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TAE GEUK KWON The Four Corners

THE T.A.G.B. Takes on Disney!

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Tae Geuk Kwon The Four Corners This article is a follow up to the Tae Geuk Kwon introduction from which people were made aware that the art provides a technical and philosophical progression from external forms into the internal art of Tae Geuk Kwon. I shall now look at specific strategies and techniques from the Sip Sam Seh. These 13 ancient influences are the cornerstone of the internal arts and can be considered to be the dividing line between Tae Geuk and external forms. The eight energies can be divided into four directions (Peng, Lu, Ji, Ahn) and four corners (Chae, Lieh, Jou, Kao). It is the latter I wish to consider in this article. The four corners are known as inside or close quarter techniques and comprise takedown, splitting, elbow/knee techniques and finally use of the shoulder/hip to unbalance the attacker. In addition, the five elements can also be divided into external and internal. To follow the theme of this article I shall discuss the internal or strategic forces. The first element is “Fire”, which is taken in this context to mean “Awareness”. By this we mean developing the sensitivity to “second guess” the opponents intentions. This can be achieved through Ho Sin Sul partner drills. Look, listen and feel for the


slightest changes in distance or body movement. If you can predict the enemies intentions you can respond with the appropriate technique. That is not to say you should follow every movement slavishly in case you are drawn into a trap. Therefore, this element is full of energy and adaptable to changing circumstances. Secondly, we “Join” with the opponent (like “Water” flowing down a stream). For example, an opening parry may use a small circle outside palm to connect with the attack. Parry only in the direction the energy is travelling and allow it to miss by the slightest margin so that we remain in control. Thirdly, we “Stick” to the oppo-

nents energy (Wood element - think of sap from a tree). The outside palm may immediately be followed by an inside circular parry to adhere to the punching arm like a hook. We can now grab or control while the other hand strikes. Please refer to previous articles or my book “Secret Moves”, for practical examples of this. Sticking is an important concept to learn in Tae Geuk. The fourth strategy is represented by Metal and means - “Redirecting” or leading the opponent away from the intended target into a disadvantageous position. After sticking we could pull the attacker off balance and this is shown to good effect with a “splitting” energy. (Lieh) Finally, the fifth element “Earth” provides the over-riding strategy which is not to oppose force but harmonise with it and turn it to our own advantage. This gives another indication of how the old Master can be effective in Personal Protection by using Tai Chi principles. Physical strength will diminish with age but mastery and guile does not. This element also encompasses the environment and the way we adapt to different situations. Rooting is very important in Tai Chi. Energy is transmitted from one’s centre to the feet for stability and sequentially to the palms as in a push. In the photo sequence shown the surface was very soft allowing


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extended forward energy. In less stable conditions the stance would be more upright with a narrower base of support. It is particularly important with kicks to consider this point. In all cases we utilise the energy from the ground to add to the technique using ground reaction forces. We can now apply these five strategies to any of the 8 energies. Let us look again at the 4 close quarter techniques. In the first sequence we see a knife attack which is redirected away from the intended target. Lieh energy is used to simultaneously pull and strike with an upward elbow. The weapon hand is then turned in a circular motion locking the arm and placing the attacker in a disadvantageous position. The defender could capitalise on this with a heel kick to the floating ribs before folding the arm in toward the attacker and pushing away whilst importantly retaining the weapon itself. The second sequence shows a kick being absorbed and redirected prior to a returning wave energy to a Kup So point. I discussed my understanding of Moo Pal Dan Khum breathing tech-

niques for health and vitality in a previous article, however, the principles of breath control are just as important in Tae Geuk, particularly in relation to applications and combat. There are two extremes being a “Ha” sound which is all Yang and therefore positive. It harnesses all of the physical, mental and spiritual energies at one point. When making the “Ha” sound you should visualise the energy extending to the palms and flowing through the target. It is possible to generate this energy with or without audible sound. The other extreme is the “Hen” or in-breath sound which is purely Um and used during yielding or redirecting movement. Energy is being gathered ready for a counter attack. It is said that in Tai Chi storing energy is like drawing a bow and releasing it like shooting an arrow. As a start practise breathing for Tae Geuk by visualising holding a ball in front of you and expand the energy during the in breath and let it contract during the out breath. Let the breath open and close your hands rather than conscious muscular effort. In between the “Hen and Ha” is an out breath which is not completely Yang. Here we require Yang ener-

gy with a retained element of Um . In other words you will find many instances in our forms where we counter-attack with multiple techniques without exhaling fully. It gets even more interesting when you practise the Chil Sung or Yuk Ro forms which successfully combine internal and external techniques. Here we have to demonstrate the Ki Hap and muscular tensioning at some points whereas others will result in the softer more relaxed Ha sound. Both are on finishing techniques and therefore purely Yang yet they are very different.

