Gichin Funakoshi! How should he be looked at as far as TKD History?

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Gorilla, Oct 11, 2014.

  1. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    Gichin Funakoshi - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Funakoshi Sensei was the original Martial Arts teacher of many of the Korean Kwan founders!

    Do we have TKD without Funakoshi?

    Sorry for the misspelling in the title!
     
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  2. Raymond

    Raymond Orange Belt

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    After doing some research, I'd have to say it might be likely. While Funakoshi didn't invent Karate, he is cited as being the most influential to spread it from Okinawa to mainland Japan. There were other styles before him, but they would have likely stayed in Okinawa without Funakoshi and the Korean masters who learned martial art in Japan would have likely ended up doing Judo, Aikido or some form of Jujutsu.

    If we look at the history as being the Korean masters learned Karate in Japan, then went back to Korea and tried to make it a unique art and "Koreanize" it by trying to tie it to Taekyon (spelling?) and ended up with emphasis on kicking. If Karate, a striking art, had never been in Japan then they would have likely ended up in a grappling art, then associated their arts with Ssireum (sp?) in order to Koreanize what they did. Maybe if that had happened, Korean arts would have been primarily grappling instead of kicking (even though Korea produces high quality Judokas to this day).

    Interesting to think about for a history fanatic :)
     
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  3. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    I think their might be a few questions here. Funakoshi was certainly among the first to take karate to Japan but the history is a little clouded as to his influence. Then of course Choi was studying in Japan and ended up studying under Funakoshi. He almost certainly wouldn't have learned Aikido at that time because that really was in it's infancy. But Judo? Possibly, as it was in the Universties. And of course there was Yamaguchi's Goju Kai in the university at the same time.

    And here is a history of TKD that has virtually no reference to Japanese origins. A little bit of history rewrite methinks.
    :asian:
     
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  4. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

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    I love reading about the Old Masters and history of Martial Arts. And as a long time Karateka I certainly appreciate Funakoshi and always will.

    But I'd like to throw something out - and before I'm accused of blasphemy please know that is not my intent....it was pointed out to me a long time ago that some of students of the Masters, and some of the students of those students.....were probably better Martial Artists than the old masters themselves. Why? (that's what I asked when I heard that) because when you teach, one of your ultimate goals is to make your students better Martial Artists than you are. I mean, what's the alternative? If they're not as good.....and go on to teach themselves, and their subsequent students aren't as good - what would happen to the particular art they were teaching? Probably die out.
     
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  5. TrueJim

    TrueJim Master Black Belt

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    What an interesting question! As I understand it, during the 35-year occupation of Korea by Japan, many Korean folk traditions (including Korean martial arts) were prohibited by the Japanese. (As an aside: imagine Christmas being prohibited in the West for 35 years, and then having to reconstitute Christmas 35 years later: nobody has printed or sung Christmas carols for 35 years, nobody has been farming Christmas trees or manufacturing Christmas decorations for 35 years, nobody has been has been making or showing Christmas movies or TV shows for 35 years...and now 35 years later as a society you want to reconstitute Christmas. Can you imagine what an undertaking that would be!)

    Anyway...back to the main point: for 35 years traditional Korean martial arts have been prohibited, now the occupation has ended, and a number of people who have been martial arts enthusiasts for the past couple of decades (despite the Japanese occupation) now want to reconstitute a culture of martial arts practice in Korea. In our real-world timeline many of these enthusiasts studied under Funakoshi so they all shared a common foundation, but in our hypothetical alternate timeline of course they haven't. Presumably they've each studied something because their personalities are still such that they've been long-time martial arts enthusiasts, they just have not studied karate under Funakoshi.

    Here's my conjecture: without Funakoshi, these Korean enthusiasts (including General Choi) would have studied a bunch of different martial arts instead (judo, various styles of kung fu, etc.), instead of all studying a common martial art (karate) all at the same time. Yes we would still have had 5 post-WWII kwans, but the 5 kwans (and then the later post-Korean War kwans) would have been teaching 3-4 completely different styles martial arts instead of all teaching their own variation of Funakoshi's karate. They would not have been able to come together to develop a common style because they shared no common foundation, and so there would be no "modern Korean martial art" like taekwondo.
     
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  6. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    I believe Funakoshi is arguably the most influential Martial Artist of the 20th Century... He is integral in the foundation of two of the worlds greatest Martial Arts Karate and Taekwondo!!!!
     
  7. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    Kinda like saying he's integral in the foundation of two of the world's greatest martial arts: karate and karate., actually.....:lol:
     
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  8. Archtkd

    Archtkd 3rd Black Belt

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    My lineage is partly Changmookwan so I'd say taekwondo would have been there without Funakoshi Sensei, but maybe not without his teacher Anko Itosu, Anko Itosu taught Toyama Kankaken, who in turn taught and cross trained with Byung In Yoon, the progenitor of the Changmookwan. Kankaken -- the founder of Shudokan karate -- and Yoon both studied Chinese Chuan Fa at various stages of their martial arts development, something reflected in the martial arts styles they founded.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  9. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    We are Song Moo Kwan which is difinitly derivative of Shotokan Karate and highly influenced by Funakoshi Sensei... Byung Jick Ro's ( founder of Song Moo Kwan) curriculum which he enforced was almost the carbon copy of the Shotokan curriculum of which I am very familiar.

