Royal Guards of Korea?

Discussion in 'Korean Culture and History' started by Doomx2001, May 17, 2012.

  1. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    Before the Royal Court was overthrown by the Japanese, they had the Royal Guard. What kind of Hiearchy existed in the Royal Guard, did they practice martial arts, and are there any pictures of them from the time period before the Japanese Occupation?

    Where might I find reliable information on the subject?
     
  2. Sukerkin

    Sukerkin Have the courage to speak softly

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  3. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    I guess the question is how far back do you want to go with this question. Are you looking specifically at the Joseon dynasty right before the Japanese occupation or are you looking further back like Goryeo dynasty? The reason why I ask is that there were different hierarchy structures in place which determined your rank in the military. In general the royal gaurds had a General, Captain and then soldiers. There may have been another rank in there but I do not recall off the top of my head.

    They did practice martial arts but in a systematic sense that we would think of today. In other words, they did not practice Taekwondo or Hapkido. They practiced military combative techniques. An example of what one might learn or practice could be found in the Muyedobotongji. I believe, the royal guards were more elite type security than just your regular foot soldier. The main thing they would practice would have been sword arts, archery and pole arts. Kwon bup would have been practiced as well but used as a last resort, not a first response. Guns were used in the later years during the late Joseon period, prior to Japanese occupation.

    There are several history books that you can order from Amazon. Korea Old and New History is a good one.
     
  4. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    Good answers above. Sukerkin - thanks for those podcasts. I look forward to listening to them.

    There is one interesting fact which may not always be mentioned in history books as it isn't even a well know fact in Korea. At one time, the Korean government (I forget now which dynasty, but I think it was around the 12th or 13th century), had established some relationship with Persian. As part of that relationship, Persia provided some guards for the Royal Guards. There is a Royal Tomb in Korea, which has the usual dual line of stone statues of court ministers, guards (both human and animal). As I recall, two on each side have distinctly caucasian features. The sign explaining who is buried and when, comments on the caucasian appearing statues, with the reference to the know Persian guards.
     
  5. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    I believe this relationship was established in the Goguryeo dynasty between 37 BC - 668 AD. If this is the case one of the main reasons why most Koreans would not know about it is due to those tombs being in N.K.

    It would be interesting to find out which tomb this would be. If it is in the S.K. area perhaps I will go and visit it next year when I am over there.
     
  6. oftheherd1

    oftheherd1 Senior Master

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    For some reason I think it was Koryo. It certainly wasn't as early as the Koguryo. And I assure you it was in South Korea. I have never been to North Korea and don't have any desire to go there. Prior to a house fire about 20 years ago, I had about 8 thousand slides, and that tomb was something I had several photos of. I will try to find it if I still have it, and see if I have the slides of the sign so I can tell you the name of the king, and hopefully the location as well. I remember it was fairly easy to get to the last time I was there.
     
  7. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    It could very well be S.K. I just know the first contact with Persia would have been during the Kogouryo Dynasty. That isn't to say that it Persian influence did not migrate in the S.K. area.

    Slides? ;) I believe there is only a handful of us that would know what you mean by that. ha.ha.ha. If you find out the name of the king that would help. Thanks. :)
     
  8. Doomx2001

    Doomx2001 Green Belt

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    I just wanted to thank everyone for taking the time to share this information with me, I apologize that I didn't do it sooner. What I wanted to know in particular is what martial arts, hiearchy, and photographs of the Royal Guards of the Joseon dynasty right before the Japanese occupation?
    The reason I ask is #1, a GM of a unsaid martial art claims lineage through the royal guard, and #2, as someone studying KMA its just good to know the history of Korea.
    Thanks for any replies, and thanks again for all who did. :)

    - Brian
     
  9. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

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    The military of Korea did not practice a set system like Taekwondo, Hapkido, ect. They practiced military style combat. I guess the muyedobotongji would be the best representation of that. I am not sure how they were chosen. However, I believe family status played a big role. So it was not like the best of the best were the guards. It was affluence that your family held, comprised on how you did on civil servant testing that was a big determination of you rank. The hiearchy would be similar to any type of military unit, generals, captains, ect. Royal gaurds, however, did not see as much combat as a regular military person would. Their main job was to guard the castle and it occupants. As for photographs, there really is not a lot of historical photos available since Korea was very much a closed off kingdom. However, if you type in "royal gaurds & Joseon" you will see pics of people who play the role of royal guards for the tourists.

    It could be that the GM came from military lineage. You have to keep in mind that a son very often followed in his father's footsteps during this period. So if your dad was a military person, 99% of the time you would be too. Now if this GM is claiming to learn some form of secret ninja turtle technique only used in his family, well I have some hesitations in such claims.

    I just finished reading Korea Old and New: A History. This was good to get a rough idea on Korean history however, it only takes it up to the 1990. I have a couple more books that I am going to start as well. Good luck in your studies.
    Thanks for any replies, and thanks again for all who did. :)
     

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