Bassai and the Snake

Muwubu16858

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Looks like the whole topic of the post changed because you didn't understand what I was trying to write. I was just saying that Hwang Kee wrote that Bassai was snake form, however, I haven't seen any other style of Karate (Tang Soo or Kong Soo) use the snake to represent it.

On another note, Tang SOo is just the korean pronounciation of Tode, or Karate, using the original characters of the name Tang(from Tang dynasty CHina) and Soo(hand, "te" in Japan and Okinawa). Some older styles in Okinawa use the old name still, just different pronounciation.
 

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Looks like the whole topic of the post changed because you didn't understand what I was trying to write. I was just saying that Hwang Kee wrote that Bassai was snake form, however, I haven't seen any other style of Karate (Tang Soo or Kong Soo) use the snake to represent it.

And what I'm saying, Muwubu, is that there is good reason to believe that the reason HK `wrote that Bassai was snake form', when no other style of karate—Okinawan, Japanese or Korean—makes that association is because HK had a particular agenda, which was to minimize or wipe out the Japanese associations with the hyungs he taught and to substitute Chinese associations instead, in order to help cancel out the memories of a hated occupier and also, very likely, to increase the credibility of the `ancient KMA' associations of Tang Soo Do (given the links between China and Korea in the Three Kingdoms era); and that's where the discussion of his original fabrication of the Chinese origin of the Pyung-Ahns comes in. And that by introducing the `snake' meaning, he was consciously using the Chinese naming convention of linking techniques and hsing forms to animals in order to add further support to the supposed Chinese roots of the TSD practiced in the MDK. And that other schools of Tae Soo Do (which eventually split into TSD and TKD) either didn't have the same denial program (Song Moo Kwan, e.g.) or carried it out in a somewhat different fashion ( la General Choi's Oh Do Kwan, etc.) And that that's why Hwang Kee's development of what was once Tang/Kong/Tae Soo Do includes the snake/Bassai identification but other TMAs which have Bassai in their repertoire do not. Now this suggestion might be right or it might be wrong, but can you please point out exactly where any of what I've said represents a misunderstanding of the original question? Or how the `topic' of the OP has changed?

On another note, Tang SOo is just the korean pronounciation of Tode, or Karate, using the original characters of the name Tang(from Tang dynasty CHina) and Soo(hand, "te" in Japan and Okinawa). Some older styles in Okinawa use the old name still, just different pronounciation.

This point has been repeatedly noted in threads going back several years on MT by many different posters.

Indeed. Its a good thing people are investigating now, before the last traces of the truth die out. At least we can pass on what we know.

Yes, I agree, we're running out of time fast. The first generation students of the original Kwan founders are getting very, very long in the tooth, and their memories can't be expected to be all that reliable at this point. And crucial questions—such as, `did you guys actually study bunkai for your forms? How did you approach kicking? What kinds of training for combat did you do, apart from sparring...' and so on, things really important to understand the transition from the Shotokan to the Kwan-era roots of the KMAs and then the separate developments after the splits in the early 1960s—may never get answered if people don't start going after the answers right now. These fellows are getting pretty thin on the ground as it is...
 

Muwubu16858

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sorry, didn't catch what was being said....sucks cuz my teacher always has me rushing around for him, so sometimes I can only skim. Ok. Sorry. I'll read more thoroughlynext time
 

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sorry, didn't catch what was being said....sucks cuz my teacher always has me rushing around for him, so sometimes I can only skim. Ok. Sorry. I'll read more thoroughlynext time

Not a problem, M... probably the stuff about the Pyung-Ahns didn't seem to be germane to the discussion at times. But I really do think it shows how careful you have to be about any particular thing that HK did... I believe he really was driven for much of his life by that agenda.

What I'm actually kind of surprised about is that he did admit, near the end of his life, the truth about where he got the Pyung-Ahns from. Hard for me to imagine why he would have 'fessed up.
 

