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Sinewave motion is a movement unique to original Taekwon-do to create maximum force in every moment according to the theory of power. In almost every moment this sinewave is utilized. Sinewave is natural and simple. During class and in seminars Taekwon-do students are being taught to use “sinewave” in their techniques.
What we actually do by performing this sinewave in Taekwon-do techniques is moving the center of our body mass by means of a motion, which would look like a sinus wave if we would draw it.
There are some key benefits to using sinewave that is linked to the training secrets of Taekwondo. Moving our center of mass in the motion of a sine wave requires us to keep our arms and legs bent while the body is in motion. To keep the arms and legs bent during motion we need to be relaxed. Relaxing the body adds speed to a technique because we are not all tensed up with one part of the body working against another. Small increases in speed produce large increases in the power of a technique.
Secondly, when employing a sine wave we have to use the knee spring properly. That is to say, bending the knee is what moves our body up and down as we move forward. Using the knee spring while our body is in motion allows our center of mass to travel along a curve, which by definition is another form of acceleration, which then helps us accelerate into a target.
Finally, when using sinewave we are dropping our body downwards at the end of the technique with helps us use gravity to our advantage and keep our acceleration building until the point of impact.
To correctly apply the sine wave to Taekwon-Do we need to modify the wave shape before we can achieve maximum power. In other words, the sinewave is not a uniform curve as shown in the previous figure. The sine wave is modified so that the body drops as it passes the half-way point of the technique, and rises to the maximum height and then drops rapidly at the end. The rapid drop at the end of the technique helps accelerate our mass into the target using gravity to our advantage.
The basics of sinewave is down-up-down, in other words there is always a downward motion first, followed by an upward motion, and ending in a downward motion. There are however variations on sinewave, which are related to the motion, combination and speed of the techniques used.
In traditional Taekwon-do, the fundamental exercises and the patterns there are five different motions:
- Normal motion (1-1-1) – one full sinewave is completed during each breath. This is the normal method of movement and is assumed in patterns and exercises unless another is specified. It is therefore first used in the beginner exercises Saju-Jirugi and Saju-Makgi and the pattern Chon-Ji
- Continuous motion (2-2-1) – two sinewaves during one breath, as part of two consecutive movements. This is seen in the low block/rising block movements in Dan-Gun for example.
- Fast motion (2-2-2) – two movements are performed consecutively in fast speed, with two sinewave and two breaths. This is seen in the double punch in Do-San for example
- Connecting motion (2-1-1) – two movements are performed in one sinewave and one breath. An example of this is the hooking palm block/punch movements in Yul-Gok.
- Slow motion (1-1-1) – the movement is performed slowly, but according to the theory of power there has to be a slight acceleration at the end of the movement. There is one (slow) movement, one sinewave, in one breath. Slow motion techniques are meant to teach the student body control and balance. This is seen for example in the angle punch in Joong-Gun.
These five motions influence the sinewave, of which there are three variations:
- Full sine wave
- 2/3 sine wave
- 1/3 sine wave
Only in normal motion, continuous motion and slow motion there is a full sinewave (down-up-down).
- In fast motion there is 2/3 sinewave, as there is only an upward and downward movement. An example is found in Do-San: the two punches following movements 15-16 and 19-20.
- In connecting motion there is 1/3 sinewave, as there is only a downward movement. An example is found in Yul-Gok: the punch which follows movements 16-17 and 19-20.