Corrupted Poomsae

Archtkd

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This subject has been tackled before in different ways, but I still keep wondering: Why do many masters and grandmasters, who teach Kukkiwon style taekwondo, continue to teach corrupted versions Kukkiwon style poomsae, especially in this day and age when technology enables us to obtain the correct forms, as they have been taught at the Kukkiwon since the early 70s?

With no disrepect to this master or his students, here are examples of what I am talking about. The gentleman did his 7th Dan test in 2007 and this are the Geup and Yudanja rank forms he performed in front of an audience. I'm assuming this was an in-house testing because it seems to have been done here in the U.S,, where typically a testing of that rank would be done at the Kukkiwon. He does the poomsae very well from a technical and artistic perspective, but all the forms do not confirm to Kukkiwon standards. I can't tell whether this is intentional or the master simply does not know, despite the fact that he has affiliations with the WTF, according to his dojang's we site. I don't know the master, but I am wondering whether he has an ITF or Karate background.

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqWV0y_1Qus&feature=related
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Geb9Sr0scM&feature=related
 

Earl Weiss

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It will be interesting to see the responses from KKW people.

Have seen this for many years from those purporting to do the Chang Hon forms. Various reasons apply. They have a lineage that did not have detailed instruction so errrors were passed along and exacerbated thru the generations.

They have a lineage that had certain different standards and when there was a changeover to the new standard (Now decades old) the old habits remained and carried on thru the progeny.

They have a lineage were definite changes were made and some claim to know these changes yet often they are not written down so they get messed up thru the generations.

They learnd something thru a book or video that had an error and was later corrected, or never corrected but they never got updated.

Some are just clueless that what they are doing is far removed from the accepted standard, not knowing there is an accepted standard or what it is.
 

granfire

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A) Forms were never static, probably never meant to be that way
B) Forms are changed on purpose to underline a change in direction.

Part may very well be to give the KKW the one finger salute with their death grip on the art.
Or, as I have experienced it, to secure revenue and royalties.

Considering the art not being uniform at all to begin with, I don't think 'corrupted' is quiet the correct term.
 

Gnarlie

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At present, having links to the Kukkiwon / WTF doesn't really mean anything unless that particular instructor chooses to make it mean something (speaking from a UK perspective).

In the UK, it just means you've registered with the Kukkiwon and paid the fee. It's up to each instructor to then register with the National Governing Body the BTCB, and make sure they get themselves to the requisite seminars, courses and such to bring themselves up to date. It is unfortunate that many instructors choose not to do this, but still pay the fee in order to be able to advertise Kukkiwon affiliation.

It is a sad fact that I always see new (often senior) faces at the seminar the day before black belt gradings, and what they are doing is often way out of whack with the standard. It is hoped that forcing seminar attendance as a grading requirement will eventually drive the right behaviour.

There are also other Kukkiwon instructors that operate independently from the NGB, grading people and giving out Kukkiwon certificates. There are also non-Kukkiwon instructors who use the same syllabus & poomsae, with no supporting infrastructure to support uniformity. I'm not sure if there's any real control to stop this from happening.

In short, there's nothing to force you to adhere to the standard, except your own motivation. The BTCB alone has a membership of thousands, and yet I see the same 200 faces at each and every seminar. Those of us who keep ourselves up to date are definitely in the minority, which is a great shame, as I find the seminars very rewarding.
 

MSUTKD

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Most US KKW instructors do not follow the standards either. I have watched these videos before and although he is not following the standard he actually has skill and is consistent. I am bothered much more by people who cannot even execute the techniques with tempo, power and flexibility.

I think with forms, unless you are competing at a high level, a little variance might be okay as long as the form looks good and the techniques are strong.
 

dancingalone

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A) Forms were never static, probably never meant to be that way.

A great point generally especially when applied to older sets of forms where the authorship and intent of movements have become obscured over time.

I wonder about the KKW poomsae however. If one adopts the top-down hierarchy seemingly implicit with the usage of KKW certification, it seems one should follow the standard as published by their leadership. Many of authors of these forms are still alive and active after all.
 

Manny

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A) Forms were never static, probably never meant to be that way
B) Forms are changed on purpose to underline a change in direction.

Part may very well be to give the KKW the one finger salute with their death grip on the art.
Or, as I have experienced it, to secure revenue and royalties.

Considering the art not being uniform at all to begin with, I don't think 'corrupted' is quiet the correct term.

