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Thread: Sine Wave Vs. Hip Twist

  1. #1

    Sine Wave Vs. Hip Twist

    I just recently took my ITF style school to a tournament, where there were over 250 competitors. I, personally haven't been to a tournament in nearly 10 years. So we went to this tournament not knowing what to expect. I quickly learned that my style of ITF is drastically different from their style of ITF. I have been practicing TKD for over 25 years and hadn't realized that there are multiple different types of ITF.... Lovely. So, apparently in the 90's, TKD Masters (in all respect) thought that they should change every form, kata, poomsae, or tul- to incorporate what they call a "Sine Wave". The up and down fluent motion in-between techniques. I must say, that it has it's eloquence and crispness. However, when two competitors are competing against each other (in forms) at the same time, and they both do their sine wave form, they are carbon copies of one-another. They start and stop at the same time, they breath at the same time, they go up and down at the same time... Where is the individuality? When I was taught to compete in a tournament, my Sensang-Nim told me to be different- because different stands out. I have previously won 4 grand championship titles in open and ITF tournaments, for my pattern. At this most recent tournament I placed 4th, behind 3 sine wave practitioners. Nearly all of my students didn't place in patterns due to that reason. Now, how can judges score higher for a more modern twist of TKD, when the original style is being less recognized? I find it nearly disrespectful to the art, and it's origins.

  2. #2
    from the outside looking in dylan, backflips have potential eloquence and crispness too, does this mean adding them to the kata..

    if the point of investing your precious life moments is to win points, then it doesnt matter, just learn to do the backflips...

    otherwise, as in everything, use your experience and existing understandings to review where youve been
    and, most importantly, where you are going or intend to go into your future in martial art..

  3. #3
    The frustrating thing about tournaments is that there is no standardization of judging. Usually the judges are simply black belts from all the schools in attendance, so judging is subjective according to what that particular judge thinks or believes to be correct. For this reason, I personnally do not put much weight behind the number of trophies that any MA school owner has in his or her window. It doesn't matter. Tournaments are fun, but judging is inevitably biased based on the judges expeience. The only reason I attend tournaments is to meet other practitioners. I have found that some black belts, even after years of training, have no clue about their arts origins or "official" or "original" poomsae or even the purpose of the poomsae.

    To expand on Shisoshin's point about backflips, has anyone watched any of the most recent televised demo team competitions? It's all acrobatics now! I have no idea what any of that has to do with fighting, but it pleases the crowd and makes money. Personnally, I believe if you want acrobatics, take up gymnastics.

  4. #4
    Sometimes it actually can work the other way in certain TKD circles with standardization. Even in WTF there is a particular "way" to do the forms, and in some strict competitions any stylistic deviation can get points docked. A lot of ITF has gone that way over the last 20 years with the sine wave in their patterns. If the majority of folk are doing that cookie cutter sine wave the majority of judges may be looking for that as an actual "part" of the form, despite the fact that it is a relatively new advent in the system. Sucks, but it's the reality of tournaments.

    I echo the comments about judging often being a waste of time. You don't know who you're getting and often they are so strapped for judges they grab anyone with a black belt and give them a point card. Put on top of the the politics of who is "in" with the sponsoring school(s) or organization and a fair shake is hard to come by. I don't do tournaments anymore because of that very reason. I'm not spending hours on the road, hard earned money on entrance, etc., just for the chance to potentially get screwed in the process. If I want to get experience fighting I'll try to work up some relationships with other local schools and get some folks together. We did that in Harrisburg a long time ago where Tuesday night black belts from all around the area, regardless of style, would gather and spar. It was awesome. New faces, different opponents, and none of the tourney BS.

    This is, of course, my opinion. Many do tournaments for their own legit reasons and that's cool. But I hear frustration coming out here, and in my own experience find it justified and unfortunate.

    In terms of the acrobatic piece, I agree that there is a lot of that going on and it's giving traditional MA a black eye. It pumps up the glitz, attitude, and flash as opposed to the tradition, practical motion, and street defense. That said, there are many of the martial artists who do the acrobatics that also have grounding and solid skill in traditional martial arts, so while we may only see them on the tournament scene with the flashy stuff, they do have honest skill to back it up. Just my two cents.

  5. #5
    the only person to really judge your kata is your sensei, who knows what hes judging, ie, you, what hes taught you, and what youve learned and understood,
    and are now able to demonstrate in real movements.. of course, sensei of your sensei or any other sensei capable of judging the kata, are also valuable..

    valuable, as this is not just display for displays sake but a manifestation on you as the martial artist you have become, thru the form of your kata..
    valuable because the kata is only the outer shell for the bunkai oyo [numbered sections application or variations] which are the real meaning of the kata..
    if for some reason you decide to add, remove, or alter a movement for some arbitrary reason other than combat or self defense effectiveness,
    then not only the meaning but the effectiveness of the bunkai will be lost.. this is like tearing out a page from a prized ancient text..

