Soar TSD Training, Week 28 Oct

Alright Warriors, this week is where we start making some changes in the training plan. For the last few weeks, I have attached the class training plan for you to follow on your own. Now, I will add a suggested workout plan in conjunction with what we are training in class.

Ho Sin Sul (self-defense) in the flavor of the week. Be sure to spend a little extra time loosening up the shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints. Be aware of where your center of gravity is located and how you are able to disrupt your opponent’s center of gravity. Do not be afraid to close the distance. When manipulating joints and body weight, you want to be as close to your opponent as possible.

The Soar Challenge

I challenge you to complete 50 push-ups, 50 Sit-ups, and 50 Burpees every day this week. You may break this challenge up into as many sets as you need throughout the day. However, these are in addition to your workout – not in place of. 🤨 Go for it! If you are able to complete each exercise in one go, you get extra credit. Leave a comment on your progress through the week.

darebee.com

I also offer a new workout plan for this week available in the workout plan download above. The Apollo and Rocket Fuel workouts from Darebee.com. This is a great resource website I’ve used for years. Let’s challenge one another to higher levels of fitness. You are welcome to add runs as an active rest in between rounds. For the Apollo workout, you can substitute another split squat for the shrimp squat if needed. Rocket Fuel is timed. It’s only three minutes of work before you rest, so no resting in between exercises. Let me and everyone else know how your workouts are going in the comments below. Let’s encourage one another.

Attitude Requirements to Master Tang Soo Do

image001

1. Purpose of training should be the enhancement of mental and physical betterment.
2. Serious Approach.

Tang Soo Do is a Martial application as well as a whole person development system. The martial application carries risk, so a serious apporach in necessary to keep our training partners and ourselves safe while we practice and learn.
3. All out effort.
4. Maintain regular and constant practice.
5. Practice basic techniques all the time.
6. Regularly spaced practice sessions.
7. Always listen to and follow the directions of instructors or seniors.
8. Do not be overly ambitious.
9. Frequently inspect your own achievements.
10. Always follow a routine and truing schedule.
11. Repeatedly practice all techniques already learned.
12. When you learn new techniques, learn thoroughly the theory and philosophy as well.
13. When you begin to feel idle, try to overcome this.
14. Cleanliness is required after training. Keep yourself and your surroundings clean.

13 Hyung Interpretation Principles

2. Every technique should be able to end the fight immediately. Technique is made up of three parts: timing, distance, and target. The loss of any one of these parts is the loss of tactical and strategic advantage—the loss of the art in application. Every movement in a hyung should be able to cause serious bodily harm to an assailant in the minimal time necessary to execute the technique including “blocks.” In real life self-defense and combat, the practitioner does not have time to feel out his opponent. Hyungs “were developed before the advent of modern medicine, which cures injuries that would have been fatal a century ago. …the ancient masters designed every offensive technique and most defensive ones to immediately end the fight” (Kane and Wilder). This is why the WTSDA requires an attitude and character with a “serious approach,” the willingness to repeatedly “practice basic techniques all the time,” and to “learn thoroughly the theory and philosophy” behind the technique all while humbly guarding against becoming “overly ambitious.” the practitioner must never forget Tang Soo Do is an art of martial (appropriate to war) application. What are your thought?

Meditation for the Week

integrity-quote-e1530562911443-680x380.png

Integrity – Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but sin overthrows the wicked (Proverbs 13:6).  The Greek words alētheia and alēthes are translated as “integrity” in the New Testament and mean “truth or the state of being true.” Jesus is referred to as a man of integrity because He lived wholly in accordance with God’s complete truth. In Mark 12:14, the Gospel writer records,  “They came to him and said, ‘Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.’”
A person of moral integrity is the same in the dark as in the light
— not double-minded with contradictory thoughts, words and actions.
— not pretending to have virtues or qualities that are really not present in the heart (hypocrisy) (Matthew 23:28)
— not focusing on temporal gain but on growing in godly character (Psalm 15)
A person of moral integrity is one who …
— does what is righteous speaking the truth in love
— does not falsely accuse another or harm a neighbor
— does not gossip, but keeps his or her word
— despises evil men and honors those who love the Lord
.  To have moral integrity is to be undivided and consistent in your mind, will, and emotions regarding what is right and wrong. To be consistent though, you, must align yourself to the unwavering character of God.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

For Thursday: 24 Oct

Hey Soar TSD Warriors,

This Thursday will be a special day. Master Bailey, from Fire Dragon Karate, will be present in class to promote me to Sam Dan, 3rd Degree Black Belt. I hope you all are able to attend and celebrate this time with me. All of your participation has made it possible for me to attain this honor. Thank you. I will provide homemade cookies for the celebration.

