Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Kick Catching in Joong-Gun, Part 2

Read part 1 here

To recap from my previous post: Joong-Gun may be designed in a logical, application-counter-application format based around the theme of kick catching. The organization is like so:

Ready position & moves 1-3/4-6: Front kick catch and takedown, ver.1
Moves 7-8/9-10: Front kick catch and takedown, ver. 2
Moves 11-13: Front kick catch counter, ver. 1
Moves 14-16/17-19(+20): Front kick catch counter, ver. 2
Moves 20-22/23-25: Roundhouse kick catch and takedown
Moves 26-27/28-29: Roundhouse kick catch counter
Moves 29-31: Side kick catch and takedown
Move 32 & return to ready position: Side kick catch counter

The ones in bold were covered in the previous post. This post I'm going to cover the remaining front kick scenarios, and in the third and final entry I'll discuss the roundhouse kick scenarios. Because I already covered the first takedown in my last post, I'll cover the counter first before getting to the second takedown.

Front kick catch counter, version 1

There's a theory out there that when Taekwondo left the military and became a civilian art, several of the more "thuggish" applications of the movements were downplayed. The twin vertical high punch, for example, became a "double punch to the face", something rather awkward to pull off. The military applications of the move -- grabbing your opponent's ears or thumbing in their eyes -- better explains the orientation of the hands.

The first front kick takedown uses both arms to catch the leg, which leaves the opponent's head exposed. So the form tells you to sprawl your weight forward (front stance) and grab your opponent's ears (twin vertical high punch). This way if your opponent takes you to the ground, you get an extra pair of ears out of it.

Pull the opponent's head down (twin upset punch) while moving forward so that you are on top of them. You should hopefully be able to drop kick your leg out of your opponent's grip; but if you can't, turn and crank the opponent's head by their ears (half steps into high X-block), possibly damaging their neck.
Application for Joong-Gun 11-13
Edit 1-30-2017: I finally found an example of a similar defense, although in this case the defender puts the attacker in a clinch rather than grabbing their ears. While pulling your opponent's head down, drive your knee into their face or clavicle, pressuring them and allowing you to drop kick free. The example below shows this. When you drop kick free, try to slide down the opponent's shin. Follow up with the head crank if they are still holding on to your leg.
Source: Sifu Oliver
Another important point is to lean towards your opponent while bending your leg. Trying to pull your opponent in while bending it allows them to take your off-balance.

Of course, grabbing an opponent's ears isn't legal in any kind of sparring. So what can you do if someone grab your front kick in a sparring match? Rather than grabbing your opponent's ears, shoot your arms under their armpits as they move towards you. The motion is more like a double spearhand thrust rather than a double face punch. As you hug your opponent, drop kick free. The technique is shown in the video below.

Front kick catch takedown, version 2

The previous catch assumed both your arms were underneath. This one assumes one arm is underneath (back arm of guarding block) and the other is on top.

The usual application I see for guarding block followed by upward elbow strike is breaking an arm. I'm sorry to be a contrarian about this, but I don't see how weak upward motions like rising block, upward palm block, upward elbow strike, etc. can break the arm of a strong opponent. Joints are fragile, but they're not that fragile. Actual breaks involve strong jumping or stamping motions in forms.

Instead, imagine that you've overhooked a front kick with the back arm of your guarding block, and your front hand goes on the opponent's head (preferably the back of the neck). Use the upward elbow strike to simultaneously raise the opponent's leg while pulling down their head with the reaction hand. Then turn your body while stepping forward with your back leg (movement into move 9). This effectively throws your opponent. The two gifs below show the principle behind the takedown.

App. for moves 7-8 and setup for move 9
The version in Joong-Gun is closer to the second gif, where he steps forward to trip as he pulls the opponent downwards (front leg of our front stance). I've included an image comparing the gif to the form on the right. In the form, the takedown is also performed on the other side (moves 9-10) for symmetry. Although you don't turn your body after move 10, you do step forward; the rest of the takedown is probably implied.

You can watch a third example of the takedown, which catches the kick with an underhook, here by a Hapkidoin.

Front kick catch counter, version 2

This is based in large part on Russ Martin's application, although obviously the situation I'm applying it to is different.

The second takedown relies on the opponent placing their hand on the back of your head, so we'll begin by preventing your opponent from doing that. The defense goes like so:
  1. Parry opponent's hand outward and grab it (backfist chamber).
  2. Pull their arm in (reaction hand to hip) while you backfist the side of their head (backfist)
  3. Use the "release motion" to hammer down on the inside elbow of the arm you are holding. This forces your opponent's head towards you.
  4. The previous move didn't just force your opponent's head towards you, it also lowered it. Reach over your opponent's head (back hand high punch), grabbing either their hair or cupping around their jaw.
  5. Crank their head outward (turn 90-degrees into double forearm block). Strike them with your free hand until they leg go of you.
Normally I wouldn't recommend hammering on the opponent's inner elbow, since it leaves your head exposed. But in this case, their other hand is occupied holding your leg, so you're good to go.

Although the set appears rather long on paper (5 steps), the movements may be performed very quickly. In fact, the form directions tell us to perform the movements quickly. You could just use the back hand high punch as a punch, but personally I wouldn't risk breaking my hand on my opponent's cranium. The next move (double forearm block) makes a pretty good head crank anyway: the front arm, which is just an inner-forearm block, physically pulls the head, while you can use the back arm to strike or further control the opponent (I prefer hammering the torso).
Just pretend the right guy is holding the left guy's leg while all this is happening.
Another example of the high punch followed by turning 90-degrees into double forearm block, against an actual kick catch, is shown by taekwondoin Colin Wee here.

What if you fail to parry in time and you opponent succeeds in posting their hand on your head? Believe it or not, you can use the same movements, albeit a little differently. This time we'll use the backfist itself as the parry: sweeping the opponent's arm inward. From here, we'll grab the opponent's head, pull it in ("release motion"), and then also grab it with our back hand as we pull it in (back hand high punch). Pull your opponent in and force your knee into their chest, painfully pressuring them until they let go of you. This technique comes from a Muay Thai youtuber; and is shown in the images below.

Kick catch and head grab counter, version 2

Next post I'll cover the final kick-catching applications of the form: the roundhouse kick catch takedown, and its counter.

Read part 3 here



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