    chinen teruo sensei hanshi okinawa gojuryu usa visiting our dojos for training asked one sensei if he knew the kata "hai sensei!"
    response of chinen sensei "tomorrow you will show 16 meanings for that bunkai"..
    this top sensei did know and could demonstrate that bunkai and meanings [professional hands on security person by trade]
    but stayed up half the night with others practicing and perfecting the 16 variations demanded..
    point being that unless you have a very good, understanding of the meanings, applications and variations of the kata bunkai
    then you have no right making any arbitrary changes to the kata as handed down - to be passed on and taught -
    as a different kata, with your arbitrary changes now part of its meaning or, absence of meaning..

    sure, the kata do change, as you develop and mature into them.. this is natural development, not, arbitrary change..
    eg, low stances such as shiko dachi [similar to horse riding kiba dachi] should be 'lower' when learned and taught,
    yet should or may become higher as you mature into the kata and your own development..
    but the kata should and must be still taught to students in the low version of this stance/position.. for good reasons..
    in some kata the student must learn and practice a certain movement with fist at hip, yet later, he may practice
    that same movement in that kata with fist opened into shotei form held over center torso instead of at hip..

    this is progression within the correct teaching and meaning of the kata.. the kata allows for this progression..
    within dojo tournaments or demonstrations at gradings etc, the student must demonstrate the correct kata
    as it would be taught to novice students.. i would not for eg, show the variation my sensei gave me
    telling me 'for you now sempai, this way'.. yet later, if the student continued, that would be so..

    in gojuryu kata sanseru there are two mae geri [front kick] up the embusen center line, taught as
    two basic kicks, but the variation can be second kick jumping or even both kicks jumping [tobi]..
    so there can be variations within the kata while retaining and not losing any real meanings..

    novices are taught basic kata [moving and turning basics as kata] with some emphasis on not
    bobbing up and down.. especially when moving between the same or similar stances..
    reason being to train out of them the bad habit [in the martial sense] of bobbing up and down
    within movements.. yet, within the higher kata sinking into low stances and rising into higher
    stances may be an essential element in the meaning there.. once the bad habit of bobbing
    has been corrected, along with other typical poor habits of movement etc, and the student is
    taught the 'real' kata then the meanings must be included and demonstrated in movement..

    what if a meaning includes driving your mass forward into the torso of the enemy
    as part of its effectiveness and someone teaches your student to bob up and down
    instead.. what will he do when he needs to defend himself using that meaning..
    he will do what has been drilled into him.. or, that conditioned movement will
    interfere with whatever he tries to do in effecting that self defence response..

    acrobatics are wonderful..
    skilled acrobats have special abilites which must increase their bodily condition
    and ability.. this is why acrobatics such as backflips rolls and so on are taught
    as part of basic training along with many, other great training practices..

    but, this does not, mean, that acrobatics or pushups or one legged squats
    or any other external exercise may be added to the kata...
    anyone with any martial understanding must see this..

    seems to me that adding acrobatics etc to existing kata cannot be to improve the kata
    as, kata, rather must be for other cosmetic reasons, to either differentiate the kata
    from the standard forms [to make it 'joe blows' or X TKD kata] or for show,
    and thus influence on [as penmarktkd notes] less than expert judges...

    anyone in tkd interested in this can check out the kata as passed on
    from funakoshis shotokan, which he changed from the kata he
    learned as part of okinawa-te or renamed kara-te..

  6. #6


    Wow! All this stuff is way too deep and over my head. But just a quick simple question to anyone who understands enough about this topic to shed some light on this: Three years ago I went back to ITF TKD after a 10 year absence. I`ve been searching around a long while to get some clarity over the whole hip twist - sine wave thing too since I`ve had to change my entire basics formation and it has not been easy but rather incredibly awkward to do so. However, My current master is in his late 50s and said General Choi himself explained the value of sine wave over hip twist in the last few international conferences he gave during the mid to late 90s. He has a whole bunch of photos to prove it. I am told that it is a scientific study of power generation and not just for the sake of aesthetics. If General Choi himself has advocated this addition to his patterns that he invented, why is there still debate over the issue? Can anyone explain this switch over to me and why and how it happened? Just curiosity on my part really. At the end of the day I got to practice the way the rest of the club does.

    Speaking of acrobatics, I have seen a whole bunch of K-Tigers style stuff lately being practiced by so many dojangs and put up on youtube. It looks really cool no doubt about it, but I dunno... thoughts?

    Oh, and then I found this video which looked super cool and slightly acrobaticky, yet still TKD and not OTT K-Tigers style.

    What`s the cutoff line do y`reckon?

  7. #7
    I think you've got some good information regarding the reason for the sine wave. I have a friend who is ITF to the core and had to do some changing as well once the sine wave became the trend. While it does take some getting used to, he has tried the mechanics of the sine wave with things like board breaking and is sold on its ability to generate motion and power. I'm a little more "old school" and haven't been under anyone who pushes the sine wave so never really grabbed onto it, though I've played with it a little. In terms of whether or not to use it in forms I think it's really whatever for whomever. My only issue is that I don't think it translates well into self defense application of the form techniques. It's too telegraphed, takes longer, and has a little more unnatural feel to it for me. I think the hip twist is more direct, faster, and far more realistic to use in application.

