Korean Martial Arts History according to Joo Band Lee - a newer story?

shesulsa

Columbia Martial Arts Academy
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
May 27, 2004
Messages
27,172
Reaction score
461
Location
Not BC, Not DC
Ran across this article from March, 2011 just today:

Black Belt: There’s a lot of disagreement about how the post-World War II Korean martial arts came about. It is claimed that many styles were practiced in Korea prior to the Japanese occupation and only resurfaced after the country was liberated. How did the most well-known Korean martial arts—taekwondo and hapkido—come into existence?

Joo Bang Lee: Let’s talk about them one at a time. Some taekwondo people say that their art came from a style called su bak do, which was the name of the combat skills practiced in the Koryo kingdom. Others claim that it came from tae kyon. Tae kyon is the soft-style civilian foot-fighting skill from the latter part of the Chosun dynasty. Here’s the reality: During the Japanese occupation, a lot of Koreans were forced to learn karate-do, which was pronounced in Korea as kong soo do or tang soo do. Some of these Korean karate students became masters, and they founded the seven kwan: Son Byong-in of the yon mu kwan, Hwang Kee of the moo duk kwan, Ro Byong-jik of the song mu kwan, Um Un-kyu of the chung do kwan, Lee Nam-suk of the chang mu kwan, Lee Jong-woo of the ji do kwan and Choi Hong-hi of the oh do kwan. In 1964, these founders united and brought kong soo do, tang soo do and taekwondo together under the taekwondo banner. Gen. Choi Hong-hi held a great deal of political power at the time, and his federation had a growing membership. Claiming taekwondo as a Korean national martial sport gave the Korean people a martial art to identify with. It capitalized on the post-occupation nationalism.

Comments?
 

ATACX GYM

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Feb 15, 2011
Messages
893
Reaction score
24
I have long given up sussing out the specifics and truths of Korean martial arts history. I'll just work on my Korean martial arts techs, thanks. And when some bevy of brilliant scholars ever figure out what happened for real! I'll read it, say YAAAAYYYY...and get back to practice.
 

Tez3

Sr. Grandmaster
Supporting Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2006
Messages
27,335
Reaction score
4,617
Location
England
When it says foot fighting does he mean this?
 
Last edited by a moderator:
OP
shesulsa

shesulsa

Columbia Martial Arts Academy
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
May 27, 2004
Messages
27,172
Reaction score
461
Location
Not BC, Not DC
I have long given up sussing out the specifics and truths of Korean martial arts history. I'll just work on my Korean martial arts techs, thanks. And when some bevy of brilliant scholars ever figure out what happened for real! I'll read it, say YAAAAYYYY...and get back to practice.

While it sounds like JBL is trying to patch up the history discrepancies and some of it just doesn't quite seem to mesh, I have to say it does irk me a tad when scholars are unable to find documented history and discount anything that is undocumented. It's rather like saying all the information and records that were in the Tibetan monasteries destroyed by the Chinese never existed because ... they don't exist currently.

I think this move by JBL is captivating given the potential future of the art in the next 20 or so years.

And I DO wonder if we will ever see hide or hair of Master Eric Lee again.
 

Kong Soo Do

IKSDA Director
Supporting Member
Joined
May 17, 2011
Messages
2,419
Reaction score
328
Like I've stated before, using a broad brush stroke, Japanese Karate became Korean Karate (and Japanese Aikijujutsu became Korean Hapkido). Korean Karate (Korean Hapkido) added a few things, took a few things out, changed some names and here we are today. I see nothing wrong with KMA practitioners accepting this as there is nothing dishonorable about it and indeed, demonstrates the rich lineage of the Korean art(s).
 

dortiz

Black Belt
Joined
Jun 23, 2007
Messages
667
Reaction score
23
Location
Northern VA
There is no dishonor in taking a fighting style and making it way better and your own : )
 

Kong Soo Do

IKSDA Director
Supporting Member
Joined
May 17, 2011
Messages
2,419
Reaction score
328
Absolutely agree, that's what we've done :ultracool
 

miguksaram

Master of Arts
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
32
Location
Aurora, IL
Ran across this article from March, 2011 just today:



