Tang Soo Do vs. TKD?

Discussion in 'Korean Martial Arts - General' started by Blue Panther, Feb 7, 2007.

  1. Blue Panther

    Blue Panther White Belt

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    Tang Soo Do / Tae Kwon Do....are they one in the same? If not, what differentiates them? Is TSD primarily focused on kicks like TKD? Tell me what the difference is....
     
  2. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    Bluepanther,

    I'm going to move this to the Korean Martial Arts - General subforum where you'll get a lot more focused replys from KMAists who know.

    :)
     
  3. bluekey88

    bluekey88 Senior Master

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    While I'm not TSD guy, I'll see if I can answer this question. TKD and TSD are cousins. They both stem from Shotokan Karate roots. from what I see, TSD is closer to it's Shotokan roots than modern tkd (of any style). TSD still uses Japanese based kata as it's forms. There is a greater emphasis on hand techniques tahn in WTF style TKD. Sparring tends to be point-stop sparring with light to moderate contact. TSD schools also seem to teach more weapons based stuff (though this may be a regional thing and not a style ting).

    TKD uses it own forms (Taeguk forms in the WTF, Chang-hon forms in the ITF...I beleive), WTF sparring is full-contact continuus, no hand contact to head. ITF sparring is light to moderate continuous with hanf contact to head.

    I would say TKD really emphasises kicking, TSD less so (but that may also depend on the school).


    Hope this makes sesne.

    Peace,
    Erik
     
  4. Yeti

    Yeti Black Belt

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    From my experience that about sums it up, although I would say both arts emphasize kicking at about the same level.

    At least where I studied TSD, there seemed to be much more of an emphasis on self defense in the form of one-step sparring than in the TKD schools I studied at (Both ITF and WTF). Each class devoted considerable time to one-steps (20-30 minutes in a 1.5 hour class). TSD also seemed to place a heavier emphasis on breaking - again, from my personal experience.

    I'm sure these things will vary from school to school and from Federation to Federation as well.
     
  5. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    There's a lot of variation here, clearly. My instructor teaches a primarily hand-tech, combat-oriented version of TKD; we don't regard one-step sparring as SD—what attacker on the street is going to move in on you with a lunge punch to the midsection from eight feet away? We emphasize instead fighting applications of hyung movement sequences (not the `official' KKW bunkai for these forms) and are encouraged to work out apps for moves that involve locks, traps, partial throws and so on, all setting up strikes. Our lineage—Song Moo Kwan—maintained its technical connection to Shotokan karate for a long time and not all SMK practitioners accepted the `WTF-ication' of TKD. Kicks are used as finishing strikes, and are aimed low, with the primary purpose limb destruction.

    It's not the commonest interpretation of TKD out there, but there is, as I say, a lot of variation and I think it's probably unwise to generalize too much about what TKD `is'. There's a kind of main line, but there plenty of outliers that are well `off the curve'...
     
  6. Yeti

    Yeti Black Belt

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    First of all, I have to admit that I'm jealous of your TKD training. I wish more schools trained that way. You're one of the lucky ones!

    I would definitely agree that the "traditional" one-steps are not a valuable use of time to learn self defense. I should have been a little more elaborate in my description. At the dojang I trained in, our one-steps were "alive". We started closer - actually making contact with each strike and kick from day one. What a way to condition your forearms! Then, after we were proficient at that, we were allowed to mix it up. We moved, we didn't stay stationary. We could throw any attack, not just a lunge punch. That was the fun part. You didn't know what was coming. But...the same techniques for defense worked with minor variations here and there. Definitely not your momma's one-steps!

    And I for one think the term 'limb destruction' is totally under-utilized in today's age!
     
  7. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Yeti, I'm the first to agree with you. I honor my instructor, Allen Shirley, who's taught me from this point of view and who reflects, I think, the kind of concern with street-effectiveness that, as I understand it, was kind of a hallmark of the Song Moo Kwan practitioners.

    This is the way real training for practical app must be approached, I believe, if it's going to be useful to you for close-quarters self protection. The key idea is just what you said: `you didn't know what was coming'. That's kind of the basis of the training philosophy of people like Iain Abernethy and a lot of that progressive bunkai training group of karatekas in the UK (which now includes a number of TKDists as well). You train under as realistic conditions as you can, including unpredictability of strikes. You allow at least symbolic attacks to very weak areas, including groin and eyes (where placement of a striking limb very near the very weak target stands in for the full-scale hard strike that you withheld :) ) You aim, especially, for a fighting capability in which every single move either checkmates your oppo outright or sets up a forced mate—a series of moves which leaves a noncompliant assailant no choice but to comply, leaing to that wipe-out move you bring to bear at the very end.

