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In ITF Taekwondo, movements 15, 16, 18, and 19 of Yulgok are hooking blocks, as far as I know.

Recently, however, I've been practicing Taekwondo with people who learned in different dojos, and a couple of them were taught to use knife-hand blocks at this point in the pattern instead.

Is this usual in an alternate ITF off-shoot or some other Taekwondo tradition I'm unfamiliar with?

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According to The 1995 Condensed, 1999 Condensed and 2008 15 Volume (as well as the original 1985? 15 Volume) these are Hooking Blocks (16 and 19 preformed as the first half of a Connecting Motion). Online resources back this up as well, such as http://chk-taekwondo.com/id28.html which is an excellent, excellent resource. My own writeup on the patterns is here: http://www.fusionmartialarts.com.au/freeware/BlueBook_CondensedPatterns.pdf

Having come from a traditional/military wing of Taekwon-do into an ITF school myself, there were a number of movements from patterns that changed or were otherwise never fully explained as they are in the ITF. A few examples that come to mind are: Do-San 1, 3, 9 & 11 were done mid-section in the traditional school; Hwa-Rang 21-23 obverse punches were preformed at much more than 15 degrees; Spot Turns were all preformed differently; Fixed Stance Punches were Side Facing; etc.

So... differences abound if the school is based on the traditional/military (basically pre-ITF) teachings.

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+1 Great answer. Welcome to the site! –  stslavik Apr 19 '12 at 16:38
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The ITF syllabus does require a hooking block. See an example here.

Due to arguments as to who the ITF should be, there are three organisations claiming this role. In addition to the WTF, this does give scope for different interpretations.

Having said that, my understanding is that despite the political differences, and the style differences between WTF and ITF, the actual moves should be taken from the syllabus, so I don't think that a knife hand block is officially sanctioned.

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