Theory of Power

Reaction force (Bandong Ryok)

Newton’s Law states that for every force there is an opposite and equal reaction force – this means that if you are forcing the end of a seesaw down with a ton of weight, it will provide an upward force of the same weight on the opposite side.

If then, an opponent is rushing towards you at high speed, with the slightest blow at his head, the force with which you strike his head would be that of his own onslaught plus that of your blow.

There is another reaction force that is not the result of your opponent, but that of your own. A punch with the right fist, is aided by pulling back the left fist to the hip.

Concentration (Jip Joong)

When one applies the impact force onto the smallest target area, it will concentrate the force which will increase the effect. For example poking yourself with the blunt end of a pencil is not nearly as painful as when you use the sharp end – the reason for this is that when the force is concentrated onto a smaller area, the effect is intensified.

Concentration is done in two ways: Firstly, one is to concentrate every muscle of the body, especially the theoretically bigger muscles around the hip and abdomen towards the appropriate tool to be used; secondly this mobolized muscles have to be concentrated onto the opponent’s vital spot. This is the reason why the hip is jerked slightly before the attacking tool in the direction of the attack.

Equilibrium (Kyun Hyung)

In most martial arts balance is extremely important. In Taekwon-Do, it deserves special consideration. If the body is always kept well balanced, a blow is more effective. On the other hand an unbalanced technique is easily dismantled. Therefor the Taekwon-Do stances are of utmost importance and should always be stable yet flexible, for both offensive and defensive movements.

Equilibrium can be classified into both dynamic and static stability, and this is something that need be understood in your Taekwon-Do study. To maintain good equilibrium, the center of gravity must fall on a straight line midway between both legs, or in the center of the foot if it is necessary to concentrate the body weight on one leg.

The heal of the rear foot should not be off the ground at the point of impact – this is not only for good balance but also to generate maximum power at the point of impact.

Breath control (Ho Hup)

Taekwon-Do’s unique way of controlled-breathing has a positive effect on both your stamina and speed and also attributes to augmenting the power of a blow directed at the opponent’s body. Stopping the breath when a blow to a pressure point on the body is received, will help stifle the pain and through practice will prevent the loss of consciousness.

A sharp shortening of breath during the exhaling when executing a technique will tense the abdomen to concentrate maximum effort on the delivery of that motion, whilst a slow inhaling helps the preparation of the next movement. Never inhale while focusing a block or blow against an opponent, because it will slow the technique which resulsts in a loss of power.

One breath is required for one movement with the exeption of a continuos motion.

Speed (Sok Do)

Speed is the most essential factor of power. The formula F = ma means that mass times acceleration equals Force or power. Although m which is your body mass is a constant, a which is acceleration is not and can be increased. Therefor, increasing your speed while attacking will have a dramatic effect on the force of your blow.

Reaction Force, breath control, equilibrium, concentration and relaxation of the muscles are all contributing factors to the acceleration of techniques. All this together with flexibility and rhythmic movements, that are well coordinated, will produce maximum power in Taekwon-Do.

Taken from: Sanko Lewis;; The International TaekwonDo Federation, ITF Encyclopedia & other sources.