As I have stated before in a few of my blog posts, a LOT of thought has gone into the development of Choi Kwang Do by its founder, Grandmaster Kwang Jo Choi. After injuring himself from his days of Tae Kwon Do training, and also seeing how the blocks being taught in TKD to the Korean army were causing damage to the arms, and even breaking the blocking arms, especially when blocking someone kicking with heavy boots on he decided to change how the basic blocks should be applied.
To better understand the changes made to the TKD blocks, lets first have a look at how a TKD practitioner is expected to block. This is in no way meant to disrespect Tae Kwon Do, or any traditional martial art, I am just putting this video on here so you can compare and see the changes made. I am not knocking Tae Kwon Do in any way shape or form, just critiquing the blocks for self defence purposes. And this is not in any way shape or form meant to disrespect the instructor teaching these blocks who seems to be performing them with great skill from my limited knowledge of TKD.
One of the fundamental insights Grandmaster Choi understands is human psychology and how we react when some attack is thrown towards us. If an object is thrown towards us, our natural instinct is to shift away and use our arms to protect ourselves, so the first part of every one of the basic Choi Kwang Do blocks utilises this natural reaction and we shift our body weight away from the attack and keep our guard up. This benefits you greatly in a self defence situation as it creates distance between yourself and the attacker and gains you extra time to react to the block. As you can see in the TKD demonstration above there is no shift back of the body weight and in fact you will see some TKD practitioners teaching you to step forward towards the attacker prior to performing the block. This type of movement increases the chance of you getting hit before you even have a chance to react to the attack.
By utilizing this shift back, creating distance you are increasing your chance of defending yourself by giving yourself more time, and even if you make a mistake with the block, you are more likely to be slipping slightly out of range, or at worst, getting hit with the tail end of the punch where the power and impact diminishes.
Also, notice with the TKD blocks how complex the arm positions are. You are being attacked, so you have to get your arms first into one position, then perform the block. Your brain has very little time in which to register the attack coming towards you and send the appropriate signals to your arms on how to perform the block.This overly complex movement pattern in the TKD blocks increases the chances of you getting hit. What you will notice from the Choi Kwang Do blocks is that they are all performed from the same guard position. The arms don’t need to move to one position and then another to perform the block. By making our movements more economical we increase the chance that our block will be successful.
From his time in the military teaching TKD to the army, Grandmaster Choi noticed that when performing the blocks against opponents wearing heavy military boots, that a lot of practitioners were breaking their arms. The reason for this is the position of the arm and the part of the arm that impacts on blocking. You have two main bones in your forearm, the radius and the ulna. Traditional arts tend to use the blade of the arm, which is the outside bone in the forearm, called the ulna, to impact when blocking. This places the load of the impact solely on the Ulna bone. Also the twisting motion of the arm when performing some of the blocks can cause the radius and ulna to cross partly in the arm, causing a slight overlap which can apply extra pressure on the bones when a strong impact is made and increases the chance of snapping.
Grandmaster Choi’s philosophy is that there is no point learning self defence, if what you are practicing is actually causing the body harm. So he looked at how to reduce the chance of breaking the bones in the arm when blocking, especially when defending kicks of people wearing heavy boots. His solution was simple. In Choi Kwang Do we look to impact our blocks with both the radius and ulna bones. Spreading the impact load across the two bones and also the muscle and tissue surrounding them, giving extra padding and protection making them much safer to use.
Finally you will notice that in Choi Kwang Do blocks that while the blocking hand is being used, the other hand is kept in the same position keeping guard. This gives you an extra advantage with the fact that should after you shift back, block, and still miss the incoming technique your rear hand is there to use either for an emergency rear hand block or at the very least move to intercept the attack and jam it.
So hopefully this article will have given you a good understanding of how the Choi Kwang Do blocks have developed from the old TKD blocks and also give you a much greater appreciation of how much more of an improvement they are on traditional blocks. I hope that this article has not come across as disrespectful to Traditional Arts such as Tae Kwon Do or the people that practice it. My only aim is to highlight the differences of the Choi Kwang Do blocks and the reasoning behind them.
To compare the Choi Kwang Do blocks please take a look at the following video.
I hope you enjoy this article. If you are interested in Choi Kwang Do classes for your child, family member or yourself and are in the Bristol or Trowbridge area then please go to my web site at http://www.CKDBristol.co.uk for more information on our Choi Kwang Do classes that are great for teaching you self defence, self confidence and also keeping you fit and healthy no matter your age. We offer 2 FREE lessons to all who sign up via the web site.
If you don’t live in my area and are interested in Choi Kwang Do then please visit http://choikwangdo.com/locations.html where you can find the nearest location to you. Most of the classes offer some sort of free lessons so please take a look.
If you are already an instructor in another Martial Art and you would be interested in converting to Choi Kwang Do please go to http://choikwangdo.com/school-conversion.html or contact them by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know you found them through Master Millers blog.
Master Instructor of Choi Kwang Do.