Additionally, we will promote another one of our students who was unable to test at the last group test. She completed here requirements this past Monday. I will also be handing off the leadership of Soar Tang Soo Do at Fort Hood to Mrs. Meshell McConnell who will lead the club until I return from deployment next summer.

You all have been such an amazing blessing to me over the last year and a half. I can’t thank you enough for how wonderful y’all have been to me.

Very Grateful,
Mr. Andrew Calvert

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Soar TSD Training 21/24 Oct

It’s Soo Ki (Hands) training week! Let’s look at hand techniques in offense and defense (attack and counter-attack) along with our Il Soo Sik Soo Ki (Hands One-Steps)

For class and individual training please use this week’s guide.

Meditation for the Week

In Fighting Choose with Sense and Honor – Remember last week’s meditation? I talked about battle. What is the difference between “battle” and “fighting”? A Battle is a confrontation you did not agree to; it’s non-consensual, or something you would prefer not to engage. A “fight” is a consensual conflict like sparring or debate. The challenge is to maintain your self-control, humility, and respect during the “fight” – that’s fighting with sense and honor. As Paul instructed Timothy, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:12). You should be proud of your actions and reactions after the fact. Paul continued his exhortation to Timothy by saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Paul was content with the manner in which he lived, and at those points he was not, Paul rested in the Grace of Christ. There is a large bit of overlap between our fourth and fifth codes of Tang Soo Do, still I want you to understand the differences. Each of you will be forced into a variety of conflicts, either battles or fights, therefore you must decide now and practice how you will respond and engage. You will do without think that which you practice.

Attitude Requirements to Master Tang Soo Do

image001

1. Purpose of training should be the enhancement of mental and physical betterment.
How are your enhancing yourself through Tang soo Do training? What are you learning physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially?
2. Serious Approach.
3. All out effort.
4. Maintain regular and constant practice.
5. Practice basic techniques all the time.
6. Regularly spaced practice sessions.
7. Always listen to and follow the directions of instructors or seniors.
8. Do not be overly ambitious.
9. Frequently inspect your own achievements.
10. Always follow a routine and truing schedule.
11. Repeatedly practice all techniques already learned.
12. When you learn new techniques, learn thoroughly the theory and philosophy as well.
13. When you begin to feel idle, try to overcome this.
14. Cleanliness is required after training. Keep yourself and your surroundings clean.

13 Hyung Interpretation Principles

1. There is more than one proper interpretation of any movement.
“Do” in Tang Soo Do means “way or art.” Tang Soo Do is an art of body movement and mechanics. It is organic. The actual combat application derived from the hyung transcends the artificial construction of the form as a training tool. It becomes error to say there is only one sound application of a specific tactic found in a hyung. To limit the practitioner to a single application for a single movement within the hyung limits the growth of the student just as much as it limits the art itself. The practitioner is free to be creative with elements of the hyung, and creativity finds its fullness within a community of martial artists because of the variety of physical characteristics, body types, and mental and emotional approaches to combat. What works well for one person (i.e. the 215-pound semi-pro male athlete) may not work well for another student attempting to apply the interpretation in the same way (i.e. the 125-pound female teenager). On the other hand, the serendipitous discovery of a new interpretation and application might work even better than what was developed individually. This first principle requires an open mind.

Categories: Class Schedule | Leave a comment

Soar TSD Training, 17 Oct

We will not have class on Monday, 14 Oct. due to the four-day weekend.

On Thursday this week, we will work on Won-Hyong Dae-Ryun. This is our looping sparing drill. You can find a link to the entire drill HERE,
and you can have this week’s training plan here.

