Posts Tagged ‘taekwondo’

SOFT AND HARD MARTIAL ARTS – Judo and Taekwondo

Written by Katherine. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013

REPORT 2 – SOFT AND HARD MARTIAL ARTS

Judo and Taekwondo

 

Basingstoke Judo, Basingstoke Taekwondo, Martial ArtsThis is part 2 of my 2nd dan research project – comparing and contrasting 5 hard and 5 soft Martial Arts. This report contains research on judo and taekwondo – hopefully there should be some familiar ground when read with Report 1, and some new elements.   Unlike the two Martial Arts that I chose for Part 1, these two are ones I am        more familiar with. I am learning judo myself and know friends that do Taekwondo – and obviously have seen both on TV during the Olympics.

 

SOFT MARTIAL ART 2 – JUDO

WHAT IS JUDO?

 

Judo is a Japanese Martial Art, founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882.  It grew out of the Jujutsu (jujitsu) movement, which used throws, punches, kicks, chokes, throws etc in its attacks. Judo can be translated as JU – “gentleness, or giving way” and DO – “principle or way”, and put together it is “the way of gentleness”.  Judo is primarily known for its throwing techniques – “nage-waza”, and holds – “katame-waza” (including locks and strangles) but also has a bank of striking techniques – “atemi-waza” which are only to be used in self defence, as a last resort when someone is in extreme danger.

 

JUDO AS A SOFT MARTAL ART

 

Judo is classified as “soft” because it does not seek to work by pushing back against an attacker – the man who is stronger will win, but rather it advocates turning the body and keeping balance so that the attacker will lose his. He is then weakened and the judoka can use this advantage to overcome the attacker. By giving way you conserve energy while your attacker uses all theirs.

 

A lot of the moves use the idea of turning your opponent, applying the idea of leverage to throw them – around the hip, with a foot placed on the attacker’s Achilles, or pulling their outstretched arm for example.

UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES

Kano studied jujutsu under many different teachers but was dissatisfied with the lack of underlying principles and also the differences in teaching – how was he to know which way was correct? Kano sought out his own principle which applied when you were hitting or throwing an opponent: to make the most efficient use of mental and physical energy – and he then rejected all techniques that didn’t fit this idea.

As mentioned before, the name Judo translates as “the Way of gentleness” and Kano saw “the Way” as being the concept of life itself.   Judo is not merely for self defence, it is a way of life. He sought to apply the idea of maximum efficiency to all areas of life – physically, in terms of being healthy and strong but also mentally and morally disciplined too. Sport or exercise should be useful and carried out with interest and intent in order to be useful.

Judo uses kata (pre-arranged movements) and randori (free practise) to train the body and mind. Randori, especially, teaches the judoka to seek out the opponent’s weaknesses, make quick decisions and act decisively.  It is important to choose the most efficient technique to overcome the opponent, and not to use too much force and cause injury.

Controlling anger and emotions, such as worry, was also a goal of Kano’s – he wanted Judo to help people choose a path to success and make positive choices.

Kano believed that the principles of Judo also applied to life outside the dojo – and can be summed up:

1. Carefully observe oneself and one’s situation, carefully observe others, and carefully observe one’s environment
2. Seize the initiative in whatever you undertake
3. Consider fully, act decisively
4. Know when to stop
5. Keep to a single path, don’t become either cocky with victory or downhearted by defeat

If the principle of maximum efficiency is applied to life then there will be harmony and peace, mutual welfare, high achievement as well as wholesome bodies and a good method of self defence.

POWER GENERATION AND EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUE

Footwork is essential in mastering correct technique in judo – to keep balanced but also to be able to turn into a position (tai sabaki) where you can turn overthrow your opponent.  Breaking the opponent’s balance is also crucial and this is achieved by altering their centre of gravity from the middle, and this is known as “kuzushi”.  It is important to counter your opponent’s attempts to break your own balance – give way to them then apply your own kuzushi.  To then throw you need to move into a good position – this is called “tsukuri”.

Training in these techniques often involves a process called “uchikomi” – repeated practise of the movements needed for a throw, but stopping before the actual throw – this can train the footwork and body position necessary but does not actually complete the process so is a limited tool.  Randori (free practise) is now accepted to be the major building block of judo skills – it teaches you to read your opponent and also practise on the move. Moving beyond the static is more realistic as you cannot guarantee what position or balance your your opponent will be in when you come to throw so you need to learn to read the situation and position yourself accordingly – there are no prescribed patterns in randori, so correct technique becomes essential.

