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Poomsae - O Jang

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An introduction for beginner to black belt and beyond

By Grand Master Tony Vohra 8th Dan. Photographs by Master Jeff Scott-Smith 5th Dan

In the November issue, we covered Taegeuk Sa Jang, which is the fourth poomsae that is used in the basic development of Taekwondo techniques. This pattern has 29 movements counted as 20 consecutive counts with one Kihap at the end, performed over 26-31 seconds. This month we take a look at O Jang, the fifth form. O Jang has 32 movements counted as 20 consecutive counts with one kihap at the end and should take between 28-33 seconds to be performed, from sijak to baro.

Taegeuk O Jang is essential for progression from 5th KUP to 4th KUP (blue belt). This pattern is characterized by consecutive motions of low block and mid block and by jumping movements. If we consider the new material arising in this form we have four new techniques and three new stances:
Combat dec 09 1a


* Mejumeok naeryo chigi (hammer fist): In this form, this follows low section block as a strike downwards onto the top of the head, terminating at the level of the shoulder. The end point of the low block technique becomes the beginning of the hammer fist strike. This is achieved by using a twisting and circular motion. This can be made clearer by visualizing a release from a low wrist grab. From the release a circular motion should be employed where the fist travels close to the body ending with the arm locked straight at shoulder height.

* Palgup dollyo chigi (turning elbow strike): Following a knife hand (outward block to mid section) the open hand returns to the floating fist by the waist. The striking limb then turns as the elbow moves across the body terminating at the level of the shoulder and in the midline. The open hand touches the clenched fist of the striking limb lightly.

* Mejumeok yopchigi (sideward hammer fist strike): This hammer fist is executed simultaneously with the side kick with the hand being at the same vertical height as the kick itself. The direction of impact is to the side of the body and in the same direction as the heel of the side kick.

* Palgup pyojeok chigi (elbow target hitting): After the side kick has been delivered, the hand that executed the sideward hammer fist strike is opened to become a target, often considered a grabbing motion, hooking the back of an opponent’s head. The elbow of the striking limb should then move forward to hit this target. The target itself should not move and the target hand should not grip the elbow but stay open. The strike terminates at the level of the solar plexus.
Combat dec 09 1b


* Wen Seogi (left stance): In O Jang this stance is used as the left leg is pulled back from ap-kubi seogi, after executing the left handed hammer fist strike that was explained above. It is also used in later forms during back fist striking. The stance is best described in relation to nanrahi seogi (parallel stance - the stance assumed when executing jumbi). From this stance the left foot should turn 90 degrees outwards from the centre, pivoting on the heel, so that the feet are in an “Lshaped” formation.

* Oreun Seogi (right stance): This stance is the exact mirror image of wen seogi and is used when performing the same techniques in the opposite (right foot leading) direction.

* Dwik Koaseogi (backwards cross stance): This stance is utilized during the last combination of movements of the pattern. The consecutively delivered techniques will be discussed below. It is important that this stance is entered correctly and that the final position is cor-rect as it may be necessary to hold the final pose of any pattern for several seconds, until the command “barro” is called. The stance is entered as if jumping forward to stamp on an opponent’s foot with the right foot at a slightly outturned angle. The left foot then follows, placing its toes near the blade edge of the right foot to support and stabilize the stance. If the stance is correct, the shin of the left limb should then be touching the calf of the right and both knees should be slightly bent. There should also be a gap of approximately the width of one sole between each foot in the final position when adopting this stance.
Combat dec 09 1c

Speed and consecutively delivered movements

In Taegeuk 5 jang, the consecutively delivered combination movements follow:

* Montongmakki -montonganmakki: chest block, reverse chest block. This is the first forward motion executed from the initial starting point of the pattern. The first chest block is terminated at the instant of arrival in forward (long) stance and the reverse is performed on the same spot following this, utilizing the twisting of the waist and contraction of core abdominal muscles to improve power.

* Apchagi - deungjumeok apchigi - momtong anmakki: front kick, back fist (striking to the philtrum - high section), reverse chest block (top of the hand at shoulder level). This is similar to the previous combination but with a front kick before entering into the forward (long) stance and with a back fist instead of the first chest block.

* Araemakki - momtonganmakki: low block, reverse chest block. As above, but at this point the direction of movement will be towards the starting locus of the pattern instead of away from it.

* Apchagi - araemakki - momtonganmakki: front kick, low block, chest block. As above.

* Yopchagi - palgup pyojeokchigi: side kick, elbow target hitting. Discussed in the “techniques” section. Again, the movement should terminate as the elbow strikes the target at the instant the forward stance is achieved.

* Apchagi - deungjumeok apchigi (kihap): front kick, back fist (cross stance) [kihap]. Timing is very important in this combination. The knee should rise first, followed by the extension of the leg in the same ap chagi (front kick) method as we have discussed in previous articles. The knee then bends after impact but, instead of placing the kicking foot on the ground, we must balance then execute the stamp, backfist and pulling in of the left foot to stabilize the dwik koaseogi (backwards cross stance) simultaneously.
Combat dec 09 1d

Pattern 5 is a form which demands more coordination than the previous forms due, to an increased number of consecutive movements which require control of the hands and focus on specific target areas within each single combination. Combinations in the form often demonstrate three different types of movement such as a kick, a strike (attack) and a block (defence) in the same count. Balance is crucial in this form especially when delivering kicking and swiftly moving between different striking heights.

When doing this form it is important to ensure that you have symmetry and balance in techniques so that left and right side techniques are shown as mirror images. Visualisation of a real fight should be utilized when performing Poomsae. Attack and defence should be executed to centre line of your body. Please remember that defence is angular and circular. Attack is direct and straight. Power generation and force at deliverance of technique is generated by mass times acceleration and we are looking at being relaxed with tightening of core muscle groups occurring at the moment of impact.

From commencement to termination of a form it is important to remember that all movements balance out. This is shown through analysis of the forms, the starting and finishing positions are the same. We are training to develop inner mental, physical and spiritual balance. Breathing and breath control is good for power development, relaxation and concentration, which will enhance performance.
Combat dec 09 1e

Master Tony Vohra is always pleased to advise individual students, instructors and clubs and can arrange demonstrations, courses & seminars to suit any individual or groups both at home and abroad.

For further details please contact:
President Grandmaster S.S. Vohra (8th Dan),
International School of Martial Arts UK HQ,
Nottingham School of Tae Kwon Do,
 Ilkeston Rd., Nottingham NG7 3FX, England.
Tel: 00 44 (0)115 9780439;
Fax: 00 44 (0)115 9785567 .
Master Jeff Scott-Smith 5thDan

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