By Master David Allerton (5th Dan)




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Finally, Tai Chi fighting strategy includes ways to attack what are known as an opponents open doors .For example, in the opening sequence the parry has unlocked his left door. Furthermore, in the form you will find instances where we press down on the lead hand so we open the upper window to attack. The opponent will , of course, try to close it down very quickly so the attack must be immediate in order to succeed. There are many ways to open doors and windows by using footwork, push/pull, sticking and coiling techniques. The 4 Corners are the lesser known of the 8 energies, however, they are indispensable for practical Tae Geuk Kwon training. My hope is that these few thoughts may give more advanced students new avenues for training which have not previously been open to them. I for one shall continue to study and learn. My previous article aroused tremendous interest. Many instructors were unaware of

the very strong links between Tang Soo Do and Tai Chi principles. In most cases they had been taught the Chil Sung and Yuk Ro hyungs without having their relationship in terms of the Sip Sam Se fully explained. If you have any questions

please email me and I shall do my utmost to be of help. Good luck and good training. Master David Allerton Email: Website:



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Back to basics

article for beginner to black belt and beyond By Grandmaster Tony Vohra 8th Dan with Photographs by Master Jeff Scott-Smith 5th Dan. New Year Resolutions of getting fit and healthy by training in the martial arts provide the perfect opportunity to work on a training regime which concentrates on the basics. Basic training eventually becomes the foundation for developing a person’s ability and honing their skills ready for advanced training. WE have covered both the Bowing and Ready stances in a previous article and will now progress to blocking and correct positioning of techniques. The aim is to focus on targeting specific parts of the body and perfecting the techniques that are delivered when we advance from a stationary position to one involving

movement, as demonstrated in stances and forms. When training it is important to visualise the points of attack, or the area to be blocked when practicing both attacking and defensive movements. For Tae Kwon Do training purposes the body is divided into three sections, low, middle, and high, which are referred to as Arae (lower part of the body), Momtong (Trunk), and Olgul (the face). These three areas serve as targets and are considered vital points for attack and defence where the focus of the technique is to protect the centre line of the body. For the lower part of the body the

specific target is the groin, for the trunk it is the solar plexus, and for the face it is the philtrum, (the midline groove in the upper lip that runs from the top of the lip to the nose). When we practice techniques it is important to remain relaxed, only tensing at the end of the technique. Remember to tighten the abdominal area when delivering an attacking or defensive motion. When executing a block one should consider using the wrist, specifically the part where one would wear a sweat band. Some basic guide lines to consider are that blocks are angular with body movement and normally delivered from the outside. In contrast, attack

Ready position

Hands on waist (love handles).

Start position.

Finish position.

Across the body for next block

Finish position.

Ready position for mid block.

One hand cover and the other to start position.



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motions are direct and in a straight line, think of the direct path that a bullet takes that has just been fired from a gun; that is the path that attacking movements should follow. Key techniques to utilize whilst attacking are punching, striking and thrusting movements, and for blocking consider low, mid and high movements. Try and use both arms and the body for movement and generation of power. Remember that the end of one technique becomes the starting point of the next one. Power equals force, times velocity. Power is generated through timing and coordinated motion so that you are relaxed until the completion of the movement. Relax during execution of the technique and only bring power and tension at the point of contact.

Punching - Key points. When considering the correct punching position, it is important that the first two knuckles impact the target whilst striking. Correct alignment of wrist and hand can be practiced by doing press ups on the first two knuckles with fists clenched tightly. Aim at the centre line of the body.

Remember when practising techniques, one hand is at the side (waist or love handles).Upon punching the striking hand travels in a straight line one hand moves forward while the other one retracts. Imagine a string tied over your shoulders connecting both hands, so that as one moves forward the other is automatically pulled back. Twisting of both hands upon reaching completion of the technique must take place.

Low Block. Key points. Start the block no higher than shoulder level. Twist as you get near to the end of the block. Your fist should end up the span of a hand distance from the body.

Mid Block. Key points. Start no higher than shoulder level. The block ends up between 90 to 120 degrees but best at 110 degrees angle to cover mid riff.

High block. Key points. To start no lower than the waist, ending up no higher than fist distance above your forehead, with the wrist at 45 degrees to the oncoming attack.

