Korean Culture in Martial Arts

Discussion in 'Korean Culture and History' started by Choistic, Nov 5, 2018.

  1. Choistic

    Choistic White Belt

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    To anyone who is an instructor,

    Do you teach the Korean language and culture to your students? How?
     
  2. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    Yes. My GM is korean, and all techniques are only referred to in Korean as they are learned. This connects the terminology to the movement.

    We also have several cultural exchange programs with universities and Taekwondo facilities in Korea and regular events involving the local korean community e.g. at Chuseok, or demonstrations local facilities as part of Korean days.

    Learning of the basics of the language outside of TKD terminology is appreciated but not compulsory. It's challenging to get by on the Korea programs without at least rudimentary Korean skills.

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  3. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I teach using English and Korean terms side by side. If I tell someone to throw yop chagi, I'll also say side kick.
    The actual number of Korean words/phrases students are required to know is quite small. Ultimately, they're there to learn TKD, not Korean. And while I personally enjoy studying the language and culture that developed TKD, doing so is in no way mandatory for developing skills.
     
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  4. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Master of Arts

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    For black belts, there's also a depth of appreciation of TKD to be gained from understanding Korean traditions and values. I would view the most important of these to be:

    - Collectivism rather than individualism
    - Indirect and implicit communication rather than direct and explicit. Context sensitivity.
    - Importance of hierarchy and filial peity
    - Korean traditional thought, e.g. Samjae
    - Influences of Shamanism, Buddhism, Taoism, and monistic perspectives

    TKD couched in the context of korean culture offers a very different martial arts experience to TKD viewed from outside that context.

    That's a difficult thing to teach, but we try to hold the door open for people interested in walking through.

    The cultural differences in communication and analytical styles are an ongoing source of both inspiration and frustration. We love it!


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  5. thanson02

    thanson02 Blue Belt

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    Yes. How we do so comes in multiple forms.

    1. Our student manual has a term section
    2. Our reference books have Korean terms
    3. When new students start our classes, they participate in what we call the Hubae Program, which is an introduction program when we go through the fundamentals of the art to get them ready for the first tip test, basic terminology that we use in class on a regular basis such as our code of ethics (which we do quote in class in Korean), and we also use it as an opportunity to talk about the history of Korean martial arts from the ancient Silla/Koryo dynasties up through the modern era and how these stories inspired our training.
    4. At certain rank advancements, there's a written exam that the students have to have participate in as part of their belt test. These exams include basic history and terminology.
    5. We don't require it, but we do encourage our students if they want to take additional classes involving Korean language and Asian culture/history and philosophy from local schools and Universities.

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