We have all seen it… especially back in the old days… minutes and minutes of bouncing in a Taekwondo match!
One of the most common questions I ever get asked by people who don’t do Taekwondo is ‘Why are they just standing there bouncing around doing nothing? Why don’t they kick each other?’ To people who do Taekwondo this seems like a tedious question just like ‘Why don’t they put their hands up?’ but being honest how many people out there in the Taekwondo world know why we bounce… or what for?
This may seem a little condescending to some of you guys out there but it amazes me when you ask a lot of Taekwondo coaches and athletes about bouncing and movement and they have no clue why they are doing it. The responses always seem the same, ‘My coach has always made me do it’, ‘Its what you do in Taekwondo’ and ‘I just do’. Taekwondo athletes do bounce for a reason, a whole host of reasons…
Three of the main reasons for bouncing in a Taekwondo match are to:
- gauge distance;
- disguise and optimise movement, and;
- to kick in multi-directions more effectively.
By bouncing and moving we are discovering the ‘plans’ or ‘intentions’ of our opponent. By faking and motioning as if you are going to perform a kick this will stimulate a response from your opponent.
They may stay on the spot, move forward or move backwards. They may attack, they may counter. They may kick or close or do a whole host of actions but by bouncing and motioning you are giving yourself a better idea of what to do next.
By finding out your opponents intentions or ‘distance’ we then know what course of action to follow. Now we must disguise this or the opponent will see and may change what they were originally going to do and counter your action.
The disguise is created by bouncing, motioning and faking by doing this you keep your opponent on their toes not knowing when you are going to perform your technique.
The third and final use of bouncing is to optimise when you perform your technique. Bouncing up and down is a use of the Stretch Shortening Cycle (SSC).
SSC is where the muscle elongates (eccentrically) and rapidly shortens (concentrically) creating an enormous amount of speed and power. This is the base principle behind plyometrics. When we bounce we do this continuously creating a huge amount of energy or ‘spring’ to perform our desired technique as fast as possible and effectively.
In this YouTube video Master Paris Amani of the Elite Taekwondo Center USA covers all of the above perfectly:
Please let me know what you thought of the article in the comments box and if there’s anything in particular you want to know, feel free to include that too. 🙂