Can Tang Soo Do still be a korean martial art?

stealthness

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As we move into 21st centaury, many of the Korean pioneers of Tang Soo Do aging and are being filled by ever increasing numbers of non-Korean masters, can the art maintain its Korean heritage?


(title is provocative, but used to stir debate about future of Tang Soo Do)
 

Chizikunbo

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As we move into 21st centaury, many of the Korean pioneers of Tang Soo Do aging and are being filled by ever increasing numbers of non-Korean masters, can the art maintain its Korean heritage?


(title is provocative, but used to stir debate about future of Tang Soo Do)

Why Not? There are many practicioners of korean heritage (OR NOT) that DO value the cultural heritage that is part of its baggage. People are people, and I have seen korean teachers that place not value of the cultural roots of TSD, whilst I have seen many western masters fascinated by it, that teach and instill its values to their students...
So why not? People are people ya know ;-)
--josh
 

matt.m

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Yeah, I agree. I will give two examples... Years ago I was watching my father run a test. He once took his belt off and said "I failed to pass the hapkido that grandmaster park passed on to me, you have all failed, not because it's your fault. No it is mine because you are doing incorrect technique and I faild you as a teacher."

The other is the following...Another blackbelt in our organization once said, "We don't train blackbelts, we train students under mr. parks cirriculum. The students that do things correct enough will one day be promoted to blackbelt."

The first was said by a hapkido master, the later was said by a tae kwon do grand master. Both caucassion, my point is this....it is all in the mannerisms, ideals, and good solid teaching.
 

MBuzzy

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I don't believe that the origin of an art is dictated by the birthplace of its members. No matter how many people from other countries train or become masters, that will never change the heritage.

I believe it is very important that teachers maintain strong touch with the roots of the art that they practice and continue to teach where it came from and how it came about. Knowing where somethign came from is instrumental in fully understanding what you are learning.
 

Master Dave

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Weather it be a korean art that adapts japanese Modern kara-te influenced by Funakoshi Sensei or adapts onkinawan kata influenced by itosu sensei, one must look back prior to the turn of the 20th century when itosu felt times were changing and that it wasnt nessary to teach the deadly fighting system of the past to grade school children on the small Island of okinawa...A great watering down effect took place...its beginnings may even of started with Bushi Matsumura but certainly the water begun to trickle with Itosu....the flood gates opened with funakoshi Sensei. Funakoshi's karate is nothing like what took place on the Island of Okinawa in 1609.

We do kata / Hyung today believing we are blocking a bo staff...who swung the bo that we are blocking? It was the skilled Okinawan warrior that utilized the bo...instrument to carry supplies against the invading shogun and samuari....the enemy was the japanese...and they carried swords. Did the okinawan warriors get so ticked off that the samuari were there that they begun to beat one another with staffs ? I think not! Okinawa had a trade with china...much more then goods were exchanged...the okinawan learned pressure points of the body, closing the gates to budda's temple, what we practice as blocks were actually devestating grappling tecniques, strikes to points along the meridans using the theory of the five elements, throws, strangulation tecniques. joint locks, deep within the kata these moves exsisted and still do.

Its all there in the katas....It takes an open mind, belief in Chinese medicine on meridans and theorys... the exsistance of Chi and a lot of research.

the katas hold the mystery and truth...
 
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To answer the question posed by stealthness; If a Chinese restaurant is opened by Yaakov Goldberg and serves only Chinese food, and has all of the ornamentation of a Chinese restaurant owned by a Chinese family, is Yaakovs restaurant a Jewish restaurant that serves Chinese food or is it a Chinese restaurant simply owned and operated by a Jewish guy?

The answer is; it doesnt matter who is the school owner or what country he/she came from or lives in now. If the system originated with (in this case) Hwang Kee, and you are teaching what Hwang Kee established, you are teaching Korean Karate. We owe it to those who gave us the system that we train in to remember them, and always keep them in our hearts as we pass what they gave us on to others

Master Davebrings up a different thought
Tang Soo Do, as was incorporated by Hwang Kee in the beginning was based on hyung/kata that came from Okinawan Karate, as originated by Bushi Sokon Matsumura and Anko Itosu, and then spread to Japan by Gichen Funakoshi and Kenwa Mabuni.

