History of TKD by GM JP Choi (Joon Pyo)

KarateMomUSA

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Martial arts origins - then, now, future and Taekwondo
The ancient system for survival has many stages: primitive, ancient, pre-modern, modern, current and future
It is apparent that some people do not understand how the martial arts are connected to the evolution of Earth and to human history. I will try to capture that by taking a look at the timeline from the primitive and ancient stages of the martial arts to the modern era and beyond.
From the birth of the creation of all life in the universe, each thing was given some form of defenses to survive. These defenses were embedded in the cells. Those embedded techniques has been organized as an art form, We call that, martial arts.
When born, everything had one mission to live safely and happily and to reproduce to continue the existence of ones own kind. Take humans on Earth, for example. Humans across the world created tribes and states. In the primitive stage, people developed different survival skills based on the realities of where they were located.
Being consistent with how they were made, they based all their survival techniques on physical, mental and emotional actions. Humans sought to protect their territory, not only against other humans, but also mainly against bigger and stronger creatures.
With their mind, humans developed strategies to survive. Hide-and-seek was the most primitive survival skill against more powerful creatures to capture the food but not to be captured as the food. But humans also needed food, shelter and rest. Along the path of evolution, humans discovered fire and other weapons to compensate for their lack of physical capability compared to other creatures. Humans lived as groups and packs to survive against other fully, physically equipped creatures. Humans learned to run after creatures and catch them, throw things at other creatures to take them down, ball up their hands into fists and punch, and before long, developed a combination of pulling and pushing, striking and blocking, kicking and choking, and they eventually moved on to develop weapons and firearms.
Still, packed creatures, including human beings, found they needed leaders. Leaders are those who have the ability to conquer opponents to survive and are willing to offer that protection to others. This brings us to the ancient stage, when the martial arts developed into highly effective military systems. During this stage, humans began training under the leaders willing to teach survival skills.
In the modern stage, armed forces and law enforcement took over much of the survival aspect of the martial arts. It used to be that martial arts were needed for survival. That was not eliminated, because gangs and bullies remained. But those who killed someone on the street faced the possibility of being thrown in prison.
Nonetheless, the martial arts were played as games and sports during times of peace. Unlike on the street, martial-arts games required participants to follow rules. Actually, all sports stem from the martial arts games. Sports such as basketball, football and baseball involve offense and defense, protecting ones territory, power, speed, agility, striking, grabbing, locking, blocking, throwing, kicking, intimidating. These are all survival skills. And good communication is needed to succeed. In the future, the martial arts will be used mostly for holistic self-enhancement, given that it offers fundamental life skills that bring success, harmony and happiness.

That is the direction practitioners are going. Still, we must keep a keen eye on our past to understand how the martial arts got to this point and why it is so important to keep evolving without eliminating the core values and fundamental philosophies that have kept the various disciplines so strong. This will provide us with holistic and integrated lifestyles with skills that tap into our mind, body, spirit and emotions.
In this section, I would like to address Taekwondo, an ancient Korean martial art, which goes back as long as Korean history of more than 6,000 years. There are controversial viewpoints on the history of Taekwondo. Some say it branches from Karate, because the Japanese occupation, from 1909 to 1945. During those 36 years, imperial Japan banned the entire Korean culture, including its martial arts. Korea was strongly influenced by Japanese culture. Koreans began studying Japanese martial arts, including Karate, Judo and Kendo. This liberated Koreans to teach Japanese martial arts. However, the occupation will not replace more than 6,000 years of culture, including Korean martial arts.
Stability of the leading Taekwondo organizations plays a significant role in spreading the martial arts throughout the mainstream. Taekwondo helps to build character with mental and physical discipline, and some excel all the way to the level of competing in the Olympic Games.
Nevertheless, five young Korean masters began teaching integrated, modern, Korean martial arts, although they were dominated by the Japanese system, which later reconnected with many original Korean martial arts, especially the tradition of the kicking art called Taekyun (Korea was using kicking as part of play, competitive games and fighting arts in everyday life).
The first Taekwondo school was opened in 1944 by Byung Jick Ro, founder of Song Moo Kwan. The other four schools that followed were opened by Won Kook Lee, founder of Chung Do Kwan; Joen Sang Sup(ChoSun-Yoenmookan March 1946 - later became Jidokwan by Kwe Byung Yoon, founder of Ji Do Kwan; Byung In Yoon, founder of YMCA Kwonbupbu (Later became Chang Moo Kwan by Nam Suk Lee); Ki Hwang, founder of Moo Duk Kwan.
Taekwondo soon was accepted as a national sport by the collaborated efforts of first generation Taekwondo leaders, such as Uoon Kyu Um from Chung Do Kwan, Chong Woo Lee from Ji Do Kwan, Young Sup Lee form Song Moo Kwan and few others. Taewkondo grew its popularity continuously by instructors of ITF and WTF. Taekwondo now enjoys over 50 million practitioners in over 150 countries.
In 1988 Taekwondo was accepted as an Olympic demonstration sport. In the year 2000, finally recognized as a full medal sport. This miraculous accomplishment happened combining efforts between great leadership of Un Yong Kim president of WTF and hard work by the Taekwondo instructors who took Taekwondo throughout the world. It took less than 50 years and these miraculous results happened by determination and dedication of instructors.
At the same time, the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) was founded by General Hong Hee Choi in 1965, and he used his influence as a military leader and an ambassador to spread Taekwondo lessons throughout Asia and Europe.
Then came 1971, when newly appointed Taekwondo president Un Young Kim built the World Taekwondo Center, otherwise known as Kukkiwon. Kim, who served as a presidential assistant security chief, began organizing Taekwondo into a modern sport and created world championships. He later became a member of the International Olympic Committee and president of the International Sports Federation. (He still serves as president of WTF and General Assembly of International Sports Federation.)

