Is TKD a Martial Art?

J. Pickard

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My point is that should TKD be considered a separate ART, or just another STYLE of the art of karate. Isn't it just Korean style karate, just as shotokan is Japanese style karate or shorinryu an Okinawan style of karate? But TKD is often seen and discussed, here and elsewhere, a something apart from karate. Perhaps a pure marketing ploy, as in practice, it seems to be just another karate style to me.
In this regard, then aren't Goju Ryu and Uechi Ryu just Tiger and Crane Kung Fu systems given that Higaonna and Uechi both derived their art from those systems of Kung Fu? The whole notion of "style" as far as TKD is concerned has a lot more to do with post war Korean nationalism and identity than some would like to admit. If it's easier to think of TKD as Korean Karate (as it was called back in the day) then go for it, nobody can stop you. If you want to distinguish it from Karate because of how it diverged from Karate in it's later evolution, then do that. I don't think one way of thinking is more or less correct and are both valid. TKD is Karate in the same way Karate is kung fu.
 

J. Pickard

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This is gonna start something.

No, I don't consider taekwondo to be karate.

I don't even consider tang soo do or soo bakh do to be karate.

Of course, that's just me talking, and I'm only one person. There doesn't even seem to be a consensus on whether or not practitioners of TSD and SBD even consider their arts to be karate. Some do, some don't.

I will say that for those who do, the bigger thing to look at is whether or not they're accepted as fellow karateka by the karate community at large. In my observation, that doesn't seem to be the case. For example, many karate tournaments I've seen specify that only Japanese or Okinawan katas allowed.
This doesn't make sense. Tang soo do and Kong soo do are both korean pronounciations of the japanese word karate. TSD/KSD are literally karate. 蝛箸 this says Karate-do in Japanese, it also says Kong Soo Do in Sino Korean. also says Karate-do in Japanese and it also says Tang Soo Do in Sino Korean. Until the end of WW2 and Korea's desire for a new national identity there wasn't even a distinction between Japanese and Korean karate because the only reason TSD schools were even allowed to open in Japanese occupied Korea was because they were teaching a Japanese art. The strong desire for a national identity driven by Korean cultural practices, including martial arts, is the biggest reason TKD even exists as it is today; it was changed and renamed to give it a uniquely Korean identity to break away from Japanese oppression.

As far as SBD, that was just some Hwang Kee shenanigans and is claimed to have an equal, or sometimes greater, Chinese influence as it does Japanese. But the discussion of claims made by Hwang Kee are best left for another thread.
 
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isshinryuronin

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in this regard, then aren't Goju Ryu and Uechi Ryu just Tiger and Crane Kung Fu systems given that Higaonna and Uechi both derived their art from those systems of Kung Fu?

TKD is Karate in the same way Karate is kung fu.
I humbly disagree. Higaonna, Miyagi and Uechi fundamentally changed what they learned in China (Although Uechi's pangai-noon style kept more of the Chinese influence. Current Uechi ryu has evolved to be more "karate-like"). If one looks at kung fu forms, it can be seen they are quite different in form and execution from their Okinawan decedents, whereas if one looks at TKD forms, it is hard to distinguish them from their Japanese cousins' forms and only a slight change in execution in the kicks. (The controversial sine wave is a unique feature though, but my understanding is the jury is still out on that one.)

It's hard to deny that TKD is more like shotokan than goju is like crane. I think even a lay person would say the same if they saw video of them.

As Tony Dismukes pointed out, it's a matter of the degree of divergence. When is the differentiation sufficient to say, "This is a new art." For the reasons given here and in my other posts, I don't think TKD has reached that point yet, if ever. Perhaps in at least another 50 years? Time will tell.
 

silent killer

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The thread title is a little provocative (especially, no doubt, to TKD practitioners) but have no fear, I'll soon put it in perspective.

Consider this statement: The main TMA's popular today include karate, jiu-jitsu, aikido, kung fu, judo, tai chi, and TKD. Are there any that technically don't belong in this grouping? Is there one that can be grouped simply as a subset of another?

When asked, "What art do you study?" the average answer would be karate, kung fu, jiu-jitsu, tkd. But is tkd as different from karate as it is from kung fu or judo? After all, TKD largely descended from shotokan, a style of karate.

My point is that should TKD be considered a separate ART, or just another STYLE of the art of karate. Isn't it just Korean style karate, just as shotokan is Japanese style karate or shorinryu an Okinawan style of karate? But TKD is often seen and discussed, here and elsewhere, a something apart from karate. Perhaps a pure marketing ploy, as in practice, it seems to be just another karate style to me.

