Facts, Fiction, Lies and actual accounts

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by terryl965, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    This is one that I would like to address: prior to that, it was called a number of things, depending on the kwan or what point in time it was between 1945 and 1955, but Korean karate was not one of them.

    It was not called 'Korean karate' until it came to the states, and that was mainly for marketing reasons; everyone knew what karate was but nobody had heard of taekwondo.
     
  2. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Well, yes and no in my opinion. LEE Won Kuk reportedly used the name Tang Soo Do for a time, correct? Isn't Tang Soo Do just a Korean way of saying 'Way of the Empty Hand', or karate in other words?
     
  3. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

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    Tang Soo Do translates as Way of the China Hand (Kara means empty or China depending on the kanji used, originally it meant China and it was then changed to empty, but Tang definitely means China).

    I still think it's a stretch going from GGM Lee calling it Tangsoodo to saying it was called "Korean Karate" prior to it being Taekwondo - as it was only really known in Korea at the time and it would have simply been labelled Tangsoodo rather than Korean anything and they would have used the word that GGM Lee used, not labelled it with it's Japanese name.
     
  4. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    I think the acid test would be to ask what image a Korean would have when they hear 'Tang Soo Do'. If they think of white gi and people screaming 'hi-yah!' I think it's likely that karate is an appropriate enough synonym for common parlance.
     
  5. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Andy beat me to it, but the Korean translation of the word, 'karate' is not the same thing as 'Korean karate.' If it were formally called 'Korean karate' in Korea, then it would have been called Daehan Tangsudo, or something to that effect.
     
  6. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Well, that's really not my point, though probably technically correct. We are talking about an occurrence IN Korea, taught by a Korean IN Korean, so the Korean part of this seems to be a basic existing assumption in my opinion.

    I think the more important connection is what LEE Won Kuk meant exactly when he began using the term of Tang Soo Do. We all know he trained karate in Japan at the Shotokan and this was the art he took back to Korea and taught. By GM Lee's time, the meaning of karate as "Empty Hand Way" had taken strong root. If he choose to use the Tang character to link back to China, that seems to be a political decision, at least to me. But nonetheless he was teaching Japanese karate at the time and I am curious if the term TSD was meant to be synonymous to karate or not.
     
  7. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    I was under the impression that Terry was referring specifically to the term, 'Korean karate,' rather than Karate in Korea. I only say that because I've seen (though not all that recently) debate both here and in other places about that specific term.

    I would assume that it was.
     
  8. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    I believe that is an old situation. As things are today, I am not sure if I would say they were ranked extremely low. I just don't believe they are ranked as high in Korean social eyes as they seem to be in our eyes. For the most part TKD instructors in Korea run their own business and most likely own the space they teach in. A lot also depends on how successful they are in their business. If they have a large school and a lot of students, they have a higher status than someone who has just a few local kids coming in. They are for the most part educated, with a bachelor's degree and some even more so. There are a few, though rare, that work a day job and teach at night and even fewer that held professional positions but gave it up to teach taekwondo.
     
  9. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    As a side note to this, why are the Koreans the 'DaeHan'? 'Big/Great Chinese'?
     
  10. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    I hadn't heard that about TKD, or any 'Korean' martial art. When I was over there, in the 70s and 80s, you would read in the Korean English language papers from time to time about Judo school dropouts. That was a known euphemism for gangsters. What was being described were persons who learned Judo (or perhaps other arts) to a high level, but never tested, at least for BB.

    As I understood it, BB in Korea, no matter which art, must carry their card at all times, and are held to a different standard regards fighting. They are expected to try hard to avoid a fight, and if they get in one, to be ready to identify themselves to the police.

    I would not be surprised that some practitioners in Post WWII and the Korean War may have had to reduce themselves to enforcer status just to feed their families, but probably wasn't wide spread. That may be where some of the bad feelings about MA teachers have come from.
     
  11. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Have you read A Killing Art by Alex Gillis? If we can rely on his book factually, the connection between martial artists in Korea and organized crime/spying activities/assassinations was there.
     
  12. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Great Han. I believe that Hanguk (韓國) means Han nation. The Korean Kumdo Association calls 'kendo' Daehan kumdo to differentiate it from Haedong Gumdo. The Korea Hapkido Federation calls itself Daehan Hapgido Hyeobhoe Presumably, 'Han' (韓) means Korea.

    Beyond that, you'd have to ask a Korean. :)
     
  13. Archtkd

    Archtkd 3rd Black Belt

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    Thanks for that clarification.
     
  14. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    Funny you should ask this, I was just reading about this in my history books last week. Actually it is not referring to the Chinese Han. Daehan refers to Han Empire. It was adopted to represent the Samhan or the prequel, if you will, of what became the three kingdoms of Korea (Silla, Baekje, Gogoryeo). Daehan Jeguk translates to Great Korean Empire.
     
  15. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    I always that Han was a reference to the old Han kingdom in what is now China. Looking on a Wiki map, it looks like the Han kingdom did include Koguryo and Weimo.

    <shrugs>
     
  16. dancingalone

    dancingalone Grandmaster

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    Thanks. Makes perfect sense.
     
  17. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    So Han Solo was Korean? Perhaps they should have gotten Phillip Rhee to Han Solo. Star Wars would have been so much cooler! And... oh.... wrong Han. Never mind.
     
  18. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    Daniel...there are plenty of decaffeinated coffees that taste just as good as the regular....I'm just sayin'. :D
     
  19. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    Blasphemy!!
     
  20. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    And no...Han Solo would not have been Korean...If so he would have been called Daehan Solo. :)
     

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