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bowlie
bowlie's picture
Taekwondo patterns

I like Iains use of bunkai in karate kata, and I was wondering if there is any sort of similar thing with taekwondo. I have seen a book on it by Stuart Anslow, but I cant afford it. I was wondering how open to interpritation they are, and how close they are to the origional karate. The bukai approach is something I would like to look at, but im not sure where to start.

Tau
Tau's picture

Stuart's is the best book out there.

Looking at your other posts I think you've hit upon the same problem that I did and the main reason that I stopped doing Taekwondo (I reached 1st Dan.)

You can apply as much imagination as you like to interpreting the patterns and to be honest you need to. There are some gems within the patterns. The problem as I see it is that with Iain's methodology, EVERY aspect of a Karate kata has function. With the patterms, some of it has function. Some of it is art only. Nothing wrong with that unless you're after function or unless you're deceiving yourself and your students with dodgy interpretation. My YouTube channel is momoyama79. I have a couple of videos that consider Taekwondo pattern interpretation. They are of course just my views and you may disagree with my thoughts. I hope you find some benefit.

bowlie
bowlie's picture

Thats brilliant, thanks. Yeah, the aesthetic changes are something that worried me about patterns, and I wasnt sure how much of an issue it was. I am seriously considering switching art. I havnt got a signifigant grade in TKD, and the skills will carry over, so I wont be losing that much.

Kokoro
Kokoro's picture

I don't know to much about tae kwon do, but I have no doubts that it contains the same grappling as karate.

a recent new friend of mine does taekwon do. And he shows me the same techniques for grappling that are in karate in his forms. Intact if I show him any kata from karate he pulls out all sorts of applications I never thought of. He is the most amazing person I have meat when it comes to drawing out applications from forms. And he has never done karate. 

I forget the style of tkd he took. It was one of the older ones though. As his style did the pinan forms

At least that is my take on it

Dod
Dod's picture

There was a news story a few months ago of a teenager being confronted on his way to school (near Bath) luckily by quite a small attacker after his phone etc.  The school kid apparently instinctively used his TKD training and applied an arm bar before hitting him and getting away.   Quite impressive as I thought TKD was mainly kicks.

bowlie
bowlie's picture

Thats cool, Taekwondo does include some grappling depending on the school you go to. I personally think it should include more. I was wondering if we know enough of the bunkai for the patterns to realistically say 'this technique is used' e.c.t. 

Tau
Tau's picture

I don't disagree with any of the above.

Having studied both Karate kata and Taekwondo patterns I see that every aspect of the patterns is taken from the kata. Historically we know this to be true. For example, I see Do San as being the start of H.Godan, some H.Sandan and some H.Yodan (substituting H for P, of course) Given that Kata contain grappling (see everything that Iain's ever written for evidence of this) it therefore stands to reason that the TKD patterns contain grappling. The problems are thus:

1. Very few TKD practitioners understand or even see these applications

2. The Kata "make sense" - certainly under Iain's presentation of them, techniques and prinicples flow into each other through individual kata and the kata make natural progress. The patterns are disjointed and random.

3. The creators of the patterns didn't understand kata and so their creation is based on flawed interpretation

For what it's worth, I enjoyed learned the patterns. Certainly athleticism played a part in the patterns much earlier than in kata. Chung Moo is huge fun to learn and practice. However, if your sole interest is pragmatism then my advice to get the most out of TKD patterns is to learn Karate!

Do the patterns have validity and pragmatic benefit? Sure! I'd be lying if I suggested that they didn't. Are the kata superior for pragmatism? In my oppinion, yes.

bowlie
bowlie's picture

Tau wrote:

I don't disagree with any of the above.