    I've already kind of chimed in on my feelings towards the acrobatic flair. I'll say perhaps a tad more. The athleticism and technique are no doubt amazing. I've seen some of these guys not only do the crazy flipping, twisting, fly around the room farting marshmallow thing, but also do it with spot on accuracy and impressive power. So there's no question some serious skill involved. I just don't think it falls into line with the concept of traditional martial arts. As impressive as it is, it's impractical, and often showy to a point that lends itself towards cockiness, even if only in image. This strays from a more humble perspective. Maybe that stuff would be better labelled "Martial Gymnastics" rather than Martial Art.

    Better yet, just use the term coined back in the day when they did that cheesy movie with the Olympic gymnast, I believe it was Kurt Thomas(?), and tried to make it a marital arts flick. The title? Gymkata!

  8. #8
    hi theitfwaygirl - according to tkd and other sources, gen choi trained and taught shotokan karate
    with funakoshi gichin sensei in japan as nidan [second dan black belt].. funakoshi sensei taught
    modified okinawa te kata in japan, which is what gen choi would have practiced and taught..

    according to various tkd sources there are direct correlates between shotokan kata and tkd 'kata'..
    this is just preamble to response to the idea of gen choi and "his patterns that he invented"..
    funakoshi sensei changed or 'watered down' the original okinawa kata taken to japan,
    renaming them in japanese,, but its drawing a long bow to say he 'invented them'..
    similarly, its unrealistic to say that gen choi 'invented' these kata, or anything
    he later taught based on shotokan kata, or anything virtually the same kata..

    various tkd people have stated that named shotokan, shuri-te and tkd kata
    are virtually the same kata,, aside from any stylistic variations etc..
    it should be very easy for anyone interested in that matter to verify
    using readily available inet resources for names and kata video..

    this is not about gen chois 'right' etc, to change 'his' kata..
    but when the subject and question is as to modern changes to
    the kata, in a competition environment - non-existent in okinawa karate -
    and the 'why' of those changes,, seems appropriate to start at the start,
    rather than assuming what there is today [or recently] is a new invention..

    okinawa kata derive from mainly southern chinese [eg, fujien] martial arts,
    which contain the principles of the art[s], including specific and potential applications
    to real attacks.. even seemingly minor changes to kata waza can destroy martial
    principles and actual applications in the kata for teaching and leaning real ma..

    its fair to say that the sequence of masters devoting their lives to their art
    and passing it on to the next generation over long periods would have
    discovered, faulty principles contained within the kata,, and would have
    changed the kata to include genuinely more effective waza..

    again, bear in mind that the environment for all this was of serious real
    martial art, not for competition in artificial sporting events..
    ie, this was a reality where wrong principles etc
    would have been discovered by direct experience..

    as an outsider to tkd, but interested in the off-shoots of
    okinawa-te or kara-te, the matter seems fairly clear cut..
    just as funakoshi sensei changed the names of the kata
    to japanese from okinawan, gen choi seems to have
    then changed those japanese names for korean..

    but anyway, if youre training in tkd and asking questions here,
    why not research genuine tkd resources and find out
    the truth of it for yourself,, and let us all know

  9. #9
    it's interesting reading this thread because I was under the impression that sine wave had always been a core principle of TKD :S lol

    RE: the competitions, I've gone off them a lot and fallen out with people in my school for it. I find them a poor representation of the skills we learn in the dojang and often they can get very dirty or very petty. I like the idea mentioned of getting several schools together to spar for the sake of sparring, this seems like a pure and honest way to spread techniques and expand a TKD network.

  10. #10
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    Real ITF TaeKwon Do

    Hello all, I know this is an old thread, but thought I would put in my two cents worth. I have been training in TKD for over 20 years. I started out in an ITF school that taught hip twist. When General Choi, added the Sine Wave theory to TKD we did not change. However, we no longer called our style TaeKwon Do either. Our style was changed to Chun Kuhn Do where my instructor created his own forms. I now hold a 4th degree black belt in this style, as well as a 2nd Degree in ITF TaeKwon Do using the Sine Wave. I also have a 3rd Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do.

    As far as tournament gradings for traditional martial arts go. If you do not do it the way you were taught, you are not doing it right. There should not be any individual interpretation to it. If your style is ITF TaeKwon Do then every school will teach the form the same way. Now I know there are schools that claim to be something that they are not. This is where you need to research and make sure you are going to a legitimate school. If your school does not follow General Choi's Encyclopedia of TaeKwon Do, which includes Sine Wave Theory, than it is not a real ITF School, and you will not have International rank recognition with the ITF.

    As far as TKD forms go. General Choi certainly did originally teach the Shotokan Karate forms. This however was before the creation of TaeKwon Do. There were originally several "Kwans" or schools of martial arts in Korea, that taught generally the same thing but with different variations. Today the Shotokan Karate forms are still part of Tang Soo Do's curriculum, with variations from the original due to Korean martial arts influence. However ITF TaeKwon Do has a completely different set of forms that General Choi and other high ranking black belts created for TaeKwon Do.

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