Master Brian R. Malm, 7th Dan


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The basics of Taekwon-Do are very important; they are the foundation which all other techniques are built upon.  With weak or sloppy basics, you will have difficulty learning the advanced techniques.  You must master each technique before moving on to more difficult ones to ensure you have proper muscular strength and coordination by developing good stances, proper kicks, blocks, and attacks.  In doing so, you must also learn to use your hips and reaction force correctly.

Stances are the foundation that give each technique power. Without proper stances, the student will lack stability and strength.  If the student has a poor stance when striking or blocking, more of the force will be absorbed into his body than into his opponent, causing the technique to lose its effectiveness.  It is also important to use the right stance at the appropriate time (timing), since different techniques are more effective in some stances than others.  The proper use of stances is best taught through the various patterns or forms.

Plante and Gen Choi

The starting position for every technique is called a chamber. Chambering each technique ensures a proper starting position to utilize the correct angle for attack and defense. It also helps create reaction force and hip utilization for more power. Improper chamber position can lead to ineffective attacks and blocks and a loss of power.

Blocks are a very important part of Taekwon-Do.  Without them, you would have no opportunity to strike or kick back since one should be only using Taekwondo for self defense.  Some blocks are used to stop all motion of the attack, but most deflect the attack away from the student.  To only know each block is not enough.  The student must learn the proper timing of the incoming attack in order to block at the correct time.  The student must also learn the proper use of each block.  Specific blocks are designed for specific areas of the body and/or attacks.  A low block, for example, would have little effect on a punch delivered to the face.


Hand strikes and attacks are for medium and close range fighting.  The student should learn to use his hands and feet together to move in and out of range from his opponent.  By changing from hands to feet and back again, the student makes it more difficult for the opponent to block his attacks.  Since the hands are faster than the feet, they should be used whenever possible and you are in range.

Kicks, especially the high ones, are what Taekwon-Do is famous for.  Unlike Karate, Taekwondo teaches high kicks, especially to the head and body.  Some say that jump kicks were originally developed to kick the invading Japanese soldiers off their horses.  The feet are more powerful and have a longer range than the hands making them a formidable weapon.  Many Koreans felt that the use of the hands were for writing and art and should not be damaged by fighting with them.  They found that with much practice, the feet could be used to deliver powerful, accurate attacks with more range than the hands.


Jesse break

The hips generate power.  If the kicks, blocks, and attacks are performed without moving the hips, there will be very little power.  The hips should turn the direction of the attack or block.  If the hips turn away from the direction of the technique, power will be lost.  Body unity is very important in creating power, and the hips keep the body moving together.  For this reason it is important to do abs and core training to develop connective power between the upper and lower parts of the body.

Reaction force is the equal and opposite force which creates balance in the body and adds power to each technique.  In a strike or block, the reaction force is the hand that returns to the side in the opposite direction.  This is true of most hand techniques and is also true in kicking.

Taekwon-Do is a beautiful and powerful art that requires diligent practice and training. The student should focus on improving their basics by including proper hips, stance, chamber, and reaction force. In doing so they will see their power improve as well as fluidity and execution of each and every technique!



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