Is Tang Soo Do Korean?

chrispillertkd

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Yes, as a matter of fact. They do not bend their knees for crescent kicks, and they keep them locked out. They do theirs in a full arc where each part of the motion is done at a steady rate and then foot dropped to the ground. This is how I used to do it when I had less experience. IMHO, this causes damage to the knees and is less powerful.
In contrast, I make sure to keep my knee slightly bent. I also ensure that I snap my foot around, pivoting my body and using my hips. By snapping my kicks, I put more speed into the apex of the arc, and then return the kick to the knee. So mine goes chamber, accelerate, snap, decelerate, re-chamber, then if i feel like it put the foot down.

For their side kicks, they ask to cock the knee up in the usual place, with the kicking leg parallel to the ground, and the body leaned over as far as possible before the kick is thrust out.
The difference in my kick is that I too, pivot and bring my leg parallel to the ground, but I keep my body upright and back straight, and then as my kick goes out to the target I lean my body over, and I then return the kick back to it's chamber and put my back up straight when I'm done. I don't know how to recover my balance the way that ITF school did kicks.

Important note: I won't name the school and I don't know if all ITF schools do kicks this way. Overall, I thought they had a very decent program and I don't want others to think I'm taking a shot at them.

FWIW, and only because you mentioned that this was an ITF school you were at, all of the kicks you described are being performed incorrectly from an ITF point of view.

Pax,

Chris
 

Dirty Dog

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The kicks, as described, aren't exactly "to code" for KKW or MDK either.


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Dirty Dog

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Well, for one thing, leaning over "as far as possible", especially before extending the leg, is really a bad idea. The hip of the supporting leg is a fulcrum. The more you lean, the more weight is on the side of the fulcrum away from the target. That pulls power out of the kick. It also screws up your balance.
Try this: stand up. Chamber a side kick. Now lean "as far as possible". Pretty hard to hold that position, eh?
Now do it again, but lean only as far as absolutely necessary. Better balance?
You cannot kick effectively from an unbalanced position. Unbalancing your opponent is one of the basic defenses against strikes.


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reeskm

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Thanks for clearing that up Dirty Dog. Yes, the way that TKD school did kicks was not correct and not safe. Who knows, it could have just been that assistant instructor that day who didn't know how to do them either? Or maybe they were just messing with me, I don't know.

Also, if I said that I lean over as far as possible, I should correct: I learned the proper way to do this is a slight lean, and to try and keep the body straight as best as possible. Of course, this requires more flexibility.

Back to the OP and topic,
Since doing a lot more research into kicks found in Karate, especially in the 50s and 60s, all my cherished beliefs regarding TSD have been broken or challenged.
For example:
- I have found countless examples of beet chagi (reverse round kick) in Japanese Karate books and film footage going back to the late 40s. I have heard this kick called the "true blue tang soo do" or "original moo duk kwan" kick and heard claims that it could have come from Taekkyon. There is no evidence on either side of this debate (whether it is Japanese or Korean) to prove one way or the other what the origin of this kick truly is
- I used to think that our forms had been modified a fair bit from Japanese Karate from the university and mainland schools in the 1940s. In actual fact, I have now convinced myself that, despite rhythm and timing differences, you can find an example on youtube or in a book that shows the Tang Soo Do/Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan forms matching a Japanese style of karate kata, move for move with almost no differences. Differences, if any, are minor and typical. For example, our Jindo hyung is identical to the Wado Chinto kata version.
- it cannot be proven that flying, spinning or fancy aerial kicking techniques came to Karate from Taekwondo or Tang Soo Do. In fact, they both have the same techniques and methods, and in both cases the origins of these techniques date to the 1940s.
- There were other "Moo Duk Kwan" prior to 1945. It is not true that there is only a "single moo duk kwan," like H.C. Hwang's current SooBahkDo organisation is promoting through it's trademark campaign. In fact, a quick contact to the Korean Folk Museum proved that easily. They have public record available in Korean to probe that there were Kendo (aka Gumdo) dojos operating in Korean during the Japanese occupation period using the name "Moo Duk Kwan". They were associated and branch dojos of the Butokukai (Moo Duk Hoe) located in Kyoto, Japan. Interestingly, Kendo uniforms are almost always died in indigo, or midnight blue.
- countless Koreans remained in Japan after Korea's independance in 1945. So Nei Chu and Mas Oyama come to mind. They are by no means the only ones. They were also pioneers in Karate and legends in their own right. In Korean, you would call what they do "TangSooDo".

It is clear to me now that the true meaning of TangSooDo being "Korean" lies not in the techniques themselves, but in the spirit of the pioneers of dojangs and the 5 original Kwan who brought the traditions of Okinawan karate from mainland Japan to Korea. They were Koreans, and so Tang Soo Do is "Korean" because they were, and I trace my lineage to them. I am not going to change that, and I will keep the small changes they made because I happen to like them, mindful of the differences with my friends who do Okinawan and Japanese Karate.
 
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