Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for...

K is for Kong Sang Koon and Knife Defense

Kang Sang Koon is an upper Dan form known for its difficult yet practical (so far as fighting off multiple attackers from different angles) movements.  It is widely believed that all of the Pyung Ahn forms were off-shoots of Kang Sang Koon.  Having learned the Pyung Ahn forms several years ago I can attest to this because when I first started learning Kang Sang Koon I would frequently find myself inadvertently morphing into one of the earlier Pyung Ahn forms because they share so many moves.

Pyung Ahn translates as 'peaceful confidence' and the five forms are learned between green and red belt.  The bulk of the moves seen in the five Pyung Ahn forms are seen in Kong Sang Koon.  These include the middle knife hand strikes, archer stances and elbow strikes.  It is because of this that the general belief is that Kong Sang Koon is the master form from which all the Pyung Ahn forms were derived.

Kong Sang Koon is said to be named for the Chinese missionary who introduced it approximately three hundred years ago in the Ha Nam (southern) region of China. It is often translated as the Eagle form as it contains the famous eagle stance.  While a traditional form of Tang Soo Do, it also seen in several other styles of martial arts including Chinese kung fu styles, Japanese styles, and Okinawan.  The Okinawan version has some differences from ours (including the name), but you get the general idea:

Kong Sang Koon has personal significance to me because today, April 12, at possibly the very moment that you are reading this, I will be performing it in the traditional forms division at our home tournament!  I have been practicing it just about everyday and I am hoping that will pay off with a placement in competition.  Hopefully I will have good news (and pictures) to report next week.  Wish me luck! 

Knife Defense involves a series of techniques performed in response to a knife attack.  We learn and practice six basic techniques designed to incapacitate an attacker who uses a forward stab, single slash or double slash to attack.  Needless to say, we don't practice with real knives because the end of all of these techniques, if performed correctly, are broken bones, critical wounds and/or death on the part of that attacker.  (The idea being that if you're trying to kill me, you will be killed.)

They say the most important thing to remember about a knife fight is that you're going be cut so you can't let that prevent you from defensing yourself- you take the minor wound so that you can get control of the knife and prevent the terminal attack.  Hard to wrap your head around, I realize.  But remember this: the single best defense is environmental- don't put yourself in a dangerous situation and it's extremely likely that you'll never encounter such a situation.  (More on this when we reach S.)


  1. So, I have to go into the fight knowing I'm going to get cut. I think I like the best defense rules better. Great stuff.

  2. Great stuff Beverly, my head is reeling from all the info and I thought Martial Arts were easy to learn.

  3. Oh wow, that knife defense is something that everyone should learn.

  4. What do you use in place of a knife?

  5. Knife defense is very important, especially now-a-days as many people uses knifes against each other. Just earlier this week a boy in Pennsylvania stabbed 20 people (students and one school officer) at his school. It's just terrible!

  6. Good luck with your comeptition! I love that they teach knife defense -I'd like to know that.

  7. Sydney- I say it all the time- if I ever have to use something I've learned in class in real life then I've gone to a very, very bad place.

    Rachna- In the very beginning, they are. Keep in mind this is years and years worth of education and classes, and I'm throwing it at you in little snippets coinciding with the letters of the alphabet rather than a logical curriculum.

    Laura- Sad to say there's some logic to that.

    Alex- We use little plastic tubes roughly the size of a knife- no sharp edges but you get the practice of dodging and gaining control over the weapon.

    Chrys- I saw that on the news- it's unimaginable to me that these things happen.

    Kim- Thank you! I can't wait to tell you guys all about it on Friday!


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