Understanding the Theory of Power in Taekwon-Do

Categories: PowerTaekwondo

What is power? Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines power as being the “ability to act or produce an effect” or the “possession of control, authority or influence over others”. There are many theories and ideas on how to achieve “power”, whether it be political power, social power, power over other people or power of oneself. Yet in Tae Kwon Do there exists a Theory of Power which includes breath control, concentration, equilibrium, reaction force and speed. A strange recipe to achieve power, but by breaking it down and examining each ingredient one can easily see how each piece works together for an individual to unlock the power dwelling within them.

The first part of the Theory of Power, as outlined by the Team Chip Tae Kwon Do Centers Student Guide, is “breath control”. Breathing is essential for life, but it is exceptionally important when practicing Taekwondo. “Controlled breathing not only affects one’s stamina and speed but can also condition a body to receive a blow and [modify] the power of a blow directed against an opponent”.

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In short, when one controls their breathing they can perform for longer since they will not be gasping for breath and, while directing a strike against an opponent, can make their blows more powerful by exhaling while they strike. “When striking a blow or receiving one … it is useful to take a sharp exhale as it causes your muscles to tense up, thus giving your strikes more force and reducing the impact of the blow on yourself”.

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By controlling one’s breathing, one can gain more power during a strike as well as be able to perform for longer since they will not be out of breath as quickly. This allows for one’s blows to be more effective, with a single blow acting as a deterrent instead of multiple weaker blows. The second component of the Theory of Power is “Concentration” (Townsend Student Guide pg. 15). One cannot adequately perform tae kwon do or self-defense maneuvers with a distracted mind, yet this tenet refers to “concentrating. . . blows on a small target area so that the force of the blow will be greater as compared to striking a larger area”. By concentrating the blow on one surface area, such as the back of the calf, the force of the blow will be stronger and will prove more effective in taking an attacker or opponent down compared to focusing the blow on a larger area such as the abdominal region, where the power will be lost on such a large surface area.

When “[focusing] a blow onto the smallest target area, it will concentrate the force and therefore, increase its effect”. In practice this means that by applying all of one’s strength to one particular area instead of a general region, a more forceful impact can be achieved and will prove more effective against an attacker than just landing blows at random with no specific target in mind. Equilibrium is the third tenet of the Theory of Power, yet it is the most fundamental component. Without balance, one can easily be swept off their feet and taken down in a matter of seconds. To achieve equilibrium one’s “center of gravity … must fall on a straight line midway between both legs” with “the bulk of the body weight on one foot”. By having excellent equilibrium, one is less likely to be knocked off their feet by a blow, instead only being lightly pushed back and allows them to ready a counterstrike. With the body “well-balanced, a blow is more effective and deadly”. It allows one to be flexible with their movements and on their feet at all times, giving assailants less of an opportunity to take advantage of their victim by capturing them in a prone, defenseless position. Equilibrium also assists in producing “maximum power at the point of impact” and, when combined with breath control and concentration, results in a more concise, deadly blow. Yet with “every force there must be an equal and opposite force”, as stated in Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

By using one’s opponents strength against them or by creating one’s own reaction force one can create a more forceful blow, which works in tandem with the previous components of the Theory of Power. An example of this is when an opponent “is running towards you, the impact of the strike will be a combination of the force of your opponent’s speed as well as that of your blow”. Not only will an aggressor feel the force of their victim’s blow, but they will feel the force of their own strike working against them.

Defendants can also create their own reaction force by punching with one fist while pulling back with the opposite fist. This creates a reaction force that, while tiny, can aid in taking an attacker down. Speed is another element of the theory of power that, when combined with the other building blocks of the theory of power, allows one to unlock the formidable power dwelling within them. Cited as “the most essential factor of force or power” (UK ITF, “Theory of Power”, Accessed Sept. 13, 2018, http://www. tkd. co. uk/powertheory/) speed is essential to delivering a formidable blow. An example of this is “throwing a bullet at someone” will not cause substantial damage but “a bullet traveling at great speed from a gun can pierce the flesh”. Combined with equilibrium, concentration, breath control and reaction force, one can easily elevate their strike from a weak and ineffective blow to a daunting delivery. Any mass delivered at maximum speed will, upon impact, ensure that assailants are incapacitated long enough for their potential victim to run away or get help.

All the components of the Theory of Power; breath control, equilibrium, reaction force and speed, work together to help individuals unlock the power within them. Speed is useless without equilibrium, concentration is useless without breath control and reaction force is useless if there is no force to begin with. They are powerful by themselves but when they are combined together they allow a person to effectively utilize their body and strength to deliver powerful blows, even if they do not seem like the most powerful or intimidating person on the outside. All of the components of the Theory of Power work together to make each solitary strike powerful on their own and allows individuals to unlock the power within them by concentrating their power in specific spots instead of relying on brute force to get away from attackers. By utilizing this Theory of Power and using each component in tandem, even the meekest individuals can deliver powerful blows and prove that they are not as weak as they may appear.

Updated: Feb 25, 2024
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Understanding the Theory of Power in Taekwon-Do. (2024, Feb 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/understanding-the-theory-of-power-in-taekwon-do-essay

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