Taekwondo Self Defence Techniques (Hosin Sul) Drilling Knees and Elbows

In this combination we explore those two explosive attacking tools, the knee (moorup) and the elbow (palkup). Apart from the practical value of short range techniques, it can be used for line-work in most Taekwondo classes, it is also great to include for cardio work as it works the bigger muscle groups, and can be easily done by most grades.









When you practice these moves initially, cruise through them when your opponent has no pads, but add reality when you have pads to strike. Try to focus on every detail of the combination and not entirely on the two main attacking tools. The position of the body and the relationship of the distance/range of each target all integrate and contribute to the effectiveness of the combination.

  To start with, both fighters square off. The attacker throws a leading left jab, then a right cross in an effort to make the opponent “slip” both these punches. Once the opponent slips the right cross, open the hand/glove and grab their shoulder for leverage for the third move, which is to drive up with the right knee into the opponents ribs. The beauty of this is twofold:

1. If the opponent is very good at slipping your punches, he/she is very open to a knee strike (Moor-up Taerigi). It is very difficult to read the knee coming from someone who’s initial attacking focus is towards your head.


2. With vision obscured, and attention on defending those punches, all the attacker has to do is drive that knee up in a straight and short line, without hardly any change in the contour of their upper-body. On it’s own, this is smooth combo that could be done even while shadow boxing. You go jab, cross, and with the crossing hand, pull on the shoulder, or grab the Dobuk jacket and drive up that rear knee.


Once you drive up that knee, you almost “Feel” that rear front elbow bursting to strike. This technique I have modified from the original Front Elbow Strike ( Ap Palkup Taerigi) which is found in the ITF green belt pattern Yul Gok.




Ok, to summarize so far, we have : From a fighting stance. Right leg back, with the left foot forward. A leading left jab and next a right cross, then pull or grab opponents shoulder and that rear right knee drives up. Now here, after that rear knee drives into the opponent’s body we have a choice of two great moves:

Choice 1. When you drive up the right knee, keep up your guard because you want to use that right hand again to place it behind the opponent’s head. Now all you have to do to finish is slam home the left elbow, and job done. So you have Jab, Cross, pull him in for that Right Knee and if you can quickly place that same right hand behind his neck, it lines up a finishing strike with the left elbow.

Choice 2. This is more devastating to your opponent. After move three which is the right knee to the opponents ribs, i.e before that final elbow, do a second knee strike but this time jumping so you launch your whole body weight into it.

So after you do the first knee, pull that same right knee straight back down to the floor, and kick with that knee again in a scissors kick motion, remember to keep your right hand on the back of your opponents neck. After this second jumping knee, you could really upset his entire evening by adding in that front elbow strike.

Note on a variation of the knee strike:

You will gain extra height when you chamber or lift up your knee, if you rise up on the ball of the foot, of the supporting leg. Now its better not to do it in this combination as your intention is to disguise the strike, however to gain more power when you get right up on the ball of the foot with the supporting leg, you will find it has a lot more leverage rather than having the supporting leg flatfooted. It is even more effective if you initially lift the knee really close to your body, and as high as possible and when you got it at maximum height, drive the knee ever so slightly downwards into the target.


Master Frank Murphy 7th Dan has been practising Taekwon-Do since 1974.

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