Patterns Applications - The Essex Workshop
Report by Master Gordon Slater
Sunday, 22nd February brought the world famous author Mr. Stuart Anslow 5th Dan to the home county of Essex to conduct one of his now sort after pattern application workshops. Mr. Stuart Anslow 5th is the author of the 3 volumes; The Encyclopedia of Taekwondo Pattern and the Real Applications to the ITF Patterns book series. He is also editor in chief and founder of ‘Totally Tae Kwon Do’ online magazine.
The workshop was attended by students from far a field as Bridgnorth (near Wales) Birmingham and Cambridge. Grades from 5th kup to 7th Dan were in attendance and everyone came away with new found knowledge.
This article is only going to briefly describe the benefits of the workshop and not go into detail of applications taught and learnt, as this needs to really be done in person.
A bit like you cannot learn effective Taekwondo from a book, you need the guidance, knowledge and presence of an Instructor. The workshop started at just gone 1pm with a simple warm up to loosen the muscles then straight into colour belt techniques starting with WHITE belt!
Reaction hand, low block, middle block, rising block. The basics, the foundation to the art of Taekwondo. Many a black belt, including myself were seen nodding their head in silence, probably saying in their head; “That would work” “Never thought of it that way” “So simple, but what a great explanation as to why we do it like that” “Of course, why didn’t I think of that or see that during the 10, 20 or over 30 years I have been training in Taekwondo.”
We then moved up the patterns in belt order taking a few techniques from each pattern. Mr. Anslow demonstrated and explained each application. He answered any question or queries regarding the application and then let us ‘FEEL’ the application by splitting us into pairs or groups to apply the techniques as we all became our own crash test dummies.
We covered patterns movements such as:
Low block, rising block from Dan Gun
Release motion in Do San
First 3 moves in Won-Hyo
Palm hooking blocks in Yul-Gok
X-fists in Joong-Gun
W-shape block in Toi-Gye
Release motion in Hwa-Rang
Then onto Dan grade patterns:
Twin horizontal punch and beyond from Po-Eun
Start position of Kwang-Gae and beyond.
Twin arc-hand from Gae-Baek
At 5pm. time beat us once again and we had touched briefly on a few higher Dan grade pattern applications but for the most, this will have to be for part two.
A special mention to Mr. Jason Rogers 4th Dan and a car full of his students from Elite Taekwondo Academy who’s 2 hour journey from Birmingham took over 4 hours due to a road traffic accident on the M1. We modified the workshop to accommodate some of the applications they missed at the start. hank you for making the effort and the perseverance in battling through the traffic.
Although technical seminars are good in correcting or fine tuning start positions, finish positions and the reasons behind the technique according to the Founder, the Master, Grand Masters etc. it all depends which branch/organization or independent your are with. Whether you are doing traditional Taekwondo, modern Taekwondo, changing Taekwondo, up to date Taekwondo etc. All have their own merits.
What Mr. Anslows pattern application workshop does is make you think ‘outside the box.’ He is not saying this is the ‘only’ application, way or method.
He is saying:
This is what it could be.
This makes more sense
This is what it could be used for as it was in a different martial art, for example Shotokan.
In summary, I truly believe that as a student of ITF based Taekwondo you will go along way to find some one with the expanse of knowledge that Mr. Anslow has and is able to impart. I am positive that as long as you have an open mind and not blinkered, that by inviting Mr. Anslow to conduct a workshop for you, you will not be disappointed.