Patterns: The Devil Is In The Details - Part 2
by Stuart Anslow
Following on from part 1, this time we have a few more musings about the patterns of Ch’ang Hon Taekwon-Do. Remembering ‘different’ does not necessarily make them ‘wrong’ - just different. However, what I refer to as ‘correct’ is how techniques were left following General Choi’s death in 2002, like I said, other groups may want them performed in a different way, but these details are General Choi’s version of the patterns as he left them.
We`ll start with some random items from the colour belt patterns.
Hwa-Rangs Grab, Side Piercing Kick & Release Motion
Okay, everyone knows that following the Forefist Punch, we place our left hand on top of our right fist and pull. However, what I have seen at many a competition is that very often students perform the stepping motion incorrectly by stepping their left foot, right next to their right foot and this is incorrect.
As this is a combination of movements, their is a fair amount of basic information to take in, so lets break it down a bit. Following the Obverse Forefist Punch, the first part of the movement should see the student stepping their left foot approximately half way towards their right foot, as if you do not allow sufficient space between your feet, there is no way you can chamber and execute a decent side piercing kick into an opponent so close. At the same time as the step, the student clasps their left hand over the top of their right fist (simulating gripping their opponents grab) and bends their right elbow about 45 degrees.
The second part of the moment is of course chambering the Side Piercing Kick, executing the Side Piercing Kick whilst pulling the hands backwards, then finishing with the Knifehand Side Strike.
One final thing to note when performing this Kick and pulling the hands back, is that a lot of students tend to over rotate, puling the hands behind their body, when in fact they should be pulling them to the rear side of their own body, after all, you cannot pull an opponents arm through your own body now can you!
Choong-Moo’s High Backfist Side Strike
The POI (point of impact) is at the back of the head, just below the skull and can cause death if struck (so please don’t hit anyone with it). You can feel it for yourself by following your own skull downwards and pressing the point just as the skull finishes—its about an inch left or right of the spinal cord. It is angled because only a single knuckle is used to strike this point, as opposed to using both the main knuckles on a normal Backfist Strike, hence the angle of this technique!
Though this is a debateable subject, I have included because of the way I was taught was finally collated with learning the ‘true’ application of this technique (which also uses the previous technique as well in order to set it up).
To cut a long story short, we are talking about the hand position or facing direction of the fist/knuckles that are used in the Backfist Side Strike, close to the end of pattern Ch’oong Moo.
Okay, first lets ensure we are on the same page regarding body positioning. Imagine you are an examiner and the student performing Ch’oong-Moo has his/her back to you and is in a Sitting Stance having just completed the previous movement (the Forearm Middle Front Block).
Many will perform the Backfist Strike so the examiner would see the whole of the back of the fist i.e.The knuckles of the fist are facing the examiner! This seems to make sense as its still a Backfist to the side of the student! However, for those that use the ABC method of pattern positioning, it says to perform the strike towards ‘B’! ‘B’ is to the right of the student, so therefore the knuckles of Backfist should also be facing towards ‘B’ and the examiners should see mainly the thumb side of the fist. Both can be interpreted via the text, so both ‘can’ be correct, hence why I said its debatable, plus of course many believe its a block to the front, then a Backfist strike to a rear opponent!
However, I was taught (by my instructor) that the position of the Backfist is neither towards ‘B’ or behind, but is in fact in between both, at approximately a 45 degree angle. Now, its easy to argue against this depending how you read the texts of General Choi, but if you look at the photos in his own manual (shown right), you can see that the fist in both pictures, which are suppose to show front and rear views of the combination, neither are truly towards ’B’ or behind.
Further to this, and without wanting to give away too much about Ch’ang Hon Taekwon-do Hae Sul: Vol 2, Master Willie Lim (who studies Okinawan kata applications and is able to cross-reference them with Ch’ang Hon pattern techniques) showed me, just last month, the original application of this combination or to be more precise “the why”!. However, this article isn't about applications so I will cut to the chase and simply say that the strike was originally intended to hit a pressure (or vital) point known as GB19 or Gall Bladder 19, which is just where the skull finishes and the back of the neck can be felt.