When changing arms during blocking and attacking make sure to cover with the other arm so as to protect the vital points and reduce any vulnerability to attack. Muscle memory is achieved by practicing a technique over 2000 times. Practice is imperative to develop your skill and power. The more relaxed the training environment, the easier it will be for you. So remember to enjoy training and practice diligently and more importantly have fun in practicing the basics. Master Tony Vohra is always pleased to advise individual students, instructors and clubs and can arrange demonstrations, courses & seminars to suit any individual or groups both at home and abroad. For further details please contact: President Grandmaster S. S. Vohra (8th Dan), International School of Martial Arts UK HQ, Nottingham School of Tae Kwon Do, Ilkeston Rd., Nottingham NG7 3FX, England. Tel: 00 44 (0)115 9780439; Fax: 00 44 (0)115 9785567 WEBSITE:

Block angle o be 110 degrees

Change with the other arm.

Executionof block to terminate at center line of the body.

Ready position.

Hand at shoulder level.

Block across through to the body center line.

Finish in line with the body.

Across other side.


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T.A.G.B. The

Takes on Disney

The TAGB organised the tae kwon do series event in Disneyland Paris. There were juniors from England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Poland, Switzerland & Holland taking part. The venue was the very impressive New York Hotel ballroom, and all the officials who travelled over to make the event possible were from the TAGB. The championships was a great success, all the competitors had a great time in the competition and in the theme parks, and the same could be said for all the parents who were in attendance and the officials. TAGB Chairman Dave Oliver said: “ this event had a really friendly atmosphere, which was probably down to the venue, and the TAGB would certainly get involved in the next one in 2010.� RESULTS Patterns Girls

Patterns Boys

Yellow Belt 1. Briegan Tombling 2. Rosie Bayliss 3. Emily Scott

Yellow Belt 1. Adam Budworth 2. James Budworth 3. Kieran Sullivan

Green Belt 1. Maya Levan 2. Caitlin Illingworth 3. Catrin Williams

Green Belt 1. Kieran Hurgan 2. Elliott Dew 3. Dominik Kawaler

Blue Belt 1. Bethan Smith 2. Louise Kelsey 3. Lea Malkmus

Blue Belt 1. George Cortes 2. Jamie Sullivan 3. Hywel Smith

Red Belt 1. Nina Fakhoo 2. Nila Chowddhury 3. Sian Edmunds

Red Belt 1. Arron Matharu 2. Adam Zieba 3. Nico Sitzivs

Black Belt 1. Lauren Edmunds 2. Danielle Oberhans 3. Cerys Parkhouse

Black Belt 1. Ben Dale 2. Christopher Welsh 3. Mathew Welsh



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Sparring Girls Yellow Belt: Tiny Tots 1. Rosie Bayliss

Pee Wee 1. Kieran Walton 2. James Budworth 3. Kieran Sullivan

Pee Wee 1. Caitlin Reason 2. Alisha Walton 3. Emily Scott 4. Briegan Tombling

Green Belt: Pee Wee 1. Marcel Weingartni 2. Marcel Fakhour

Green Belt: Tiny Tots 1. Maya Levan

Lightweight 1. Liam Phillips 2. Dominic Kawalec 3. Jacob Kolinski

Pee Wee 1. Caitlin Illinworth 2. Catrina Williams 3. Elliott Dew Lightweight 1. Olivia Dobbs Blue Belt: Pee Wee 1. Miriam Dewan 2. Nadia Rzatala 3. Alexandra Cyranowska Lightweight 1. Bethan Smith 2. Cliona Mcgraff 3. Olivia Dodds Middleweight 1. Heather Rogers 2. Louise Kelsey Red Belt: Pee Wee 1. Nina Fakhour

Blue Belt: Pee Wee 1. Hywal Smith 2. Kim Drexler 3. Jamie Sullivan Lightweight 1. Thomas Smith 2. Scott Hughes 3. Bradley Reason Middleweight 1. Darren Phillips 2. Oscar Nowak 3. Jan Gorazda Heavyweight 1. Lewis Smith 2. Blazey Szkuluk Red Belt: Lightweight 1. Aaron Mathoru 2. Maksymilian Irzyk 3. Michael Kern

Lightweight 1. Yasmin Fakhour 2. Rhiannon Williams

Middleweight 1. Lucas Dewan 2. Matthew Mcghee 3. Tyler Cross

Black Belt Pee Wee 1. Nina Fakhour 2. Lauren Edmunds

Heavyweight 1. Pawel Kopera 2. Radslaw Onuca

Lightweight 1. Sara Mackie 2. Danielle Oberhans 3. Cerys Parkhouse

Black Belt: Pee Wee 1. Mathew Welsh 2. Alix Wines

Middleweight 1. Carla Mckann

Lightweight 1. Christopher Welsh 2. Cameron Jackson 3. Ben Dale

Sparring Boys Yellow Belt: Tiny Tots 1. Adam Budworth 2. Harvey Dew 120 COMBAT WWW.COMBATMAG.CO.UK

Middleweight 1. Baris Kayar


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