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Taking the Sport out of Taekwondo

There’s nothing wrong with sportive Taekwondo. Lots can be said about the gains from discipline, going through progressive stages of training, competing in an acceptable sportive arena, and of course enjoying the sport for all it’s glory.

There are benefits from not following rules, of course. You don’t get caught in a mindset to score points, nor fixate on unrealistic assumptions. That’s a great start when you’re attempting to use the martial arts to defend yourself against an aggressor.

Throwing the rule book out means I’m happy to strike to the face, control the head, strike the neck, control the neck, choke and perform take downs. It doesn’t mean that this is the be all and end all of self defence, indeed striking the body has good merit and is equally valid, but head shots for a civilian defence system are a reasonable option when you are stressed.

We perform head/neck strikes, control and manipulation with a great deal of care. Most any throws are done with loads of control and it is a habit to control the descent of the opponent down to the ground. Tactically this is a good move so you know where your opponent is in a 3-dimensional space. You don’t just want him to flop somewhere ahead of you. You decide to throw him into a specific place or to ensure he lands right at your feet so you can further control him.

This photo was taken during a recent seminar where a friend’s school came to ours to train (see more photos on IAOMAS FaceBook page). I ran the class through principles of kicking: power generation, point of impact, angles of entry, etc. And my other black belt ran the class through pattern applications. This photo shows me covering against a one-two combination strike, bypassing the lead hand, tapping the groin area, and then performing a take down by tilting the head backwards and downwards.

I could of course break the knee and then perform the throw to smash the head on the ground – but that’s excessive, don’t you think? So I control the opponent’s descent, and then go through the motions of dropping my knee onto his chest whilst he’s on the ground.

All in a day’s work.

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