Comments?
Besides the fact that JBL is either being the pot or the kettle in this scenario? Koreans were not forced to take karate. They willing learned it. The vast majority of the pioneers learned it while going to school in Japan. None of them were forced. While I believe GM Lee is a very excellent martial artist, I also believe he should stick to rectifying the truth about some of HRD's history instead of trying to assume what went on in TKD history.
 

miguksaram

Master of Arts
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
32
Location
Aurora, IL
Like I've stated before, using a broad brush stroke, Japanese Karate became Korean Karate (and Japanese Aikijujutsu became Korean Hapkido). Korean Karate (Korean Hapkido) added a few things, took a few things out, changed some names and here we are today. I see nothing wrong with KMA practitioners accepting this as there is nothing dishonorable about it and indeed, demonstrates the rich lineage of the Korean art(s).
We have, we do. Yes there are some out there that still stick to the 2000 year old BS. However, many of us have sought out and found the truth through the pioneers themselves. I agree...the actual development of TKD is far more fascinating to me than the 2000 year old history story. The tenacity of the pioneers to build something that has turned into one of the world's most popular art is astonishing.
 

Twin Fist

Grandmaster
Joined
Mar 22, 2008
Messages
7,185
Reaction score
210
Location
Nacogdoches, Tx
i just read the article in question. Interesting part is, he says "yeah, all that is renamed japanese stuff, except mine, mine is real"
 
OP
shesulsa

shesulsa

Columbia Martial Arts Academy
MT Mentor
Lifetime Supporting Member
MTS Alumni
Joined
May 27, 2004
Messages
27,172
Reaction score
461
Location
Not BC, Not DC
Why as he gone missing? I see a lot of posts from him on FB all the time.

I know my teacher hasn't heard nor seen him nor of him in quite some time ... others here have lamented on his apparent absence from martial arts. I never met him.

Only the best wishes for all.
 

miguksaram

Master of Arts
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
32
Location
Aurora, IL
I know my teacher hasn't heard nor seen him nor of him in quite some time ... others here have lamented on his apparent absence from martial arts. I never met him.

Only the best wishes for all.
Sorry, I was thinking of Lee, Tae-joon, the older brother. I do remember that Eric and GM Lee had some sort of fallout a while back, not sure what though. I hope he is doing well.
 

oftheherd1

Senior Master
Joined
May 12, 2011
Messages
4,685
Reaction score
817
Don't know how I missed this thread before. I can't comment on any other KMA's history, but my GM always acknowledged that GM Choe founded Hapkido, and originlly learned MA in Japan. It might have been interesting to question him more, but I was more interested in learning what he had to teach.
 

Instructor

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
1,268
Reaction score
175
Location
Gloucester, VA
I cannot verify the veracity of this but it's very close to what I believe.