The final piece in generating power in judo is adding the hips in.  The process begins, as we have seen, with kuzushi which is achieved by using the arms to break the opponent’s balance. This can be done by gripping the jacket which can then be pushed and pulled to manoeuvre the opponent into a position where they are weaker and their grounding is broken. All throws have to begin with this balance breaking – it is almost impossible to throw without this, especially if the opponent is larger than you. Other methods of initially breaking this balance are using a strike or feint to make them respond and move or, if they have moved into throw you, by effecting a counter attack.  The second phase is the tsukuri – stepping into the correct position whilst still maintaining the pressure and pulling with the arms, before finally moving on to executing the throw.

Using your hips at this final stage is crucial in power generation in judo – rather than just using the arms to pull or push an opponent, although these are useful in starting the process of kuzushi.  Judo requires you to not just use your upper body strength but this is not always a natural thing to do.  To teach this, it can be useful to start off with larger movements, a “wind up” – swinging your leg into position, or twitching your hip and then refine and lessen these signs as you improve.

Lower body strength is essential in being able to move power upwards and forwards and then transfer this power to the upper body via the hips.  This theory is known as “koshi” which is the Japanese word for the area between your belly button and hips, but is used to refer to generating power with the hips. The hips connect the upper and lower body and co-ordinate the movements of both halves of the body together and add the power of your legs to your smaller arms.

Hip Twisting causes the upper body to follow the hips while still remaining relaxed which adds speed, and brings the whole weight of the body into a technique – for power.

Hip Thrusting uses both hips together rather than twisting which focuses more on pushing one hip forward.  Both hips move in the same direction whilst contracting the abdominal and gluteal muscles.

In addition, hips provide the rotation needed to execute good throws and also the power to turn out of hold downs.

A You Tube clip of uchikomi – repeated practise of a throw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zbs_aGNZVnI

And a bit of Olympic judo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NsGD9fStPJQ

(Reference – “Kodokan Judo” by Jigoro Kano)

 

HARD MARTIAL ART 2 – TAEKWONDO

WHAT IS TAEKWONDO?

 

Taekwondo (also written as Taekwon-Do, Tae Kwon Do or TKD) is a Korean Martial Art which focuses on fighting and self defence and, nowadays, is a very popular sport Martial Art, and also an Olympic event. Its name translates from the Korean as: TAE – “to strike or break with the foot”, KWON – “to strike or break with the fist” and DO – “the way or path” – or put together – the way of the foot and the hand.  There are 2 main strands of the style: ITF TKD which is also known as “traditional” taekwondo and more “sport” taekwondo which has a more competition focus and is WTF TKD.

Historically, the style developed from three schools of unarmed combat, dating back hundreds of years, and they also focussed of Confucian and Buddhist ethics and philosophies.  It was particularly warriors who trained in these ways. Over time, Korean Martial Arts declined and were just used by the military. Japanese occupation of Korea reignited an interest in Martial Arts and eventually the schools unified under the title of taekwondo, which is still studied today.

 

TAEKWONDO AS A HARD MARTAL ART

 

TKD is classed as a “hard” martial art as it concentrates a lot on the use of kicking techniques, working on the principle that the leg is the longest and strongest limb and can mount attacks with the least chance of a successful counter.  Direct blocks, kicks, punches and strikes are included although some schools also include throws, locks and pressure points.

Unlike many other Martial Arts which concentrate on unarmed combat or the use of weapons, TKD also places a lot of emphasis on board or tile breaking.

UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES

Taekwondo, philosophically, has 5 principles or tenets:

Courtesy (YeUi) – having respect for and consideration of self and others; being polite; humility

Integrity (Yom Chi) – sticking to what you know is right; having a moral and ethical code; honesty

Perseverance (In Nae) – sticking with it, even when it seems impossible, or unattainable; dedication

Self control (Guk Gi) – being able to exert your will over impulses and emotions and desires of the body; learning to use the powerful techniques safely and wisely; patience, discipline

Indomitable sprit  (Baekjul Boolgool)– pushing yourself mentally and physically to be the best you can, overcoming failures and getting back up; maintaining inner strength; bravery; courage

All these principles apply to TKD training in the dojang (dojo) and also to life outside at work, with family or doing everyday routines.

POWER GENERATION AND EFFECTIVE TECHNIQUE

(With thanks to Senior Master Raymond O’Neill VIII Dan for help)

TaeKwonDo has a “Theory of Power” which can be remembered with the acronym: CREMBS. All elements need to be considered and used together to deliver the most powerful and effective techniques.

1)      CONCENTRATION – (Yip Joong)

Concentration is broken down into TWO main elements:

The first is concentrating all your energy into the smallest output point. When punching you want the whole force of your body and punch directed into the smallest area ie the first 2 knuckles. This is akin to being trodden on either by the entire sole of a shoe or by a stiletto heel – same body weight, very different pain levels!  The effectiveness is increased even more if vital points on the opponent are attacked.