    Again, complete agreement. A well-aimed, forcefully applied strike to a joint or weak point is going to take you assailant right out of the fight. Part of the reason that what you say is true is that people don't think of their arts as systems for imposing unacceptable levels of damage on an attacker. We're living in different times from the creators of these formidable fighting systems, and we don't really think about them the way those guys did... for them, it was survival at stake. For us, not so much...
     
  8. Brad Dunne

    Brad Dunne Brown Belt

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    I would definitely agree that the "traditional" one-steps are not a valuable use of time to learn self defense....................

    Must disagree with this position with reservation(s). One steps are beginners tools, which gets people acquainted with limbs coming at them. Now as you advance in skill, then more active involvement becomes a desired and benificial by product of the initial one steps. Depending upon your individual instructor/school, this can be taken to whatever level that's suitable for the students, but it all has evolved from the initial one step training.
     
  9. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Of course it can be; but it isn't always. There's a whole gamut of possibilities, and a lot of TKD schools, unfortunately, probably stay at the one-step/`sparring' end of the spectrum (in the usual sense of sparring). It's true that there are some schools which place a high priority on close-quarter combat under conditions as realistic as possible. But there's a lot of variation from school to school. I suspect that's also true with Tang Soo Do. My impression is that you'll find hardcore combat training in a random TSD dojang more frequently than a random TKD dojang—TKD comes with this pre-attached Olympic sparring expectation that TSD doesn't, and that'a a big part of the problem (from my point of view, anyway).

    My preference would be to avoid one-steps altogether, for the same reason that when I used to teach skiing, we never used to have students learn to turn with their skis in a `V' position. They learned parallel turns from the get-go. Trying to `ease' them into it with snowplow-like ski positions just drove bad habits in, and it could take forever for them to unlearn them. I'd much rather see students learn realistic combat principles, and the many ways those principles can be applied tactically, from day one. Even as beginners, they can appreciate the way a back stance helps apply body weight to keep an attacker anchored while you apply a hand tech to strike a weak point at very close quarters.

    I've watched a fair amount of TSD, and the moves and combinations of moves look, technically, an awful lot like TKD... makes sense, given the history...
     
  10. Brad Dunne

    Brad Dunne Brown Belt

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    Of course it can be; but it isn't always. There's a whole gamut of possibilities, and a lot of TKD schools, unfortunately, probably stay at the one-step/`sparring' end of the spectrum (in the usual sense of sparring).

    I have never seen, (that dosen't mean it never happens) one steps utilized from sparring distances. That is somewhat counter productive IMO. But regardless of where and how attacks are forthcoming, if you are facing your attacker and you are prepared for a form of attack, then you are doing one step SD. Just because an instructor likes to shuffle the deck (which I think is good training), your still doing the same basic drill, but with more flavor. I must assume that there are also training against grabs and takedowns, what label does those fall under? To me their still under the one step umbrella. Semantics aside, facing an attacker and prepared for assualt is one steps, they really can't be done away with. I can understand your skiing reference as to bad habits being introduced, but I fail to see any connection to that with one steps.

    Back to the original subject of TSD/TKD. I'll use my kwans background. Reviewing the given history, the head of the kwan is listed as TSD and TSD is referenced along with (TKD) throughout the given paragraph(s). I've often wondered, because most of the initial training that was offered, was TSD in context, with the new TKD forms added, could therefor we also be certified as a TSD practicioner? I realize that both disciplines have long since gone their seperate ways, but in the beginning they were in some instances one and the same.
     
  11. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    There are any number of training manuals out there showing one-steps as starting at sparring range, with `uke' stepping in to attack and `tori' defending, the usual middle lunge punch from the former and whatever the standard response is supposed to be from the defender. For self-defense purposes, yes, definitely counterproductive.

    I've yet to see, in any book which contained a description of something called `one-steps' in TKD or karate, a depiction of an attack beginning at close range, with the defender doing a trap or lock on a grab, followed by an elbow strike the the throat or a partial takedown followed by a hard low side kick to the side of the attacker's knee joint. Where those kind of techs are depicted—if they are—is typically in some other section called `Self Defense' or Ho Sjin Sul or whatever. The techs typically depicted in the one-step section and those in the SD section are often wildly different.


    As I say, Ho Shin Sul—to some degree of realism or other.

    I'm just reporting what I've observed vitually all of the TKD literature I've seen. Marc Tedeschi's comprehensive manual on TKD is just one example that comes to mind, with an enormous number of combinations of techs. As far as I can remember, I've never seen anything like—using the familiar karate terms again—oyo based on realistic bunkai presented as part of the `one step' discussion. What I have seen, over and over and over again in the one-step sections of TKD, and in various classes I've observed at other dojangs, is a six-to-eight foot separation between the participants, a conventionalized move in from the attacker and a conventional block/counter from the defender.

