Modified Chang-Hon Patterns

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by L'Aquila, Jun 30, 2022.

  1. L'Aquila

    L'Aquila New Member

    Hi there, I’m seeking the forum’s views on the modifications I’ve had to make in my performance of some of the Chang-Hon patterns.

    I’m 57 and a 4th degree ITF black belt. Last October, after struggling for a decade with crippling osteoarthritis in each knee, I underwent a total bilateral knee replacement. I’m making a good recovery fitness-wise, walking a couple of kilometres every morning, and I returned to TKD training a couple of months ago. While my kicking skills are returning (slowly), my flying skills are non-existent and may never return. Basically, I can’t jump with any confidence and don’t really want to see what might happen if I land awkwardly. So I’ve had to modify my performance of the various movements that ask me to jump in order to accommodate this fear of flying.

    The coloured belt patterns don’t present a problem until Choong-Moo (ironically enough, the name of the TKD school I founded over 20 years ago). In that pattern, there are two flying techniques that I’ll probably never be able to perform again. In movement 9, instead of attempting a flying side piercing kick, I’m now doing a stepping side piercing kick with the right foot; in movement 19, instead of performing the 360 degree jump (which would be especially difficult as I would have to generate not only lift but also rotation, never mind overcoming the fear of landing painfully), I now perform the slightest of vertical jumps and land in L stance with a knife hand guarding block.

    The first degree patterns are fine, except for Gye-Baek. In that pattern, I need to manage the flying side kick in movement 23 in the same way I do in Choong-Moo.

    The second degree patterns are more problematic. Eui-Am is tough with all those reverse turning kicks, but I’m getting there with some difficulty and having to compromise on height – but at least there’s no flying involved. Nor is there in Choong-Jang; however, in that pattern, I can’t get down to the floor to perform the high turning kick in movement 12, which in turn affects the performance of movement 13, the high punch. For those two movements, I’m doing a front leg turning kick from the right low stance (aiming for a middle height kick but settling for low, given the awkward starting position) followed by a high obverse punch in walking stance – but I’m then not sure what to do with the reaction arm since ‘pressing the ground with the left palm’ is clearly impossible and impractical at that point. I’m settling for the regular ‘return to hip’ technique. Ju-Che? Forget it (for all the obvious reasons and then some)! I’m doing Ko-Dang, the OG version, end of story.

    Funnily enough, the third degree patterns are all fine, with the exception of the 360 degree jump in Sam-Il which I treat as I do in Choong-Moo. Not saying they’re easy, of course: the consecutive kicks in Yoo-Sin and Choi-Yong are killing me, but not because of my fake knees – more to do with increasing age and declining flexibility. One will return with hard work, the other not so much.

    For some reason, General Choi decided to put spinning mid-air kicks into all of the fourth degree patterns. Each of these I treat as a stationary back kick, 'nuff said. The flying high kick in movement 27 of Ul-Ji becomes a stationary front snap kick, as high as I can make it, but movement 34 has got me baffled. There’s no way I can jump backwards, so I’m settling for three backwards shuffles or skips while maintaining a right L stance. Looks ridiculous, but I see no other way out. Moon-Moo is challenging at the best of times, and one day next year I will have managed the slow mo side piercing, reverse hooking and back piercing kicks plus the high twisting kicks well enough to see me scrape a pass at my 5th degree grading (or so I tell myself).


    L'Aquila IV
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Well-Known Member

    When your physical capabilities are modified by age or injury, you need to make modifications to how you train. You do not need to justify that to anyone.
  3. L'Aquila

    L'Aquila New Member

    Thanks FC. My modifications go well beyond just removing jumping from patterns....I don't really spar, don't hit the focus pads or shields with much real impact (but I'm working up to heavier contact as the knees allow) and I certainly don't try to break the re-breakable boards with anything but my hands. And I make no apologies (or seek justification) for any of that. My instructors are my son and my best mate, and they both saw me hobbling around on crutches not 8 months ago, so...

    I'm more wondering what anyone thinks of the amendments I've made to the various patterns movements I listed. I appreciate that's only really relevant to anyone who does the Chang-Hon patterns, and is a senior BB at that.

    Flying Crane likes this.
  4. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I think the amendments you've made sound eminently sensible. For your Ul Ji how would two double steps work out? Might take you too far I suppose, and there's be a slight variation in line. We don't do Moon Moo until we are 5th, which as a 53 year old 4th hoping to grade again, I'm very grateful :D

    Ho do you get on with bending ready stance?
  5. L'Aquila

    L'Aquila New Member

    Hi Mitch

    I wondered about those backwards steps in Ul-Ji, and I think you're probably right. Two double steps with a distinct emphasis on performing each with a correct guarding block may be better than what I've been doing (which is faintly hopeless at best). A bit like movement 29 in Choi-Yong where we go for a bit of a walk midway through the pattern ('move the left foot to C and the right foot to C', etc), only in reverse. The problem is the instructions don't specify how far one is meant to leap backwards...and as if anyone can really measure such a thing! Ul-Ji is a pretty weird pattern IMO - it was one of the earliest created and I feel that shows somewhat.

    Seems you and I are are in similar boats vis a vis Moon-Moo and grading requirements. While I will need to perform it as a 58yo for my 5th degree grading, you'll be doing it around the same age. It sure doesn't get any easier with age (I started learning it over 10 years ago after grading to 4th, then had a huge break from training because of the knees).

    The bending ready stance is really tough, especially in slow motion!!

    Mitch likes this.

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