Poomsae Boonhae (Forms Analysis)

Discussion in 'Taekwondo Patterns' started by Oerjan, May 28, 2013.

  1. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    I thought it would be fun to see how people analyse their forms for combative meaning or if they even do that at all. If you do analyse your forms for practical applications (Eungyoung) it would also be highly interesting to see what those applications are. We do have a thread for "Tul" so for clarity sake I want us to focus on either the Kukkiwon Poomsae or techniques contained within them in this thread. I can gladly start with one technique the low block in the Kukkiwon chamber (The Chang Hon derived schools tend to chamber a different way, but in the Kukkiwon we first extend one arm low and in front of us, and lift the other up to the opposite ear before pulling the arm in front of us to our hip and the arm with our ear is changed into a low block position).

    I have nothing against using the simple blocks as deflections and defensive techniques, but here I have opted to look away from the label "Low block" and just looked purely on the movement of the technique. It also fits in nicely with the forms follow up a middle section punch with the other hand on the hip, the opponent bends forward either from a pain reaction (a hammer fist to the groin) or as a flinch so he does not get a hammer fist to the groin. You punch his head (choose a suitable vital point) while controlling him with the other arm (the hand that goes to the hip)
  2. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    A few helpfull Korean terms:
    • Boonhae (분해) is the Korean pronounciation of Bunkai. It means to take apart but I do not find this to be a good term on its own, coupled with "Hae Sul" (look below) would make a lot more sense..
    • Bonseok (분석) means analysis and is a better term in my opinion than boonhae in itself.
    • Hae Sul (해설) means "indepth study" or "explanation" and can be used together with Boonhae to describe the study of forms by taking them appart, or it can be used on its own (i.e Poomsae Il Jang Hae Sul)
    • Eungjoong (응용) means practical application. This is what you find after doing boonseok (analysis)
    • Byonhwa(변화 ) means variation. "Variation on an application. After doing bunkai to find an oyo, we may then ponder what adaptations could and would be necessary depending on changes in responses or circumstances and how could these variations be achieved"-Ciarân McDonald
  3. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Nice. I will say that my interest in playing with applications of Poomsae is just that - playing. I believe the Poomsae teach principles more than actual techniques. BUT, looking for practical applications from the learned movements is a great way to see if one can apply those principles learned and encourages creativity and lateral thinking in applying them.

    Two idea points from Kukkiwon texts that are relevant here are 1) The Kukkiwon website encourages the learner to experiment and find out the practicability of the movements, BUT 2) The Kukkiwon website also states that there are more movements in the forms than are needed for practical use. I understand this to mean that not every movement has a practical use (some more philosophical or symbolic), and some may be more practical under application than others.

    As regards low block, I would say the height of the chamber hand is adjustable if it is to be used for pulling, and I would use the block hand to block at the top or bottom extreme of its motion.

    In the case of your application Oerjan, I would use the top of the block (hand at the ear) to slip the punch and move outside the opponents elbow, with the chamber hand performing a palm heel to the face, then immediately grabbing clothing on the inside of the opponents arm or shoulder to pull whilst delivering the strike to the danjun rather than the groin. This is a strike I have taken accidentally on a couple of occasions and it is way more debilitating than a groin shot. It's also more easily within reach in Apseogi.
    Try it! :p

    The punch that follows and its pulling hand can be applied to the kidney, armpit, the floating ribs, solar plexus, side of the head or as a neck twist with both hands depending on what targets present themselves after the low blow.

    OK, here's another: the first anmakgi...

    If opponent punches with right hand haymaker. We block with the outstretched chamber, with either the fist or bakkatpalmok (more reliable) surface meeting the Lung 5 point on the opponent's striking arm (in the crook of the elbow. This is very painful for him. We convert this to a grab and pull, pulling him low and very close to our chest and striking to the side of his neck with the 'block'. Should be a KO, but if not we can use the punch as necessary or again as a neck twist.