Meanwhile, the ITF began to suffer. Controversy erupted when General Choi took Taekwondo into North Korea. That move was viewed by followers as traitorous, and some accused him of being a Communist. His connection with North Korea put his followers in an extremely difficult position as they related with one another and with other Taekwondo practitioners. Many of the high-ranking young masters left him simply to avoid being labeled a Communist, although a review of General Chois stated mission indicates that his only intent was to spread Taekwondo. Nonetheless, the ITF was split among different leaders. (It is important to note, however, that a few stayed with him and remained loyal, even after he passed away last year.)
On the other hand, Kim thrived for almost 30 years. But that, too, came to an end in 2000, when he had to weather his first major opposition. Practitioners began to complain that under Kim's leadership, Taekwondo developed only as a sport and lost its traditions and philosophies. Supporters of the artistic aspects of the martial arts also began to criticize Kim. His influence in the Taekwondo industry quickly weakened. Under mounting pressure, he resigned as president of Korea Taekwondo Association and Kukkiwon.
Many of the strikes against Kim came from university competitors who challenged the unfairness of judging practices and the inadequacy of the rules and regulations to select the national team members to participate in international competitions. But the opposition failed to provide good leadership.
Chun Seo Koo, a Korean legislator who practiced Taekwondo in his youth, was elected president Korea Taekwondo Association.
Meanwhile, the presidency of Kukkiwon (the World Taekwondo Center) remained vacant for one year. The opposition groups tried very hard through demonstrations, media campaigns and organizational efforts. But Kim made a comeback with recommendations by previous followers due to the fact that he had never trained a successor. So he regained his position as president of Kukkiwon. Kim has been recognized around the world as one of the top diplomats in the sports industry and an unchallengeable leader for the time being.
The ITF presidency, meanwhile, was transferred to Woong Chang, which was the death wish of General Choi. Chang was a member of the IOC and the minister of sports in North Korea. But General Choi's son also stepped up to claim a leadership role, creating a division in the organization. The ITF is still in turmoil, and many masters hope that it can work itself out to be a stabilizing force in the Taekwondo industry for generations to come.
People of all walks of life pursue Taekwondo training for a variety of reasons. Some seek health and fitness. Others seek mental powers such as discipline, patience and self-control. Some seek self-defense. Some seek an outlet for their athleticism and pursue the sports aspect from the local to the state, national and international levels, striving for the pinnacle - the Olympic Games. Whatever the motivation, thousands have used martial arts as a conduit for personal improvement.
That has definitely been the case for me. I was one of the many people who fled from North Korea during the Korean War. I grew up in a refugee camp where there was lots of street violence and confusion, and I was a shy, undersized boy, 11 years old, just trying to survive from the street violence. In 1956 I started taking Taekwondo lessons from my cousin and later entered Songmookwan system from Ro, a Supreme Grand Master who is regarded as the father of modern Taekwondo.
I began my journey of self-improvement and becoming a leader. Instead of being picked on, I was protecting others from being picked on. My teaching career began from 1963 and competed successfully by earning several championship titles. To enhance myself to be more balanced martial artist, I studied Zen to understand self, Daoism to understand nature and Confucianism to understand different social structures through that philosophy. Ive also studied acupuncture to learn how to heal, hypnotism to understand human mind and yoga to further understand human body.