If I were a poomsae competitor of a high level I will adhere strictly to the kukiwon set of rules to do the kkw poomsae, I mean I will have to do the poomsae exactly as kukiwon wants, in some cases a semirobotic movements.

However I am not a high level competitor so even I try to adhere to the kukiwon poomsae, everytime I do poomsae I do them with my own flavor and feeling, maybe my stances or blocks or kicks are not supernice robotic moves but alot of me is isndie of every poomsae I do and for me this is waht it counts.

Don't take me wrong a bad performance doing poomsae it's a bad performance here and China but... just because one has not the level of profiency and acuracy in the moves inside the poomsae like the international competitors have we don't need to be so acurated in our poomsae.

I saw the the poomsae performed by the master in the links, the taeguks seemed to me nice and interesting, the koryo and up seems to me not precicesly as the kukiwon text book but the master did them very well to me, I mean they are not super fantastic but are not trash either.

Manny

Considering the art not being uniform at all to begin with, I don't think 'corrupted' is quiet the correct term.[/QUOTE]
 

puunui

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Why do many masters and grandmasters, who teach Kukkiwon style taekwondo, continue to teach corrupted versions Kukkiwon style poomsae, especially in this day and age when technology enables us to obtain the correct forms, as they have been taught at the Kukkiwon since the early 70s?

I think because there is nothing, at least within the US, that prevents them from doing so. In Korea for example, the Kwan Jang still live there and they can and have sent out instructions to kwan members that this is the direction we are going to. And the members listen. There are also additional controls. For example, if you wish to open a dojang in Korea, you must take and pass the Kukkiwon Instructor Course and become licensed. Further, pretty much all dojang send students to tournaments, including poomsae tournaments, local and also things like the Hanmadang. If you wish to win, then there is incentive to comply with the stated standards. Everyone is on board in Korea.

Problem is in the US, we don't have the same sort of culture. Also, instructors here came up with their own ways of doing things, which they are proud of, and they don't wish to change. They consider themselves to be the pioneers, not their kwan jang in Korea.

In this particular case, I think the testee does it that way because his instructor wants him to do it that way. I watched the videos and I think it would be relatively easy for him to make the switch to kukkiwon standard. I think the way he does his poomsae is actually harder than the standard version, which may or may not be what he or his instructor is looking for.

The Kukkiwon solution is that for 8th and 9th Dan candidates, you must test in Korea at the Kukkiwon. People know this and either adopt the standard, or choose not to and don't get promoted, at least not by the Kukkiwon.
 

puunui

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Most US KKW instructors do not follow the standards either.

I think that is slowly changing though, through youtube, the poomsae only tournament system of the WTF, the Kukkiwon Instructor Courses, and forums such as these, which talk ***positively*** about the benefits and advantages of being to the standard.

I have watched these videos before and although he is not following the standard he actually has skill and is consistent. I am bothered much more by people who cannot even execute the techniques with tempo, power and flexibility.

I agree.

I think with forms, unless you are competing at a high level, a little variance might be okay as long as the form looks good and the techniques are strong.

I also agree. I think positive dialog and continuing efforts at educating our fellow practitioners is the way to go.
 
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Archtkd

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Most US KKW instructors do not follow the standards either. I have watched these videos before and although he is not following the standard he actually has skill and is consistent. I am bothered much more by people who cannot even execute the techniques with tempo, power and flexibility.

I think with forms, unless you are competing at a high level, a little variance might be okay as long as the form looks good and the techniques are strong.

No doubt he has the skill. He's very good and polished. The problem is, one of this days there's always the danger that one or many of his students will go around declaring that this i the "original", "traditional" and "correct" way Kukkiwon forms are done, especially because the teacher states he has close relations with the WTF.
 

puunui

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The problem is, one of this days there's always the danger that one or many of his students will go around declaring that this i the "original", "traditional" and "correct" way Kukkiwon forms are done, especially because the teacher states he has close relations with the WTF.

I can tell you that mastercole and I have been dealing with that online for over 15 years now. People used to come out of the woodwork to attack us regarding short narrow stances and everything else. Our point was this: There is a kukkiwon standard that has been in place since the creation of the palgwae, yudanja, and taeguek poomsae, which include short narrow stances and other very specific movements. If you do not wish to follow that standard, then you are free to ignore those standards in your own practice and also what you teach your students. But please do not announce to the world that your long wide stance and your dynamic tension moves in taebaek is the standard, because it isn't and never was, no matter what your instructor told you.
 

mastercole

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This subject has been tackled before in different ways, but I still keep wondering: Why do many masters and grandmasters, who teach Kukkiwon style taekwondo, continue to teach corrupted versions Kukkiwon style poomsae, especially in this day and age when technology enables us to obtain the correct forms, as they have been taught at the Kukkiwon since the early 70s?