Don Daly

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I case anybody is interested. I have found a Chinese Seh Quan (Snake Fist) form that, for those of us who know the old Moo Duk Kwan Bassai, is obviously an expanded / modern Wushu influenced version from the same root form (see Chinese Roots of Tang Soo Do on Don Daly's YouTube account.) Yes Grandmaster Hwang Kee was more motivated to emphasize pre-Okinawan Chinese sources for the Okinawan Kata he used, due to his solely Korean/Chinese MA background (unlike most the original Kwan founders who took pride in their Japanese black belts and masters ranks). However, GM Hwang Kee was a researcher, often found in the library, and proud of his father who had been recognized by the Korean King as a scholar. GM Hwang Kee could see the snake style similarities behind Matsumura & Itosu's Okinawanized Patsai (Escape the Fortress) and chose to emphasize the Bai She (White Snake) and She Quan roots from the Southern Shaolin Temple in his explanation. Matsumura is well known as a no nonsense instructor who once firmly discouraged King Sho from using fancy techniques. Our Shuri-te version of Bassai has eliminated all but the most practical techniques and as such is probably shorter and less acrobatic than the original Shaolin form. No doubt the modern She Quan on YouTube is much expanded from the original Shaolin form, but the sequences and style is still recognizable in Bassai. Most of the techniques of Bassai are easily converted to snake style Chi Sao drills that I have used with my Jeet Kune Do instructor. Of course Chin Na and Shuai Jiao techniques are also present which are essentially the same as Hapkido / Aiki-jujitsu interpretations.
 

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Couldn't find the channel
My YouTube in under my name Don Daly. The playlist is called Chinese Roots. The specific form is listed as Snake Fist 1, Snake Fist 2, Snake Fist 3, and Snake Fist 4. Snake Fist 1 shows the whole form, once in Chinese and again with English. The next 3 videos show the details of the 27 subroutines. About 2/3 of these link to Bassai with most in the same order, but with additional techniques added to some. If you do not already know the Tang Soo Do version of Bassai (based on Hwang Kee's interpretation of Funikoshi's 1922 version), then you will not be able to see the connection. It seem's obvious to me that Hwang Kee had seen or read about the source form and recognized the link.
 

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Ok, finally found the video. While I am not familiar with TSD version of Passai/Bassai, I found one on YouTube and it looks just like a koreanized version of one of the Passai versions, maybe the so called Itosu Passai. This, on the other hand,
[yt]26pMFQVd__4[/yt]
has nothing to do with it. Some moves may look a bit similar, but that is more of a co-incidence. So, no connection to Passai whatsoever.
 

Don Daly

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Ok, finally found the video. While I am not familiar with TSD version of Passai/Bassai, I found one on YouTube and it looks just like a koreanized version of one of the Passai versions, maybe the so called Itosu Passai. This, on the other hand,
[yt]26pMFQVd__4[/yt]
has nothing to do with it. Some moves may look a bit similar, but that is more of a co-incidence. So, no connection to Passai whatsoever.

Hwang Kee "Koreanized" the Bassai taught by Gichin Funakoshi in his 1922 book To-te Kyukyu Kenpo. Since that time Bassai has been modified and "Japanized" in Shotokan Karate, while in Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan it has been influenced by Hwang Kee's discoveries in the Muye Dobo Tongi of Chinese-Korean arts of Soo Bahk / Kwon Bop.

Most scholars agree that the Bassai form (probably originally Bai She) was taught to Bushi Matsumura by a Chinese master. Since Matsumura traveled to many parts of China including Beijing, and learned various styles from Chinese masters including those residing in, or visiting Okinawa, it is short sighted to limit his knowledge to just White Crane styles. Especially since the Southern Shaolin Temple was famous for Snake Style (She Quan) which spread throughout China.

We do know that Matsumura made or modified katas developing them for practical training of the Shuri officials/bodyguards and it would be logical to assume that it was Bushi Matsumura who renamed the kata Patsai (meaning "Escape the Fortress/Castle"). His student Anko Itosu modified them further for their use in the Okinawan middle-schools. Later they were modified by Gichin Funakoshi to "Japanize" them for Shotokan.

I have done a thorough comparison of the techniques of the She Quan form and the Old Moo Duk Kwan Bassai form. They have a definite correlation. A few techniques are in a different sequence and there are many added techniques in each She Quan subroutine, but for those who are not already closed-minded on the subject, and take the time to compare the She Quan subroutines with the steps of Bassai, the pattern is evident.

I am currently writing up a comparison that I will share when I am finished.

The old Masters like Hwang Kee had much more knowledge than many modern martial artists are willing to admit.
 
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TimoS

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I've read many researchers' findings and none of them claim this connection. So I'd like to see some of this research. After all, if many claim it, it must be available somewhere online. As for what Passai means, you do realize that the characters were chosen much later than the actual kata? It might mean what you said it means or it might not. Some Okinawan styles ("mine" included don't use kanji at all, instead writing almost all the kata names in katakana). Also, the connection between Matsumura and Itosu is anything but clear, read e.g. here: FightingArts.com - Examining Yasutsune Itosu - Part 1 The Man And His Lineage
 

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Thank you for the reading recommendation, I am always willing to learn more. I would like to recommend Shotokan's Secret, Expanded Edition from Black Belt Books. --- Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D. and Bubishi, The Classic Manual of Combat by Patrick McCarthy.

