The Oldest Taekwondo Combination in the Book

“The Oldest One in the Book”

This month’s Taekwondo combination is the Step In leading Leg Side Kick and follow up with a knife-hand. This is probably one of the first and most basic of all sparring combinations, we all strive to learn, nonetheless it is a formidable combination when delivered with correct timing, hence the title, “the oldest one in the book”, using just two main techniques, side kick and knife hand.

Overall Description

While this combination states, and is, a side-kick and knife hand strike, it really is what I would term a bluff knife hand first, then comes that side-kick and follow through with a real knife -hand.

From a fighting position, stay on your feet, at least be a little mobile as it can be a dead give away if you try this out from a stationary or fixed fighting stance.









Two clambering positions happen simultaneously. The primary move will be to bring up the leading knife-hand and overdo the intention that you are about to strike at the opponents head. This must be a really good bluff, as this will act as a blind to your real intention, which is to nail the opponent with a sidekick.

The secondary chamber is to slightly move the rear leg, behind the lead leg when you do this move, and only place the ball of the foot here as this way, it is easier to disguise the front contour of the body. Also when you fire out the side kick, you can gain some height into the chamber and off the supporting leg, just long enough to fire that side kick. Finish it off with a high knife-hand strike.

Supporting Factors

Remember all the extra mini techniques such as body language, footwork, facial gestures, showing various intense and passive expressions, some vocal sounds, support the main two techniques. A combination must always be taught as a whole fluid combination, and not just the focus being on the techniques alone. We know, or should be aware that closing the gap is the goal of all fighters and encounters. Whether using guile in a street fight or borderline un-gentle- manly strategies in our regular evening sparring matches, this overriding fact remains. That the “Gap” margins on closing against an equal opponent, gets tighter and tighter as we advance through the ranks.

Practise for the Step in Side Kick

You will see that I underlined the words earlier about moving the rear leg in behind the front leg as this is a lot more powerful than moving the rear leg in front of the leading leg. Why? Because behind the leg means that when you kick you can engage the full use of the powerful thigh bone and muscles, and you also have a way longer. horizontal chamber.Here I am stepping off with the right leg diagonally across the body, and torquing my body, in particular my right hip in the same direction as the right leg, but turning the shoulders and the top of the body  in the opposite direction. This is a great exercise to include in your warm up, for general kicking. Next time your jogging around the Do-Jang, slow it down and try ten of these one way and change.

On to the Combination.Face an opponent of equal, size, body weight, experience etc.,  than yourself and step in with a leading leg side kick. Have this so that the distance is just enough so your opponent/partner can block the kick just before it makes contact with his/her ribs.

Then once the kick is blocked, your partner then unleashes a side kick towards your mid-section. This obviously is a co-operative drill between both partners.

Practice for Senior Black Belts

As a senior Black belt always try and handicap yourself when training, by doing so it adds a host of other dimensions to your learning experience and humbles you into stumbling and staggering through a session. Now only do this heavy duty stuff in a balanced way, you do not have to reek of burning martyr, or shout how great you are from the rooftops, then that inner opponent wins, no, take it sure and steady. If you have been reading my stories up until now, you will be keen to see just what you are really made of. A few suggestions for this practice are as follows:

  1. Start off with ten kicks each side, and then when comfortable increase it to twenty each leg if possible. I try and have this done by me counting “one” and then my partner counting “two” all the way up to ten and down to one. If you count like “seventeen” it has three syllables, I would think this is too long and difficult to call this out when under-pressure. Once you can do this set a timer and try kicking for one minute each leg.
  2. To improve kicks, wear elasticised bands on your ankles, great isometric and ballistic workout all in one. Very affordable nowadays.
  3. Sometimes as in the photographs you see me wearing a Hogu, or chest protector this has a number of advantages. If both you and your partner wear them, you can kick harder and “Feel” the kick, also you can see what it is like way to absorb some impact when kicked yourself, and give a clear indication of distance and timing as you strike and block between each other. It also makes the workout a bit harder as it can weight a bit. Some say it lures you into a false sense of security as you don’t guard the body as such, but surely only if you wear them all the time, which I wouldn’t recommend.
  4. If possible practice outdoors in a field where you have an ever so slight incline, not too steep, as this is very hard to judge distance and timing. Try even ten kicks each side and change positions. Tough, inconvenient and uncomfortable, but if you really want it bad enough, you would be willing to pay such a price.
Getting the most from this Combination
This combination also has the advantage it that it can be reversed. Above we bluff with a high knife-hand towards the face, and follow through with a side-kick. If this works fairly well a few times against an opponent, try and reverse it by making a big deal with the chamber of the side-kick, towards the opponent’s body.
You really must look at the opponent’s body and he/she must feel your intention so as to place their focus on their mid-section while at the last minute you attack their head with a knife hand. You use the same muscle groups so it should be easy to switch it to work.
Until next month enjoy your training and train safe, consistent and just a little harder now and then.

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