That's is my take on it. What do you think: Is TKD a separate art like kung fu or judo, or simply just another karate style?
TKD is in my opinion unique with its kicking & not really like Shotokan Karate . sure maybe the same blocks but that織s it .
i think Tang Soo Do is more closer to Shotokan but again too many fancy kicks which are no use to man nor beast.
Unless you just want to look cool breaking wooden boards :rolleyes:
 

gyoja

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TKD is in my opinion unique with its kicking & not really like Shotokan Karate . sure maybe the same blocks but that織s it .
i think Tang Soo Do is more closer to Shotokan but again too many fancy kicks which are no use to man nor beast.
Unless you just want to look cool breaking wooden boards :rolleyes:
All kicks in Tang Soo Do are useful for combat.
 

gyoja

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Wing Tsun kicks are better (in my opinion)
I just used what I was taught. Many others used the techniques that they were taught with great success as well; since we all lived.
 

silent killer

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I just used what I was taught. Many others used the techniques that they were taught with great success as well; since we all lived.
well low kicks to the knee, groin or powerful Tai kicks are the best in my opinion.
all that fancy head kicking stuff is ok if you are a pro & train every day but most people train maybe 1-2 times a week.
try that TKD stuff in a busy bar.
 

gyoja

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well low kicks to the knee, groin or powerful Tai kicks are the best in my opinion.
all that fancy head kicking stuff is ok if you are a pro & train every day but most people train maybe 1-2 times a week.
try that TKD stuff in a busy bar.
I wouldnt know about trying TKD stuff since I didnt study it, but I did kick more than one person in the head in a crowded room on more than one occasion. Not to mention the knee, groin and other low kicks that I used as well. Again, it worked extremely well for me, I didnt die. I have kids that train twice a week currently and some could land effective kicks above the waste within months.
 

Hot Lunch

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As Tony Dismukes pointed out, it's a matter of the degree of divergence. When is the differentiation sufficient to say, "This is a new art." For the reasons given here and in my other posts, I don't think TKD has reached that point yet, if ever. Perhaps in at least another 50 years? Time will tell.
I think there's a certain je ne sais quoi about this. Take entire classes from local karate dojos of differing styles and put them all in one place. And include the local TKD guys. They're gonna be out of place. And for that matter, so would TSD and SBD guys.
 

gyoja

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we織re not talking about kids in a bar room brawl are we bro
I started training as a child and was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be able to have my skills tested when my life was at stake on more than one occasion. If you dont train a technique to proficiency then it will never be useful.
 

gyoja

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I think there's a certain je ne sais quoi about this. Take entire classes from local karate dojos of differing styles and put them all in one place. And include the local TKD guys. They're gonna be out of place. And for that matter, so would TSD and SBD guys.
This is what I have observed through cross training and attending open tournaments.
 

silent killer

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I started training as a child and was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to be able to have my skills tested when my life was at stake on more than one occasion. If you dont train a technique to proficiency then it will never be useful.
well if you like what you do then crack on...
I織m faster with my hands as an ex Boxer. I know i can slap someone faster with a good right hander.
I have done it very often in my younger days.
 

gyoja

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well if you like what you do then crack on...
I織m faster with my hands as an ex Boxer. I know i can slap someone faster with a good right hander.
I have done it very often in my younger days.
I agree with you on this point. I use my hands more than my feet.
 

J. Pickard

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I humbly disagree. Higaonna, Miyagi and Uechi fundamentally changed what they learned in China (Although Uechi's pangai-noon style kept more of the Chinese influence. Current Uechi ryu has evolved to be more "karate-like"). If one looks at kung fu forms, it can be seen they are quite different in form and execution from their Okinawan decedents, whereas if one looks at TKD forms, it is hard to distinguish them from their Japanese cousins' forms and only a slight change in execution in the kicks. (The controversial sine wave is a unique feature though, but my understanding is the jury is still out on that one.)

It's hard to deny that TKD is more like shotokan than goju is like crane. I think even a lay person would say the same if they saw video of them.

As Tony Dismukes pointed out, it's a matter of the degree of divergence. When is the differentiation sufficient to say, "This is a new art." For the reasons given here and in my other posts, I don't think TKD has reached that point yet, if ever. Perhaps in at least another 50 years? Time will tell.
I agree that it depends on where you put the line in the evolution of the art, which like the evolutionary spectrum of most things, is super blurry and practically undefinable. But I would argue my kung fu comparison stands if we are talking what is just generally accepted as "karate". Here is why I think this; Shotokan and Kyokushin look nothing like their Okinawan counterparts, in some regard they are as different from Okinawan karate as Okinawan karate is different from White crane kung fu, yet they are both universally accepted under the karate umbrella and not separate arts exclusive from karate. If you look at the traditional white crane form of sanzhan it is similar enough to the karate sanchin that you can tell they are the same form, or at least derivative of the same system, yet one is defined as kung fu and one as karate despite the glaring similarities. Now look at Taekwondo poomsae or tul, they are equally as different from shotokan kata, especially since they have no shared forms [anymore], as karate sanchin is from kung fu sanzhan. I would actually argue there is a greater distinction between Okinawan karate kata and Taekwondo poomsae than there is between Okinawan karate kata and Chinese white crane tao lu. If sanchin isn't kung fu anymore then why would taekwondo be karate?

I would argue what separates the "styles" are the underlying philosophy and training methods more than the techniques. I think it's accurate to call Taekwondo "Korean Karate" but also okay to distinguish it as it's own unique system. Why isn't karate kung fu anymore? Because the training methods and philosophy of training is different even if a lot of the kata are kung fu derivatives. Why isn't TKD Karate anymore? because the philosophy and training methods are different even if a lot of the techniques and applications are the same.
 
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