Like I said before, "In case anybody is interested", which of course implies the willingness to actually examine the evidence thoroughly. So for those who wish to examine it more thoroughly themselves, there it is. For those who do not have the time to do this, but are still interested, I will present more later.

For those who are not interested, but just want to argue, you will have the last word because I am not interested in an argument. I have shared this for fellow scholars to check out honestly and will leave it at that.
 

TimoS

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Thank you for the reading recommendation, I am always willing to learn more. I would like to recommend Shotokan's Secret, Expanded Edition from Black Belt Books. --- Bruce D. Clayton, Ph.D. and Bubishi, The Classic Manual of Combat by Patrick McCarthy.
.
I have McCarthy and his work doesn't support your hypothesis. As for Clayton, I am familiar with his work and it is more a work of fiction than actual research. The "Shotokan's Secret" is widely discredited by those who have done some actual research
 

clfsean

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My YouTube in under my name Don Daly. The playlist is called Chinese Roots. The specific form is listed as Snake Fist 1, Snake Fist 2, Snake Fist 3, and Snake Fist 4. Snake Fist 1 shows the whole form, once in Chinese and again with English. The next 3 videos show the details of the 27 subroutines. About 2/3 of these link to Bassai with most in the same order, but with additional techniques added to some. If you do not already know the Tang Soo Do version of Bassai (based on Hwang Kee's interpretation of Funikoshi's 1922 version), then you will not be able to see the connection. It seem's obvious to me that Hwang Kee had seen or read about the source form and recognized the link.

I went looking for your channel & didn't find it. Could you provide a link? I'd be really interested in seeing this Snake vids you mention.
 

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I went looking for your channel & didn't find it. Could you provide a link? I'd be really interested in seeing this Snake vids you mention.
For some reason I also had trouble finding it, but here's the link to the first video:
 

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Gotcha. Thanks for the link!

This is modern PRC performance wushu.

Yes this is. If you read my post (ignoring TimoS misrepresentation of what I said) you will see that I stated that this is a modern Wushu form. I believe it will be evident to other Moo Duk Kwan and Tang Soo Do masters, if they do their own analysis, that this is an greatly expanded version of an ancient root form. From actually comparing the subroutines of this form (explained and named in Snake Fist 2, 3 & 4) I have found evidence that the both came from an ancient Chinese root form (probably called Bai She Quan - White Snake Fist).
 

Don Daly

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For some reason I also had trouble finding it, but here's the link to the first video:

Thank you for putting Snake Fist 1 on here, I wasn't sure that it was ok for me to put other peoples videos on here. BTW, I never said that I developed my hypothesis from any book or person other than Hwang Kee and other Tang Soo Do authors that had been influenced by him.

I also stated that Passai (Patsai/Pal Che/ Bassai) as done in Moo Duk Kwan and old style American Tang Soo Do appears to be a shortened (no flourish) version of the same ancient root form, NOT this Wushu version.

The article on the internet that you referred too is an old one that I had read before. It has several mistakes including saying that there is no known picture of Anko Itosu. In McCarthy's 2008 Bubishi, not only is there a portrait of him on page 74, their is a photograph of him on page 33. As for Dr. Bruce D. Clayton, he is a well respected researcher and brilliant scholar. Although he is definitely biased towards Shotokan, he presents his theories with logic and evidence.
 
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clfsean

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Yes this is. If you read my post (ignoring TimoS misrepresentation of what I said) you will see that I stated that this is a modern Wushu form. I believe it will be evident to other Moo Duk Kwan and Tang Soo Do masters, if they do their own analysis, that this is an greatly expanded version of an ancient root form. From actually comparing the subroutines of this form (explained and named in Snake Fist 2, 3 & 4) I have found evidence that the both came from an ancient Chinese root form (probably called Bai She Quan - White Snake Fist).

Do you have any evidence (factual, verifiable with lineage) of that set? Even the Chinese can't agree if Snake ever actually existed outside of a handful of techniques & exercises. There are a few styles I've seen that have Snake sets, but those are mainly named such & with a couple of techniques that can be outwardly identified as a "snake" but instead work the set as a skill & attribute builder.

FWIW I spent the first 15 years of my MA career in MDK TDK. I learned Bassai. I is remarkably like Shotokan's Bassai-Dai & from what I've seen of MDK TSD.

Just curious!

Thanks!
 

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