Heel on the ground?

Discussion in 'The Instructors Room' started by Nightwing, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. Nightwing

    Nightwing Member

    In the General Choi's condensed Encyclopedia of TKD he explains on page 124 that one of the basic principles of punching (power generation) is "The rear foot in all cases must be placed firmly at the moment of impact to contain the rebound". I am curious to know what others think of this as it pertains to actual power transfer in the technique? If you look at the majority of forms the HEEL is raised and then stamped into the ground in accordance with this "principle," however the majority of people discard its use entirely when engaging in free sparring and instead perform their punching techniques with RAISED heel, much as in boxing.
    UK-Student likes this.
  3. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    I cant see how it would help power generation at all, or contain the rebound. It is true that the power of a punch comes up from the feet due to kinnetic linkage. You push off the floor, twist through with the hips and core and deliver the punch using the arm as a striking object, not the main force generator. I cant see how having the heel planted would mean you get more power though, and by keeping your heel planted you are limiting the amount you can twist with the hips. As far as I can see it would stop power development, and I cant see that having the foot planted would make you any more stable.

    As far as containing the rebound, I presume he means absorbing the force pushing against you when you deal the strike? It seems to me that having the rear foot off the ground means the Achilles tendon acts as a rubber band, absorbing some of this shock, instead of it going into your foot. This may be why he feels that there is less power, because the tendon absorbed some of it, but as far as I can tell the extra power generated from the hips would more than make up for this. Whats more having the tendon absorb the shock like when you run seems beneficial to bracing the body against the shock.
  4. Nightwing

    Nightwing Member

    I definitely hear you here. I don't really understand it myself. There is a martial arts technique called EARTHING or what Rickson Gracie calls Invisible Jiu-Jitsu whereby you use your planted foot to redirect/transfer your opponents energy into the ground. Basically, it works like this; you stand in a relaxed stance half facing your opponent while extending your front arm. Your opponent runs into it and by mentally focusing the impact into the ground (your furthest foot back) your body basically becomes like a log sticking out of the ground that your opponent impales himself on. In BJJ it's used whenever you use frames against your opponents forward pressure like in a side control escape; by focusing their energy into your planted leg and subsequently into the earth you use your skeletal structure to hold them off and not your muscles.
    UK-Student likes this.
  5. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Now that you explain it like that, it could be plausible. I do alot of weightlifting, and when squatting and dead lifting we are told to try and push through the ground with the heel, not the ball of the foot. By making your body more rigid, and less able to absorb shock, you might be better able to transfer said shock into your opponent. I still think however this would be best used to brace against an opponents move and to drive off with. I did BJJ for a while so if you could link me a video of the particular side control your talking about so I can see how it works that would be great. I can see how starting a punch by driving the heel into the floor could generate more power.

    I think if you compare it to a kick though it makes sense. With a strike, the power comes from momentum, so with a roundhouse kick, you dont plant the heel, you pivot on the ball, as this allows you to get better hip turnover and move more of your body weight into the kick. The kick might be fast, but its the weight of your body behind it that does the damage. With a push kick, you often do plant the heel. It gives you more of a solid base to push against so you can impart more pushing force into your opponent, although its at a lower speed so it is a push kick not a snap kick. I think this distinction is important. With pushing movements (push kicks, weightlifting and some aspects of BJJ) the foot planted makes sense. It is also said there are two types of punches too, pushing and snapping. For a pushed punch, where you tense the body and punch into your opponent, a planted heel might work. A snapping punch where you use your body almost like a whip would not benefit (as far as I can tell) because you are not pushing against the ground for force, you are driving your body forward as a whole and its the momentum of your body behind the punch that gives it power, not the pushing motion.

    It might also depend on range. In BJJ you are very close, so you have a limited amount of range through which to develop power so you are more dependent on the strength generated by muscles, rather than the momentum of the body because your body cant move much to get up to speed. Similarly with a rear hand uppercut the range of motion is smaller than a straight punch, so for that you could conceivably drive into the ground with your heel to get more power in. A straight right hand in comparison is less about strength and more speed. Hench pushing and snapping kicks.

    This might also explain why shorter infighters with tons of muscle can have devastating uppercuts and hooks (more muscle to generate muscular force by driving through the foot) whereas out fighters tend to have much better straight punches where they use speed and leverage to get the fist to travel fast, instead of muscular power. They can do this because they have a longer range of motion so although the muscles arent putting in as much effort you have enough space to travel your whole body through that range of motion and get up to speed. Of course that might be rubbish and infighters might be better at hooks simply because they practice them more due to necessity or something else, but its worth contemplating.