 

The second form of concentration is what we know as “kime” where all the muscles are tensed at the moment of impact. This has the effect of using the power of the larger muscles, especially around the hp to add impetus to the smaller ones and increase their intensity.

 

2)      REACTION FORCE – (Bang Dong Ryok)

Again there are 2 types of reaction:

The first is your own reaction; using the physics theory that every action has an equal and opposite reaction so pulling back one hand aids the forward movement of the other and increases the power output.

 

The second is your opponent’s reaction – using their own large mass against them as they move onto your smaller, concentrated point of attack.  This will allow a smaller strike to have a devastating effect when added to the speed and mass of the attacker, effectively using their own energy against themselves.

 

3)      EQUILIBRIUM – (Kyung Hyung)

Another word for this is balance, and this – again – has 2 strands:

a)      Static – This is the ability to maintain balance when still by keeping the centre of gravity controlled through the correct use of stances and weight distribution.

b)      Dynamic – this applies when moving – to be able to perform moving techniques especially kicks while keeping well balanced.  It is important to control hand movements and not lean back too far, for example, to keep the centre of gravity central to the body.

 

4)      MASS – (Zilyang)

Mass is our size, it cannot be altered or changed, but it can be manipulated to enhance the production of power. Gravity works on mass to increase weight – think of pushing a car uphill – hard work but the same car will roll downwards with ease – but it has a constant mass.

To increase power and force you can apply the following techniques to your mass:

a)      Hip Twist – Using the large muscles in your hip and abdomen will increase the weight and speed of your punch or block and thus, increase the power produced.

b)      Knee Spring – This allows you to bring gravity into play and increase the weight of your technique. Bending the knee downwards slightly while performing a move will add gravity to your mass (like the car rolling down the hill) and again increase the power.

c)      Sine Wave – This is the practise of using circular movements, like a steam train wheel where the off centre arm travels backwards, upwards, forwards and downwards in its travel. In TKD this is used when punching, say, and the arm is moving in a downward and forward movement on point if impact – maximising the weight increase.

Using all three weight increase techniques together will deliver the most additional power possible.

 

5)      BREATH CONTROL – (Hohup Joojool)

Exhaling fast is critical when fighting – both when delivering an attack but also when receiving one. In doing so, the abdominal muscles will tense and tighten allowing you to absorb an attack more effectively and if done on point of impact will increase power to the attack but also ready you for any counter-attack.

 

6)      SPEED – (Sokdo)

Like with reaction, Speed also conforms to the laws of physics – in layman’s terms: power = speed x mass. Basically, the more you accelerate, the more power is produced.  A ball gently thrown at a window will bounce off, yet the same ball thrown at speed will break it.  Similarly, a hand or foot on its own will cause no damage but when speed is applied they can deliver devastating blows.

 

Combining these 6 elements will ensure every technique is executed to its maximum potential.

 

Clips:

The first 2 are a selection of TKD kicks – the kicks are great, the editing less so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H48XGX0L5DI and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQV_OvD7bhM

 

And a bit of board breaking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bN7YVOLRtmQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Women can’t learn a Martial Art! Can they?

Written by bryan. Posted in Martial Arts skills

Woman, self defence, lady, Karate, Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Basingstoke, Judo


The Martial Arts are primarily feminine.

Many would think this a strange statement until they start to look a bit deeper.

By nature men are linked to the sun (yang) and women to the moon (yin). Women have a 28 day biorhythmic cycle and their emotions change to reflect where they are on it, their range of emotions tends to be on a far wider spectrum than men. Some say that this would make them unsuitable for martial arts, but if they can use this range of emotions in a positive way they have the ability to become better martial artists than men.

Men are on a 24hour biorhythmic cycle. It’s often said that men are like dogs and women like cats. Dogs are generally the same each day, as long as their basic needs are looked after on a daily basis, they are usually happy. Cats can be moody, one day they respond to you with love and affection, others they are aloof and on some days will hiss at you and are liable to scratch you.

Working or training with a group of men is much the same on a day to day basis the usual banter, jokes and conversation doesn’t change much, working or training with a group of women is not, the moods and conversation can be very diverse depending on the emotional level, it’s also said that when women are together on a day to day basis their ‘moon cycles’ will gradually harmonise. So women are capable of greater emotional depth and if that can be tapped in to and controlled, it will increase martial ability.

The Martial Arts require empathy, they also require the ability to yield, blend, stick, follow and subtly redirect the opponent, these are all feminine qualities. They call for a low centre of balance, which is more common in women, they require grace, fluidity and a natural ‘ease’ of movement and as women tend not rely on strength, technique comes more easily to them

Men enjoy martial arts ‘sparring’ it’s much like the sexual preening that goes on throughout the animal kingdom, where the males of the species lock horns to show females that they are the ones that they should mate with, these shows rarely result in death or permanent damage and the human male enjoys flamboyant shows and techniques that go with Dojo sparring and competition.