Having studied both Karate kata and Taekwondo patterns I see that every aspect of the patterns is taken from the kata. Historically we know this to be true. For example, I see Do San as being the start of H.Godan, some H.Sandan and some H.Yodan (substituting H for P, of course) Given that Kata contain grappling (see everything that Iain's ever written for evidence of this) it therefore stands to reason that the TKD patterns contain grappling. The problems are thus:

1. Very few TKD practitioners understand or even see these applications

2. The Kata "make sense" - certainly under Iain's presentation of them, techniques and prinicples flow into each other through individual kata and the kata make natural progress. The patterns are disjointed and random.

3. The creators of the patterns didn't understand kata and so their creation is based on flawed interpretation

For what it's worth, I enjoyed learned the patterns. Certainly athleticism played a part in the patterns much earlier than in kata. Chung Moo is huge fun to learn and practice. However, if your sole interest is pragmatism then my advice to get the most out of TKD patterns is to learn Karate!

Do the patterns have validity and pragmatic benefit? Sure! I'd be lying if I suggested that they didn't. Are the kata superior for pragmatism? In my oppinion, yes.

Brilliant. Your 3rd point is the main one for me, and it really buggs me. I have never enjoyed patterns particulary, and I really dont see most of the benifits other people do. Any benifits from them are limited, and can be gotten more effectivly in other ways. Case in point, the vast majority of sucessful pro fighters out there dont use patterns, therefore the assumtion they are somehow the best way to increase athleticism and technique is flawed.

Despite that, I think it would be wrong to teach either Taekwondo or Karate without patterns. If we are to include patterens they need a role though, and Iains 4 stage approach to Kata is simply the best way of using them I have seen becuase the reasons for doing so hold up under close scrutiny.

Going back to your second point, the random mature of the patterns, and the way they have become aesthitisised (if thats a word) for competitions makes me think that a bunkai based approach wouldnt work with Taekwondo half as well as it does with Karate.

Tau
Tau's picture

bowlie wrote:
the vast majority of sucessful pro fighters out there dont use patterns, therefore the assumtion they are somehow the best way to increase athleticism and technique is flawed.

I don't think is a fair argument at all. The key is that you cite "pro" fighters. That's just it - they're professional. They train every day with and against other people. Most of us don't have that luxury and so kata give us great solo training tools. Also aide memoirs. Any atheticism gained from them is surely a bi-product and there are indeed much better ways of gaining fitness, flexibility, balance, endurance etc. In terms of improving your technique, I feel that they do have great benefit but there are limits. If you're talking MMA, for example, there's no way that a kata can improve your jujigatame, for example. 

bowlie
bowlie's picture

Ok, remove pro. I would say even in competition karate / tkd, there are alot of people that do the bare minimum of kata and prefer to focus on sparring. Alot of styles have no kata at all. Maybe im not bing fair to kata becuase I only know taekwonodo patterns, but wouldnt you argee the techniques of the patterns are differnt to the techniqiues you use outside of the pattern? For example when we do a walking punch, we square our body, walk through with the punch and have a reaction hand. Now there are reasons for all of those things, but even so, we dont actually use that punch doing other forms of training. I would argue for that reason, they do not help with technique. Even if we used the same techniques as we do in practice, they would have exactly the same benifit of doing the techniques on their own.

Kata sound like they at least resemble the right techniques when done correctly, so thats definatly a step up. And people enjoy them, so thats as good a reason as any to include them in training as long as they have a purpose as well. That purpose would, to me, be to lead on to bunkai, and anything else is a bi-product. Like Iain is always quoting, you shouldnt train for the bi-product.

p.s. Its really hard to get tone right over the internet, so I hope it comes across right, but Im really enjoying this discussion, Thankyou

bowlie
bowlie's picture

Anyway, thinking about it, one sollution might just be to say to people 'this is art, but if we look at the kata it was developed from we can see the applications of it. i.e. use the karate bunkai and apply it to the taekwondo moves. It might not be in a nice order any more, but in essence it is the same. Are there any patterns that have made up moves that dont appear in karate?

Tau
Tau's picture

bowlie wrote:
Are there any patterns that have made up moves that dont appear in karate?

