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PASmith's picture
Yul Gok applications

I'm on a quest to break down applications for the ITF patterns*. I'm using Iain's work of course, the work of Stuart Anslow and Matt Sylvester and also my own training in Thai, Karate, Arnis, BJJ etc. Comparing the pattern elements to the Karate kata they came from, seeing where the influences are. I'm pretty happy with what I've got so far for Chon-ji to Won-hyo but a couple of moves in Yul gok are a bit opaque.

Using this video as reference...


The 2 hooking blocks and the punch (starting at 22 seconds). I like hooking block on its own (brush parry, hook, grab is common in Iain's work) and it feeds well into limb control and other applications but two together don't seem to lend themselves to much. May just use it as a reference that you can block inside and/or outside the attackers arms with your arms (inside outside both arms makes 4 blocks).

The jump into x-stance (from a reverse punch) into a backfist and then into an augmented "block" (at 55 seconds). The x-stance jump is obviously from Pinan Yodan (and others) with the back fist being horizontal rather than vertical. I've seen the vertical backfist used as a dropping elbow (changing the focus on what part is doing the striking) but the horizontal backfist negates that to a large degree.

*I'm aware that the ITF patterns have been put together from an aesthetic point of view rather than a pragmatic one but I'm happy trying to work with the tools I have already rather than put them down and pick up another tool box. :)

PASmith's picture

And so of course I watch one of Iain's clips on Gojushiho and see the hooking block (as a forearm slam and hooking the neck) that lends some insight into the TKD hooking block. :)

Heath White
Heath White's picture


My $0.02:

I would think of the two sequential hooking blocks as responses to a 1-2: you block his left then his right.

The jump into cross-legged stance with backfist is seen in a couple of forms.  I think it is significant that you always turn around immediately (incl here).  Think of the cross-legged stance as entering for a hip/shoulder throw.  So you enter with a strike, insert your right arm under his right armpit, turn and throw.  The actual throwing motion is not  shown in the form.

PASmith's picture

Yes!. Just went out onto the fire escape at work and run through that part of the form with some visualisation and a throw entry seems a reasonable fit. One reason I didn't spot that I think is that in my time in Judo I was a right handed thrower primarily and so that kind of entry with the left hand didn't match my internal idea of a throw entry. It also make more sense when the backfist (entry) and double forearm block (turning motion) are done smoothly after one another rather than pausing (as in the pattern).

Really food for thought.

Ricardo S Garcia
Ricardo S Garcia's picture

Hey there, brand new here. Excited to contribute my thoughts and learn with you all!

I see the hooking block as a head manipulation. Once the opponent's left arm has been taken by the your left arm (cross wrist grab) use your right arm to slide up and the thumb will hook under the chin, nose, eye socket. This will allow you to tilt their head backward.

In regards to the stance. The hooking block is performed with both arms while in a front stance. Then moves forward once step into the next front stance to perform  the same sequence. I see that as showing option #1 or option #2. Same goes for both hooking blocks performed while in the left or right front stance.

**from the example before**

Farther Option: in order to reach the opponents head, step forward to your opponents rear while pulling their left arm while the right arm performs the head manipulation. this allows for the left hand controlling their left wrist to spring foward once the head has been located to strike with the full weight off the body in a lunging punch from your rear hand. Shown with the last step forward middle punch after the hooking block sequence.

Closer Option: in order to reach the opponents head, a pull with the left arm while the right arm performs the head manipulaition. the right leg steps back  and drops weight slightly to assist in the technique at the same time. this allows for the left arm controlling their left wrist to spring forward once the head has been located to stike with a quick shot with the left (now front) hand.

Obviously these can be copied for the other side of the body. 

These "blocks" made me pull my hair out for nights until i found this really good use for them! Hope that helps.

Ricardo S Garcia
Ricardo S Garcia's picture
Ricardo S Garcia
Ricardo S Garcia's picture

Hey All,

I have got to stop trying to post on the forum via cell phone.. apologies for the blank comment above.

Finally, here are my ideas about yul-gok hyung. I hope you find them interesting! 

Feedback is welcomed and appricitatied. Take care