In 1971 I decided move to the United States The Land of Opportunity to explore my dream, teaching and learning as a professional martial arts master. I opened Oriental Martial Arts College in 1971 and during 32 years of my teaching, over 25,000 students trained in OMAC and OMAC produced more national champions from one school than any other school in U.S. I served as U.S. National Team Coach 5 times including the Olympics in 1988 for the gold-medal winning Taekwondo team that competed in Seoul. In 1996, I was honored to receive the rank of 9th degree black belt from Ro himself.
As one of the martial arts industry leaders, I am trying very hard to bring unity within the various disciplines. For that reason, World United Martial Arts Alliance was founded in 1992 to serve our industry. Thus Created the Arnold Battle of Columbus Martial Arts World Games by joining force with the Arnold Schwarzeneggers Fitness Expo. Through these World Games, we were able to host 20 different martial arts championships, 43 workshops and 55 demonstrations by legends, stars and champions of the martial arts during the Arnold Fitness weekend in Columbus, Ohio.


"From the moment we are born to the moment we die, we must constantly try to improve. If we don't improve, we die. It is our obligation as human beings."
Sr. Grandmaster Choi

This article was published on "Martial Arts Digest".
Posted 6/6/03
Copyright 2002-2003 Oriental Martial Arts College, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

terryl965

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Wow so now Korean Martial Arts is over 6000 year old, well if this keeps up one day it will be here when the dinosour was walking around.
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leadleg

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I still have to believe the theory's behind the history of TKD or KMA's is due to the fact that some peoples if not all,use their culture and storytelling as history.Without written history many civilizations use oral history.
Whether this is true for TKD the name it is true for KMA's. The people who say TKD is older than the name are obviously using TKD as a generic term for KMA's.
 

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Wow so now Korean Martial Arts is over 6000 year old, well if this keeps up one day it will be here when the dinosour was walking around.
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I'd better check with the Leakeys, that family of great archeologists from Kenya. I have a feeling this could go back to the origins of humans in the Great Rift Vally of Kenya.
 
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KarateMomUSA

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Wow so now Korean Martial Arts is over 6000 year old, well if this keeps up one day it will be here when the dinosour was walking around.
icon10.gif
See it is funny how people read the same thing differently. While I always thought Korea went back 5,000 years, I noticed more that he says they did karate, moved from there, talked about Gen Choi & the ITF, as well as the political problems.
This grandmaster is part of the USAT-MAC right?
Does he also hold a position in the KKW?
 
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KarateMomUSA

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I still have to believe the theory's behind the history of TKD or KMA's is due to the fact that some peoples if not all,use their culture and storytelling as history.Without written history many civilizations use oral history.
Whether this is true for TKD the name it is true for KMA's. The people who say TKD is older than the name are obviously using TKD as a generic term for KMA's.
Yes I think a case can be made with that. I wouldn't think it would be a strong one, but yes that is a viewpoint that can have validity.
 

SahBumNimRush

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The Choi brothers (Joon Pyo CHOI and Young Pyo Choi) have the OMAC, Joon Pyo CHOI is in Columbus and Young Pyo CHOI in Indianapolis. I remember going to both of their tournaments coming up through the ranks, and I gotta say CHOI brothers studied more than TKD. Their weapons demonstrations at the tournaments were unmatched! I believe they studied Ship Pal Ki as well as Song Moo Kwan TKD. I know JP Choi was USTU, not sure about USAT.. .

IMO, the Battle of Columbus went down hill when he joined forces with the Arnold Classic. Too commercial for me, but it has a huge turn out.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I still have to believe the theory's behind the history of TKD or KMA's is due to the fact that some peoples if not all,use their culture and storytelling as history.Without written history many civilizations use oral history.
Whether this is true for TKD the name it is true for KMA's. The people who say TKD is older than the name are obviously using TKD as a generic term for KMA's.
Until those promoting the idea of a multi-milenia old taekwondo define who they are using the term, taekwondo, these debates and discussions will continue and outsiders will criticize taekwondo for having a "fabricated history."