During the Japanese occupation of Korea many Korean martial artists traveled to Japan in order to continue their training, as martial training in Korea was forbidden. Many of them, including General Choi Hong Hee trained directly with these Okinawan instructors, learned all of the hyung/kata and returned to Korea at the end of the war. Many of them began to teach what they had learned in Japan, and called what they were teaching; Korean Karate.

When General Choi Hong Hee began the work of establishing Tae Kwon Do he first used these hyung/kata, as did Hwang Kee and many others. Some time later General Choi chose to do away with the Okinawan kata in order to remove any and all Japanese/Okinawan influence from his teaching and to unify all of the Korean Kwans as Tae Kwon Do. He established his own hyung/pumsee, hence a complete system of Korean martial art could be taught.

The question of Tang Soo Do (being incorporated from Okinawan Kata) being a Korean martial art has been asked thousands of times, as more practitioners become aware of the Okinawan origin of the hyung.

We have to look deeper into who Hwang Kee was, and what his vision was as he established Tang Soo Do and the Moo Duk Kwan. Was he intentionally trying to make us all think that what he was teaching came from Korea or China as opposed to the truth, being Okinawa? The political climate of the time most likely played into what he taught, and why.

I am not in a position to answer for Hwang Kee as to why he came up with the stories about the hyung that he chose to incorporate Tang Soo Do with coming from China, but that was his story for most of his life. At the end of his time here on earth he wrote one last book that explained that the hyung that we use came from Okinawa.

This brings us back to Yaakov Goldstein and his Chinese restaurant, and Hwang Kee and Tang Soo Do

If Hwang Kee was Korean, but he chose to teach a system that was comprised of Okinawan Kata, are we learning a Korean martial art that is comprised of Okinawan kata, or Okinawan Karate from a guy from Korea

Your thoughts
 

exile

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At the end of his time here on earth he wrote one last book that explained that the hyung that we use came from Okinawa. This brings us back to Yaakov Goldstein and his Chinese restaurant, and Hwang Kee and Tang Soo Do

If Hwang Kee was Korean, but he chose to teach a system that was comprised of Okinawan Kata, are we learning a Korean martial art that is comprised of Okinawan kata, or Okinawan Karate from a guy from Korea

Your thoughts

Great post, M. Penfil. But I'd change the analogy with Yaakov slightly: he's a Jewish guy running a Chinese restaurant who happens to have chosen menu items for his restaurant that, possibly unknown to him, are all imported pretty directly from Northern Burma, where his cooking teacher, a native Chinese chef, spent a lot of time and learned her craft. So Yaakov's Chinese restaurant serves mostly Burmese food, but a lot of people who dine there don't realize that's what it is...

There are two parts to the original question, using your analogy:

(i) Can a restaurant owned and operated by a Jewish guy be a Chinese restaurant?

(ii) Is a Chinese restaurant whose menu is very heavily based on Burmese cuisine really a Chinese restaurant?

The issue is complicated for Taekwondo because of the strong drive to purge it of its Okinawan/Japanese content, at least at a `surface' level, beginning with Gen. Choi and picking up momentum with the jettisoning first of the Pyang-Ahn (= Pinan) hyungs and then of the Palgwes as colored-belt patterns, and other tendencies in the art initiated by the WTF/Kukkiwon. In the case of TSD, though, it doesn't seem unreasonable to say that as long as Gm. Park's curriculum is taught, it's still as Korean an art as it ever was, whether or not the instructors are themselves ethnically Korean. That corresponds to my (i) above. The hard part is to decide on (ii). Just what kind of restaurant is Yaakov running? It's clearly not going go down well with people used to real New York delis to say that Yaakov is running a Jewish restaurant, but is he running a Chinese restaurant or a Burmese restaurant with Chinese decor? I think that's the point of your post, M. Penfil?

