A Killing Art: The Untold History of Tae Kwon Do

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by StuartA, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. zeeberex

    zeeberex Green Belt

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    We typically in sparring, don't have a ref so much as folks keeping things on the periphery from getting broken ( The mirrored wall has been taken out once or twice), but we use sparring gear, for what good it does. We allow things to go from punch/kick into grappling so rules are sketchy anyway. The one bit of advice I can offer is be mindful of the headgear you choose, theres an older type with a metal bridge that "protects" the nose, and twice someone has been hit there and the metal support caved in, one time with a double nosebleed, the other a broken nose.
     
  2. SJON

    SJON Blue Belt

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    Not wanting to cause (or add to :)) thread drift, but I used to train at a club here in Spain where the classes for brown and black belts were pretty much all the time full contact sparring without and protective gear apart from shin guards. It was more like Kyokushin than TKD. Toughened you up no end, but you were constantly injured.

    The motto, which zDom's post reminded me of, was "A la cabeza que se note, al cuerpo a romper", which translates something like "Make sure they feel the head shots, break them with the body shots". And that was just regular in-house training.
     
  3. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    But I think this is different from the kind of thing that Abernethy calls 'kata-based sparring', which isn't really sparring but is SD training using kata-based techs, based on street-realistic bunkai, in the face of strongly simulated HAOV-type attacks. It's good to be toughened up in such situations, but to me the 'sparring' that's of real SD value has the assailant doing a variety of grab/strike or attempted sucker-punch moves. Your 'fence' had better be good...

    ... from what I've seen, the model for this sort of thing in the KMAs, until quite recently anyway, is the way certain flavors of Hapkido train. It's all about not getting hit, and in taking, or putting, the attacker down to the ground, on the assumption that he's going to come at you with the typical street brawler's arsenal of methods. I gather this is also the approach that people like Petyon Quinn and Geoff Thompson advocate. Abernethy has said in print that he's had significant injuries, including fractures, from this sort of training, but that it's worth it for SD prep in the face of real street violence.
     
  4. SJON

    SJON Blue Belt

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    Indeed.

    I think both types are important.

    I think it's necessary to experience hard symmetrical sparring occasionally. It teaches you to fight. As far as I'm aware, all-out symmetrical sparring was Geoff Thompson's main model.

    The key is to make it as similar to actual fighting as possible, i.e. get rid of the long distances, high kicks, backfists and feinting.

    But I agree that the basis of SD training is good asymmetrical sparring. It's absolutely essential to forget the "karate attacks" and defend against committed, repeated "street brawling attacks".

    And I would suggest that if you don't run the risk of getting injured occasionally (I mean concussion, a broken nose, broken ribs), then you're not doing anything that's going to be any use for actually defending yourself. You'll never get stressed enough, you'll never feel the urgency of someone actually trying to hurt you, and you'l just be playing a game that gives you a false sense of security.
     
  5. zDom

    zDom Senior Master

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    I have found that new students/people trying out a class are great for this. The bigger and meaner, the better.

    The challenge is to "make a believer" out of them WITHOUT really hurting them. Hurting them, it always seems, would be MUCH easier.
     
  6. YoungMan

    YoungMan 2nd Black Belt

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    Practicing in a way that consistently injures you (fractures, concussions, broken bones etc.) does not make you a better martial artist. It does mean you will be much more likely to suffer health problems when you get older.
    This type of training tends to devolve into "I'm tougher than you because I've had more broken bones". That is a foolish attitude to have.
     
  7. SJON

    SJON Blue Belt

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    Agreed, Youngman, but that's not the point I'm making.

    It's quite possible to train using real attacks with real intent, and not get injured or into a "toughman" contest. In all these years I've only taken two moderate injuries from full-force asymmetrical sparring (broken nose and mild concussion). I also cracked a rib and broke numerous toes and a foot, but that was standard WTF sport sparring, with or without pads.

    If you start slow and light, drill it well, and make sure everyone is taking it seriously and is concentrating, then there is no reason why people should be getting hurt regularly. It all depends on how you design and carry out the training.

    I really do think, though, that it is good to experience full force symmetrical sparring (with hand strikes to the head) at some time even if students only do it once a year, and that your one-step stuff needs to be with full intent so that it will hurt if you're not on the ball. Otherwise there's just know way a student can know how he/she will react to (a) the idea of someone actually trying to hurt him/her (b) the pressure involved, and (c) the hurt itself.

    Cheers,

    Simon
     
  8. Miles

    Miles Senior Master

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    Sorry to resurrect this thread (well, not REALLY sorry otherwise, I would not have done so).

    I purchased this book and read it over the weekend. It is a history which revolves around the story of Gen. Choi.

    It confirms some things I've heard and read about Gen. Choi and basically, like everyone else, he was a flawed person. Unfortunately he alienated most everyone around him including his son (who comes off as extremely devoted), and many of his early colleagues (such as GMs Nam Tae Hi, Jong Soo Park, etc.).

    Surprisingly, it makes Dr. Un Yong Kim out to be a very effective TKD administrator, in fact, the (spoken) comparison to Gen Choi makes the latter seem to be equally passionate about spreading the art, but not as effective. Dr. Kim's conviction on bribery is detailed as political and that he and North Korean IOC member (and Gen Choi's personal choice as successor) Chang Ung were working together to bring peace on the Korean peninsula.

    I am wondering if anyone else has had a chance to read this book and share their thoughts....
     
  9. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    I read it and what I found is alot of what I already knew or heard, the main thing that brothers me is the facts may or may not be as accurate as some seem to think. We must all read into the Art of TKD what we believe but in the long haul we must all be somewhat on the same page as to what is TKD and who did what to bring it to the general public. I wish I was really around to have seen and understood what some of these men went though for the Art itself.
     