Attitude Requirements to Master Tang Soo Do (1 – 14)

image001

1. Purpose of training should be the enhancement of mental and physical betterment.
2. Serious Approach.
3. All out effort.
4. Maintain regular and constant practice.
5. Practice basic techniques all the time.
6. Regularly spaced practice sessions.
7. Always listen to and follow the directions of instructors or seniors.
8. Do not be overly ambitious.
9. Frequently inspect your own achievements.
10. Always follow a routine and truing schedule.
11. Repeatedly practice all techniques already learned.
12. When you learn new techniques, learn thoroughly the theory and philosophy as well.
13. When you begin to feel idle, try to overcome this.
14. Cleanliness is required after training. Keep yourself and your surroundings clean.
The obvious application is to keep your body, your home, your school or work place, and your dojang clean, but how else might you apply this to your life?

Meditation for the Week

No Retreat in Battle – While the immediate meaning is likely clear, the word “battle” is  significantly more. Primarily, “battle” refers to self-defense or non-consensual conflict. This may be a verbal or a physical altercation. Either way, we are to train in such a way that we do not retreat and have no need to retreat. That means studying and training for all possible circumstance to the best of our ability. When done so properly, out fifth code comes in to play: “In fighting choose with sense and honor” – more on that next week. In a more metaphorical sense, we are talking about determination, perseverance, duty, and courage. We all have our personal battles to fight in our jobs, in our relationships, and even in our character. We are challenged not to retreat from these personal battles, not to ignore the difficult, to keep pushing forward to attain our goals, and to become the people we were designed to be.
  James, in his New Testament letter to the church, addresses this very principle in dealing with our spiritual growth and our exposure to the Gospel. In chapter one verses 23–25, James writes, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”
 The one who heard and walked away is the one who retreated when faced with the glory of Christ in the Gospel. The one who is honorable, who courageously perseveres is the one who recognizes his/her deficiencies, and seeks to conform the image of the Son of God. This is part of the application to which Paul referred to when he said we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Soar Tang Soo Do Training 7/10 Oct.

47905-karate-kick-to-the-faceThis week’s training concentration is Jok Ki (Foot) techniques.
Be prepared for lots of foot work. Come hydrated.
Jok Ki takes Shi Sun and In Neh to execute properly. What are these terms?
Shi Sun (Focus of the Eyes) – In addition to the actual direction of your eye gaze, it’s the purpose and intent behind your techniques.
In Neh (Endurance) – The fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way.
This week’s training plan can downloaded here. 

By way of announcement, we will not have class on Monday, 14 Oct. due to the four-day weekend. 

Attitude Requirements to Master Tang Soo Do (1 – 14)

1. Purpose of training should be the enhancement of mental and physical betterment.
2. Serious Approach.
image0013. All out effort.
4. Maintain regular and constant practice.
5. Practice basic techniques all the time.
6. Regularly spaced practice sessions.
7. Always listen to and follow the directions of instructors or seniors.
8. Do not be overly ambitious.
9. Frequently inspect your own achievements.
10. Always follow a routine and truing schedule.
11. Repeatedly practice all techniques already learned.
12. When you learn new techniques, learn thoroughly the theory and philosophy as well.
13. When you begin to feel idle, try to overcome this.
       In what areas of your life are you feeling idle? Where are you not putting in the necessary effort? We all get tired, but it those who persevere who reap the rewards. 
14. Cleanliness is required after training. Keep yourself and your surroundings clean.

Meditation for the Week

friends.jpgHonor Friendship – The third code of Tang Soo Do. Like many things, the notion of friendship differs from country to country. In many Middle Eastern countries, people consider themselves “friends” the minute they meet, in some European countries, continuous contact is required in order to maintain friendship, and in the United States, both distances and caring are necessary for two people to be considered friends. Koreans place high value on trust and do not trust people unless they are affiliated in some way. Affiliation differs from person to person in Korea. Some people require that their friends belong to the same big organizations: company, school, church etc. Others consider that smaller organizations like clubs, cafes or housing can be considered as a common affiliation.
.  Consider Proverbs 17:17,  A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. Friendship is the basis of a relationship with the implied understanding of trust and dependability. A friend sticks with you when this are good and challenging. Still, when life becomes difficult, beyond your ability to handle on your own, those friends that stick by you become like family to you. Jesus said, Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). The very thing Jesus did for humanity to provide the way of reconciliation between God and man. True friendship is evidenced is our willingness to place the needs of others before our own.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Interpretation of the Hyung

Sam Dan Candidate Essay submitted September 30, 2019 to WTSDA Region 4 Ko Dan Ja Board. 

