The sine wave in Taekwon-Do is a fundamental way for performing the techniques through a sequence of relaxation of the body, lifting the center of gravity and its downward movement at the end (the moment of performing the technique).
The sine wave in Taekwon-Do was introduced by Gen. Choi in the early 1980s. The essence of the wave is the execution of a technique simultaneously with a vertical downward movement of the body. The main purpose of the wave is to distinguish the movement in Taekwon-Do from Karate (Figure 1).
According to Gen. Choi, the wave makes it possible to increase the power in the performance of the technique in Taekwon-Do by converting the potential energy / accumulated during the elevation of the body in preparation /into kinetic/ through the movement of the body down at the end /.
In the Encyclopedia Taekwon-Do is shown and described the wave (Figure 2) in its original version consisting of lifting the body upwards, followed by a downward movement of the body.
In the early 1990s, Gen. Choi presents a “development” of the initial version of sine wave, which is highly motivated for “political” reasons. This is a consequence of the separation of several of the leading masters from the ITF. A striking example is Master Park Jung Te.
Under his leadership, trained the first North Korean international instructors to distribute Taekwon-Do around the world since 1985. He was Technical Director and Secretary General of the ITF. He received VIII Dan in 1981. from Gen. Choi. It separated from the ITF and founded GTF (Global Taekwon-Do Federation) back in 1990. He remained president of the organization until his death in 2002.
With the change of sine wave Gen. Choi keeps the “authentic” Taekwon-Do with him, and for the separated masters claim that they show “other” Taekwon-Do.
Sine wave is an essential element in the implementation of the patterns that are the basis of Taekwon–do. There are different ways to perform the techniques /normal, slow, fast, continuous and connecting motion/ through parts of the sine wave. At each international seminar, particular attention is paid to accurately show how the wave is performed and explain the different applications in the patterns.
The wave further links Taekwon-Do with oriental philosophy. In Korean philosophy, the two elements are heaven and earth (Chon-Ji) and are known as Eum-Yang, not Yin and Yang. They are often represented as red (sky) and blue (earth) and together form the “Taeguk” – the central symbol of the South Korean flag.
After the death of Gen. Choi in 2002 the explanations of the wave undergo their evolution. Different international organizations, Masters and Grandmasters give a number of different explanations and interpretations of the sine wave in Taekwon-Do. This is a consequence of the different approach and the different point of view in trying to explain the basic principle in Taekwon-Do.
Today we meet different explanations of the wave of different organizations and Grandmasters:
Here the big question is: What is the real effect of sine wave performance in Taekwon-Do?
And the short answer is: Minimal…
But let’s give the full answer:
Biomechanics is a branch of science that studies and analyzes the mechanics of living organisms. Man is a complex biomechanical system operated by a fairly fast biocomputer. The strength of the weight is important, but no less important are the forces of the muscles. Each of these muscles can contract under the action of nerve impulses and becomes a source of strength. Therefore, the explanation of the sine wave with “theory of power” and with Newton’s laws is not “applicable”. Only the biomechanical explanation is closest to reality.
In recent years, GM Kang has conducted a number of biomechanical studies for the sine wave.
According to the experiments made and published in the biomechanics of the sinusoidal wave, there is a difference in the force of a hand impact when performed by sitting stance with and without sine wave (approximately 6% in the speed of the fist).
His explanation and experiments confirm the claim of gen. Choi to increase the power in the performance of the technique in Taekwon-Do with the application of the sine wave.
The sine wave in Taekwon-do can be explained theoretically and practically.
Theoretically, when the body relaxes, the center of gravity begins to decrease below its initial position 0 to point A, then raises to point B and downward movement to position 0 at the end (figure 3 with red color). Where the amplitude of the descent* at point A is significantly less than the amplitude of the lift at point B (practically demonstrated in Figure 4). For comparison, a diagram of the initial wave variant /figure 3 with blue colour/ is given, where the initial descent is missing.
* It should be specified that lowering leads to a loss of potential energy and it should be minimal and natural, as a consequence of the relaxation of the body, and not forced and unnatural squatting downwards!!!
Figure 4 – Gen. Choi demonstrated the wave at a seminar in Poland in 1999
In practice, the relaxation of the body leading to a lowering of the center of gravity at point a is carried out at the beginning of the movement and the lifting to point b begins before the middle of the technique. Thus, in the second part of the implementation, the difference between the “initial” and the “modern” wave is minimal /figure 3 dotted line/.
What is new here is the biomechanical experiment which shows that the maximum power of the technique is obtained when the maximum amplitude of the lift is in the middle of the movement. With green colour the optimum from the biomechanical point of view wave is given in Figure 3, where the theoretical performance coincides with the practical and the maximum amplitude of the lift is in the middle of the movement.
Figure 5 shows a biomechanical analysis of the wave in a video from CD Legacy – The Encyclopedia in digital form from the late 1990s. Interestingly, the result is comparable to the result of the GM Cannes experiment (5.3 m/s from the clip and 5.25 m/s at GM Cannes). Figure 6 gives a comparison of the result of a hand strike with a step ahead (where the maximum of the wave in the middle of the movement (blue color) and when the maximum of the wave is after the middle (red color)). You can see the advantage of the optimally implemented according to biomechanics wave.
The sine wave in Taekwon-Do has its own peculiarities, which have been widely discussed in recent years. Depending on the point of view, each feature can be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage.
Features of the sine wave:
The presented formulation of the sinusoidal wave in Taekwon-Do is built on the basis of up-to-date and objective information, analyzed and presented in an appropriately synthesized form, covering the theoretical and practical aspects of the issue.
The main way for the implementation of the techniques in Taekwon-Do already experimentally proven, explained in detail and accessible to all.