    Edit: looked on the internet a bit and looks like this is legit. Ive practiced shadow boxing doing this and I have to say, my jab and right uppercut feel alot faster / stronger. The other punches I cant make it work, but there seems to be some truth to this. Im also starting to see what you mean about patterns helping understand weight transfer between legs. Its just a shame this isnt explained very often
  6. Nightwing

    Nightwing Member

    I definitely agree with you when if comes to it being more for DEFENSE than OFFENSE. Earthing is a viable technique but I think that General Choi was mistaken when he developed his "Theory of Power" because, although he may be right in some cases I think he's really wrong in others, the sine wave is probably his worst idea. What he was trying to accomplish with it your body already accomplishes on its own- dropping body weight into techniques. This is what stances are for.

    What I think is interesting is that in the Encyclopedia he talks about how if you punch in a walking (front) stance you have to raise your attacking hand because you've lowered your body, i.e. "dropped" your body weight (when punching at your opponents solar plexus you punch at YOUR shoulder level (if your the same height)). This dropping of weight and acceleration of mass is what he then later tried to add with the Sine Wave; EVEN though it's already there?

    Probably the BEST book on power generation in punches is Jack Dempsey's "Championship Boxing," in which he explains the "TRIGER STEP" which is basically loading all your body weight on your front leg like your going to fall and then catching yourself with a step before you do- (directs all your weight forward instantly). He also discusses the power line in punching runs from your shoulder to the little finger of your fist and that the PUREST form of straight line punching is with your fist turned over in what TKD calls a Vertical Fist (wing chun punch). In this punch you strike with a three knuckle punch. The way TKD performs its straight line punches in IMPURE because they "WHIRL" from the shoulders. It's very much deserving of a read- http://taichiworkout.net/jdbook.pdf

    *Bowlie if you look at the section of Uppercuts you'll better understand the "HEEL in the ground" for that punch. I'm still with you though in MOST cases with heel on the ground limits movement (weight-power transfer).
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  7. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Thats a cool book, cheers. It seems like this would be a great way to get more power into short range movements.

    Reading the book now, its great. If you look at the way old boxers stand they do have that wing Chun style hand position. Ive also heard it debated that the power comes through your little finger, but go look in a mirror and hold out a punch at the mirror. By changing the positioning of your hand you can make a straight line from your little finder down to your elbow, or your top two knuckles. As far as I am aware, its not the knuckles that are important, its the hand positioning so that there is a straight line between them and the forearm.

    Also I misread the first bit of the part on punching. It tells you to clench your fist on impact, but i thought it meant the other hand. Try clenching your right hand as you throw a jab, and tightening your back at the same time. It seems like you also get more power that way. Makes sense too, I read in some of pavel's books that tightening the left side of the body helps the right and vice versa

    The drop step is particularly interesting to me, because its relevant to TKD. in patterns we are taught to drop down into punches, like the sine wave, but from this book its very clear that moving down doesnt create the energy, its the way the back leg absorbs that kinetic energy from gravity and changes the direction to going forwards. In light of this, the drop in a sitting stance punch is not completely pointless. Possibly too in straight punches from walking stance, because the down motion is not happening at the beginning of the movement to generate forward force, it is mid movement in a purely downward motion, unless im mistaken. To get any benefit from the downward motion you then need to transfer it into forward motion at the last second, and I cant see how you would do this if you are standing directly on top of the load bearing leg. The whole point is that having the leg diagonally changes the direction of the force, like a tennis ball bouncing off of a wall. If it is straight on, not diagonal, the force just comes straight back at you instead of changing direction. As far as I can tell, because you are coming down while the punch is traveling, and your foot lands as the punch does, any forward momentum happens too late to help.

    Unless the idea is to allow yourself to fall forwards and catch the fall on the front foot at the same time as the punch lands, in which case it could work. But this is not how I was taught. The patterns emphasis control as much as power, and falling into something shows lack of control.
  8. Ivor

    Ivor Member

    the theory of "planting" the rear foot as you deliver the technique is based in physics - it also requires the rear leg to lock straight at the knee (so doesnt really work for anything other than walking stance), this basically makes your body a more solid structure as you mentioned in the rickson gracie post i.e. when you deilver the technque in this type of stance, ALL the power goes forward into the opponent.
    However there was a very good Fight Science programme that totally destroyed the idea, they used 5 different martial artists and got them all to punch to establish who had the hardest impact, it was of course the boxer, who lifts the heel of the rear foot and rotates right into the technique - way way harder than anyone else if memory stands the test of time, the TKD practitioner was a heavy weight world champ - i think he was 2nd or 3rd.
  9. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    When people talk about the 'power' and 'force' behind a punch its just momentum, how much of your bodyweight are you transferring into your opponent, and how fast? It looks like this technique would be good at a range where you could not get full extension, had had to instead compensate for that by using more muscular force, and this could be a viable option. In the example you gave, the person was moving into it, so it seems like this would make a great defensive short range weapon.

