In , means "to strike or break with the foot"; means "to strike or break with the fist"; and means "way of life". Thus, may be loosely translated as "the way of the foot and the hand."
So, does this mean our only weapons we use
are the feet and hands as part of tae kwon do?
We know this not to be true since
our basics include techniques such as high block and low block that use the outer
edge of the arm as the striking surface.
We learn and practice within some of the upper forms an elbow strike, so
maybe the better description with be the “way of the foot and arms”?
Well, even that would not be accurate. Almost all hard surface parts of the body and muscular parts of the body can be used for effective techniques with training and practice. Some of those examples are the following:
The shoulder strike is applied inward when very close to your opponent. It is strong and effective when applied at close distances. This strike is most effective against the shoulder, sternum, or collar bone. A shoulder strike can be executed from different stances, and is often used to off-balance an opponent.
The striking surface for a knee strike is the upper portion of the knee. It can be delivered straight forward or in a circular motion from your side to your front. It is effective against face, neck, chest, stomach, groin, and back (spine or kidneys). It can be applied at close range when the distance does not allow another type of kick to be effectively thrown. A knee strike can be executed from different stances.
Yes, using your head as a striking surface can be very effective, but must be applied to a less sensitive area to be effective. For example, the use of a forehead against an opponent’s nose if facing each other or the upper back of the head against the opponent’s nose (if grabbed from behind) can be very effective. Forehead to forehead, however, can cause as much damage to yourself than your opponent.
It should also be noted that there are
other effective part of the hands and feet that are less used, but again, with training
and practice can be every effective.
Some of those include:
Top of the foot
The top of the foot from the side or straight up can be effective, especially against softer targets such as the groin or kidneys. It can also be used against an opponent’s shin and if flexible, against the side of the head.
Heel of the foot
The heel of the foot can be used in a thrusting motion behind you (back kick) effectively against an opponent’s knee, groin, or abdomen. In addition, the heel can be used in a straight down thrusting motion against an opponent’s foot or shin.
Instep of the foot
The instep of the foot can be used against an opponent’s lower legs (shins, ankles) to sweep an opponent off their feet.
Second knuckles can be used effective when using all fingers (typically called an extended knuckle punch or knuckles punch) or just the middle finger (typically called a single knuckle punch). The extended knuckle punch is formed by rolling your fingers to the second knuckle with a slight bend at the first knuckles and striking with the edge created by the second knuckles. The single knuckle punch is formed similar to the extended knuckle punch, but you only roll and use the middle finger. These are effective against eyes, temple, bridge of nose, upper lip, solar plexus, throat, and kidneys. When applied with a lot of force, these techniques can be used to separate the floating ribs.
Tips of the fingers
So, while in the beginning we do focus on only certain parts of the hands and feet as weapons, all parts of the hands and feet as well as other parts of your body can be effective with practice and training.
While we use the tips of the
fingers when reenforced in spear hands, the tips of the fingers can also be used
more like a claw to crush. This crush technique
can be used against arms, throats and even the front of the skull.
“When you're talking about fighting, as it is, with no rules, well then, baby you'd better train every part of your body!” ~ Bruce Lee (1940 –1973), American-born Chinese Hong Kong martial artist, actor, and founder of Jeet Kune Do
References:1. https://taekwondo.fandom.com/wiki/Taekwondo, retrieved 12/27/2021