Practicing a kata is one thing, engaging in a real fight is another.
~ Gichin Funakoshi, 18th Precept

Tang Soo Do is a martial system rich in culture, tradition, and a history deeper than memory. Officially founded by Hwang Kee in Seoul, Korea, on November 9, 1945,[1] Tang Soo Do stands steadily in its own niche as a unique system. It draws from Chinese, Japanese, and, of course, Korean influences—seeking both soft, fluid grace, and a solid, foundational strength. As a martial art, Tang Soo Do was designed from and for survival and warfare. However, even from its mid-twentieth century inception, Tang Soo Do continues to strive as a traditional martial arts system seeking—in addition to self-defense—physical and spiritual health while developing the character and virtue of the practitioner.[2] A key avenue to accomplish this pursuit is in the instruction and training of hyung. From 9th Gup to Chil Dan, Tang Soo Do utilizes twenty-nine,[3] including open-hand and weapons forms, to impart its traditions, culture, strategies, and tactics. Because of the available repertoire of hyung derived from a variety of cultures and perspectives, Tang Soo Do is truly a martial art system well balanced from upper to lower body, from standing to ground, and on any imaginable terrain. The hyungs Tang Soo Do provides us are the requisite textbooks every instructor and student must study, interpret, apply, and teach. The following pedagogical method is a summary of how to do exactly that.

Ultimately, thirteen principles[4] are used to examine, interpret, and apply the information held within the hyungs. These thirteen principles assist the instructor and student in the discovery of more than simply blocking, punching, and kicking in sequence to defend oneself and debilitate an attacker. A greater meta-narrative or strategy exists in each hyung and across the compendium of the twenty-nine hyungs. At the core of each martial system is a strategy in which to overcome an assailant(s), and Tang Soo Do is no exception.[5] The strategy of Tang Soo Do held within its hyungs and its component tactics govern the use of the following principles of interpretation and application. However, tactics and strategy must not be confused. These are not interchangeable terms. Strategy is the goal; strategy is the plan. Strategy answers the “what” questions. What is the end state? What is the desired outcome? Tactics are the expedient means of achieving the strategic goal. Tactics answer the “how” question. How do I stop an assailant from attacking me? How do I move my feet, hips, shoulders, and arms to protect and counter-attack an enemy? “Subtle nuances make the difference between usable martial application and interesting yet ineffectual dance.”[6] Steve Badger observes rightly as he contrasts the differences of strategy versus tactics in poker. Mr. Badger writes,

Strategy is comprehensive planning and conduct for the long-term. Strategy gives us the course of action we take as we attempt to achieve our goals. Tactics are maneuvers we do to carry out strategy. Tactics then only make consistent sense when they are seen as an aspect of strategy, and not an end in themselves — and this explains why the way a lot of players approach the game makes little sense. They make decisions in a vacuum. Many otherwise thoughtful players, when they decide to think and talk about poker strategy, end up focusing and thrashing around various tactical ideas. They end up missing the forest for the trees.[7]

In much the same way, the Tang Soo Do practitioner learns a few combinations and a handful of body movements finding these tactics effective on most opponents. The practitioner begins to believe she has mastered the techniques. However, if an opponent adjusts the attack-line and the practitioner has a limited set of tactical techniques, then she will typically fail in her self-defense.

It is in understanding the strategy behind the tactics and techniques that allows the martial artist to creatively apply and adjust a tactic within the given context to accomplish the strategic goal, which may only be to escape the dangerous area. The Tang Soo Do student needs time to contemplate on the set of hyungs she has at her disposal to discover why the hyung requires the body to move in such a way, the purpose for a particular movement or strike, and then an interpretation of how to dynamically apply that movement or a group of movements from the hyung in an ever-changing context. The gup student, typically, is not concerned with this depth of understanding within the hyung.