    Its possible, however, that by using, say the trigger step above you could conceivably move into a punch by lunging into it and at the last second push off of the floor with your rear heel for extra force. The only thing that Im confused about is if you can actually generate more force with the heel than with the ball of the foot. I just looked up some videos on you-tube and sprinters push off the blocks with the ball, not the heel. By removing the ankle joint you are removing the effect of the calf muscle as well. The only way i could see this helping is if you could do the technique normally, and then push the heel into the floor at the point of impact
    Ivor likes this.
  10. Nightwing

    Nightwing Member

    You CAN"T perform a drop to trigger step technique which pushes your body STRAIGHT FORWARD and then perform a shoulder whirl type punch due to the fact that you'd then be trying to redirect your BODY WEIGHT in another direction other than straight. This is why General Choi says that all techniques begin with a BACKWARDS movement. If your weight is already on your back leg, as in a back stance, then there would theoretically be no telegraphing of the movement.

    With your weight already BACK in order to shift it forward you would PRESS OFF the BACK LEG while TURNING it from 90 degrees to 45 degrees (you do this by pushing the HEEL down and into the ground). My TKD instructor called it EARTH MOVEMENT. The push off and slight turn DURING the push propels your body forward while at the same time FREEING your hips to ROTATE into the technique (your stacking forward momentum WITH turning momentum) allowing you to thereby perform shoulder whirl type punches.
  11. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Another interesting part of the book is blocking, I think its worth discussing here instead of starting a new thread. He asserts that evasion is best, followed by parrying, followed by blocking and I think I can agree. In light of this, would you say a relaxed, forward guard similar to mma fighters so you can parry would be better than a tight close boxing guard that absorbs blows instead of parying?
    Ivor likes this.
  12. Nightwing

    Nightwing Member

    I would say that it depends on the situation. There are 5 ways to respond to any attack all of which are obviously based on the situation you find yourself in, your level of skill and the time afforded you to respond to it.

    The 5 responses are: block, deflect,parry, evade and counterattack. The lowest form of defense is BLOCKING; which I define as "the use of a "barrier" (either non-structured or structured) to stop an attack from hitting you completely". This is why in Jack Dempsey's book its the first thing you learn because it teaches you the simplest form of defense and, in most cases, the quickest (simply putting your arm up in front of a punch). *STOPS ENERGY

    Once your capable of recognizing and defending (covering up/blocking) an attack you should then begin to work on redirecting the attack in some fashion by DEFLECTING it. I define deflecting as "changing the angle/direction of an attack by bouncing it off a superior structure"; similar to how bullets ricochet off walls. An example of a deflection in Jack's book is his defense of a straight to the body by "low blocking" it outward (I called it a low BLOCK because that's its name in TKD- not actually a "block" as defined). *OVERCOMES ENERGY WITH SUPERIOR ENERGY

    I personally separate deflecting and parrying because I see them as two separate things. I define a PARRY as " any motion that redirects an attacks energy in the DIRECTION of the attack's energy". For instance a jab in boxing can be PARTIALLY parried if you open palm "slap" it to the inside because its a shoulder whirl type punch and the body weight behind it is going in that direction. HOWEVER, to be a FULL parry as defined you would have to also redirect it forward; as in towards your own body. The way you do this is by changing your 'slap' from outward-inward to a circular motion (forward, inward, in) (wrist is good, elbow is great). *BORROWS ENERGY

    Next is EVADE which I define as "any maneuver which positions your body out of line of attack WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY allowing you to attack freely". In Mark MacYoung's book "Secrets of Effective Offense" (Great book) he talks about the term FENCE; which he basically defines as the blending of offense and defense; fencing-FENCE. Obvious example of this is slipping punches in boxing; you always slip to the OUTSIDE which opens your opponent for an attack while robbing him of the ability to attack (step ahead). *EXPENDS ENERGY BY POSITIONING