    For the same block, if the opponent is a lefty, then the chamber hand does the blocking to slip the punch past our right ear, then the anmakki is applied to the outside of the opponent's elbow or shoulder using our neck as a lever on his wrist to achieve a crude lock to cause him to bend forward and sideways. The punch is delivered to a vulnerable area to achieve a KO, probably the temple is available. Again the neck twist is available or the punch can be converted to hammerfist against the base of the skull if other targets are hidden.

    The ideas of pulling to unbalance, diverting a strike with a block, performing 2 independent movements simultaneously, using footwork and waist twist and locking are all inherently taught in poomsae in principle. There is nothing new here...
  4. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    It might be the same way of thinking but only semantics playing around here, but I thought the Poomsae had to have actual techniques to convey the principles (at least the combative ones). There are of course a lot of movement principles going on in Poomsae, but I also think that they convey combative principles (strategy), but you need to have actual tactics (techniques) to convey that strategy. But I do feel we are on the same page here, it is just the way we word our thoughts that are a little different?

    The Kukkiwon textbook also stresses point one, but while training in Korea the great emphasis was always pure movement and only some rare instances were we shown applications to the forms. My experience of other Dojang over the world tells the same tale that finding the practical applications to movements are neglected, overlooked or simply not done at all.

    Point two I have also noted when studying, but I have always thought that it meant that we have 17 Poomsae in Kukkiwon, studying a few indepth will provide you with all that you need, but some Poomsae will fit some people better than others so Kukkiwon provides a broad framework that we can all work within. In the past masters would "only" know 1-5 forms but they would study them indepth, while the Kukkiwon today provides 17 forms for us to choose from (Yes movement wise you only learn one form at a time, and in a particular order, but when you have mastered your basics around first degree black belt you have 9 forms to choose from).

    Good and often overlooked point. The Poomsae never varies, but the applications will always be dictaded by the current situation.

    That is what I would label a "Byonhwa" a variation to an application, as it does need some minor "tweaks" to fit the movement (at least the way I picture it). The "Byonhwa" is one important part of the reason why masters of old would get by with a lot fewer forms than we usually practise today and thank you for providing it:) I will certainly try it out the next time I get someone to test applications with me but I am not sure I can convince them of taking a hammer fist to the Danjun as I think it might hurt a lot:p Interesting choice of target though, I have never really concidered the Danjun as a valuable target, but then again I have never experienced being tagged there. Thank you for bringing it to my attention:) This thread has been worthwile allready:)

    Your An makki applications are also highly interesing. I will put them on my "Things to try out" on my next "Taekwondo playdate".

    Now nothing new movement wise, but many do not see it or refuse to see it. If you only learn striking and blocking then that is what you see. Today many Taekwondoin only experience combat through sport sparring and in the Kukkiwon system many only experience it through Olympic sparring.
  5. NoBullShitFighting

    NoBullShitFighting Active Member

    I m so happy to see what seems to be a return for interest for Boon Hae of Poomsae.

    Obviously the movements can be interpreted very conservatively, like aremaki is a low block and it is followed by bandi chirigy and that is the only application. But I think the term Boon Hae should include something hidden, something less obvious.

    Therefore I have a more interpretative outlook, I have been critisized for letting blocks count as offensive techniques. It is a legit critisism, for instance: Momtang maki interpreted as hammerhand, however, the terminology is clear in that maki means a block. My defense for this has been that as a system of it's own Il Jang benefits from having side hammerhand as an alternative to a sloppy haymaker of the layman, as it is faster, targets weak spots better, a little less telegraphing, better body momentum, puts less strain on the body, lesser risk and higher reward move, thus it is more martial artsy but makes use of a common attack strategy, it builds on the shoulders of what came before it.

    The fact that haymakers are frequent in streetfights adds to my perception of momtong maki applied as a hammerhand being a useful interpretation, why not let them be both defensive and offensive? Besides, pattern is a training exercise both for the body and the mind, the mind should be free to interpret the movement and make the content its own: If you are going to practise a single movement a hundred times, pick a movement that can be applied in different ways. If you were to loose a hand you would probably prefer to keep the one that you are more dominantly using.