I don't know who else on here has learned both Karate kata and Taekwondo Patterns. I also know that I don't know as many of either as others on here so I remain receptive to anyone else's updates.

As far as I can think, almost every movement in the patterns is found in the kata. Sometimes stuff in lower-grade patterns is in advanced kata, I admit. I don't know of any kata that have jumping side kicks (like those found in Chung Moo and Ge Baik) in them. I also don't know any kata that have roundhouse kick, back kick or spinning kick in them.

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

As there's various Organisations of TaeKwonDo I would say that there's a few that are not.

the Main ones are ITF and WTF

With the Tuls are these not newly created by Senior TKD'ist to indeed replace the Pinans

Also there's several that don't match those in Karate, The Sine Wave, my pet hate, isn't used in Karate (although the double hip twist is) I'm not going to name all the Poomsae, Hyungs or Tuls etc as we can all find these on Google etc.

The only things I can see which are duplicated are:

A Punch is a Punch, A Kick is Kick and a Block is a Block

I'm not too sure is Moo Duk Kwan TaeKwonDo actually practices Karate Forms as its a relative of Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do

Th0mas
Th0mas's picture

bowlie wrote:

Ok, remove pro. I would say even in competition karate / tkd, there are alot of people that do the bare minimum of kata and prefer to focus on sparring. Alot of styles have no kata at all. Maybe im not bing fair to kata becuase I only know taekwonodo patterns, but wouldnt you argee the techniques of the patterns are differnt to the techniqiues you use outside of the pattern? For example when we do a walking punch, we square our body, walk through with the punch and have a reaction hand. Now there are reasons for all of those things, but even so, we dont actually use that punch doing other forms of training. I would argue for that reason, they do not help with technique. Even if we used the same techniques as we do in practice, they would have exactly the same benifit of doing the techniques on their own.

Kata sound like they at least resemble the right techniques when done correctly, so thats definatly a step up. And people enjoy them, so thats as good a reason as any to include them in training as long as they have a purpose as well. That purpose would, to me, be to lead on to bunkai, and anything else is a bi-product. Like Iain is always quoting, you shouldnt train for the bi-product.

p.s. Its really hard to get tone right over the internet, so I hope it comes across right, but Im really enjoying this discussion, Thankyou

The problem here, in this paricular discussion, is one of context.

The original point of kata/forms  is to provide a learning aid, teaching tool, library of fighting principles and strategies + a set of example applications. The focus is on self-protection, in a real situation, against your standard untrained assailant. I.e dealing with habitual acts of violence..

There is little relation to kata application vs modern rule based sport Karate/ TKD. The fighting range is completely different. This does not mean kata is useless, but is pretty irrelevant for training competition fighters to maximise their chance of winning a long range "kick-focussed" sporting duel. If we are honest, competion karate or TKD does not resemble a real fight outside a pub on a Friday night.

Over the last 50 years or so TKD has developed mostly into a long-range sport orientated fighting style.  Teachers of TKD who only know that aspect of their art will not teach the more pragmatic applictions designed for close range "real conflict" because they will not recognise it from their patterns. Over time those patterns will evolve to reflect this..

Essentially this is the classic " if I have a hammer, everything looks like a nail" issue. 

The final point is that kata is design to teach fighting principles not techniques. It is a lesson structure, it is a reference. And in some cases it is better than You tube as you have to physically perform the moves, which builds in muscle memory etc. The pattern/kata is the library, your training sessions etc should distill the lessons and then drill them with partners, again and again. This is not the same as performing the whole solo kata.

Th0mas
Th0mas's picture

when General Choi, re-created the "new" traditional TKD Patterns, he did kind of break them. I suspect he only saw them as Puch-kick-block  and did not appriciate the underlying fighting principles (..but then neither did the majority of his contempory Japanese instructors either...). 

As has already been suggested, if TKD practioners wish to extend what they do, adopting Karate kata and using it rather than the Patterns for developing fighting strategies, this can't be a bad way forward given that the orginal TKD patterns were lifed wholesale from the standard set of shotokan Kata.

