Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Forms Training
by Master C. Terrigno - 5th Dan
Editor - Tang Soo Do World

Forms training is both an application of Tang Soo Do fighting techniques and an artistic expression of those techniques. It has internal (Neh Gung) as well as external (Weh Gung) attributes and benefits. Internally, we are exercising the vital organs and developing internal energy and power (Ki) through proper breathing. Externally we learn how to control that power in the execution of the physical techniques in increasingly complex patterns against multiple opponents.

As an art form, hyung practice should demonstrate not only the fighting applications from a technical aspect, but also the artistry of good presentation, and that requires more than just exhibiting strong fighting skills. That aspect is a function of the  mental and spiritual (Shim Gung) state of the practitioner.

In practicing forms, or learning a new one, it is useful to break the form down into components, working on different ones individually and then adding them together. Phase 1 can be considered the basic, or rough draft stage while Phase 2 adds more ingredients that help the form take shape and strengthen it. Phase 3 can be considered the "polishing" phase where refinement of the form takes place.

Phase 1
- Understand the characteristics of the form
- Learn the overall pattern of the form
- Learn the individual movements and integrate them into the form's pattern

Phase 2
- Focus on breathing, tension / relaxation and power control
- Concentrate on the rhythm of the form
- Practice with a sense of awareness and realism

Phase 3
The final step would be to evaluate the form in its totality, much like a painter stands back to look at his art from a distance. This perspective deals with the overall composition of the form and should consider three things:  Line, Speed, and Beauty.

Line (Suhn) is about extension. It is characterized by longer stances and techniques extended within their full range of motion, rather than short, restricted movements. It is also about solid stances and smooth transition from one position to the next.

Speed (Sohk) is best reflected by variation in timing of directional movements as well as the speed of the techniques themselves. Avoid static, predictable timing between techniques. Some movements will be executed individually and others in combinations with varied timing. Some moves are explosive and others more relaxed and contemplative.

Beauty (Mee) is the overall impression you create with your interpretation of the perfect form. It is a feeling experienced by the performer and transferred to the observer. Like a painting, if the audience felt or saw your inspiration, it's presentation would be considered successful.

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