    So I am just making a point here. Because people will say: That is not a good interpretation, but are they comming from a conservative point of view, meaning it is bad because it is out of context with the rest of the pattern or terminology, or has to few components of the entire movement in itself. For instance, in the keumgang maki technique the interpretation Oerjan showed me had the guy standing on both feet, not with one foot in the air as in the pattern. Then you have the more liberal critisism of boon hae, mening that the interpretation is not usefull or to hard to apply. For instance in one picture a guy defends from a knife attack by making the attacker drop his knife down on his foot, next picture the knife is in the attackers stomach. That could be cirisized for not being very realistic. Both critisisms are important, the concercative approach makes sure that the pattern is a good way to remember and practise movements, the liberal/interpretative apprach makes sure one gets full use.
  6. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    I like what my teacher once said: "Nothing is hidden, everything is right there for everyone to see".
    But do "Makki" really mean block?:p http://jungdokwan-taekwondo.blogspot.no/2013/02/makki-does-it-actually-mean-block.html . I looked up Makki in the dictionary and got Makki (막기) to "avoid" or "prevent", "block was not even mentioned there! The root word for Makki is the verb Makda (막다). If you look up that word in the dictionary you will find "block" but it will not be on the top of the list of meanings (at least not in the dictionary I used)
    • Obstruct
    • Block
    • Occlude
    • Jam
    • Prevent
    • Keep off
    • Ward off
    I have a ninth dan teacher that taught me Taegeuk I (2) Jang. In that Poomsae there is a sequence where you turn and "block" momtong an makki to one side and then turn 180 degrees and block a new opponent with momtong an makki before facing a new opponent and blocking his attack. My teacher told me during Poomsae class when I learned that particular sequence that I should do the block with as much power as I could muster as the "an makki" could also be used as a hammer fist strike to the opponent!. That was the first time I was exposed to "alternative applications", but think about it purely as official terminology application where you first block one opponent with no counter and then turn your back on him and block a second attacker which you also do not counter and then turn to face a third attacker which you do block and have an exchange with, what happened with the first two opponents? It does not makes sense unless you somehow use the makki techniques as both a defensive and offensive movement in one go (i.e block the haymaker with the chamber and hammer fist them with the blocking movement, maybe throw them with the turn and second block, or do the same technique again on the other side). One student of Taekwondo whith whom I discussed this sequence with was under the impression that with enough practise you could break the opponents arm with the block. Maybe so (I will not discount the possibility, but I would not bet my life on it) but can you really expect yellow and green belts to do this?
    Actually the picture had both feet on the ground, but I might have forgotten to write it, but I add a sweep with one of the legs so the completion of the application mirrors the form very closely. One hand goes up (high block), one hand goes down (low block) and one foot is lifted up (the sweep).
    An important point, the application should always be simple enough to use under stress and under the effects of adrenaline. If it is too complicated I discard them. Note that I do not discard them right away, we do practise to make "difficult" easy, but if something is overly complex then I go back to the drawing board:)
  7. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    I wish to add that the student meant to break the opponents arm as in the official block of a straight punch where you do the block as in the textbook applications (one hand at the side of the hip for no apparant reason etc). I do see that the momtong an makki can possibly do that if you add a practical use of the Dangki Son (pulling hand) where one hand is pulling the opponents arm, straightening it and the other arm is doing the blocking movement on the now straightened elbow of the opponent. I am not sure if you can make the break though, but off balance him and hyperextending his elbow? Yes.
  8. Master Dan

