Just wanted to add a little from last week’s blog on Animals and Martial Arts. This is going to be a short blog as I am going to focus only on one animal. That is the Tiger which is a huge part of the Korean culture and Taekwondo.
Korean culture just loves the Tiger. Tigers are known for their strength, quickness, power, grace, and courage. That sounds like Korean Taekwondo to me. A lot of Korean Taekwondo Masters and Grandmasters have the nickname “Tiger”. This is so because the masters are known for the attributes named above. Also don’t forget Korea’s National Taekwondo Team is known as the Korean Tigers. Very cool name for a team. Sounds cool just like Team Wolverine. 🙂 Also some units in the Korean armed forces have special units using the name of Tiger.
If you look at our Taeqeuks(Colour Belt Poomses) and Black Belt Poomses, you will find different techniques coming from the tiger. In Taeqeuk 6 you will first see the use of the Tiger stance. Also known as the Cat stance in other martial arts. The tiger stance is when the lead foot is just barely resting on the ground on the ball of the foot. This is used for quick defensive and offensive moves using the lead foot. It has the quickness and agility of a Tiger ready to capture it’s prey.
In Koryo which means Korean tradition or culture, we see the use of the Tiger Mouth Low Block and the Tiger Mouth Strike. The Tiger Mouth Low Block is used to block kicks capturing and damaging the knees and upper thighs of the attackers legs making it hard for them to counter attack because of the pain. The Tiger Mouth Strike is mainly aimed at the throat to prevent the attacker from breathing for a short time period or to kill your opponent. Most predatory animals like the Tiger normally attack the throat as it is an easier kill.
The Tiger Mouth techniques uses the space between the thumb and four fingers to strike a surface that is smaller that than the space between the thumb and index. The wrapping of the thumb and the other fingers represent the Tiger biting it’s target.
So that is just a little taste of how the Tiger is mixed into Korean Taekwondo. Google it and I imagine you will find tons more. I encourage you to learn as much as you can about the culture behind the martial arts. I should be back in a few days to talk about the Dragon in Martial Arts.
Master Jonathan Field