Thursday, January 13, 2022

49. Cheonkwon slapping blocks

Source: Kukkiwon

Turns out I knew Cheonkwon incorrectly.

I had been using the instructions from the taekwondo wiki, which states that step 20a (the first slapping block) is an inward block.

I never questioned this instruction because I figured the application was obvious. Since the low guarding block may be used to pass outside the opponent's arm, one can then shuffle behind the opponent and perform a hammerfist while pressing in their back (the first slap). Then palm strike their face (second slap), grab and pull down their head with both fists (augmented low block).

Application for pseudo-Cheonkwon. (1) Pass outside opponent's arm with low guarding block (2) Shuffle behind opponent and hammerfist their face while pushing in their back (first slap) (3) Attack head with both palms (second slap) (4) Grab and pull down head with both fists (augmented low block; not pictured). Left image source: Russ Martin

So here I was prepared to write this post, when I noticed that none of the videos of Cheonkwon I watched matched these instructions. I asked Ørjan Nilsen of Traditional Taekwondo Ramblings to pull up some official instructions, and he obliged. He gave me instructions from 1975, 1986, 2006, and 2011 Kukkiwon textbooks.

And they say the same thing: step 20a is an outward middle block with the inner-wrist, not an inward block. 

Instructions from Taekwondo Textbook Black Belt Poomse (1986)

None of these versions instructed an inward block! I suspect this is simply an error on TrueJim88's part. But it means my application above doesn't work for canonical Cheonkwon. And I liked that application too.

Oh look, another example of a
hikite in a TKD book (1986)

[There are, interestingly enough, some movements in Cheonkwon which have changed. The uppercut with the twin knuckle fist was originally in back stance, not cat stance. The scooping palms after the knifehand twist blocks are not present in the 1975 or 1986 versions; you are merely instructed to pull slowly to the waist as you step forward to punch. The circling arms after the augmented outward blocks are described as "shaking free" or "swaying" in the 1975 version. But the two slapping blocks, minus some ambiguity about the footwork, have stayed consistent]

Outward block application

The "official" application by the Kukkiwon is an arm break

Image from Kukkiwon Textbook (2006)

Against the opponent's right arm this wouldn't really work, because the arm is not supinated (meaning, turned outward so that the elbow is pointing down). Instead, this will create a rear shoulder lock, jolting the opponent forwards. 

However, this will work as a break against the opponent's left arm. Standing up while breaking, as done in the poomsae, will increase the pressure on the opponent's elbow.