In another martial arts association, first through third dan are considered to be novices in the art. Those students have learned enough foundational information to be a capable martial artist but are only just discovering the depth and breadth of understanding contained within their forms. Although the World Tang Soo Do Association (WTSDA) uses different terms, this concept parallels the development of Yu Dan Ja. It is an exciting and creative time of discovery, yet this time of development is also frustrating—having to relearn techniques, make slight muscle-chain adjustments, or re-contextualizing a series of movements for newly discovered applications. Still, without the foundational knowledge, such discoveries would remain undiscovered mysteries. The thirteen principles used to discover the importance, purpose, and interpretation of a hyung exist to serve as a plan to its understanding. The US Army teaches leaders at echelon that all missions are accomplished in four steps: plan, prepare, execute, assess.[8] In a WTSDA context, the instructor should use the following thirteen principles as a plan and method of discovery and understanding. The instructor prepares himself through experimentation and drills learning to apply the textbook of the hyung while in a controlled setting. Execution happens in the real-life defense of person or property and to a lesser degree in a sparring situation (the author admits a great deal of overlap between preparation of drill and the execution of sparring). The fourth step, assessment, happens concurrently in the phases of plan, prepare, and execute. Assessing the strategy, tactical techniques, and the ever-changing environment allows the Tang Soo Do practitioner to respond dynamically and creatively to accomplish the arts strategy. The fundamental strategy for combat within Tang Soo Do is to close the distance with economy of movement, imbalance the opponent’s center of gravity while stabilizing your own, and apply physiological damage or control to incapacitate an assailant.[9] Sun Tzu’s writings in The Art of War can be summarized as “It does not take sharp eyes to see the sun and the moon, nor does it take sharp ears to hear the thunderclap. Wisdom is not obvious. You must see the subtle and notice the hidden to be victorious.”[10] What the WTSDA requires of its Yu Dan Ja is not easy, although it is necessary to pass on its traditions and culture as each one is seeking mastery of the art.

THE PRINCIPLES[11]

  1. There is more than one proper interpretation of any movement.

“Do” in Tang Soo Do means “way or art.” Tang Soo Do is an art of body movement and mechanics. It is organic. The actual combat application derived from the hyung transcends the artificial construction of the form as a training tool. It becomes error to say there is only one sound application of a specific tactic found in a hyung. To limit the practitioner to a single application for a single movement within the hyung limits the growth of the student just as much as it limits the art itself. The practitioner is free to be creative with elements of the hyung, and creativity finds its fullness within a community of martial artists because of the the variety of physical characteristics, body types, and mental and emotional approaches to combat. What works well for one person (i.e. the 215-pound semi-pro male athlete) may not work well for another student attempting to apply the interpretation in the same way (i.e. the 125-pound female teenager). On the other hand, the serendipitous discovery of a new interpretation and application might work even better than what was developed individually. This first principle requires an open mind.

  1. Every technique should be able to end the fight immediately.

Technique is made up of three parts: timing, distance, and target. The loss of any one of these parts is the loss of tactical and strategic advantage—the loss of the art in application. Every movement in a hyung should be able to cause serious bodily harm to an assailant in the minimal time necessary to execute the technique including “blocks.”[12] In real life self-defense and combat, the practitioner does not have time to feel out his opponent. Hyungs “were developed before the advent of modern medicine, which cures injuries that would have been fatal a century ago. …the ancient masters designed every offensive technique and most defensive ones to immediately end the fight.”[13] This is why the WTSDA requires an attitude and character with a “serious approach,”  the willingness to repeatedly “practice basic techniques all the time,” and to “learn thoroughly the theory and philosophy” behind the technique all while humbly guarding against becoming “overly ambitious.”[14] the practitioner must never forget Tang Soo Do is an art of martial (appropriate to war) application.

  1. Strike to disrupt; disrupt to strike.

In a fight, the attacker is rarely going to stand in place like a punching bag or leave his arm dangling in mid-air to allow the practitioner unopposed application of his martial prowess. The martial artist needs to strike to disrupt the opponent’s balance and center of gravity or disrupt the balance to deliver a solid strike. In his life’s work, The Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musashi said, “whether fighting an enemy armed or unarmed, keep him on the defensive. Chase the enemy with your body and your spirit. This is excellent strategy. …By constantly creating difficulties for the enemy, you will force him to deal with more than one thing, giving you the advantage.” The Yu Dan Ja must develop the ability to simultaneously attack the feet, ankles, knees, head, wrists and/or elbows just to disrupt the opponent so as to strike the vital core of the body. To accomplish this principle, the practitioner has a necessity to understand how the component parts of the hyung work and how they might be combined simultaneously and in sequence. Practicing a hyung one hundred times in order to perform the shape of it is insufficient to gain the depth of understanding this principle and the previous one requires.