    Lastly and ultimately there's the counter-attack. I define counter-attacking as "defending an attack WITH an attack that either, simultaneously dodges the attack, or "covers" the attack while attacking". An example of the former is countering a jab with a right CROSS and an example of the latter is use of an uppercut to defend a hook (both found in Jack's book). *BORROWS, RE-DIRECTS AND ADDS ENERGY
    John McNally likes this.
  13. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    The foot been planted after use of Knee spring that works with the hip twist pushes this rotation of hip in the direction of the punch, the same is said with the hip twist in to L-Stance, again remember that, in X-stance there are seperate guides to uttilise a punch to its maximum.
    Perhaps better explained in class.
  14. Nightwing

    Nightwing Member

    If you can't explain it here, what makes you think you would be able to in a class setting. Anyway, you talk about knee spring which leads me to believe you practice Sine Wave which as we all know was a ridiculous "invention" by General Choi in an attempt to make TKD different from Karate and other like styles, in that it gave TKD practitioners something to say "look our art is different 'cause we have this and you don't". Sine Wave doesn't work in real fighting, doesn't add power in an efficient way to techniques and needs to be forgotten as quickly as possible.
    *On a side note when TKD was supposedly used to kill people in the jungles of Vietnam it DIDN'T have sine wave.
    John McNally likes this.
  15. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    LOl you do make me smile, no sine wave is a way to help students understand how they can increase thier body mass, and i do not get my students to use it in real life situations, unless the oppourtunity arises, however body drop is very useful.
    Remember there are many arts that teach many positions that you would not use in the street but would use in class for stregnth training and ballance etc.
    Many times a student asks a question of why we do certain aspects, i then explain.
    Many do not sometimes see the result until they understand it.
    I love to hear questions and love to be asked them, i also love to discuss these with persons that discuss but use an intelligent and respectfull manner.
  16. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    Okay so lets say there is a bend in the arm or a bend in the leg or a bend in the ankle to floor, all will act to absorbe any contact.
    If at the end of hip twist and connection all are straight then there is no absorbtion.
    the knee spring is like the string on a bow.
    Pushing the arrow forward, the hip been the arrow and the hand been the tip.
  17. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    Also lets not forget the importance of an effective block, block a punch correctly and you could break a wrist or fore arm, even a shin.
    Therefore the attack is finished.
  18. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Yeah, from practicing I would agree with this, it does limit the range of the shot slightly, but at increased power, so it depends when you use it.

    If the muscles around the bend are actively trying to straighten it though, would that not cancel this out?
  19. Nightwing

    Nightwing Member

    This all works when the end goal is "absorption" (as in accepting energy) and is something I covered previously when I discussed EARTHING above. If the goal, however, is "transference" of lets say your own body weight (read that as power) into techniques than what you describe will not work. If your stamping your heel into the ground, as is done in the sine wave movement, your transferring your body weight downward into the ground will at the same time attempting to transfer it forward when punching; all this does is effectively 'cause a "tug of war" between your arm and your body and cripples the technique immensely. The only way to effectively use earthing for transference is what I also suggested above; pushing OFF (not into) the ground with your heel to drive your body forward. The only drawback from this is, as Bowlie said, a shortening of the technique, not to mention the fact that its a highly unnatural movement. Also, as previously stated above, stance changes are always accompanied by body drops to begin with thereby making sine wave irrelevant from the start.

    *By the way John, according to General Choi, front kicks cannot be executed above your own solar plexus due to the fact that that's the maximum height you can deliver them without beginning to kick upwards instead of forwards. When executed incorrectly front kicks can cause less flexible people to overcompensate by leaning their upper bodies back and bending their base leg too much consequently making it easy for them to be knocked off balance during the kicks associated impact.
  20. John McNally

    John McNally Active Member

    Trust me i do not require reminding of kicks, however the stamping of the foot to the ground is not correct interpretaion its the straightening of the leg that pushes the hip forward, to jump you have to bend then jump up, baybe that helps understanding where i am coming from, kicks are altogether different.
  21. bowlie

    bowlie Well-Known Member

    Just heard Iains take on this in a podcast. He thinks that you dont punch with your heel on the ground, you straighten the leg as you punch, so it ends up with the heel on the floor. The heel on the floor isnt the important part of it, its the fact you are pushing with that back leg and that brings all of the muscles in your body into it.

    It could well be that Choi saw karateka put their back foot on the floor as they punch in patterns, and presumed that that meant it was for more power, just as he did with the reaction hand.
    Ivor likes this.

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