The female of most species is deadly. Their role is to protect the family and the young. Threaten any woman’s’ child and watch them turn into a venomous avenger! There is no time to ‘play’ – the female job is to kill and do it fast. Women are also great strategists with the ability to use guile, the weapon of choice is more likely to be poison or a pair of scissors in the back whilst you were asleep or have your back turned than it is to have a toe to toe stand up fight. Traditional martial arts techniques are more designed to suit the female purpose than the male, it’s only as the sporting aspect has come to the fore that the male way of ‘sparring’ has become more popular.

Women are also more intuitive. This comes from the 28 day cycle and their wider emotional range, it makes women function more heavily from the right brain than the left. The ability to read the subliminal body language of a prospective opponent and to read a situation more spatially is a feminine skill.

Women have a greater capacity to accept and deal with pain using emotional strategies than men and once committed, are more likely to maintain their training schedule.

There are many records of female warriors throughout history, the Rig-Veda, an ancient sacred poem of India, written between 3500 and 1800 BC recounts the story of a warrior, Queen Vishpla, who lost her leg in battle, was fitted with an iron prosthesis, and returned to battle. On the walls of Hittite fortresses dating to 1300 BC there were paintings of woman warriors carrying axes and swords.

There are also legends of the Greek Amazon women warriors who may have been based on Scythian women of the 4th and 5th Centuries BC in what is now called Iran.

In 39AD two Vietnamese women named Trung Trac and Trung Nhi led a Vietnamese uprising against the Chinese. They gained control of 65 citadels and reigned as queens until 43 AD.

Even Japan was ruled in 200AD, by a warrior priestess queen called Himoko.

One of the most famous British female warriors was Bouddicca, who was the widow of King Prasutagus of the Iceni tribe. She was regent for her two daughters who inherited half of the kingdom, while the other half was given to Rome. The Romans objected to being given only half of the kingdom and provoked a revolt in 61AD. It was said that in the ranks of her soldiers there were more women than men fighting.

Women have always been fighting alongside men at war or keeping the home and economy safe whilst the men were away and often doing it with deadly efficacy.

More and more women are attending martial arts classes nowadays because they want more than just exercise. Health and fitness play a large part of the training, but self-defence, prevention of abuse and the mental and emotional aspects also play a large part.

In my Dojo 50% of both the adult and children participants are female. This is also reflected in the senior grade classes and the females easily show as much determination and resolve as the male participants.

There are still misogynist instructors around, but they are rapidly becoming a feature of the past as women prove themselves in class and become instructors and chief instructors in their own groups.

The way was paved in karate by people like Pauline Bindra, the first karate black belt in England and now 8th Dan and Chief Instructor of her own Shotokan association. Pauline has been followed by hundreds of female karateka rapidly climbing the black belt ladder. England has had many top world class sport karateka like Tricia Duggin who has proved herself on the world scene time and time again to be a very powerful person and able to knock out most of the male karateka around!

Any good technical martial art will suit women, they can still train in those that rely on strength and size, but will have to compete in their own category and the art will not be so suitable for self-defence. Joining an all female club or class defeats the object if you want self defence and mixed classes certainly seem to spur everyone on to train harder.

The standards for men and women should be equal with women making up with skill what they may lack in size or strength.

When looking to join a new club a woman should look for other females in the club, what their grades are, what their standard is and how many are there, as I said earlier it’s not uncommon nowadays for there to be 50% split between male and females in hard working classes and in the higher grades. It’s good to have people of the same gender in the club to aspire to.

She should look to ensure that the coaches are properly qualified and that they have an equal opportunities policy in practice and not just stuck on the wall.

karate, taekwondo, basingstoke, ladies martial arts, womens martial arts, self defence


Joining a good martial arts club gives the opportunity to take advantage of the feminine qualities that a woman has. Most clubs have a good training policy for women and treat them equal to men. The training will hone the mind, emotions and body in a progressive way for the rest of her life, something that most gyms lack with mindless repetitions of whatever the latest exercise fad is.


It’s also a great holistic lifestyle, giving new friends, new opportunities for travel and many related ways of training, exercise and the fun of investigating the orient and related cultures.

We at Shin Gi Tai positively encourage equal opportunities in the Martial Arts, there are many fine examples of women training in the Martial Arts including our own Lindsey Andrews, who is currently ranked by Karate England as the British #1 for Kata. If you are interested in learning something like Karate, Taekwondo or Kickboxing. Come and see what our ladies can teach you.

This article was written be Steve Rowe www.shikon.com

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