Practical applications of patterns

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by Monkey_Magic, Oct 8, 2018.

  1. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    I’m curious to know if there’s any material (books, DVDs, etc) that explains patterns’ applications in a way that’s easily accessible.

    Ian Abernethy has explained the practical applications of karate kata. Does anything similar for ITF patterns exist that’s easy to understand?
  2. Simon

    Simon Moved on Admin Supporter MAP 2017 Koyo Award

  3. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Moved on MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I had one of Johns books. About as direct a process as you could ask for and it's packed with the pics and explanations.
  4. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Seeing as itf patterns are essentially (mostly) shotokan karate kata chopped up and rearranged to look nice, with a sprinkling of korean spice, you can go a long way with looking at Iain Abernethy's kata work. Applications for the basic blocks, obverse punches, other recognisable traditional techniques, whole sections of patterns, etc.
    His work would be my first stop.
    John titchens work is also great for karate kata as mentioned above.
    I like Matt Sylvester's 'back to the roots' tkd book but feel it veers to far into the abstract and sees far more in the patterns than is really there. But he shows a really good break down of what makes good applications and a way of looking at patterns beyond the punch/kick/block dynamic.
    Stuart Anslow's work is by far the most exhaustive break down of itf patterns and his output, considering he's one man working alone, puts whole tkd associations and organisations to shame. His books are required purchases for any itf student imho. I think some of his applications are sometimes too contrived in order to fit the patterns (as the patterns aren't put together to be practical) but there's some solid stuff in there that is leaps and bounds beyond the nonsense you see in most tkd books.
    People showing a twin forearm block thwarting 2 attacks from 2 different people for example.
    There are various tkd people on YouTube and Facebook looking at tkd pattern applications. Russ Martin of the tagb for example.
    You can also make strides yourself by applying some basic rules of thumb that apply to most pragmatic kata and pattern interpretations. Be at close range, both hands are busy, employ the chamber positions as flinches and blocks, reaction hands have things (wrists, lapels, sleeves, hair, faces) in them when they retract, etc.
    I'm currently putting together a mini seminar for my instructor that runs through the whole of Dan gun with, imho, practical applications for each technique and/or combination cribbed from all the sources mentioned (and my own thinking on the subject) if you want to discuss things here.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  5. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    I've been lucky enough to meet most of the people I've mentioned there, and trained with the three that are actively teaching (Abernethy, Titchen and Anslow) and would recommend all of them for seminars that will undoubtedly improve your martial arts.
  6. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    Thanks guys - good stuff!

    I wonder why the main taekwondo organisations seem to teach little or nothing about the practical applications of patterns. It seems like an important omission. (Mind you, there are enough kung fu schools that fail to teach the practical applications of forms too.)
  7. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Because they don’t know them

    Bunkai in kata was lacking/forgotten for some time in the karate world so patterns based of an already diminished knwoeldhe base will reflect that

    TKD is its own animal now, but the vestiges of its karate origins are still in the patterns so for application purposes it’s better to look there in my view
  8. Hannibal

    Hannibal Cry HAVOC and let slip the Dogs of War!!! Supporter

    Oh and definitely get John Titchens books - John is first rate and is one of my technical advisors for HAVOC JKD...that’s how much I rate him :)
    axelb likes this.
  9. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    There are multiple reasons I think.
    Quite simply there are high graded instructors that just don't know any applications (beyond the limited and flawed punch/kick/block stuff you see in most books). They'd have to admit that lack of knowledge to address it.
    IMHO General Choi had no idea what he had in his hands (the DNA of okinawan karate) let alone anyone that came after him (much like when Karate when mainstream and into the education system). Rather than admit they've been teaching a partial art they carry on as if everything is OK.
    In some cases it's flawed tradition. People just doing what they've always done and applications just aren't part of it. So they aren't done. There are whole sections of the TKD encyclopedia that have fallen into obscurity (kneeling, floor defences, throws, breakfalls, forging equipment, etc).
    Some places are more concerned with sport sparring and that side of TKD. So patterns are relegated to just doing them for grades.
    Some people just don't see an issue. They think TKD is fine being taught as it is (after all if made them into the people they are!) so there's nothing to address.
  10. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Stuart Anslow's books are excellent (ITF Taekwondo)

    Here's a review I did back when they first came out Ch'ang Hon Taekwon-do Hae Sul
    Mitch likes this.
  11. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    I'd make similar recommendations, with the addition that John Titchen's books bring methodology to working on applications for yourself in a way others tend not to.

    As for others working on applications, I think a big problem is time. Most students train for 2-3 hours per week, and during that have a pretty full syllabus to study, in addition to progressing their sparring, padwork etc.
  12. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Ditch 3, 2 and 1 step in favour of structured and grade specific 2 person pattern application drills instead.
    Make some of the padwork a better reflection of pattern applications and the use of "traditional" and self defence related techniques rather than just sport specific or sparring techniques.
    Make the sparring more varied and introduce formats and scenarios where pattern applications start to have more use.
    Make getting a TKD black belt take 10 years rather than 4/5 in order to fit in the extra content.
    Make pattern applications an integral part of gradings. Hell even making them a part of gradings after black belt would be a step in the right direction IMHO. It really would make getting a black belt the start of serious training if you made people go back and revisit all the patterns they know (although in reality, for the most part, they can perform them solo but don't actually "know" the pattern to use them) and actually break down how to use them and demonstrate that.
    Stop "theory" being about learning korean terminology and rote memorisation of pattern interpretations and actually introduce some theory on how this stuff could be used.

    Students may only have 2-3 hours per week but they have many years to learn if getting a good understanding of TKD is actually important. Time (or lack of it) only becomes an issue if there has to be gradings every 3 months and black belt is an expected result in 3-5 years.
    Ben Gash CLF and Thomas like this.
  13. Monkey_Magic

    Monkey_Magic Well-Known Member

    A key challenge is that many (most?) taekwondo students are children. How might they learn at least something about patterns’ applications?

    True. Though I wonder if knowing the applications could make patterns easier to remember and learn.
  14. Smitfire

    Smitfire Cactus Schlong

    Certainly some of the more brutal applications would be problematic to teach to children but many of them would be fine to teach.
    And of course the children are already being taught to kick people in the head which is pretty brutal in itself.
    As mentioned I'm going to teach a higher grade (blue belt and above) session on applying dan-gun and some of the people there will be kids.
    The first part will be applying moves 1-4 as a flinch block, clinch and strike counter attack, index the target with one hand and punch with the other. First done as in the pattern, then gently with a partner, then with some more resistance and 'dirt' and then on pads for impact. Ideally it would then go into scenario drills and padded pressure testing but I think people will have enough to get their heads around just with that little lot. There's nothing in there that's out of reach of suitably clued up kids. But of course it's easier to put that into a realistic context with adults.
    Monkey_Magic likes this.

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