    Semantics is just `meaning'. I'm inferring the meaning of `one-step' from the way I've seen it used in virtually every case I've encountered: prearranged sequences of literal interpretations of movements (`blocks' treated as just that, blocks; `punches' and other strikes as just that (a punch is never part of a neck twist, etc.)). If you're using one-step to mean something closer to realistic Ho Shin Sul, fine, but I think that's definitely not the most common way the term `one-step' is used.
     
  12. Brad Dunne

    Brad Dunne Brown Belt

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    Sparring range to me is the distance between opponents at a tournament, which should be approx 5 to 6 ft from each other. Bow/fighting position/fight. Can this distance be applied on the street........of course. Can your attacker get closer to you before committing, again of course. Does this really happen on the street?........You bet!

    Your opinion, influenced by your instructor (understandable), dictates the dislike for one steps. "The techs typically depicted in the one-step section and those in the SD section are often wildly different". The only difference is the distance between the opponents. You throw a "lunge punch" at me from 5 feet away, you throw a punch/kick from arms length away, you grab my shirt and throw an elbow, you attempt a takedown, anything and everything I choose to do is now defined as self defense. I don't care if it started from the other side of the street, it all falls under the same venue. They, meaning the person(s) who initiated the terms being used, were only segmenting the aspects associated within the self defense envelope.
     
  13. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Sigh... all I'm saying, Brad, is that the way a lot—maybe most—of the TKD literature uses the term `one-step', the moves are not carried out at a range where physical assaults usually begin, nor with the techniques that a typical untrained but dangerous attacker will use. The techs I see used in one-steps are not going to work against a roundhouse from an assailant who's practically toe-to-toe with you and has grabbed your shirt, or is about to attempt a head-butt to your face. The CQ techs that you need to respond to such situations are—to the extent that they're covered at all—commonly taught as parts of Ho Shin Sul discussions and look very different from standard textbook one-step exchanges. If you teach such techniques under the heading `one-step', or even grappling apps under that heading, fine. I'm not quarrelling about that. I'm just saying that virtually no TKD literature I know of uses the term `one-step' in that way, and when I made my original comment, I was alluding to the way one-step training is carried out as evidenced, say, in Teseschi's book and many similary (very good) ones. That's all I was doing...
     
  14. Brad Dunne

    Brad Dunne Brown Belt

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    Bigger Sigh!........

    "the moves are not carried out at a range where physical assaults usually begin, nor with the techniques that a typical untrained but dangerous attacker will use"...............

    All I can say to that statement is..............actually there's nothing to say. Your position and mine differ, we'll just leave it at that........:asian:
     
  15. Chizikunbo

    Chizikunbo Purple Belt

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    TSD and TKD are NOT the same. I practiced WTF under GM Won Kim here in missouri for a while back before he passed, and it was VERY different. Things I noticed were TKD uses more narrow and higher stances, and TSD uses the traditional lower stances which are really good for developing leg muscles. TSD generates its power from the waist, more so than in most arts; as it is put in the Song of Thirteen Influences (Sip Sam Seh) "The Source of the Will Is In The Waist". TKD seems to focus alot of kicks, in particular fast, high kicks, whereas TSD as taught by Hwang Kee had many kicks but they are "different". TSD as I know it includes a TON of grappling, nerve strikes, throws, joint locks, etc. Things that are not usually seen in TKD (or most TSD for that matter) but it IS there in there...Of course there is the uniforms where TKD does the whole v-neck thing, and TSD is traditionally a midnight blue trimmed dobahk...
    Tang Soo Do, I feel has MUCH stronger hand techniques (soo kong kyuk)(based on my limited understanding of Tae Kwon Do)...
    Hope that helps,
    --Josh
     
  16. Last Fearner

    Last Fearner 2nd Black Belt

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    The following answer is from my experience and personal perspective.

    You will likely get a different answer to this question depending on who you ask. Everyone's personal experience is different. The truth is never discovered by most people, and obscured in an over-abundance of opinions to the rest.

    My answer to your question of similarities and differences between TSD and TKD will depend greatly on the instructor, the school, and your definition of the term "Taekwondo." Each TSD and TKD instructor will teach differently according to influences from their teacher, other sources, and personal preferences. No exact description fits the whole.

    To quote the "The Overlook Martial Arts Dictionary" (The overlook Press, 1983 by Emil Farkas and John Corcoran, and with major contributions from Jhoon Rhee, and Ed Parker, along with Hee Il Cho): definition - "Tang Soo Do: Korean. "art of the Chinese hand." A Korean combative differing only slightly from tae kwon do."

    Others have chosen not to define "Tang" as the "Chinese" translation, but use other interpretations to avoid the connection to China.

