Here’s one out of six close quarter drills we use in my Taekwondo school. The applications the drills were chosen from were picked to be used against dynamic and unscripted close quarter attacks. In such a situation there is always that chance of reading the opponent wrongly whilst under duress. The applications have therefore got to be robust enough so you can apply them to either left or the right side attacks. Meaning, if you do the drill with your right side forward, you should be able to handle whichever right or left side attack comes your way – irrespective of what has been telegraphed from the opponent.

Often when citing interpretation of a karate or taekwondo pattern, an instructor can always say a particular technique can be used in several different ways. This drill is prescriptive and is not meant to be a study of whether the technique can be a strike, or can be a block, or a takedown. Students can’t learn combat or self defence effectiveness like that. You need to have a core range of basic prescriptive skills. Then when you get confidence in those skills then you should mix and match to help your flow. Don’t you think?

Now for the prickly issue … Taekwondo is often synonymous with long range kicks and nonexistent hand skills. My lineage? We never had those problems. Sparring was an even mix of hand strikes and leg attacks – and we bring those skills into self defence and vice versa. Even to this day I focus as much or more on close quarter skills as I do on the long range. Of course long range skills are nice to have. But it’s up close where you need to dominate … isn’t that right?