The first three principles work in inseparable tandem. In John Kedrowski’s work, The Lost Art of Tang Soo Do, he espouses a few essential basics an instructor should use in helping a student bring these first three principles together.[15] First, every sequence has two parts: the defense and the attack. As a student advances within the hyung, he understands what he is attacking, what he is defending, and how the counter-attack is being applied. This is the most obvious recognition; the harder of the two is imagining the invisible opponent’s initial attack, but without a clear picture of the context in the mind’s eye of the student all that remains is an “ineffectual dance.” Second, every movement has an application. Every push or pull of a body limb, the shifting of weight, the angle of the attack and counter-attack, and the placement of one part of the body on another part are all consequential clues to interpreting purpose from the hyung. Thirdly, the interpreter must be aware of the 360º angle. It might be assumed that the three sequenced high-blocks from Pyung Ahn Cho Dan are meant to be applied in a straight line, and this could be true if the rising arm is a strike. However, it is equally true the three high-blocks would turn and counter attacks from multiple directions ending with a hip-throw as indicated in the 270º turning low-block. The practitioner who keeps a multidirectional awareness is a more capable interpreter of the hyung. This leads to Kedrowski’s next assumption. Every two to five movements (sometimes overlapping) should end in a superior position placing the practitioner in control of the situation. Tang Soo Do is not a dueling art. Life protection for real violence is a potential outcome of Tang Soo Do. This is the reason for a serious approach and a thorough understanding of the strategy within the hyung.

The following principles refine and clarify the three primary principles above.

  1. Nerve strikes are extra credit.

Although dim mak has a place in Tang Soo Do, it is beyond the scope of this writing. Suffice it to say, understanding the vital points for nerve strikes is extremely useful; they do not work on everyone. The effectiveness of a nerve strike depends greatly on the mental condition and health of an individual. The Tang Soo Do practitioner should never rely solely on a nerve strike attack against a determined opponent, but rather consider them extra credit in combination with some other soft or hard tissue attack.

  1. Work with the adrenaline rush, not against it.

The human body responds to all types of stress in a variety of ways. This is also known as the  “fight or flight” response triggering a cascade of stress hormones that produce well-orchestrated physiological changes. The heart rate increases moving the hormones and a greater volume of oxygen throughout the body, breathing becomes more rapid and possibly deeper, and muscles tense with potential energy ready to be converted into kinetic energy. These changes, originating in the amygdala and hypothalamus, happen well in advance of awareness. The design of the nervous system is so efficient that the amygdala and hypothalamus begin working even before the eyes have had a chance to fully process what is happening. This is why people, before they think about what they are doing, are able to rapidly move out of a dangerous path of approach or exert atypical strength for a short period of time.[16] The same effects are also happening to the opponents, and both will suffer from reduced fine motor skills. Therefore, applications need to be straightforward and simple to execute while incapacitating the opponent. The more complicated the application is the more the practitioner must drill and practice.

  1. Techniques must work at full speed and power.

The practice of the hyung is to achieve complete mastery of all body movement. Real violence and self defense are another matter; they are messy, fast, sloppy and brutal thus working with the adrenaline rush. The goal of body movement mastery make real violence far more manageable enabling the practitioner to exert all possible power to end the aggression quickly while not allowing perfection in the moment to become the enemy of good enough.

  1. Techniques must work on an unwilling “partner.”

Although the hyungs anticipate a predictable and anatomically sound attack, as do the WTSDA one-steps, real violence is not choreographed and becomes unpredictable. The strategy of both opponents is to win, so it should not be surprising for both to become creative in application and “break” the rules of an orderly interpretation. A technique must work on the unwilling partner. To practice this, practitioners should drill the hyungs interpretation and application in a dynamic free-sparring environment[17]where your partner is unaware of the sequence of defense. Each sparring partner is to enter the contest with three to four applications in mind and attempt to apply them at random and as the context of the match allows. This is how the Tang Soo Do student practices basic techniques regularly and constantly.