    Correct me if I am wrong but of the 5 original Kwans Changmookwan was the only one not directly influenced by Funakoshi Sensei...I would suggest that without Funakoshi Sensei TKD would look a lot different...Maybe they would have all trained under Kankaken...lots of variables....but I think the history of Taekwondo post WW2 is interesting and complex and Funakoshi definitely plays a big part!

    I love Shotokan Karate BTW! Love their concept of distance...and 1 strike power! Shotokan Karate can pose a lot of problems for fighters! A great Martial Art!
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2014
  10. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    As for Chung Do Kwan, our founder, LEE Won Kuk was a direct student of Funakoshi Sensei & his son. We are forever in his debt.
     
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  11. Earl Weiss

    Earl Weiss Senior Master

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    There are two sides to this coin.

    Positive side. Our students should be better than we are or ever were because they have a better instructor than we have. HOWEVER, this requires dedicated students.

    Negative side: An off shoot of the empty your cup story. As our cup is poised to recieve knowledge from the instructor, the pouring of theknowledge or the cup itself is imperfect causing some knowledge to miss the cup. Some students may never note that some knowledge missed. Others may simply note that the cup is less than full and dilute it with whatever. Sadly, in those cases, subsequent progeny of the stuedents may never realize that they have rec'd less than the full measure of knowledge, or knowledge that has been watered down.
     
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  12. elder999

    elder999 El Oso de Dios!

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    As someone who started out in Chung Do Kwan (Duk Sung Son) and studied Kyokushin at the same time, I wound up doing a bit of research. There's very little evidence of shotokan or any of its Okinawan antecedents having kicks above the waist prior to WWII, and yet it wound up with higher kicks and flying kicks.

    I'd like to think that one of those Korean students had a background in taekyon, and some influence on Japanese karate as well....
     
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  13. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    Interesting thought! I am skeptical about how much taekyon influenced TKD...
     
  14. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    The higher kicks in Taekwondo are very much a Korean addition. Whether Taekyon influence or not, that is the source of much debate. Isn't it?
     
  15. Archtkd

    Archtkd 3rd Black Belt

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    And Jidokwan. Something to note is that for a long time grandmasters of the Changmookwan were calling the shots at the Kukkiwon's World Taekwondo Academy, where many of the techniques we now see in Kukkiwon style taekwondo were developed.
     
  16. Gorilla

    Gorilla Master of Arts

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    Our current Master is Changmookwan....we talked about the Kung Fu roots of that Kwan over dinner....I like the fact that the two different styles have helped diversify our game! We had never talked about his original Kwan...this conversation spurred me to ask! A lot of the differences make more since now!
     
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  17. Manny

    Manny Senior Master

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    And Jigoro Kano??? I think he was the man, because he make a new art and popularized the martial arts, I think Dr. Kano was the pioneer of martial arts.

    Manny
     
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  18. StudentCarl

    StudentCarl 3rd Black Belt

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    To me this is like the DNA ancestry question. I think we're all related, and the value is in the mixing. Anyone who claims to be a purebred anything is fooling themselves. I identify myself as a Taekwondoin and an American. The fact that I'm genetically and martially a mutt makes me stronger and more durable! YMMV.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
     
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  19. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

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    I usually see this type of thread about once a year on here or so.

    I think one of the biggest beefs many have with the TKD history/origin story is when certain schools/organizations make claim that TKD is a really ancient art or that it came directly from China and leave out the whole Japanese karate connection altogether. I understand the occupation and reasons for wanting to do so, but it's not intellectually honest. I have even read one history that claimed the Pinan forms were ancient chinese forms and were related to animals like the turtle, never once talked about their creation in okinawa or versions found in japanese karate.

    The second beef are those that point to the Japanese karate connection and think it stops there and that TKD is just a carbon copy of Shotokan. That may have been true in it's very early stages, but it has been documented that the early founders added/created many new kicks and applications of their own that they aded to their art to make a unique art of it's own.

    As to the main question. It all comes down to how far back you want to go on your family tree. I know some will only trace their art to it's actual founder and start there. I know of others that include their founder's teachers to show the influence of what went into the art. I have seen some that keep going further and showing the teachers of their founder's teachers and so on.
     
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  20. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

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    So with regards to your question, "How should he be looked at as far as TKD History?", he should be looked at as the instructor of a number of the Kwan founders and as such, an indirect contributor. The same way that Takeda is viewed as Choi's instructor.

    I am well aware of the controversy regarding DRAJ and HKD; I'm not dredging that up, but the fact is that HKD practitioners recognize him as Choi's teacher and don't see any conflict; Choi taught what he taught and the art evolved as it grew. TKD with Funakoshi should be no different.

    Good question. As a person with a KKW rank, I'm going to say no, and instead say that without General Choi, we have no Taekwondo (regardless of how you break up the syllables). A lot of what drove the TKD movement was political, not technical, and General Choi was definitely a prime mover. Without him, it would not be called taekwondo. Probably taesoodo, kwon beop, or maybe even taekkyeon.

    I think that regardless of what the donor art was that that served as the platform, you would have ended up with WTF sparring, and there were enough CMA practitioners in Korea to put a new MA with high kicks together without the contribution of karate.

    Had TKD not taken off, HKD might have been the focus of unification.123
     
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