So I got to attend a 5 hour seminar on the Korean short stick aka joong bong. This was a very good seminar that introduced people to the basics. The single stick Korean style is approximately 2′ in length. However, we were encouraged to bring what we were comfortable with or what we had available. So, I brought one of my trusty 18″ oak sticks that worked just fine. I’d say about half the people had longer escrima sticks and I saw at least one police baton. The point being is that you are supposed to be able to apply the training to any sized stick you happen to have handy which is why any stick was allowed.
Given that I’m used to the “hard” approach I have to say the slower heavier stick worked better for me. In addition, all of the basic techniques are based off of taekwondo fundamentals. So, in my opinion a single heavier stick was better than a light one due to hard blocks and hard strikes. (My partner could not stop my downward stroke using a rising block and a light escrima stick)
From my notes, the fundamentals. These will be familiar if you have a taekwondo background (forgive misspellings if you speak Korean):
Stances: Ready stance (kinda like fighting stance but with a stick) , high ready (same footwork but stick held high and pointed at opponent), open middle (lead hand facing opponent with stick in rear hand at angle pointing away and back), high drop stance (stick kinda resting on shoulder), low and middle hiding stances (basically using your arm or leg to hide that you have a stick).
Maki (blocks): Take all of taekwondo’s basic blocks and a apply to a stick. Ugel maki (high block), arae maki (low block), ahn maki (inside block), bkat makki (outside block), utkoro makki (cross high block), and naeryo makki (press block).
Chigi or strikes: Jungymun chigi (straight strike; sorta like an over hand chop), bakat chigi (outward strike), ahn chigi (inward strike), and bakat kak chigi (outward and inward diagonal strikes). The outward and diagonals are all cross body strikes. There was also a butt strike using the base of your stick while at in-fighting range.
The strikes generally emphasize big power strokes and are used as counters. e.g., the straight strike has you raise your lead knee to your chest, raise the stick over your head (touching your back), then snapping forward into a low front stance and chopping with a ki hop! Pretty much every technique emphasized maximizing kinetic energy. Even the thrust has you raising the knee, chambering the thrust, then snapping out with full body momentum.
Thrusting or jirugi is the last offensive technique. It’s essentially a knee raised fencing thrust with a stick. Targets include eyes, throat, solar plexus, and groin.
Footwork: For the most part very linear. Your lead foot generally matches your lead arm and the lead arm is usually where the stick is. You have a lead shuffle (forward or reverse), turning (dora) happens on the lead foot, and there’s also a basic diagonal side step.
The main thing that was emphasized is that this is not like Philippino stick fighting. The single stick is slower and works best if your stick has a little meat to it. Due to this it’s also more defensive with offensive counters.
The blocks I’d have to say are 70% force and 30% redirection. e.g., outside or inside middle blocks has you keeping the elbow locked and rolling your shoulder to redirect the initial blow. Then, almost all counters at infighting range emphasized a power stroke with a quick wrist rotation. Vital targets included base of the skull, top of the skull, side of the neck, kidneys, floating ribs, groin, and knees. The idea being is to take the attacker out with a power shot.
We got to see an advanced single stick demo at the beginning. It included some advanced one steps, free fighting, and some wicked ways to use the stick for take downs, joint locks, and submissions.
We focused on all the basics, free style partner drills where attacker picked an unannounced attack and the defender had to apply a block, five of the 15 basic one-steps, and the the first two of three stick forms (aka katas). Also, there is a lot of material here that can be practiced solo which was also a point of the seminar. We did not cover any of the joint locks, etc., and I’m a little disappointed about that.
I have to say I’m excited about the stick forms. The first two cover all the basic power shots and hard blocks while the last emphasizes speed. They are also fairly short and fun to practice. We were challenged that once you learn all three separately you can try to combine them into one longer single form. Once I get the first one up to speed I’ll try to post a video of it.
There just wasn’t time for advanced stuff without making it a whole day. Part because the instructors had commitments and part because I think they want to hold another seminar in the summer and charge for it.
Other things I learned: Korean stick fighting also includes ssang bong or double stick techniques along with jong bong or long stick (aka long staff) techniques. The instructors are still working on double stick training. Apparently you are first taught single stick. Once you are deemed proficient (master of basic and advanced techniques) in that you can move on to double. The training overall is very regimented in the typical Korean style of things. No surprise there because early taekwondo was taught to the military and had to be broken down in such a way to teach to masses of soldiers.
I would not want to put this single stick stuff up against someone who is a Kali or Escrima master. However, it integrates very well if you know taekwondo and could definitely work on the street because most of it relies on gross motor skill techniques. I’ve not seen the double or the long stick, Korean style, but I’m guessing both are going to have that hard, choppier, Korean approach to things.
Definitely better than the riot training I had in the Guard and in my opinion, more effective. However, against an escrima expert I’d throw my stick and run like hell!