  1. Deception is not real.

Within the hyungs, and arguably within most other martial systems’ forms, deception is not a tactical principle encompassed in the strategy. The hyungs were developed for individuals to defend themselves when an assailant attacks. A practitioner should never depend on deception in the midst of real violence. The deception exists before the physical confrontation knowing the martial artist has the ability to incapacitate the opponent yet de-escalates the interaction to avoid the fight altogether. In other words, if you are not there, you cannot get hit. Violence never happens in a vacuum. Each combatant has had a role in the escalation to real violence. If the battle has become unavoidable, move to the next principle.

  1. Cross the T to escape.

“Crossing the T” is a nautical warfare term[18] describing two ships that have become perpendicular allowing the broadside of one ship with its cannon battery to fire upon the unprotected bow or stern of the other vessel. This concept seamlessly translates to the Tang Soo Do practitioner adjusting and moving to a more advantageous and less defensible attack line. When forced to fight, the practitioner is constantly moving, striking, and moving again. Ideally, by the time an opponent reacts to a strike, the practitioner has moved and is striking again. Efficiency and practicality are the hallmarks of this tactic.

  1. Stances are not just for hyung.

Any built structure needs a firm foundation, or else when storms and wind blow through, the structure will fall. A building must have solid, immovable contact with solid ground. The hyungs teach the practitioner what foundation, or stance, is needed for a particular technique or series. In his seventeenth precept, Gichin Funakoshi, the father of modern karate-do, said, “beginners must master low stance and posture, natural body positions are for the advanced.” Funakoshi is not suggesting stances are unnecessary for the advanced practitioner, rather the advanced practitioner has practiced the stances so much they have become the natural stance. In Tang Soo Do, this assimilation is called moo shim.[19] Stances are used to imbalance and manipulate the opponent’s center of gravity while securing your own. Understanding the reason and purpose of stances is essential to understanding the hyung and its tactical and strategic applications. In so doing, the practitioner maintains a firm foundation at all times – ready and prepared to respond at the first hint of adrenaline rush.

  1. Don’t forget to breathe.

Breathing is essential for life; no surprise there. For all types of athletes, correct breathing is essential for maximum efficiency of body mechanics. Muscles need oxygen to work properly. The runner learns to breathe with the rhythm of her steps. She maintains a steady and methodical breathing pattern. So does the swimmer, but the martial artist uses his body differently. Sudden explosive power is necessary and quickly followed by slow deliberate movement to control a situation. Because of the wide variety of arhythmic body movements, the martial artist learns to breathe in different ways. The Tang Soo Do practitioner uses a short quick breath often combined with a yell, grunt, or kiap. The kiap accomplishes multiple tasks. It helps to focus the attack and counter-attack. When hit, the practitioner can yell to dispel the painful impact—it is the warrior’s cry. The use of the short quick breath also constricts the abdomen firming the core of the body, which allows the kinetic energy generated in the legs to transfer more easily to the upper extremities. The practitioner who simply punches without a proper kiap and without constricting the abdomen is only punching with the shoulder and arm. The practitioner who breathes correctly, tightening the abdomen, and produces the natural kiap will more quickly learn how to use the legs (i.e. the stances) and connection to the ground to strengthen both a strike with the upper body as well as strikes with the legs. Slow deliberate breathing is also required when transitioning from one stance to another and when applying pressure for a joint lock, a throw, or a clinch. A slow intentional deep breath can also prepare the body and the mind for the explosive action about to occur. Hyungs are an essential tool in teaching the student how to breathe in different ways in concert with controlled predictable body movement. The astute instructor assists the student in making this connection between the hyungs and the dynamic application of tactics and techniques learned from the hyungs.

