The Ten Shin Ho Kwan Guidelines for Physical Development

  1. Respiration.
  2. Verbal Expression of Exhalation.
  3. Purposeful gaze.
  4. Correct alignment of back and neck vertebrae resulting in proper balance.
  5. Optimization of power achieved through correct hip motion.
  6. Structural integrity of stances.
  7. Interconnectedness and coordination of entire body.
  8. Spatial awareness.
  9. Proper alignment of the tailbone in relation to stance.
  10. Connectedness to ground.

For this week’s post I thought I would start to talk about Shin Ho Kwan’s guidelines for physical development (in future posts I’ll cover the rest of these guidelines, the guidelines for mental development and the Shin Ho Kwan creed and principles).

1. Respiration

Respiration is a very important part of a black belts training within Shin Ho Kwan (SHK).  Without proper breathing, the body’s mental and physical performance and control is decreased.  SHK has eight different breathing methods contained within its curriculum:  Abdominal Breathing, Replete Breathing, Yang Breathing, Yin Breathing, Square Breathing, Triangle Breathing, Bellows Breathing and Reverse Breathing.  For a detailed explanation of each of these methods please follow this link.

2. Verbal Expression of Exhalation (Kyap)

The kyap serves two purposes within SHK.  The first purpose is that it forces the practitioner that is kyaping to exhale.  When forcefully striking a heavy/unmovable target, it is very important that the breath not be held.  If it is, the lungs can sustain damage in the form of ruptured alveoli.  Therefore, if the practitioner makes it a habit of kyaping when striking a target, he/she will always be exhaling on impact, which will virtually eliminate the possibility of lung damage.  The second purpose is that it helps focus the practitioner’s mind on the impact with the target, which in turn increases the effectiveness of the impact.  Within SHK there are two types of kyaps: a striking kyap and a pushing kyap.  When a kyap is executed during a strike, it sounds like the practitioner is yelling “Eight” without the “t” on the end.  When a kyap is executed during a pushing technique/strike, it sounds like the practitioner is yelling “Oh”.  The kyaps, to a certain extent, actually sound like the strike/push they are executed with.

3. Purposeful gaze

While practicing SHK Taekwondo it is always important for a black belt to know exactly where his/her eyes are looking and how he/she is looking.  Most martial artists only focus on the “where” and not the “how”.  It is true that looking at your target is important, however that is not only what this guideline is concerned with.  Instead, it is also concerned with how you look at a target/opponent.  To get a feel for this “how”, be mindful of people throughout the day that look at you and how they look at you.  Some people will look nervous when looking at you, while others will feel confident.  Imagine the disadvantage you would have if your opponent could see hesitation, nervousness and doubt in your eyes before the actual confrontation.  Now imagine the advantage you would have if the opposite were true.  How you gaze can have a huge effect on a confrontation.

4. Correct alignment of back and neck vertebrae resulting in proper balance

The importance of keeping the back and neck correctly aligned for the technique, the stance, the jump, or the fall can not be overstressed.  As soon as the body/neck is out of alignment, the body will no longer be in correct balance.  Because this alignment is different for different techniques, it is important that a student consult their instructor concerning how their back and neck should be held during the technique they are practicing.

5. Optimization of power achieved through correct hip motion

If you are in a car that is traveling 20mph and you throw a ball inside the car at 10 mph in the same direction as the car is traveling, how fast is the ball moving relative to the ground?  30mph.  Without going into the physics of power and hip motion, simply think of it using the preceding example.  If your kick is moving at 20mph with no hip motion, it will hit the target at 20mph.  If your kick is moving at 20mph and your hip is moving at 10mph in the same direction, your foot will hit the target at 30mph.  I’d rather have it hit at 30mph, wouldn’t you.

to be continued……..

Something to think about…

by Master Sean Pearson

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Written by Sean Pearson

Throughout his career, in an effort to become a truly well-rounded martial artist in both practice and philosophy, Master Pearson has studied a wide variety of martial arts: Taekwondo, Kali, Kyudo, Iaido, Aikido, Judo, Jodo, Bando and Tai Chi. He holds dan rankings in six of these arts and master ranks in three of them. To this same end he has studied and achieved national recognition as a wilderness survival instructor, a certified hypnotherapist, and a lecturer in Neuro Linguistic Psychology.

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