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Beomseogi

An official video mentions the name of Beomseogi when the right foot is in front as Oreun Beomseogi. Also, in other times of the video, the naming is consistent:

  • Right foot is front: Oreun Beomseogi.
  • Left foot is front: Oen/Wen Beomseogi.

Weight distribution

In another official video, it's mentioned that the weight is distributed 9 to 1 by Beomseogi. The back leg takes 9 and the front leg takes 1.

Screenshot: Beomseogi

Dwitgubi

Another official video mentions the name of the Dwitgubi when the right foot is back as Oreun Dwitgubi. So, basically:

  • Right foot is back: Oreun Dwitgubi.
  • Left foot is back: Oen/Wen Dwitgubi.

Weight distribution

Most of the body weight is on the back leg. Maybe the ratio is 4 to 1. I don't remember the exact ratio number.

Screenshot: Dwitgubi

Question

I asked some instructors why the left/right name of Dwitgub is based on the back leg and not the front leg. They answered that's because the back leg takes a larger ratio of weight distribution.

Now, I wonder why the same principle is not applied to Beomseogi. I mean, why is Beomseogi named based on the front leg, not the back leg? Despite the fact that in Beomsegi back leg takes most of the weight load.

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    For posterity, I'll add that the apkubi (front stance) follows the same nomenclature as the dwitkubi, as does hakdariseogi (crane stance, which is also qualified by the foot on the floor). Thus making the boemseogi the outlier where naming consistency is concerned.
    – Andrew Jay
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 15:15
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    Interesting - matching up with my ITF/Chang Hon knowledge - AFAIK weight bearing leg always denotes Wen/Oreun - in a 50/50 stance then it is front leg (and sitting stance doesn't have a left/right because that wouldn't make any sense) - these simplistic rules just aid an instructor - "Class left/right ABC stance" should have everyone in the same position provided they know the stance and weight distribution (without having to learn a rule per stance on which way to name it too)
    – Collett89
    Commented Oct 2, 2023 at 8:33

1 Answer 1

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Well, it's almost 7 months since you asked, and not a single answer was provided in that time. To me, that's amazing. I was thoroughly looking forward to answers from others who consistently provide great responses. Alas, that's not the case yet. So, I will proffer only a guess. I cannot source my answers, I'm merely relating to logic here.

And so I have two theories.

Theory 1 - Utility

The first theory is that the naming, if we assume the naming to be consistent, which is a bold and perhaps reckless assessment, has less to do with the weight distribution and more to do with the utility of the stance, or of the hand performing the heavy-duty part of the associated techniques with the stance.

Apkubi - Front Stance

So looking at the front stance, the weight distribution is on the forward foot, and the back foot seems to only provide stability. We generally see the front stance as a sort of static stance, we don't really move much while in this stance. But that does not mean the stance has no purpose: we can use the front (bent) leg as a tripping mechanism for a throw.

For example, the forward spearhand. The right leg forward, and the right hand spearhand. That's a throw, and we can expect to throw the opponent over our right knee while in a forward stance. A good example is a throw the Japanese call kaitenage. Perhaps not coincidentally, the right hand is also the heavy worker of this technique, and maybe that also contributes to the naming of the stance. Of course, that's not the only purpose of the spearhand, as it can also be used to effect an X-throw (jujinage, for those using the Aikido terminology), but again, we can use the front right knee to assist in a trip.

Coincidentally, the weight distribution and the working function of the front stance is the front foot, and so, we qualify it by either its weight or utility, it still gets the same qualifier.

Dwitkubi - Back Stance

The back stance is interesting, it's nearly the same as the cat stance. I'm pitifully reaching here, but I posit that they differ significantly: If we agree that our forms are less about sparring and more about self-defense, then, we don't need to consider the front-kick aspect of the lead foot kick in a back stance, which we don't always consider in self-defense (not that it's impossible).

Rather, we can think of the back foot (which happens to have the bulk of weight, and thus can qualify the name) can be used to steer by pushing forward or backward in order to effect a technique. Perhaps one can argue that this foot is considered the more important part of any front leg kick?

Think also of the common applications in our forms that use the back stance: the important hand may also be the same hand as the rear foot, lending credence to the utility as the qualifier as well as the weight distribution.

Or not; maybe there's too much wide latitude in utility where either hand has importance, and utility is less important than weight distribution. We gotta give it a name, might as well be weight in this case.

For example, the very common double knifehand block. The obvious appearance is that the front hand is the more important hand, the back hand merely assisting.

But the single knifehand definitely has extremely important effect with the rear hand, as it pulls the opponent close while the front hand pushes away.

So given the varied techniques used with the back stance, perhaps the designers decided that here, the weight distribution was the common denominator of all of the techniques with this stance.

Beomseogi - Cat Stance

Now for the cat stance. The front leg can issue a front-leg kick even more easily than the back stance due to less shift of weight. And nearly all weight is on the back leg.

But Is that what we are doing in our self-defense-based forms? What if the original creators of our Poomsae decided that the cat stance had more purpose for the front leg (or front hand) than the back?

We can imagine wrapping the front leg around the opponent's legs in order to secure a throw, prevent escape, or perhaps even to allow you the chance to take a suicide fall into a leg lock of the opponent. Like the front stance with the bulk of weight on the front foot, the back stance has the bulk on the back foot, even though the utility favors the other foot.

Here, we diverge in qualifying the technique not by it's weight, but by it's utility. And so if we were to argue that the names were consistent, we could argue that the name qualifier has to do with utility, not weight distribution.

So as to this theory, I argue it's the utility of the foot or the utility of the forward hand that qualifies the stance.

If we argue that there is less consistency in naming, then we get to my second theory:

Theory 2 - Carelessness

As to this, which I think has credibility due to the naming of another technique, I posit that it was a careless naming mistake by the Powers That Be.

As to the other technique that is carelessly named, there is the simple punch. In English, we have forward punch and reverse punch. The forward punch is issued with same-hand-same-foot forward. The reverse punch has the reverse hand and foot forward. In Korean, this naming is traditionally backwards.

There is a discussion on this very topic here:

Confusion with the word "bande" meaning reverse in Taekwondo

I won't repeat everything, but, suffice to say, the Koreans did not seem to be consistent with the rest of the world in naming its punches; so it stands to reason that perhaps they weren't also consistent with the qualifying of their stances.

Given that there are only 4 off-balance stances (front, back, cat, crane) it may be the case that the qualifiers were deliberate, and theory 1 prevails.

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