...finally as a non-TKD practitioner I am very sceptical about the Sine wave.. and I suspose, rather unkindly, I view it as a complete abberation against practical martial arts. Sine Wave, therefore should have no presence in kata and in my brain, at least,  is filed neatly under Chi balls and no-touch knock-outs.

PASmith
PASmith's picture

One thing of note in Stuart's books is that he does theme (to some degree) the applications for each pattern.

So, if memory serves, Do-San has many applications in it that attack the throat or neck. Now, while I think such a theme is retroactively overlaid on a pattern that was never intended to have it when it was created, it does or can serve as guide to training. In the same way that Gavin Mullholland's "4 shades of grey" themes each kata as a guide to training in a wider context. So you could look at attacking the neck when you teach/practice Do-san.

The DNA of karate is in the TKD patterns. There's plenty of good stuff there. In some cases practical applications are easy to implement when compared to some variations of Karate kata (the knife hand blocks in Kyokushin Pinans being a case in point). If you are already graded in TKD and have invested time I think there's something to be said for carrying on and making it the practical art it can be.

As for sine wave. There's sine wave in plenty of other arts. It's often called "sinking" or dropping your weight. Dempsey's "falling step" would be an example I think. Iain demonstrate dropping or sinkng the weight  with moving into zenkutsu dachi from a neutral posture. Sadly in TKD it has become exaggerated into abstraction and uselessness. But the core idea of sinking the weight is sound.

Th0mas
Th0mas's picture

Oh there is absolutely benefit for using your body mass to generate power, either for striking or (and I would ague the primary benefit) to provide signficant mechanical advantage to support, trapping, pulling, controlling, throwing etc.  

Oi-tsuki or stepping punch in karate is a styalised version of "falling step", which is often miss-understood and poorly applied by karateka, but is essentially punching with a step-forward to maximise the amount of body mass that is applied to the punch and/or your opponents body (especially at close range).

Ironically the kata show this quite clearly when you know what to look for.

...But none of this is the sine Wave as I understand it.. Seems to me to be another incorrect interpretation of a valid concept inappropriately applied in the wrong context,  which to be honest is what TKD has done repeatedly since its inception (a bad habit it picked up from Shotokan Karate and I say this as a Shotokan Practitioner)

bowlie
bowlie's picture

Th0mas wrote:

Oh there is absolutely benefit for using your body mass to generate power, either for striking or (and I would ague the primary benefit) to provide signficant mechanical advantage to support, trapping, pulling, controlling, throwing etc.  

Oi-tsuki or stepping punch in karate is a styalised version of "falling step", which is often miss-understood and poorly applied by karateka, but is essentially punching with a step-forward to maximise the amount of body mass that is applied to the punch and/or your opponents body (especially at close range).

Ironically the kata show this quite clearly when you know what to look for.

...But none of this is the sine Wave as I understand it.. Seems to me to be another incorrect interpretation of a valid concept inappropriately applied in the wrong context,  which to be honest is what TKD has done repeatedly since its inception (a bad habit it picked up from Shotokan Karate and I say this as a Shotokan Practitioner)

I agree with the above. Downward motion can help if it is changed into forward motion via a falling step, otherwise, it has no impact. In TKD we often do sine wave in things like sitting stance punches, and obviously that has no use, but the explanation I have heard for it is that its a training tool to get people used to doing it. I guess this goes back to my other thread about dumbing down, but it seems an inefficient way to train a technique. If you want to teach how to get downward momentum into a punch work that properly, dont just do a sine wave on everything

PASmith
PASmith's picture

"dont just do a sine wave on everything"

Agreed there. I've seen TKD patterns where they do a downward sine wave even though the attacking tool is travelling in an upward, or mostly upward, direction. Now that can't be right. Body weight should be travelling in a direction that follows the direction of the attack. Surging upward for an uppercut or upward elbow or whirling horizontally for a hook.