Hapkido History – Choi Yong Sul
The following story is a translation of a story from the Jungki Kwan website with permission from the Jungki Kwan. This story was printed in the Daily Sports on January 8, 1983. It was written from an interview with Choi Yong Sul.
The founder of Korean Hapkido is Choi Yong Sul. He was born in Chungbuk, Korea in 1903 as a son of a poor farmer. This was the time when more Japanese people started moving to Korea.
At Founder Choi’s home village, around the age of 8, the village people could see that Japanese people had businesses even in a small village. Then he got to know a Japanese merchant, Kumamoto Eachi and his wife. The couple spent time with him for about a year and cared about him a lot as they did not have children of their own.
One day they gave him an Amedama, a kind of kite and suggested that they travel together. Because he trusted them, he followed them without any doubt. However, he never guessed it could be the last moment with his parents.
He realized the truth when he arrived at Shimonoseki harbor in Japan. People around them blamed and insulted the couple as they believed the couple was kidnappers. So the couple ran away from the harbor and Choi Yong Sul was left alone in Japan. From that time, about one and a half years, he was moving around Osaka and Yokohama and lived almost as a beggar or orphan.
One summer day in 1913, as usual, he was sleeping on a park bench. He got up and saw an old man with a bamboo hat and a Buddhist monks robe that looked and touched him with his stick. Then without saying anything he stopped a rickshaw and took Choi Yong Sul to his home. His house was a temple in an old city. Choi Yong Sul stayed there with him for two years with his grandsons. When the old man asked Founder Choi about his hopes and dreams, he told the old man that he wanted to be a swordsman.
Some days later a small man with distinguished eyebrows visited Choi Yong Sul. That man was Takeda Sokoku who became Founder Choi’s teacher. He took Founder Choi to the Shinshu Mountain, well known as the evil mountain. There was a small pavilion in the mountain ridge.
From there, Choi Yong Sul had studied Hapkido from Takeda Sokoku for around 17 years where he learned more than three thousand eight hundred Hapkido skills from his teacher. For three years it had been his job to cook and wash clothes for his teacher and other students. The other fourteen years had been very tough years. All together six students started at first, but only Choi Yong Sul and his teacher were left when they came down from the mountain. Choi Yong Sul was twenty eight years old then.
Later on Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Japanese Hapkido (Aikido) Association became a student of Takeda Sokoku and Choi Yong Sul in Sokoku’s dojang. Choi Yong Sul noticed that his teacher wanted Morihei Ueshiba as his successor. Because of this, Choi Yong Sul complained once against his teacher. His teacher told him “Do not blame me, if you became my successor you might be killed. Japan will lose the East war then you go back to your home country.”
Choi Yong Sul had been working once as a manager at a construction site in the front of a mine. There were more than two hundred fifty workers, mixed with Koreans and Japanese. One day there was an argument between a Korean worker and a Japanese policeman. That incident hurt Choi Yong Sul’s pride. Being a Korean, he got involved in the fighting and ended up killing the policeman by accident. He was arrested right away and tortured in the police station. They made a hole in his heels, put a hook through them then hung him upside down which left a permanent wound that he had throughout his life. He was about to be executed but his martial art shows in the imperial palace helped him survive.
After the war ended, one of the ministers in the Japanese cabinet called him. He told him that Japan surrendered unconditionally. Because Japan lost the war, we have to encourage Japanese people and their spirits and we need your help to teach them martial arts. Biological parents for Koreans are important, however as Japan raised you into a great master, now it is time for you to serve Japan back.
He rejected the minister’s suggestion and decided to go back to Korea. It had been thirty four years since he left Korea. He was forty two years old when he returned to Korea.
He returned to Daegu, Korea and upon his return he opened up a dojang. In Daegu, the news about his mysterious martial arts started to spread throughout the city. People who had motive to learn regular martial arts gathered under Founder Choi’s leadership, including gang members.
The first dojang opened was Mudukkwan. He started it with seventy eight students. It was the beginning of Hapkido. The Korean Hapkido Association was organized in 1965.
Founder Choi said “All Asian martial arts were born in China then developed in Korea and finally went over to Japan. Hapkido went to Japan by people of the Shinra Dynasty of ancient Korea and became the royal martial art of Japan. Like Kumdo, Hapkido was formed in Korea; so I brought back Korea’s traditional martial art from Japan.”
Choi Yong Sul became the founder of modern Korean Hapkido and he was the one who made Korea’s traditional Hapkido settle in Korea today.
 
Last edited:

Jason Striker II

Blue Belt
Joined
Feb 17, 2012
Messages
233
Reaction score
2
Although I cannot see how they were "forced to learn Karate-Do", the rest of Master Lee's comments used to be considered the "unofficial history" of TKD. In other words, it was what most martial arts people, Korean and otherwise, used to say.

Then, starting about 15 years ago, you began to hear all this stuff you do nowadays about "native Korean MA" and how the Japanese influence was nominal.

TKD has ALWAYS been heavily politicized - and part of politics is history - and everybody wants to claim our own thing is "unique, original, native" and so on ad infinitum.
 

miguksaram

Master of Arts
Joined
Aug 19, 2008
Messages
1,971
Reaction score
32
Location
Aurora, IL
Although I cannot see how they were "forced to learn Karate-Do", the rest of Master Lee's comments used to be considered the "unofficial history" of TKD. In other words, it was what most martial arts people, Korean and otherwise, used to say.

Then, starting about 15 years ago, you began to hear all this stuff you do nowadays about "native Korean MA" and how the Japanese influence was nominal.

TKD has ALWAYS been heavily politicized - and part of politics is history - and everybody wants to claim our own thing is "unique, original, native" and so on ad infinitum.
That may have been the case 15+ years ago, however, there are recent studies that have been provided that talks about the true origins of TKD. They do not speak of anything mystic, but factual events that lead up to the development of TKD. The reports point out how the pioneers of TKD were in fact Karate students for the most part (an exception here and there, but overall they were karate).
 
Top