Now the whole family can learn powerful self defence

Shim Jang TKD – Up Close and Personal

15 March 07

By Senior Instructor David Luxton

About the Author

David Luxton is a 2nd Dan Black Belt Branch Instructor at the W.S.T.A’s Kingscliff centre on the NSW Far North Coast. The following interview was requested Blitz Martial Arts Magazine and was published in the Xmas 2005 edition.

Many people consider Taekwondo to be a long-range kicking art - flying and jumping techniques had origins in open battle fields for taking out horseman, while the broad arsenal of kicks still used today all have advantages in extending a martial artist’s attack range far beyond the hands. In some forms of modern Taekwondo, kicking techniques have virtually superseded hand techniques, contributing to growing perceptions of Taekwondo as a kicking art.

In Shim Jang Taekwondo, having the various kicks at your disposal is only a part of mastering the art, our Master Instructor Les Hicks has, for as long as I have known him, has always stressed the importance of teaching our members good-quality, simple and effective street-wise self defence. Les believes that to practise quality Taekwondo (or Foot, Fist way) we need to include an equal share of hand and foot techniques in our syllabus and it would be wrong to describe Shim Jang Taekwondo as an art of self-defence unless we do, indeed, practise what we preach.

Throughout the 20 original pre-ITF patterns (hyung) practised by students of Shim Jang Taekwondo, there is a virtual encyclopaedia of hand and elbow techniques – all designed for devastation when aimed at an attacker’s vital points. Les’s long-standing interest and history in boxing also resulted in a broadening of Shim Jang Taekwondo’s arsenal of short-range defensive techniques but unlike boxing, the art focuses its handwork heavily on attacking the body’s vital spots with the focus on doing as much damage as possible in as short a time as possible.

Les says it needs to be recognised that mastering Taekwondo means being able to apply the most effective techniques available for both open confrontations as well as in toe-to-toe situations. Being realistic with our students means understanding the potential for situations where martial artists are pinned into corners where they won’t be able to perform a take-down technique, let alone launch a side-kick with any degree of real power.
These are the situations where a martial artist needs to call on properly executed Punches, knee and elbow techniques as well as using spear-hand and finger techniques to the eyes, throat and other soft tissue targets.

Despite the prominence of these techniques in the Shim Jang Taekwondo syllabus, we recognise that no single art can be considered the ultimate self defence style and to say this can, in many cases, simply mislead people. There are many great Reality Based Self Defence groups that are teaching quality self defence and they play a very important role within our community but this RBSD type of training may not necessarily be practical for the broader section of the community - many Mums, Dads, and even small children are after more than just self defence from their chosen activity and we understand that people study Shim Jang Taekwondo for many different reasons. The majority of our members want to develop good health, fitness, self defence and some practitioners just want to enjoy learning an art that can offer respect, discipline, flexibility and co-ordination. As instructors in the art of Shim Jang Taekwondo we have an obligation to do our utmost to provide a system that can assist people to develop any or all of these vital traits.

The other advantage of studying a broad range of both hand and foot techniques also fulfils the Shim Jang philosophy of providing effective techniques, combinations and scenarios that people of all ages, shapes and sizes can draw from and use to their own advantage. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another, so our responsibility is to enable our members to develop their individual self defence skills while studying the art. “As time goes by, they can draw from what they are learning and adapt other techniques as they develop them.” This doesn’t mean that learning Shim Jang Taekwondo lacks a disciplined approach to the basics - it is an art to be studied, practised and understood, there are many black belts in Shim Jang Taekwondo who have adapted the art to suit their own physical characteristics but they still continue to draw from the same set of fundamentals.

Essentially, our approach to self defence or, as we prefer to say, self preservation is very simple: if an attacker steals your wallet and runs away, don’t chase them, but if your life is being put in danger and you must defend yourself, do what it takes to survive. Shout and scream your lungs out to bring everyone’s attention to what is going on & always remember that no one can hurt you if they can’t see or chase you, so go for the eyes, nose, knees or any other vital spot that will disable the attacker quickly and don’t do it half-hearted. Understand that the law rightly says that we must only use self defence when absolutely necessary but also understand that self preservation comes before all else, don’t be a victim or, even worse, a statistic.

In the dojang, the emphasis is on practising these techniques with increased realism as students progress through the ranks but, needless to say, full-contact cannot be used when practising attacks on vital spots, therefore, Shim Jang Taekwondo’s teaching system is designed to enable the practitioner to develop full speed and power with their techniques within safe, controlled surroundings while at the same time, students learn to focus on the various vital spots that will enable them to quickly and effectively stop an attacker in their tracks.

We use the heavy bag to assist with the development of speed and power and we use focus mitts to direct the power to a desired spot. At senior levels our members also practise destruction techniques, this develops spirit and proves that their individual speed, power and focus is developing at the required rate. Correctly executed destruction techniques also show that the student is using the correct tools (parts of the body) when hitting the target. This ensures that, if forced into a self defence situation they won’t injure themselves in the process.

David Luxton
2nd Dan Black Belt
Shim Jang Taekwondo (Aust)