With no disrepect to this master or his students, here are examples of what I am talking about. The gentleman did his 7th Dan test in 2007 and this are the Geup and Yudanja rank forms he performed in front of an audience. I'm assuming this was an in-house testing because it seems to have been done here in the U.S,, where typically a testing of that rank would be done at the Kukkiwon. He does the poomsae very well from a technical and artistic perspective, but all the forms do not confirm to Kukkiwon standards. I can't tell whether this is intentional or the master simply does not know, despite the fact that he has affiliations with the WTF, according to his dojang's we site. I don't know the master, but I am wondering whether he has an ITF or Karate background.

1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqWV0y_1Qus&feature=related
2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Geb9Sr0scM&feature=related

No, it's not the Kukkiwon standard. I don't think he claims it to be though.

I know the Lee brothers and have been to some of their events. Actually, the guy in the video introduced me to "Bone Crusher Smith" the boxer. His older brother Joon Lee came to Cleveland and MC'd the first tournament I ever hosted. They are all very nice, and respected people and do a good job with there students.

Without a doubt they are aware of the Kukkiwon standard. Their background is Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan (even though some brothers became members of different Kwan). Some of what you see is likely from old Moo Duk Kwan. The other thing is that they like to add a bit of personal flare to their Taekwondo. It's what they like and it sets them apart from their local competition, many of whom do try to follow the Kukkiwon standard.
 

Earl Weiss

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A) Forms were never static, probably never meant to be that way

.

I must wholheartedly disagree with the above, and again it's solely from the Chang Hon perspective which has volumes dedicated to the standard.

From a general standpoint, and as echoed above by Glenn the issue becomes those who think they are doing the standard and really have no clue that they are not.

The bigger issue is my perspective as to the reasons for standards. By having a standard you set a goal that the practitioner is tryin to achieve. The goal is also objectively observeable by the instructors and seniors.

So, if you (generic you) don't adhere to a standard, how does one determine if the performer knows any standard to try and achieve. How does one determine if they know that standard but are simply not performing to that standard physicaly.

No matter how far the performance deviates from a standard the performer could simply calim any sort of standard without rhyme or reason. This is not an improvement. Learn the standard, be able to perfor to the standard, be able to explain the standards and any reasons for them, and then take "poetic license" if you knowingly choose to do so.

I have had visitors perform corrupted patterns, and would demonstrate and explain what our standard was and reasons for it. I would then ask them to explain their standard and reasons. Now,we could certianly agree to disagree on what reasons or standards were "better" . Sadly, they often had no reason or explanation.
 

mastercole

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Most US KKW instructors do not follow the standards either. I have watched these videos before and although he is not following the standard he actually has skill and is consistent. I am bothered much more by people who cannot even execute the techniques with tempo, power and flexibility.

I think with forms, unless you are competing at a high level, a little variance might be okay as long as the form looks good and the techniques are strong.

I agree, many US instructors do not follow the standards, for whatever reason which amazes me because I think that most everyone is finally at least aware that there is a standard. Even though more nad more people are starting to follow that standard, I still see a lot of practitioners who bare their instructors personal style of Taekwondo.

It would be horrifying to me if my students motions looked like mine. I'm a mess of martial arts styles, from boxing, Isshin Ryu, early kwan spin off styles, personal styles of my past teachers, etc. I wish I would have started in a purely Kukkiwon training base, but it was not around in the 1960's. I want my students to be better that me and strive for the international standard. I point to the elite of everything in Taekwondo and tell my students "this is what you strive for." That is why I bring the world's elite Taekwondoin around my students.

I also think this is what high level competitors are for. To set the example of what can be achieved by correct practice. This approach has been successful for me. I have students today that are far better at martial arts that I ever was. However unsatisfied I may have been at times trying to achieve my goals as a practitioner, I am very satisfied in the goals I have achieved as an instructor, for this reason.

I believe that was one of my goals when I became an instructor, to have students who far exceed me. If I had them conform to my personal style, I don't think that would have ever happened.

