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Deconstructing Taekwon-Do

Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 4: Board Breaking

Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 4: Board Breaking

Board breaking is hard. And it’s supposed to be. That’s the whole point. But breaking boards competitively is sometimes a little too hard. It’s not the physical act of breaking that’s the problem (although that is a worthy challenge). It’s…
How To: Outer Forearm Low Block

How To: Outer Forearm Low Block

In the early patterns, the low block is often done with the outer forearm. The outer forearm is the bony area on the pinkie-finger side of your arm, just above your wrist. It covers one third of your forearm, starting…
Sparring Tactics: Cutting Off the Ring

Sparring Tactics: Cutting Off the Ring

Let’s talk about cutting off the ring. One important way to help yourself win a sparring match is to control your opponent. If you can control his or her motion while imposing your own, you have a huge advantage. And…
Your Instructor’s Rank is Meaningless

Your Instructor’s Rank is Meaningless

I mentioned in a previous post that I don’t care about your rank; I care about what you know. That statement was aimed at students, but the same is true for instructors. A higher rank doesn’t necessarily give an instructor…
How To: Perfect Patterns Punches

How To: Perfect Patterns Punches

If you tally up all the hand and foot techniques used in the patterns, I would be surprised if anything is used more often than the good ol’ punch. I suppose that makes sense: a good punch is easy and…
The Rise of Taekwon-Do in MMA

The Rise of Taekwon-Do in MMA

There was a time when there was no place for traditional martial arts such as Taekwon-Do in MMA. They seemed anachronistic and useless. The martial arts that had proven effective in the cage (or ring) were Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling…
Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 3: Sparring

Tournaments: An Exercise in Zen, pt. 3: Sparring

Have you ever been an umpire (a.k.a. corner judge) in a sparring match. It’s hard, right? If you’ve never tried it, I recommend you do when you get the chance. How about refereeing? Have you ever tried that? Most people…
4 Reasons to Avoid Full-Contact Sparring

4 Reasons to Avoid Full-Contact Sparring

Before anyone starts spitting venom in my direction, let me state for the record that full-contact sparring can be a good thing. There’s no substitute if you truly want to learn how to fight or to competently defend yourself if…