For what it's worth, I think TSD is an Okinawan fighting system which has been reinterpeted and further developed by a Korean master. But I tend to feel very much the same about TKD, so my perspective may be slightly warped... :wink1:
 

EmperorOfKentukki

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Tang Soo Do is a Chinese/Okinawan/Japanese/Korean/Amerian martial art.

Look...the base art went Okinawa where it got crystalized as a particular Kata. From Okinawa it traveled to Japan and was adopted and adapted to the culture to become Karate Do. Koreans took what they learned from the Japanese and brought it home with them developing it into a uniquely Korean version. Americans serving in Korea learned this version of martial arts and brought it home where over the next 50 years they adapted it to their American approach today making Tang Soo Do more prevalent in the U.S. than it is in Korea. When did TSD become an American martial art? I think it started the minute the first Soldier began teaching it here in the U.S. This is a very big country. Being on our own forces us to make it our own. This is a natural evolution. They refer to this in Korea as Ryu Pah. It is a concept that is decended from Taoist thinking. All the way from ancient times in China to the modern day in the USA.

So I think Yaakov's restraunt would be 'exotic NY cuisine'....unless, of course, he was very successful overnight....then he'd be a 'trendy NY hot spot'. LOL!

The Emperor
 
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stealthness

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Using the restaurant analogy

What makes a Korean restaurant?

Pure Korean restaurant would have a head chef developing and delivering Korean menu, severed in an atmosphere that is Korean.

What if the head chef not Korean? Then I would at least expect the chef to have a passion about Korean food, trained by reorganised expert Korean chef. He may bring in other influences, but he would still need to be serving a menu delivering a Korean food experience, then yes I would consider still a Korean restraint.

Now consider head chef, has liking for Korean food, but constructs a menu with many flavours and tradition, but dominated by his Korean influences. The food is severed in a Modern restaurant context. Is this restaurant Korean? No, it to removed, it is a restaurant with Korean specials.

Now to bring the analogy into argument of whether Tang Soo Do can maintain its heritage. The Head Chef is like a Head Instructor of a club/organisation, he should have been trained by a recognised instructor, have a passion for Korean art, this should not prevent from bringing other influences, but like menu in a restaurant is like protocol of the Dojang, it should place in Korean context. Then it is possible for Tang Soo Do to persist and develop with out losing its cultural roots.

But I have seen many a good martial artist in recent years, break from establish organisation, some have stayed true to their roots, while other now deviated widely from Korean heritage of Tang Soo Do
 

exile

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Tang Soo Do is a Chinese/Okinawan/Japanese/Korean/Amerian martial art.

Look...the base art went Okinawa where it got crystalized as a particular Kata. From Okinawa it traveled to Japan and was adopted and adapted to the culture to become Karate Do. Koreans took what they learned from the Japanese and brought it home with them developing it into a uniquely Korean version. Americans serving in Korea learned this version of martial arts and brought it home where over the next 50 years they adapted it to their American approach today making Tang Soo Do more prevalent in the U.S. than it is in Korea. When did TSD become an American martial art? I think it started the minute the first Soldier began teaching it here in the U.S. This is a very big country. Being on our own forces us to make it our own. This is a natural evolution. They refer to this in Korea as Ryu Pah. It is a concept that is decended from Taoist thinking. All the way from ancient times in China to the modern day in the USA.

So I think Yaakov's restraunt would be 'exotic NY cuisine'....unless, of course, he was very successful overnight....then he'd be a 'trendy NY hot spot'. LOL!

The Emperor

EoK---I love it! Probably Yaakov would market it as `Eastern fusion', leaving the adjective ambiguous betwee its `east coast' and `East Asian' sense, and would wind up opening a chain of them from NY and Boston to Albuquerque and Seattle.
 

trueaspirer

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A agree that an art can continue even without the original culture in place, though I do feel if you lose all the sense of the culture, you lose its essence, for it was through the culture the the art was born.
 

Brother John

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As we move into 21st centaury, many of the Korean pioneers of Tang Soo Do aging and are being filled by ever increasing numbers of non-Korean masters, can the art maintain its Korean heritage?


(title is provocative, but used to stir debate about future of Tang Soo Do)

I'm pretty confused by your question.
EVEN if no one of Korean ethnicity were to even BE in TSD..
it's "heritage" would still be of Korean origin.