    If you are not familiar with the history (which varies widely in interpretation) you could read the following:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tang_Soo_Do

    For my personal experience, most of these Korean based Martial Art programs were born out of necessity for survival, thus they have that in common. They each use some amounts of striking, throwing, and holding (grappling techniques) as a means to the end of successful self defense. The overall characteristic is self-improvement with spiritual enlightenment to learn about the universe, and live in harmony with nature, and your environment.

    The tools that are used in training (eg: forms, one-steps, self defense, board breaking, and free sparring) might vary slightly, but are used in balance depending mostly on the instructor's preference rather than an over-all rule of the art. Many Tangsudo (Tang Soo Do) practitioners will participate in competition, but will assert that this is limited and for a higher purpose than just "sport." They might believe that "Taekwondo" has gone too far into sport, and compromised the real "essence" and virtue of the art. This is, of course, not indicative of all Taekwondo, nor absolute about those who compete in Olympics, but is a case by case reality for those whose focus is out of balance.


    Those practitioners of long ago, who learned native Korean Martial Art in ancient times, passed on their knowledge to each subsequent generation. Those students often gathered skills and borrowed from Chinese or Japanese Martial Art. There is no way to determine exactly what came from where and at which time. There were those who studied Korean kicking and grappling (Hwa Rang Do, Moo Sul, Kyuck Too Ki, Soo Bahk Ki, Soo Byuck Ki, Tae Kyun etc), but also took an interest in the "Chinese hand" (Ken-fat, Kara-te, etc). What those particular individuals taught in Korea became known as "Tang Soo Do" - - one of the many varied curriculums of that time.

    Thus, the basic curriculum of Tangsudo, and Taekwondo are very similar depending on how you define "Taekwondo" and which school you are observing.

    Define "Taekwon-Do" as the modern modification of Japanese Shotokan Karate into a Korean Martial Art, and you have one limited perspective based on recent events, and a handful of individuals' input.

    Define "Tae Kwon Do" as simply another name for Tangsudo (Tang Soo Do), and you are seeing the limited perspective of political controversy, and lacking an understanding of the broader meaning behind the term.

    However, in my opinion, if you define "Taekwondo" as the rebirth of ancient Korean Martial Art, with modern application (which includes an awareness of other Martial systems, including Kara-te, Karate-do, Judo, Aikido, etc), then you understand that Taekwondo is not limited to one source, nor one founder, but also does not come from any other country, and is not a descendant of Chinese, or Japanese Martial Art.

    Knowledge is eternal (from the beginning of time), and the people of ancient Korea possessed this knowledge and made it their own native art, then they had it suppressed and replaced with a foreign curriculum. That period in history can never be replaced, and that forced curriculum will never be removed from the minds of those who digested it, but it is not in their hearts, and it is not the foundation of their art. Back to the roots, we revive the old and make it new again.

    Tangsudo (Tang Soo Do) was one perspective of Korean Martial Art - - Taekwondo is all perspectives of Korean Martial Art brought together. Some schools of "Tae Kwon Do" do not accurately represent that fact. The reality is, with the progress of improving each person's understanding of the Martial Art as a whole, there becomes less of a distinction between doing it correctly, under one name or another name. Then there are those who misrepresent the Martial Art all together. To make any assessment about Taekwondo because of them is to not understand true Taekwondo.

    CM D.J. Eisenhart
     
  17. Tlaloc

    Tlaloc Yellow Belt

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    For some reason, I read this and was reminded of the Confucian saying "The Dao that can be spoken of is not the true Dao"
     
  18. tsd

    tsd Yellow Belt

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    Tae Kwon Do is a sport. Tang Soo Do is not.
     
  19. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    What about people who train TKD as a close-quarter self-defense combat system sharing 95% or so of its techs with Shotokan karate, including traps, sweeps, locks, armbars to set up finishing hand or elbow strikes to the head and throad, and use low kicks to damage an attacker's limbs to the point where he can no longer stand up—all of these implicit in both ITF and KKW hyungs? Would you include that under the heading `sport'?
     
  20. Last Fearner

    Last Fearner 2nd Black Belt

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    There are competitions for Taekwondo to be played as a sport. Some instructors, and schools focus only on the competition side of Taekwondo. For that reason, their students would know no other reality but Taekwondo as a sport, unless they research outside their "sport school"

    I have heard the contention of Tang Su Do (Tang Soo Do) followers that they tend NOT to focus on sports, but it is true that some do compete. This assertion of what TSD is not, has no bearing on what TKD is.

    With all due respect, tsd, anyone who blanketly says that "Tae Kwon Do is a sport," has never studied Taekwondo. If you are a student of a genuine Taekwondo Dojang, under the instruction of a qualified teacher, you might begin to understand, after a decade or two, what Taekwondo is. However, if you are not a Taekwondo Master or Grandmaster, please refrain from saying what Taekwondo is or is not, because that would be speaking from beyond your education on the subject.

    One can not accurately define what one does not truly understand. :asian:
     

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