    Master Dan New Member

    I prefer Bonekia but regardless there are no defesive block everthing is offensive that relates to what I am going to do too you? everything is realted to energetic or cross Diurnal Movements combining single or 2-3 up to 5 point hits but in general starting at extremities ending at the head with conception, TW, Extraordinary, or Pericardium points and can be grappling, joint manipulatrion combined with striking all combined with dropping the Chi as a turbo charge. I currently try to train my BB on 4 on 1 to use this in full on combative they must survive the first 60 seconds with out any stress. I welcome multiple attackers feel sorry for them? You want to get closed in with me lets play. This is not TKD but goes back 8K 10K years with all MA at its roots to TCM and acupuncture regardless of style all else is just ego
  9. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    Hi Master Dan and thanks for joining in:)
    Is this a spelling error? I have never heard about that term before. Do you mean "Bunkai"? If so, why do you prefer "bunkai" over the Korean pronounciation "Boonhae"?
  10. Master Dan

    Master Dan New Member

    Tomatoe Tomato? I use Bunkia when discussing with my Kemp Kyushio members and Boonkai with tkd and others matters not ability and experience is what matters one world GM I train with when disucssing secret power words and such comes down to you can say F You inplace of supposed power words what matter is dropping the Chi if you have it and what you know feel and can do to the other person period!

    what I know is in general most explanations related to applications are 100% off and Postering making statements of all PoomSe related to standing up prone in a sparring posture and nothing else exists can be an opinion based on text book and the party line but historically and in practical application that works why would you limit yourself to a much higher level of self defense? I have particiapte demonstrating and watching 90 something men making young boys MMA and such cry like girls for mercy I will stay with what works. Inside knowledge is shared out of love person to person up close and personal with a cost not in money but spirit and love and some pain!
    John McNally likes this.
  11. Master Dan

    Master Dan New Member

    Expansion of knowlege with an open mind only ehances your traditonal art TKD or any MA they all relate admitted or not to 8,000 to 10,000 years ago in TCM not knowing means your not wrong just havn't learned yet
    John McNally likes this.
  12. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    Found this picture in Sihak "Henry" Cho`s excellent book from 1968 (Korean Karate).

    I really like this picture as it shows a lot of old school Taekwondo applied in a realistic fashion. The Dangki Son (pulling hand) is put to good use, twisting and pulling the opponent both off balance and into the strike with the other hand. It also makes it difficult for the opponent to defend using blocks as he must use the arm that is the longes distance away from the attack. The strike itself is using a small durable area (the outer edge of the hand) to a vital area (theres a whole bunch of vital points gathered in a small area there) and the stance is used to enhance the application. The application can be a single knife hand outer block (if the "blocking hand" is on the inside of the dangki son), as well as a knife hand guarding block (both the karate chamber and the Taekwondo chamber, allthough the Taekwondo chamber would not go too far back in application). The fact that this is a "makki" technique does not mean that it can not be used to defend and "attack" at the same time. This can be used against push, grabs, haymakers and straight punches. In the book it is showed against a straight punch. Sihak Henry Cho was trained at the Ji Do Kwan originally and that Kwan was known for its focus on sparring.
  13. Master Dan

    Master Dan New Member

    I appreciate your photo and comment greatly I have forwarded this to my good friend who was awarded 9th Dan by Supreme GM of Jidokwan this last year He is an expert in this field and travled with Dillman to China and travels extensively. If you will look at the right hand with the pulling return you are so close to just making that much better for an energetic strike on the same meridian of a 2-3 point hit depending on your fingers on the right hand manipulation of an Lung or Heart point or both this is very typical of a knock out set up always begining at an extremity and ending to the head typical point GB Gall Bladder/TW Tripple Warmer/Govener/Small Intestine/Stomach ect. Heat 6 and Lung 8 are a favorite of mine because they present themselves so well as do others. Remembering much of the older KMA and Traditional Hapkido Pioneers even looing at the detailed KKW text book of very detailed and specific hand strikes all so close ready made to just go a little further makes one wonder did they know and not teach it publically or as some say the knowledge died out??
  14. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    I guess there is no simple answer here really. The Kukkiwon (as well as the early Kwan) had different roots. The thing all these roots had in common though was the usage of vital points. Kukkiwon Taekwondo today have roots in Shotokan, Shito Ryu and Shudokan Karate as well as several Chinese styles. They all included vital point knowledge to some degree but the degree of reliance upon them vary. The softer Chinese styles relied on them to a greater extent than Shotkan Karate for instance. Whereas the Chinese styles generally place a higher importance upon vital point manipulation, Shotokan rely on linear power strikes aimed at vital points but the vital points here are more "the poison on the tip of the arrow" so to speak as the power strikes rely on power to do the damage.

