points as needed. Thanks! - Gerasimos

DaveB
DaveB's picture

I hate to say it, but the applications of wtf forms are punch, kick and block. A spin like that would have been added purely for difficulty. TKD just wasn't designed the same way karate was. It was based on the glorified Tae-bo that was Japanese Shotokan. Now all that said there's nothing particularly wrong with block/strike karate if it is trained at realistic distance with a realistic view of the impact of striking. The first half of koryo seems to be about driving forward, cutting through the counter attacks to keep pressure on. The second half is how to retreat and counter, practice at keeping balance and making distance. I would notbe surprised if the two hhalves were a match for each other. On the specific issue of spins, they are usually throws or locks in karate kata. A spinning strike is both a sparring trick and a defence tactic for multiple opponents where the spin can be used to change direction and intercept a flanking opponent. In this case though, I do think the spin is just for footwork. A spin going backwards can allow you to move back into a stable position more easily than constant backpedaling.

gerasimos
gerasimos's picture

Hi DaveB,

I understand the underlying reasons, but I respectfully disagree with the Punch, Kick, & Block application theory. There are few, but good TKD books that demonstrate the contrary and I wouldn't waste anyones time if I thought so as well.

Thanks for helping to reinforce what I have seen about spins in terms of locks and throws. I haven't actually tried to use the spin as a throw in my application adventure (I know Iain has a video or 2), so I'll see what comes of it.

Whilst I am not considering multiple opponents as it goes against Bunkai literature, I do personally prize footwork as it has helped save my butt in a pinch.

Cheers,

- Gerasimos

Leigh Simms
Leigh Simms's picture

To join in on the conversation first,

Whilst I would agree that the TKD forms that are based on Karate Kata and have been (re-arranged and changed) were probably done so with kick-block-punch applications (if any in mind). However that does not detract from the fact the individual moves or the "copied combinations" do not have practical applications. If a "high rise block" in a Karate Kata has a practical application then so does the one from the TKD Form. 

When looking at turns in kata I think about whether the turn is part of the application (in which case I usually use them as posture breakers, throws and takedowns. Alternatively it could be a movement to link the previous application to the next and has no application other than be the start of the next technique. 

Where I think the difference is, is that the TKD forms are haphazard collections of practical applications that I believe were put together without any logical pracitcal thought behind the process. Because of that I would guess that most spins and turns found in TKD forms will be for linking movements together. But my knowledge of the history of TKD Forms is limited and I am more than happy change my view on evidence presented to me. 

Now, onto to my thoughts on your questions - 

 do we move backwards for the sake of practical room, or is this a rare example of an apparent retreat that is anything but?

I would think about the hand postions too. Sometimes moves work better when you "pull the attacker onto a strike". Moving backwards in a kata could indicate this as a possibility. 

- are there some other examples of 360 degree spinning in Forms and applications that I haven't stumbled across and how have you interpreted these in your applied studies?

I believe a version of kosokun sho has a 360 spinning movement (and I think that the Shotokan version Kanku Sho has the same move but it has been "athletisized" into a jump. I studied this technique in depth in my upcoming book and see this spinning motion as a take-down.

gerasimos
gerasimos's picture

Hello Leigh,

"Where I think the difference is, is that the TKD forms are haphazard collections of practical applications that I believe were put together without any logical pracitcal thought behind the process. Because of that I would guess that most spins and turns found in TKD forms will be for linking movements together. But my knowledge of the history of TKD Forms is limited and I am more than happy change my view on evidence presented to me."

I am personally of the mind that whilst the Korean Masters didn't know everything in terms on application, I believe that they were far more knowledgable that we give them credit for. Unfortunately a lot of the oldest one's aren't so easy to get a hold of any more. If you are still interested in a presentation of the practicality/construction of the TKD forms I recommend "The Taegeuk Cipher" by Simon O'Neill. It is a well written book which documents the current Kukkiwon forms in a logical sequence with practical applications. The history portion also discusses the parentage of the forms in a way many people should read even if it may not be mainstream opinion.  Its bibliography lists Ch'ang Hon Taekwon-do Hae Sul: Real Applications To The ITF Patterns by Stuart Anslow as a source, which discusses the ITF forms. I haven't read this one yet, but it is next on my list. People have many positive things to say about it.

"I would think about the hand postions too. Sometimes moves work better when you "pull the attacker onto a strike". Moving backwards in a kata could indicate this as a possibility."

Thanks. I concur and I thought about this case with the "carotid strike" portion of the sequence and will be more concious of the hand positions now in orther portions.

"I believe a version of kosokun sho has a 360 spinning movement (and I think that the Shotokan version Kanku Sho has the same move but it has been "athletisized" into a jump. I studied this technique in depth in my upcoming book and see this spinning motion as a take-down."

Thanks, will take look at a some of the videos on Iain's Youtube page as I think he covers this in a couple of them. Good luck with your work.

- Gerasimos

Tau
Tau's picture

gerasimos wrote:
Its bibliography lists Ch'ang Hon Taekwon-do Hae Sul: Real Applications To The ITF Patterns by Stuart Anslow

Excellent book that every serious and open-minded Taekwondo practitioner should own.

However, the simple fact is that the TKD patterns were created by people with Dan grades in the type of Karate that Funakoshi, Mabuni and their peers frowned upon: devoid of any skills other than contrived blocking and striking. Practitioners like Mr Anslow (and I would add Matt Sylvester who I've had the pleasure of training with) do their best to add pragmatism into a non-pragmatic system.

Controversial though this may be, having dropped Karate in order to focus on my TKD progress, I subsequently went back to Karate in order to better understanding my TKD... and so ultimately dropped TKD and have regained the desire to do it.

TKD patterns are, in my oppinion, fun and physically challenging but essentially that is all they are. I now some sort of Karate Kata every day but I can't even remember most of my TKD patterns as I just have no need or purpose for them.

gerasimos
gerasimos's picture

Hi Tau,

Thanks for brining up Matt Sylvester. I'll be sure to check him out soon.

Though I have no formal Karate training, I do practice Naihanchi and study the Pinan/Heian sets for inspiration. I also look at the older Forms that inspired the Pinan sets as well. They are fascinating and inspire me to continue TKD more because I feel like I can see the connections between the arts and I can feel the history.

It is funny though. The more people tell me that there isn't much to TKD, the more I think there is to TKD.

Have a great day.

- Gerasimos