Tuesday, April 1, 2014

It's the A to Z Challenge Kick-off! A is for...

 

A is for... Ahp cha gi
and Art

My style of karate is called Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan (more on that later).  It's a Korean-style martial art.  As such, our terminology and the commands for our basic techniques are Korean.  Ahp cha gi is one of our basic kicks- the front kick.

The key to a successful front kick is to pull back your hips and chamber your foot at the height you want the kick to be (the higher the desired kick, the higher the chamber has to be).  Then you extend your leg and push your foot forward while pulling your toes back, sort-of like pressing down the gas pedal on a car.  Like any good kick, you have to maintain head over hips in order for the kick to have power.  

 







A common mistake is when people chamber their kicks low and then kick upwards.  This looks pretty flashy (thus why the bulk of high kicks you see in movies are done this way) but has no real power when it comes to injuring an attacker or breaking boards.  (It's a common theme that flashy fight choreography has literally no real-world utility.)

Once the basic kick is mastered it can be combined in punch-kick or multiple kick combinations including the double front (which was a requirement for my 2nd Dan test).

A is also for Art.  As in Martial Arts.  Note that it's not called "Martial Science" or "Martial Mimicry" because it's not about learning the moves correctly and then repeating them exactly the same way each and every time.  It's about understanding the moves and then using them to create something new.  High-level masters are expected to create their own forms combining different techniques and elevating them to a higher level.  Much like a painter uses color, martial artists are expected to use their techniques to create new works of art.  This is something that I am still learning about as simply perfecting the techniques has been (and still is) a looooong journey.  But the more I study, the more I begin to see ways in which I can make the moves my own, apply them in different contexts and elevate my performance as a martial artist.  It's a long road ahead, (and another four years of training before my master test) but I'm excited to be on it.

Bonus As!  A quick thanks to the founder of this fantastic challenge Mr. Arlee Bird and to one its main champions Mr. Alex J. Cavanaugh.  You guys absolutely rock my world.

27 comments:

  1. I wish I was capable of kicking like this... but my attempts are all but useless. I'm such a coward - afraid of ending up on my butt and breaking something. Useless, totally useless ;)
    http://www.fictiondreams.com/2014/04/a-is-for-andrea-sachs-atozchallenge.html

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    1. I was scarred in the beginning of my training, too. And still ma, often, when learning something new. It fades...

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  2. Welcome to the A to Z Challenge! I'm an AZtech Minion and will be stopping by over the next few weeks. I bet I'm going to be learning all kinds of things about karate and martial art in general!

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    1. Thank you, Bish! Or should I say, your minionship?

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  3. I like the idea of learning some form of martial arts. Maybe some day. :)

    Madeline @ The Shellshank Redemption
    Minion, Capt. Alex's Ninja Minion Army
    The 2014 Blogging from A-Z Challenge

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    1. One of the most rewarding things I've ever done- highly recommend it.

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  4. So basically, it's channeling all the force through the leg and the heel of the foot. Makes sense that a straight kick has more power.

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    1. Doesn't it, though? Physics, man- makes the world turn.

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  5. How informative, learning proper technique is one of my biggest challenges in anything exercise. I would be interested in getting some martial arts training though...its pretty cool ;)

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  6. Thank you for teaching us how to properly perform a front kick. Sadly, I still probably won't be able to do it despite your tips because of my back. But I do wish I could learn a form of martial arts. If only. *sigh* :)

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    1. I would definitely not claim to have "taught" you how to perform a front kick. I talked about it, but teaching physical technique always requires physical teaching.

      And you never know where life will take you- you may learn a martial art yet!

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  7. Wow--that looks way too graceful for me to attempt! :)

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    1. Remember- nothing looks graceful the first time you do it.
      ...or the second... or the third...

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  8. I bet Martial Arts is a total lifesaver should someone lunge at you with a weapon.

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    1. In theory, at least that's why we practice knife defense. I've never had the opportunity to find out, though- and I hope I never, ever do!

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  9. I'm so impressed that you do this! I feel like I'm way too klutzy to ever manage it. But just reading this made me want to go out and kick something LOL.

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  10. Memories of when I was in Tae Kwon Do. May you enjoy and do well, I sure miss it...

    Cat

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  11. I'm pretty uncoordinated, so I'm definitely impressed that anyone can do this! Thanks for sharing!

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  12. The combining of basic skills into new forms sound really awesome and is a subtlety I admit to having missed when thinking about masters of martial forms. I did Tai Chi for a while at uni, but I haven't done anything since. I admire your skill.

    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
    Fantasy Boys XXX - A to Z Drabblerotic

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  13. I've got the kicking down. But that's because of my dance training, not MA. I completely admire folks who devote themselves to such a fantastic sport. I've freelanced a lot for Martial Arts Magazine. My articles are all about young kids within the MA arena and who they live their lives. These kids are amazing people, not just martial artists. Love that!

    Sheri at Writer's Alley

    Home of Rebel Writer CREED 2014
    Mighty Minion Bureau Team #atozchallenge

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  14. If only I were young enough to start something so awesome!

    Love the idea!

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  15. This is so amazing - I'm in awe of you for the dedication it must take to do something like this. I learned a lot today. :)

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  16. I never thought about the fact that it was called Martial Arts. I can definitely see it as an art form, though. Interesting post, Beverly!

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  17. Yay! I was so excited the day I learned how to throw a proper punch. Not that I'm going to do test kicks on anyone, but it's nice to know where the power in a good kick comes from. ^_^

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  18. Oh wow, I'd love to learn how to kick like that. I imagine I'd fall over a lot, though; I don't have a great sense of balance.

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Thank you for your comment! I will love it and hug it and pet it and call it George. Or, you know, just read and reply to it. But still- you rock!