We should all look at what we are doing as instructors and ask are we doing all we can do to give out students the greatest opportunities. We should also look at our selves to see if we are what is preventing them from achieving all they can.
 

mastercole

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A great point generally especially when applied to older sets of forms where the authorship and intent of movements have become obscured over time.

I wonder about the KKW poomsae however. If one adopts the top-down hierarchy seemingly implicit with the usage of KKW certification, it seems one should follow the standard as published by their leadership. Many of authors of these forms are still alive and active after all.

Some of the authors of the Kukkiwon Poomsae are still alive, but they are fading fast. Puunui and myself have personally spoke with several of them, extensively. They feel that the Poomsae should be done exactly to the standard and doing differently is completely incorrect.

Making purposeful wrong motions in Taegeuk Poomsae messes up the whole mind & body connection in accord with the principles of the I-Ching, the very principle that those standard motions were based on.
 

mastercole

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I can tell you that mastercole and I have been dealing with that online for over 15 years now. People used to come out of the woodwork to attack us regarding short narrow stances and everything else. Our point was this: There is a kukkiwon standard that has been in place since the creation of the palgwae, yudanja, and taeguek poomsae, which include short narrow stances and other very specific movements. If you do not wish to follow that standard, then you are free to ignore those standards in your own practice and also what you teach your students. But please do not announce to the world that your long wide stance and your dynamic tension moves in taebaek is the standard, because it isn't and never was, no matter what your instructor told you.

We have been dealing with it offline too. I have had quite a number of encounters where people approach me, some that I do not even know and ask me questions about Taekwondo. Most in a genuine manner, and some in a confrontational manner. All with an interesting result. Some walk away mad. Some end up coming to my school and training together with us. Some end up fly off to Korea and training at places like Kukkiwon, Taekwondo Universities or local Korean Dojang, with my recommendation and introduction.

What we have been writing online, and tell people in person all these years has changed a few Taekwondoin's lives. I know, they told me so. Yet not one who came to us has ever learned Puunui's or my personal style. That would be a waste of our time and their time. We have just been pointing them in the direction of something much better. Like a good Sommelier :)
 

puunui

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We have been dealing with it offline too. I have had quite a number of encounters where people approach me, some that I do not even know and ask me questions about Taekwondo. Most in a genuine manner, and some in a confrontational manner. All with an interesting result. Some walk away mad. Some end up coming to my school and training together with us. Some end up fly off to Korea and training at places like Kukkiwon, Taekwondo Universities or local Korean Dojang, with my recommendation and introduction.

Also some took what we say to heart, and ended up on the US Poomsae National Team.


What we have been writing online, and tell people in person all these years has changed a few Taekwondoin's lives. I know, they told me so. Yet not one who came to us has ever learned Puunui's or my personal style. That would be a waste of our time and their time. We have just been pointing them in the direction of something much better. Like a good Sommelier :)

I don't have a personal style. I don't think you have one either. I have things I favor, but I do not have a signature on anything. My style is to try to understand exactly the essence and truth of the arts that I study, removing myself from the equation as much as possible. Any aspect of "me" pollutes the purity of what I am trying to go for. This goes for technical, mental, philosophical or historical aspects of my arts. If I am incorrect, out of touch, or obsolete, I do what I can to get the most current information and perspective as possible. This is easy to do, since I have no vested interest in my practice or arts, other than to get it right. I have no attachment to anything, everything is subject to scrutiny and change.
 

mastercole

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I don't have a personal style. I don't think you have one either. I have things I favor, but I do not have a signature on anything. My style is to try to understand exactly the essence and truth of the arts that I study, removing myself from the equation as much as possible. Any aspect of "me" pollutes the purity of what I am trying to go for. This goes for technical, mental, philosophical or historical aspects of my arts. If I am incorrect, out of touch, or obsolete, I do what I can to get the most current information and perspective as possible. This is easy to do, since I have no vested interest in my practice or arts, other than to get it right. I have no attachment to anything, everything is subject to scrutiny and change.

GM KIM Dae Shik wrote in his book "Taekwondo is Zen." What you just wrote is Zen (Seon).
 

Poomsaeguy

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I do my poomsae the same way as in that video! And the girls love it!:)
 

mastercole

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I do my poomsae the same way as in that video! And the girls love it!:)

I know that your team mate Master Southwick conducts Poomsae seminars, and if you also conduct them I am curious what kind of feed back you guys get from attendees as far as acceptance or rejection of what may appear to be new information. I am going to assume the mass majority accept what they learn from the seminars?
 
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