bowlie
bowlie's picture

PASmith wrote:

"dont just do a sine wave on everything"

Agreed there. I've seen TKD patterns where they do a downward sine wave even though the attacking tool is travelling in an upward, or mostly upward, direction. Now that can't be right. Body weight should be travelling in a direction that follows the direction of the attack. Surging upward for an uppercut or upward elbow or whirling horizontally for a hook.

dam straight. I also think that as a wider point, we should be seeking to understand the principals behind techniques in order to use them better and apply them in other ways. Ok, so a downwards motion can help in some cases? Explain HOW. thats the job of the teacher, beacause when you can understand leverage, transferal of bodyweight e.c.t it makes you more effective. Just doing it isnt enough, we have to understand it in order to master it, so just applying a blanket approach to everything is counter productive in my eyes. I think this comes from bad instructors personally. 'Shit, I dont know anything about power transfer, so I cant explain how it works or when to use it. I will just tell my students to do it all the time because its a magic sine wave and it uses gravity....'

I dont understand sitting into punches, but when I look at it, mostly what I see is people sitting BEFORE the punch, and then exploding up with the legs to get the hip twist. You get more hip twish, and more leg power the lower you go, but the force comes from the force of the legs, which drives you upwards.

EDIT: this might be worth a new thread, but personally, I dont see how adding extra force in the wrong direction helps at all. You wouldnt say, move to your right, the added movement gives you more force because its in the wrong direction. If you want to direct force along the X axis, adding some to the Y or Z axies wont help. If you use a trigger step, such as in jack dempsey's book, to redirect that force that works, but just the downward motion doesnt help. However, to Utilize proper hip rotation you need to be in a low stance, so bending the legs means you get better hip transfer and greater power that way. The dip in height is a symptom, not a cause.

Th0mas
Th0mas's picture

A big problem with the Sine Wave... (or for that matter some of the performance abstractions or "dynamic tension" you see in karate) have a lot to do with how it feels to the practitioner when they are performing "air techniques". 

Performing "sine wave" and dropping your weight into a technique feels really "rooted"  which as it is the only feedback you get when performing techniques in the air,...feels good.  The "rooted" feeling, without more realistic feedback, becomes the main measure of "good" to the exclusion of anything else, even common sense.. The practioner starts doing it for every technique no matter how inappropriate ..smiley

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

All

Does anyone have a "decent" video of a TaeKwonDo version of Bassai, want to compare it to my version

This is a Tang Soo Do version of the Form, how close is it to the TKD version

Thanks

Oerjan Nilsen
Oerjan Nilsen's picture

That is the Moo Duk Kwan version of Bassai and it is a very good performance too (in my own opinion).

 

To search for a “Taekwondo verison” of a “Tang Soo Do form” is a little backwards though. Early Taekwondo was Tang Soo Do. Moo Duk Kwan is out there under different names (Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo and Moo Duk Kwan Soo Bahk Do) all depending on when they left the founder Hwang Kee. So depending on the Dojang you will see the Bassai form performed the same way but it could be performed in a Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo or Soo Bahk Do Dojang. Does that make it a Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo or Soo Bahk Do version of the same form?

 

Chung Do Kwan adopted the name Taekwondo very early among the Kwan`s. Therefore many consider Chung Do Kwan Bassai to be a “Taekwondo version”. Apart for some miniscule differences between the form you linked to and the way it is documented  when they left the founder Hwain Son Duk Sung`s book Tae Kwon Do Korean Karate in 1968 it is very much the same formJ Sorry for the long answer because I could just say that yes the Taekwondo version is just about the same version as the one you linked too;)

 

Chung Do Kwan founder Lee Won Kuk studied directly from Funakoshi so it is generally the same Bassai as practiced in modern Shotokan (with some small differences). Moo Duk Kwan was founded by Hwang Kee who got his forms from studying with the Korean pioneers and self study of Gichin Funakoshis books. Therefore the forms are pretty much identical:-)

Hope that helps:-)