Posts Tagged ‘scissor kick’

Korean Martial Arts Trademark High Flying Kicks

December 1, 2010

Korean Martial Arts Trademark High Flying Kicks

TaeKwonDo TangSooDo HapKiDo KukSoolWon HwarangDo ChunKukDo TaekKyeon

Taekwondo Master John Nottingham Flying Side Kick Punch 1995

Taekwondo Pictures | Action Pictures | Flying Kicks | Jump Kicks

The flying side kick – punch photo above was taken by my student David Goron circa 1995 at a park in Mesa Arizona near my first retail storefront school called Academy of Asian Martial Arts. On the left is James Gann and on the right is David Bravo.

From Tang Soo Do, Hwarang Do, Kuk Sool Won, Hapkido, or the highly popularized Olympic Taekwondo, the Korean Martial Arts are well known for their high flying kicks.

Beginning A Martial Arts Journey
My journey in the martial arts started when I saw James Bond perform spy martial arts moves that seemed to have magical results – even on bigger men. It was refined, dignified, intelligent and quite impressive to the eyes of a little boy.

This was my first introduction to Japanese Jujitsu (traditional art of locks, throws, strikes and pins). Later I would see Bruce Lee performing his own Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do, a composite American freestyle hybrid system rooted in Wing Chun, fencing and boxing (the beginnings of modern MMA). From the start, I loved the kicks.

Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do
While growing up my bigger brothers and I often wrestled (rough housing) with one another and Dad which provided me with a foundation without knowing it. But it was my first martial art that introduced me to Korean style martial arts kicking in an art called Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do). Today, some schools retain that branch name while many have simply gone under the banner of Taekwondo.

Advanced Black Belt Kicking
As I continued to study I had the privilege of practicing several branches of Hapkido, Hwarang Do, and several of the classical Kwans (Chung Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Song Moo Kwan). In 1945 the Korean Martial Arts styles officially registered with the Korean government as various KWANS. Each has its similarities and yet beautiful differences that I came to appreciate and respect.

Is This Kicking Practical?
I observed that the kicking was not only spectacular, but it could be very practical. It made sense for smaller people because the legs give a reach advantage, are preconditioned, and generate as much as 3 or more times power than the arms.

It struck me as interesting that every-time I heard someone criticize high kicks or “fancy kicking”, it was a person who: A. Could not do it or B. Had yet to square off with a kicker who had functional kicking skill.

Kicking Criticism
Since I had the opportunity to have been booted in the head by so many skilled kickers, it seemed an arrogant and ignorant statement. Every technique has it’s strengths and weaknesses, so why was advanced kicking the target of so much criticism?

Practical Self Defense Application and Much More
Of course, self defense practical application is not the only measure and reason for practice of the art. Nor are the arts comprised only of kicking. Kicking is a fantastic way of building and maintaining flexibility, health, burning calories, expressing an aesthetically pleasing art, reducing stress and developing a respectable skill. Those are just some of the many benefits, but certainly not all. To my way of thinking, it is just one way to help develop the mind, body and spirit – and a fun one at that.

It sure beats the stair-master, starvation diets and the treadmill.

John Nottingham
6th Degree Black Belt
USA Martial Arts Chief Instructor

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