    The degree of mastery of the original arts (Taek Kyon, Kwon Bup, Shotokan, Shito Ryu and Shudokan) as well as the transmission of knowledge and the emphasis placed on vital point manipulation will vary from school (Kwan) to school depending on several factors (the time the founder of the Kwan spendt studying, who he studdied with etc, as well as what he studdied and his own opinion on what to teach) and the same factors for the Kwan founders top students. The Kukkiwon being the merger of all the Kwan has a wide knowledge base, but they have not really pushed vital point manipulation in their publications or seminars, but they have not excluded the knowledge either. There is a lot of references to vital points in the Kukkiwon textbook, but little detail. So the answer to the question is that some founders knew more than others, some taught it publicly and others did not, some transmitted the knowledge to future generations others spendt their time focusing on other areas of study and the knowledge "died out", but in reality the knowledge did not truly die out, the knowledge is still very much out there, it is just a matter of finding the right teacher(s).
  15. Master Dan

    Master Dan New Member

    Yours is one of the most elequent replys that has made me very happy in a long time and speaks well to the history. No judgmental statement that all tkd is upright prone sparring technique period nothing else exists but a very good statement of what was and what is today. My bottom line is as a prominent master of a pioneer I have a responsibility to give all I can to deserving students the ability to long life happiness and personal self defense to the extent that they can absorb it age appropriate and spiritually. What we have been given is not to be passed on to everyone. Look at Dart Fish one of the best DVD on the market today of PoomSe but interesting that KKW will not make a public DVD since 2006 they want you to attend a seminar which I have with thier personal representative but not since the Kudata when the Korean goverment took over KKW and appointed a lesser Kwan leader. I guess money talks it had to come a Billion dollars or more invested in the TKD park not in Seoul they wanted control but I long for the day that a JidoKwan GM will be president again?

    My father Master supreme GM Choi Tae Hong cousin to Mas Oyama but also brother to Dr. Jung Whan Park the deciple of Supreme GM Yong-Sool Choi found fo Moder Hapkido was very against the knowledge of PP Points and Kyushio Jitsu at first because he was like many so entrenched into the power of only the fist when young but he relented in his old age having books on his desk and relenting to my friend and prominent student of his and world champion that knowledge and skill back to origins with the Chinese exist and while it may seem schizophrenic or even in the extreme a traitor to some is a natural organic admission of truth and restoration of what was ment in the KMA and CMA relationship. While I feel sad for those who cling to blind party line I subscribe to that you can both be loyal to KKW and enhance knowledge and ability. From what I have seen given proper respect and money it all works out. Thank you for your post if you ever get serious about wanting to have one of the best in the US that is really good at teaching the cross over of tkd and all this let me know I will hook you up.



    Senior Master Dan Scholten

  16. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    Here is one post I wrote about an Application for the high section Block, followed by the sidekick/ hammerfist strike and elbow in Your palm combination from Taegeuk Oh (5) Jang. Sorry for the lack of illustrations and video but I have tried to Write it as clearly as I can. I also included some of the ways I think when "Reading" my poomsae for other Applications than the basic/ official ones as well as some of the flaws I personally see regarding the mainstream Application to the sequence.

  17. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    Like so many other Martial Artists that uses forms in their training one of my earliest Sources that opened up my eyes for poomsae Applications were Iain Abernethy. In his books, DVDs and youtube Clips he showed (shows) some very impressive Applications to the Karate Knife hand guarding Block. He uses them as limb Control and he uses them very effectivly. I fell in love With the Application, but there was one thing that was wrong With it. Training Taekwondo we did this technique in a completly different way than what the Karate way is. In Karate the Chamber of the Block is done With the blocking hand at Your ear and the non blocking hand extended to the front.

