by John P. Rogers

This essay is intended to provide a brief review of stomping techniques encountered within the various traditional forms practiced within the Chayon Ryu (CYR) system. I will present several possible interpretations of the practical function of these techniques: both from an internal health/training perspective and from the perspective of development of additional power for striking. Chayon-Ryu includes a rich collection of traditional forms which all students are responsible for preserving. The stomping techniques are an important part of this legacy.

There are a wide variety of stomping techniques and stomping kick techniques in traditional martial arts forms. By the time a CYR student progresses to 1st Dan he will have encountered stomping techniques in Karate forms: Pyung-Anh-3, 4, and 5; the Tae Kwon Do form Jee Tae, and the Ch’uan Fa forms of Dan Kwon and Doju San. The Sypsoo and Chulki (1st through 3rd Dan requirement) forms also have a stomping kick that can be construed as a groin block or offensive whipping (wave) kick motion to an opponents shin, ankle, or instep. The stomping kick movement can have either meaning and the final decision depends on the scenario in the mind of the student, during the form. The focus of this paper will be the stomping movements found in the first set of Karate forms which are not intended as strikes by themselves. Based on the teachings of Grandmaster Kim, CYR senior instructors, and supporting research, these movements can be used for warm up and Ki stimulation, as well as to increase the power of ones offensive strikes and blocks.

The principal feature of a stomp is the additional shock wave of energy one receives from the rapid foot strike to the ground. A shock wave can be visualized as a water wave reflected back from the point of impact at the edge of a pond. More accurately, a shock wave is an area of high compression that travels through matter. A sound wave echo is another example of this phenomenon. In the case of a foot stomp, a sudden deceleration of the body weight causes a compression wave to reflect and travel up the leg through the Ki center (Dan Jon), and continue up the spine. This wave of energy can have two benefits for the martial artist. When performing a form for health purposes, this shock wave will follow the ki pathways and stimulate the flow of ki, and circulation through the students body. Grandmaster Kim often refers to a repetitive stomping technique he was taught to utilize in his training in Korea. The technique helped warm the student during Tuksu Suryon training sessions held during the cold winter months. There are many references to similar stomping techniques for health purposes in Chinese Qigong as well as Chen style Tai Chi-Chu’an. Examples of stomping movements can also be found in native dances in a wide variety of cultures from the American Indian to the Maori tribes in New Zealand, where the a stomping dance that was used to “warm up” a group for battle in the past is now used to warm up a team for a modern rugby match.

An example of the second benefit of stomping movements can be found in the Pyung Anh forms where the use of shock wave energy supplements the power of strikes and associated blocks. One of the principal features of any hard style is the use of explosive strikes, which are a combination of momentum, strike velocity, a rapid snapping of the Dan Jon/abdominal muscle system, and a sudden exhalation of breath. This series of carefully timed techniques creates a large shock wave which adds to the muscular power of the strike. In a properly executed punch, the shock wave is what actually does most of the work to break a board or brick. In the case of a break, the compression wave transmitted via the punch rapidly exceeds the elastic limit of the target and causes failure. Now visualize the same punch with two coincident shock waves, one from the snap/kihop and one from the stomp. In this case, the shock waves add or in some cases multiply the force of the strike. This advanced technique must be carefully timed to obtain the additional power benefit.

At Tuksu Suryon training session held in July 2006, Grandmaster Kim demonstrated an example of a stomping punch technique. He set up from a very short distance and broke a single board with a very short punch combined with a stomp and loud kihop. I helped hold the board and it hardly seemed to break, it was more like a small explosion, then there were 2 pieces in our hands. He taught the class that a short strike can actually have the effective force of a much larger movement, when used in combination with a stomp. We were encouraged to add this technique to any strike, starting with those in basic forms, for added effect.

The stomping technique is a perfect example of an advanced technique which has been in plain sight for all to learn and apply. All the traditional forms have many “lessons” hidden in plain sight. They are there for all of us to learn and preserve.