Are they exact, no. Are they very, very close, yes. I myself have Volumes 3 through 6 and they are well produced. They give you 5 different videos for each poomsae. Here's a quick breakdown:
I had to pick one video from each poomsae to work with. Videos 4 and 5 are immediately ruled out, both of them breaking down the poomsae, sometimes in slow motion. Videos 1, 2 and 3 show the exercise from start to finish, but when I timed the 3 videos they were all different lengths in time. Videos 1 and 3 are multi-camera shots with up to 6 different angles depending on the video. If the live take had all cameras present at the same time you'd see all of the other cameras in the background. Multi shots taken with multi cameras at different times and it all ends up getting sliced and diced in post production for the final video. Of the 5 videos the only one true to the performance is number 2, the Basic View. One camera in one position, that's what shows the true timing and pacing of the poomsae.
Why put music to Taekwondo?
Actually, Taekwondo being performed to music is nothing new. For some time now Taekwondo practitioners have been doing musical poomsae, also called creative poomsae. In free form the performer can choreograph his techniques to pre-existing music. But for traditional poomsae performing these patterns to pre-existing music is simply not possible. And if you try to use pre-existing music it's impossible to find something that musically reinforces or 'kicks' with all of your techniques at the required place in time. You can find something with occasional 'hits' but you almost always have to delay or rush through the timing of your techniques to line up with the kicks in the music. Then you end up performing the pattern with extreme changes in the timing of the form that you've practiced for so long to learn correctly. Also, the poomsae usually last between 45 seconds to a minute, so your music has to be chopped up, with no beginning or ending. This just doesn't work. Many times in competitions this means competing separately from those using music. Some tournaments even have the Musical Forms competition on Friday night, and have the Traditional (no music) Forms competition Saturday morning. In all practicality, the only way for Taekwondo artists to perform the formal poomsae to music is to use music that's been composed and produced specifically for WTF Taekwondo. This is Kickin' Tracks!
What do you get when you purchase Kickin' Tracks?
For the full package (Volumes 1 & 2) you get 9 demonstration music videos (Taegeuks 1 thru 8 & Koryo), the 9 main MP3 audio tracks, 9 extended MP3s (looped 5 times each) and the 9 Kickin' Tracks Nitro series which are time compressed audio tracks for a faster performance and are a great version to use for tournaments and team demonstrations.
What are the uses of Kickin' Tracks?
They're mainly intended to be practice aids. The number one problem when practicing poomsae is rushing through the exercise. The slight spacing between moves gives you a chance to focus on each technique individually. Practicing poomsae correctly is fundamental to perfecting the individual techniques. Another important benefit from practicing with Kickin' Tracks is 'motivation'. Repetition is the key to practicing poomsae, and the music creates a level of excitement while doing the forms that makes it basically more fun to do. People end up wanting to put more time into their poomsae practice. And for the first time 'Synchronized Poomsae' becomes available for WTF Taekwondo practitioners. Added benefits are an increased focus, improved timing, and more 'snap' to your performance. Part of the Kickin' Tracks package includes 'Kickin' Tracks Nitro'. They are the same 9 tracks but are 'time compressed' for a faster performance and are a great version to use for tournaments and team demonstrations.
Previously a reference was made that Kickin' Tracks are designed to be ‘in sync’ with the style and pace of the Kukkiwon videos produced by Osung Media. Are they exact, and if not how close are they?
1 - Introduction
2 - Basic View
3 - Detail View
4 - Learning Section Movements
5 - Application
How do you go about creating these pieces?
It took a while to even consider doing this. Several times I had watched those videos and tried to work it out. I couldn't see the forest for the trees. Then I had one of those 'light bulb' moments. The poomsae are musical, very musical. The poomsae within the poomsae, patterns within the patterns, like motifs, verses, intros and finales. Song structure! These poomsae start with the intro, in ready stance internally building intensity as he's about to turn to face his opponent so the music also builds in intensity. 90 degree turn to the left then performing 3 to 4 techniques, the first verse. A 180 degree turn to the right and performing the same techniques (switching rights and lefts) he's performing the second verse. The music in the second verse is the same as the first verse but adding other musical elements to build on that theme. Then a section of 3 to 4 techniques, a bridge section that builds to the primary climax of the performance, the choruses. Turning 90 degrees to perform 3 to 4 techniques for the first chorus, then turning around 180 degrees repeating those same moves for the second chorus. And the last 3 to 4 movements performing the finale to a fade out ending. Song structure! This gave me an approach to work with. Just like film scoring the video gave me a structure and a time line with 'hit points' to work with.
How did you decide on the final timing of the 'hit points'?
First I had to figure out the tempo for each piece. I broke the video down into it's separate sections and would figure out a tempo for each section. No one person can maintain a specific tempo perfectly and continuously, there'll always be minute slowing down and speeding up. I've been working with digital audio and sequencers for almost 30 years and I've yet to come across any musician, including myself, that can start a stop watch and count in his or her's head a tempo of 120 beats per minute and maintain it for one minute. The closest I've ever come is 743 milliseconds, around 3/4 of a second. Like it or not humans internal clocks drift. So, I would take the tempos from each section of the piece and average them out to obtain the final tempo. Next came hit point placements. After placing the down beats for each section I would 'snap' all other hit points to their nearest 1/8th note. Hit points on the beat are easy to learn, it's the up beat ones that are trickier. That's where the 'lead ins' really come in handy. The most important thing was this music had to be usable and workable for anyone, specifically people with no music training or background. Probably around 90 to 95% of all music is based on a time signature of 4/4 time, 4 beats to the bar, very natural and easy to follow. The problem with this was I ended up with other time signatures I'd have to sneak in, 3/4, 5/4/, 6/4 and 7/4. I remember I had one verse section that was 12 beats long. Should it be 3 bars of 4/4 time, or 4 bars of 3/4 time? A tremendous part of the work for this project was experimentation. I had to sneak in those varied time signatures with no one really noticing them. Hit points, a no-brainer. 'Lead ins' were crucial. Lead ins can be anything, a drum fill, a tympani crescendo, a horn section riff, any musical element that the listener can become familiar with after several listenings of the music and watching the video. Strong melodic bass lines were also crucial throughout all 9 pieces. Even chord progressions help to lead people to the hit points. And when we finally got down to the shooting of the videos I got to see the results in action and watch the process actually work.