  1. Use both hands.

Both hands are used simultaneously through the hyung in bilateral balance. A push and pull concept is often described to generate power and maximize body mechanics allowing the center of gravity to remain stable while the extremities move in orbit. This is true whether the practitioner is applying an offensive or defensive technique. Remember Kedrowski’s assumption that every two to five movements should place the practitioner in a superior position. Additionally, don’t forget to pay attention to the hand that has pulled back to the ready position. That hand likely has something in it like an arm, leg, sleeve, or lapel. Sensei Victor Smith, 6th degree practitioner of Isshin Ryu karate, asserts, “the hand returning to chamber after a block simply slides down the arm to grab it and yank backwards, or locks an arm in place.” Recognizing the ready-hand’s role when learning to interpret and apply the hyung begins to open innumerable applications. The practitioner begins to see the depth of what is actually contained in the hyung. Moreover, this principle to use both hands exhorts the student to learn the techniques from the hyung on the typical right side as well as the left side creating a balanced Tang Soo Do practitioner.

  1. A lock, hold, or throw is not a primary fighting technique.

Iain Abernethy, author of Bunkai Jutsu, wrote, “In my dojo we use the phrase ‘blow before throw,’ to remind us of the importance of striking and weakening the opponent before throwing.”[20] Abernethy goes on to describe the throw after the hit is only necessary if the strike did not incapacitate the opponent. In other words, the throw is a finishing technique… if necessary. Therefore, maintaining Kedrowski’s basic assumption of a two to five move series, a lock, hold, or throw (LHT), cannot be the first technique. Even practitioners of grappling arts, like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Judo, cannot simply walk up and apply a lock, hold, or throw on an unwilling opponent (principle 7). Disruption is a key task (principle 3) to successfully apply any LHT technique. It is far safer to incapacitate the opponent with an initial strike or combination and only apply the body-to-body contact required for a LHT when further control is required.

These thirteen principles are used to examine, interpret, and apply the information held within the hyungs. Through these principles, the instructor and student are assisted in the discovery of a greater meta-narrative existent in each hyung and across the collection of the twenty-nine hyungs of the WTSDA to discover the core strategy used to overcome an assailant(s) through identifying the importance, purpose, and interpretation of the hyung.

[1] Korean Martial Arts Tang Soo Do Black Belt Manuel. World Tang Soo Do Association; Burlington, North Carolina, 2015. p 18.

[2] ibid. p 26.

[3] ibid. p 95.

[4] Kane, Lawrence A. and Wilder, Kris. The Way of Kata: A Comprehensive Guide to Deciphering Martial Applications. YMAA Publication Center; Boston, Massachusetts, 2005. p 67-68.

[5] Many martial art styles have strategic and tactical elements in common with each other because there are only a finite number of ways the human body can move as well as a limited set of vital points where the body may be broken.

[6] Kane and Wilder, p 11.

[7] Badger, Steve. “Poker Strategy vs. Poker Tactics…aren’t the same.” http://www.stevebadger.com/poker/tactics/, accessed September 19, 2019.

[8] ADRP 5-0, Headquarters Department of the Army; Washington DC, May 17, 2012. p 1-2.

[9]   Kane and Wilder, p 46.

[10] Tzu, Sun. The Art of War. Summary of several passages.

[11] Kane and Wilder, Chapter 3. p 67-105.

[12] Blocking to simply receive a blow from an opponent in Tang Soo Do does not exist. If the defender only raises his arms as a shield so as not to be hit in the face, he has been hit in the arms. That’s not a block. A Tang Soo Do block counters an attack, and therefore becomes a counter-attack. Blocks in Tang Soo Do are strikes, dodges, and pushes against a rapidly moving target with the goal of disabling the target.

[13] Kane and Wilder. p 103.

[14] WTSDA Dan Manual. p 27.

[15] Kedrowski, John. The Lost Art of Tang Soo Do. Makala Maluhia Media, October 10, 2009. p 177.

[16] For further detail see “Understanding The Stress Response,” Harvard Health Publishing, March 2011; Updated May 1, 2018. Accessed from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/understanding-the-stress-response.

[17] The one-steps should be drilled the same way.

[18] Kane and Wilder. p 93.

[19] Moo shim (무심) or empty mind is a state of mind in which one no longer thinks or becomes preoccupied with the act of doing. The action is performed without thought. This is only achieved when the mind and body are united as one unit. This state of mind is achieved after many years of training.

[20] Abernethy, Iain. Bunkai Jutsu: The Practical Application of Karate Kata. NETH Publishing; Cockermouth, UK, 2002.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com