Your Brother
John
 

zDom

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Is baseball still an "American" sport?

There are an awful lot of Japanese playing baseball...
 

MBuzzy

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Well, all of the Koreans that I've met definately still think it is a Korean art. And TSD is alive and well here in Korea.
 

Robert Lee

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No matter the style name If it becomes yours does it really have a name at all .Its what you have learned to do for your self. 100 doctors went to college they learned and now practice with out having to be the same as there former class mates. They still continue to learn more. But they are now the doctor. You And I are the same we learn and That knowledge Is ours TSD is the path if you trained it then the new path you have to create. M/A today belongs to the world not 1 country.
 
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Greeting to all,
I had lunch with a very senior instructor in June of this year. I asked him;

What kind of Bunkai do you teach your students?

He chuckled and said;

Master Penfil, I have heard about what you teach from others who have worked with you. I know that you get into all kinds of nerve strikes and joint locks, but let me tell you something; I trained directly with Hwang Kee 50 years ago, and he told me himself that Tang Soo Do was strictly an impacting art. We dont do those nerve strikes and joint locks.

I simply smiled and said nothing more on the subject.

You know that I like analogies, and here is one that fits this conversation;
If you had to find a heart specialist for a complication that you were suffering and you had narrowed the field down to two. One graduated from the University of Michigan med school 30 years ago with the highest honors, best in his class, and was so good that he chose never to take future seminars on new procedures, or study new journals to upgrade his knowledge, etc., or the second guy who graduated 10 years ago, also top in his class, but chooses to attend ALL seminars on the latest and greatest procedures, and reads up on everything new to stay on the cutting edge, which guy will you choose to save your life; The older guy who is still working with 30 year old technology or the younger guy who is completely up to date?

Martial Arts are no different then medicine. If you go into battle with only a sword, and the enemy is using machine guns from a distance, you are not going to win. You have to stay on top, and continue to grow; the world in constantly moving forward. If you are staying in the same place, you are falling behind.

You have to understand that Hwang Kee believed in Rue Pa, and that what he was teaching 50 years ago was not what he was teaching 40, 30, 20 or even 10 years ago. When this instructor trained with Hwang Kee, Hwang wasnt at the peak of him martial career, he was at the beginning. Hwang was the kind of man who would have taught nerve strikes and joint locks 50 years ago if he had learned them at that time. How do I know this? Because when I trained with him in the early 1980s, he had already incorporated them into the Federations curriculum.

We are training in what is supposed to be a living art. If Hwang Kees spirit looks down on us years from now and sees us doing exactly what he did prior to his death, without any changes, additions or improvements, his spirit will be saddened by what he sees. It was never his idea to place us all in a box, and watch us suffocate to death with a curriculum that would cease to grow and expand as time went by.

Look in his book; Tang Soo To/Soo Bahk Do and see the page that shows the two pictures side by side depicting his vision of what Tang Soo Do technique looks like. One picture shows a saber tooth tiger attacking what looks like a Neanderthal man, and the other is a picture of a Sherman Tank firing its gun. Both are, in his mind, examples of Tang Soo Do. He states that, it is regrettable that we live in a time when there are men who seek to claim that they originated the art that they teach. He goes on to state that, in his mind Tang Soo Do began with the first conscious action of the first human being to raise his or her hand in defense against man or beast, and that we will never know who that person was or where they were from.

If this is the thought and written word of Hwang Kee, who are we to assign a nationality or an ownership of technique to what we teach???

As John Hancock stated;
Tang Soo Do is a Chinese/Okinawan/Japanese/Korean/American martial art.
(Not to leave out any other nationality, as people train in Tang Soo Do on every continent today) .

John is correct


Yours in Tang Soo Do,


Master Jay S. Penfil


TANG SOO!!!
 
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Mr. Tabone,

You liked my reponse?


I like your artwork... where did you find it?


Heres to a GREAT 2007 for us all!!!



Yours in Tang Soo Do,


Master Jay S. Penfil


TANG SOO!!!
 
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