I really don't care if everyone promoting the idea qualifies their use of the term identically, so long as they identify how they are using the term.

If they are using it as a generic for all KMA and retrofitting it, then fine. They should say so.

If they are saying that taekwondo has roots in KMA going back several centuries, but is itself a modern art whose techniques can be found in earlier arts, then say so.

If they are saying that modern taekwondo has existed for two thousand years, they should say so, but they should be prepared to be asked some hard questions and probably to take a fair amount of criticism.

Daniel
 

britt_boo

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wow gm joon pyo choi is my master,he's a nice guy
he moved boc to may 28 to the 29th same week as the asian festival
 
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KarateMomUSA

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If they are saying that taekwondo has roots in KMA going back several centuries, but is itself a modern art whose techniques can be found in earlier arts, then say so.
If they are saying that modern taekwondo has existed for two thousand years, they should say so, but they should be prepared to be asked some hard questions and probably to take a fair amount of criticism.
Yes & I think that part of that questioning should be what are, if any, the connections to the past. If it is language & culture, then fine by me. As long as that is made clear, like you I have little concern.
To me the problem is when people try to connect to the past, to 1 up karate, Japan or any other martial art, country etc, by using the 2,000 year old myth!
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Yes & I think that part of that questioning should be what are, if any, the connections to the past. If it is language & culture, then fine by me. As long as that is made clear, like you I have little concern.
To me the problem is when people try to connect to the past, to 1 up karate, Japan or any other martial art, country etc, by using the 2,000 year old myth!
Maybe rather than one upping karate, the rationalle was to remind everyone, including Koreans, that Korea did have its own martial heritage. After a near half century of occupation by another country, reconnecting with their own past was probably pretty important.

Daniel
 
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KarateMomUSA

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Maybe rather than one upping karate, the rationalle was to remind everyone, including Koreans, that Korea did have its own martial heritage. After a near half century of occupation by another country, reconnecting with their own past was probably pretty important.

Daniel
Yes Sir there is no doubt about that at all. In fact the 1st president of south Korea had that as an official policy. It was vitally important!
 

miguksaram

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I still have to believe the theory's behind the history of TKD or KMA's is due to the fact that some peoples if not all,use their culture and storytelling as history.Without written history many civilizations use oral history.
Whether this is true for TKD the name it is true for KMA's. The people who say TKD is older than the name are obviously using TKD as a generic term for KMA's.
Yes, but there is written history available for Korea. Contrary to popular believe not all historical documentation was destroyed by the Japanese occupation. There are two noted books that establish written history, first is the Samguk Sagi which was written in the 1200's. That sprung a book called Samguk Yusa.

Korea has had martial arts but not civilian martial arts which Taekwondo would fall under. National pride and/or ignorance is contributing factor to the whole 2000 year old or 6000 year old history telling. Especially when one thinks about the time factor in which they were made up. Choi or any other story teller would have never believed in 2000 years we would have something like internet or other means in which to discover the truth.
 
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KarateMomUSA

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Yes, but there is written history available for Korea. Contrary to popular believe not all historical documentation was destroyed by the Japanese occupation. There are two noted books that establish written history, first is the Samguk Sagi which was written in the 1200's. That sprung a book called Samguk Yusa.

Korea has had martial arts but not civilian martial arts which Taekwondo would fall under. National pride and/or ignorance is contributing factor to the whole 2000 year old or 6000 year old history telling. Especially when one thinks about the time factor in which they were made up. Choi or any other story teller would have never believed in 2000 years we would have something like internet or other means in which to discover the truth.
Also I saw not too long ago that I think it was France that had some very old & rare Korean books & Korea wanted them back. I think that some sort of arrangement was made to lend them to Korea for a prolonged time period. That was a good compromise for some & of course not enough for some hard liners.
 

miguksaram

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Also I saw not too long ago that I think it was France that had some very old & rare Korean books & Korea wanted them back. I think that some sort of arrangement was made to lend them to Korea for a prolonged time period. That was a good compromise for some & of course not enough for some hard liners.
The background story is that a Korean priest who was studying at a monastery over there and cam across the writings. Currently Korea is trying to get full control over them, since it is their property. France is supposed to be handing them over to Korea but there is some sort of red tape that is causing this transaction to take a very long time. It is the first time I have ever known France not to surrender something right away. :) BAZIIIING!!!
 
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