    (Seen below the Karate Chamber of the Block)


    (Seen Below the Karate Knife hand guarding Block)

    The end position is the same as the Taekwondo end position but how we got there is completly different. What I "often" see is that the few who Research their forms in Taekwondo discard the Taekwondo Chamber and import the Karate Chamber and then change their technique so they too can use the Application that Iain Abernethy demonstrates below:

    (Seen below the Taekwondo Chamber for the Knife hand Guarding Block)
    (Tilt Your head 90 degrees so you see it correctly)
    As you can see the Chamber for Taekwondo Places both hands behind the Taekwondoin instead of one hand to the ear and one hand to the front as my beautifull drawings no doubt showed very clearly above:p The end position is the same however


    And when you see how Iain Abernethy has interpreted the Karate style block it is easy to see why many forms researchers discard the seemingly unpractical Taekwondo Chamber and import the Karate Chamber instead. There is nothing wrong With importing the technique as Ji Do Kwan used this Chamber (and the Taekwondo Chamber) for quite some time. Sihak Henry Cho demonstrates both in his classic 1968 book Secrets of Korean Karate. The problem I see is that there are a multitude of practical Applications to the Taekwondo style Block that people miss out on when they simply disregard the Taekwondo style in favor of Karate style Block. I will show one dealing With round punches/ hooks or haymakers to the head. The chamber is a little smaller than in basic technique training but the gross movement is the same as the basic technique.

    The attacker delivers a haymaker to the defenders head. The defender steps inside the haymaker and receives it With both hands. This requires very little training since it is a case of just using Your Natural flinch panic Block. It is very reduntant too. I do not see this being used in MMA or full contact sparring but I see it as a defense against a very committed haymaker from an untrained attacker.

    The defender then controles the attackers arm With his back arm (in the technique this will be the arm that "guards" the solar plexus) while striking the attacker on the side of the neck. (seen below)
    (Bonus Byonhwa(변화 ) or variation technique) What if the attacker imidiatly launches another punch With his free arm when you use both hands to Block his first??? Do as before but use the knife hand strike to the neck as a knife hand Block against his 2nd punch if you are too slow With Your Counter attack.

    Now this is only one Application there are a multitude of other out there. This one Works brilliantly for me but might not be everyones cup of tea. I understand that and respect it. But the problem still stands, if you disregard the altered Taekwondo techniques in favour of the "unaltered" Karate techniques in Your quest for practical Applications you will miss out on a lot of valuable material!

    (Trivia: The Taekwondo Block was actually used by early Shotokan Karate, and very simular techniques can be found in other styles. If I am not mistaken there is a very simular technique in Tai Chi as well)
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013

    RTKDCMB Active Member

    This picture looks a bit rude, or is that just me?
  19. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    You don't need to alter the block technique hansonnal makki to have this kind of grab and pull neck strike in Taekwondo. It also is valid for the hansonnal bakkat chigi that appears at the beginning and end of Koryo Poomsae. Those strikes are done from inside the chamber arm. In my view, that's what Henry Cho is demonstrating in his pic. The blocks, where the arm comes from the outside, have other applications that fit better I reckon. It's a symptom of importing Karate apps into TKD that you can get fixated on a technique and not realise that the app fits a different technique better.

    Yes, yes it is.
  20. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    It was innocent until you guys pointed it out:p I should really take better time next time i draw. I agree with you gnarlie. If you visit my blog you will see where I took this application from and that my point was to not discard taekwondo techniques in favour of karate techniques. As for the Henry cho photographs he did write about Korean karate and in the 60s single knife hand block had the chamber inside as in karate in ji do kwan. We retain the pull strike methods in other techniques today however. I hope this will not drift from the topic of applications to become a discussion on that one hastedly drawn illustration:)

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