  10. StuartA

    StuartA Black Belt

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    what makes you say that Terry? Alex's cross references are pretty decent?

    Stuart
     
  11. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    My take is, AG paints a damning portrait of Un Yong Kim as, first, a KCIA operative (whose operations were thoroughly implicated throughout the 4,000+ pages of Congressional Koreagate testimony that was probably AG's primary source) and then a political operative who carried out the ROK's mandate to eliminate martial content from the art in the interest of promoting it as a purely sport activity suitable for the Olympics&#8212;the point of which, as AG observes, was not merely to bring renown on the world stage for South Korea, but equally importantly, to distract attention from the horrible human rights record of the latest phase of that at-that-point unbroken string of ROK military dictatorships , the regime of Gen. Roh-Tae-Woo. He presents abundant evidence that Kim's conviction was not political, but in fact was simply the culmination of years of corruption going back into the 1980s at least, and that rather than 'working together for peace', the ROK government was actually bribing the North Korean regime to 'make nice': cash on a gigantic scale in exchange for the North's accomodation of the South's Olympic ambitions. AG refers to the cash-for-cooperation deal as bribery on a massive scale, even greater than the huge international operation the ROK launched in North America and elsewhere at the beginning of the 1970s to silence, intimidate or kidnap back to Korea dissenting Korean expats, as part of its Cold War strategy against the North. Everyone emerges from Gillis' pitiless narrative as corrupt, unscrupulous, largely or completely unconcerned about human rights and basic decency; Choi emerges as better morally, but only relatively so, than Kim, and so far as I can tell, the 'killing' in the title isn't so much about the military combative use of TKD (where it was an accurate description) but rather its role in the barbaric postwar history of Korea and the series of violently repressive military dictatorships which, AG argues, utilized it, and its practitioners, in their own efforts to consolidate their near-absolute power over their citizens&#8212;whom they robbed blind, at gunpoint.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2009
  12. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    Stuart I am not saying whether he is or is not accurate, I am just saying that everything does not always seem to be what other seem to think.
     
  13. irishwolf08

    irishwolf08 Yellow Belt

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    I actually bought this book when it first came out, I haven't finished it yet, got distracted with moving. But it was pretty interesting. Gen. Choi is a very...unique character to say the least. But I'm hoping to finish it soon. Overall, its a nice read, I think.
     
  14. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    My copy just came in yesterday. AG's research seems to be extensive. Only 50 pages in, I'm wondering how the other kwan founders, & other GMs not mentioned in the book, factor into the equation. As extensive as this book is, I'm sure that would take several more volumes to add.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  15. DarkPhoenix

    DarkPhoenix Purple Belt

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    Looks like I need to pick this book up. Any mention of GM Lee, Won Kuk?
     
  16. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    A few mentions, but he's not a main character in the book. Still an interesting read.
     
  17. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    In the last few days since I got the book in the mail, I've done little else but read it.

    I honestly kept looking for the author's spin and who he sympathized with in his story. I found that he saw the flaws in most of the characters, as well as good points in most. Letting the story unfold shed both good & bad light on all involved.

    The details of the KCIA intimidated Koreans around the world is pretty amazing. When I read those parts of the story it made me wonder how the "street-level" dojang masters reacted and dealt with it. To get that info would take another book, I suppose.

    It seemed like a mafia story with restraurant owners in the middle. The owners just want to run a good business. A lot liked the place where they got their linens (International Towel Fabrics) & had few problems. But then came World Towel Fabrics who said to be a good citzen, it was better to go with them. The restraurant owners were torn as to what to do. Rumors that the ITF chief wasn't a good citzen, plus the strong-arm tactics of the WTF (that added to the "decision" to be a "good citzen") made the WTF an easier choice as the restraurant owners just run their shops. Of course, many small shop owners probably never knew why the WTF is a better place to get linens.

    The focus of the book had to be on two people...the main players in this big story. But there were many more folks involved. Kwan leaders, pioneers who's stories were not told in this volume, and many others have interesting stories as well. But I doubt AG would want to delve into that, too. Researching this one was taxing enough, I'll bet.
     
  18. Cyclona

    Cyclona White Belt

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    I recently read this. I wasn't impressed. First of all it says the author is a university professor, I found so many type-os and grammatical errors in this publication, I found it hard to believe he was a prof. Second of all, the writing made no sense! There would be non-sequitur sentences all over the place! He'd start talking about something yet it would be out of context and have nothing to do with what he was previously talking about! I think this guy thought he was furthering his knowledge of taekwondo by researching & writing this book, but I thought it was really poorly written and full of personal vendettas for whatever reason. Not worth buying. Get it from a library if you really want to read it. But in my opinion it was not very good at all.
     
  19. chrispillertkd

    chrispillertkd Senior Master

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    I've edited several books by some very well known university instructors. Let us just say that one's level of formal education doesn't necessarily directly correlate with their spelling and grammar skills. I've also read books published by major publishing houses that contain errors of fact, misquotes from other sources and faulty trabslations and these were books written by wel known scholars in their field. Getting a book into print, especially one that is a few hundred pages in length, with no grammatical errors is actually a very impressive accomplishment even in this day of spell-check.

    I haven't read the book yet, so I can't comment on this except.

    Pax,

    Chris
     
  20. NPTKD

    NPTKD Brown Belt

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    I liked it and it contain alot of info...But it made me feel cheap! I wonder if this book just backs up what all the other styles think of TKD?
     

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