West of England branch of the TAGB

On 2005 is the 30th Anniversary of the West of England branch of the TAGB (Tae Kwon-Do Association of Great Britain), which was originally known as the West of England Tae Kwon-Do Association. To commemorate the thirty years, the West of England has this year been raising money for cancer charities, a cause close to the heart for many of us. So far at least £12,000 has been raised. At Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre in Bristol, on Saturday 26th November, a Tae Kwon-Do for self-defence seminar was held to raise money for the fund.

The seminar was taken by Master Dew 7th Dan, vice chairman of the TAGB, and Mr Russ Martin 4th Dan and Mr Andrew Mole 3rd Dan. The seminar focussed on the classic Tae Kwon-Do patterns and their practical application in regards to self-defence. The seminar was attended by 77 students, from all over the south-west, some of them travelling from as far as Kent, Plymouth and the south coast. Nearly half of those attending were black belts.

Master Dew took the first hour, focus-ing on coloured belt patterns and their correct performance. Master Dew tells us that Tae Kwon-Do has a pathway, which widens as the student becomes more senior. People find themselves drawn off to the sport and competition aspect of the art, or to the opposite extreme of practical self-defence , which we were working with at this seminar. The classic Tae Kwon-Do patterns are there for everybody to keep us from straying too far from the path, and drawing us all back together again.

Even though Master Dew was con-centrating on the lower grade patterns, many black belts commented that they had learnt something, or had misunder-standings ironed out, and they found it thoroughly worthwhile. Most coloured belt students only experience Master Dew as a grading examiner, sat behind the table looking stern. This was an opportunity for them to train under him for the first time, and appreciate him as an instructor. Mr Martin took the second hour of the seminar. He has an interest in the historical evolution of the Tae Kwon-Do patterns. Many of the techniques and combinations in the classic Tae Kwon-Do patterns are found in the Japanese Karate systems, the older Okinawan Karate systems and even before that the Kung-Fu systems of southern China. These techniques were seen to have quite different applications to many of the modern applications. For instance the chamber positions for the techniques themselves are often the block, and the technique itself a counter. Many hand positions in the techniques can be used as joint locks or throws.

Mr Martin taught a drill that started with knife-hand strike using the chamber position as a block, and then striking to the neck, grasping the neck and the body and pulling the person onto a knee-strike, which is almost a perfect bending stance guarding block. Keeping hold of the neck and the arm, stepping back and perform-ing pressing block, tucking the opponent’s head under their own arm, which had the effect of throwing the person down in a rolling motion. The drill expanded with many ‘what if’s’, further techniques using low block as a take down, nine shaped block as a further counter half way through the same take down. Then demonstrating how the low block simultaneous high back fist moves in Toi-

Gye which are followed by an x-block, can be used as a shoulder throw and follow up. Many of the students had their first taste of throwing techniques, though no one was actually thrown down to the (very hard) sport centre floor! Mr Mole concluded the seminar using hand pads, initially getting the students to use basic boxing techniques such as jab, cross, hook and upper cut. The emphasis being to punch across to a pad held on the opposite side, which encourages the use of hip movement, or in boxing terms ‘punching your weight’. From this, Mr Mole got the students to flow from hand combinations to knee strikes against the pads. At this stage he also got the person holding the pads to counter-attack with the pads forcing the attacker to ‘cover up’. He then followed this by getting the person with the pads to ‘clinch’ the attacker, the attacker then escaped from the clinch with various fol-low-ups. The first of these was to slip under one of the clinching arms and put on a choke. The next involved a take down using a reap; the person was let down to the ground gently and on the ground held a pad representing the head for a further hand strike. Mr Mole then demonstrated how to put a figure of four arm lock onto the prone assailant. He showed how this was represented by sitting stance nine shaped block.

Given our usual emphasis on kicking, the students enjoyed the contrast of using hands, knees, take-downs and locks, which we find all represented in the clas-sic Tae Kwon-Do patterns . The students took to the whole seminar enthusiastical-ly; the sound of flesh being bruised and joints being strained could be heard throughout the hall! Everyone had a thor-oughly great time, and left wanting more. Another triumph for the TAGB!

Mr Dew, Mr Martin and Mr Mole all teach Tae Kwon-Do in the Bristol area. For further details check out the TAGB website at TAGB.biz, also Tae

Kwon-Do South West’s site at taekwondosouth-west.co.uk, and Mr Martin’s website at russitaekwondo.co.uk.

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