Taekwon-Do is Always Changing

In General Choi’s later books he describes dozens of stances, hand attacks and defences, foot attacks and defences, and stepping methods. However, in his early material there were far fewer techniques. The offensive kicks in the 1965 Taekwon-Do book consisted of only the excellently named destroying kick (front snap kick, turning kick, back snap kick, twisting kick, reverse turning kick and stamping kick), thrusting kick consisting of side and back kicks and pressing kick, which now includes inward and outward versions. There was a consecutive kick but no combination kick, and the flying kicks were limited to front, turning, twin foot front, side, high, midair, grasping, punching and overhead kicks.

For defense with the feet, the range was similar to what we have now, with rising, crescent, waving, checking and hooking kicks. Also included was foot tackling (sweeping while grabbing the opponent), which we now categorise as attacks.

Our walking stance was then called forward stance; L stance was back stance. Low stance has since been divided from forward low and back low into low stance and possibly fixed stance, although fixed stance was already listed in the ’65 book.

Among the hand techniques a few blocks have been discarded. I remember the old black belts when I started training saying that there are no blocks in Taekwon-Do, only more strikes. And in fact, the Striking Block is a testament to that. It was explained as the intention “to shatter the opponent’s striking point before it reaches the vital spot by making the opponent painful”.

The Grasping block is obscure but still with us (you must play with it sometime), but twisting block and pulling block are gone. Twisting block was for breaking the opponent’s balance and pulling block was used to assist strikes. The Sweeping block was, I believe, to be renamed luring block wherein you deliberately create an opening for the opponent to attack so that you can put them off-balance.

As a final example, twin forearm block is still with us but now we chamber it at the front chest – it was originally prepared with both hands at the rear hip.

So, it certainly seems that Taekwon-Do is an evolving Art; who knows what dreams may come.

Brendan Doogan, 5th Dan

Dragon’s Spirit. Papatoetoe