MORE Changes to Taeguek Poomse

FieldDiscipline

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I read an article recently, written by someone who has just attended the International Instructors Course at the Kukkiwon.

Apparently the Taeguek Poomse are changing, using sports science to reduce the stress on the body (seriously) and are even being re-numbered to better allow assesment of students.

Having spoken to my seniors and betters I have gathered that among other things the stances are being narrowed, the conventional wider sitting stance becoming what is now shoulder wide sitting stance, long/forward stance is to become so narrow that the feet are almost in line. It seems clear to me that this is for sparring, and although much knocking of the real battle skills that can be drawn from the Taeguek Poomse goes on, to be fair I've done pretty well out of them for the last 10-12 years. This, IMHO, will a terrible thing.

Thoughts? Anyone attended the course who can further elaborate or correct me?
 

Logan

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Stances are changing to becoming more "natural". Last I heard, there have been some minor changes to patterns but they are essentially the same.
 

terryl965

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I believe this is a terrible thing for the Art side of TKD to go and make the poomsae more for the sport aspect. Poomsae are for fighting not playing tag out there.
 

exile

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I believe this is a terrible thing for the Art side of TKD to go and make the poomsae more for the sport aspect. Poomsae are for fighting not playing tag out there.

Amen, brother!!

The line about making the poomsae more `natural' and `reducing stress on the body' and so on only make sense under the assumption that you are going to literally do the poomsae as a fighting technique (as opposed to drawing applications from it which can be used in a real fight). When you see someone in a low Shotokan stance, no one actually believes that the practitioner was supposed to fight like that... what the low stance was telling you is something like, project your weight into this tech and down. If you've established a pin or lock, drive your weight into it, and down, to get the attacker's head down so that it's accessible to your elbow or hammerfist or knifehand to the throat or whatever. In other words, the way poomae are performed is an indication of body dynamics in an actual fight (retraction = countergripping and pulling the assailant's gripping hand in to trap him, the `chamber' of the `down block' is an elbow pin, etc.)

By attempting to change the taegeuks in this way, the KKW seems to be making it clear that they're giving up all reference to hyungs as compendia of CQ fighting techs. They're training for way-distant sparring, period. People like Simon O'Neil, whose book on bunkai for the KKW forms, including the Taegeuks, should be out sometime in the next year, has shown that the Taegeuks do have plenty of combat application&#8212;as you might expect, since in spite of the Korean TKD directorate's best efforts to purge Japanese elements from their hyungs, there are still plenty of Shotokan subsequences in the Taegeuks, and the Shotokan bunkai for those subsequences are readily available, or can be reconstructed using the methods of people like Iain Abernethy or O'Neil himself. But teaching people to `fight' with their feet one right behind the other in a line??
 

zDom

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I don't think these changes are good for TKD.

We trained low stances and never had a problem fighting "naturally" come free-sparring time.

Low stances may not be practical in real fighting, but they are GREAT training.
 

Kacey

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I don't perform (or know) the Taeguek Poomse, so take this for what it's worth.

I read an article recently, written by someone who has just attended the International Instructors Course at the Kukkiwon.

Apparently the Taeguek Poomse are changing, using sports science to reduce the stress on the body (seriously) and are even being re-numbered to better allow assesment of students.

If the idea is truly to reduce stress (and thus injury) from performing techniques in ways that cause injury - I don't mean to prevent the injuries that come from sparring, but there are some techniques that, if performed incorrectly, can cause injury - correcting that type of thing doesn't really bother me. Changing a technique to make it more visually appealing, is, IMHO, a totally different issue, and one that I disagree with.

As far as renumbering/reordering the poomsae themselves go, I don't know enough about it to really be able to say. If it truly is in the best interest of the students - to improve assessment of students' abilities, then I see no problem... if, however, there are other reasons, or a significant number of senior instructor disagree that this renumbering will work - then it would be a problem.

Having spoken to my seniors and betters I have gathered that among other things the stances are being narrowed, the conventional wider sitting stance becoming what is now shoulder wide sitting stance, long/forward stance is to become so narrow that the feet are almost in line. It seems clear to me that this is for sparring, and although much knocking of the real battle skills that can be drawn from the Taeguek Poomse goes on, to be fair I've done pretty well out of them for the last 10-12 years. This, IMHO, will a terrible thing.
Um... hmm... if that is indeed what is being contemplated, then yes, I would have a problem with it. Stances that are too narrow decrease stability, and a walking/forward stance that is nearly on a balance beam seems rather pointless to me.

What is the supposed purpose of these changes? To be more visually appealing? To allow less athletic students to participate more fully? Something else? Regardless, I have difficulty with any change that reduces the effectiveness of the art.
 

Flying Crane

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When you see someone in a low Shotokan stance, no one actually believes that the practitioner was supposed to fight like that...

sadly to say, this isn't always true. But it seems to me that it's generally outsiders from Shotokan who think this. They point at Shotokan and their deep stances and say "look at that, that stance is so deep and slow it's silly, and this is proof why MY style XYZ is better, and Shotokan is useless." And Exile, from our discussions in the past, you can probably guess from what group I've seen these kinds of comments.

Shows you what ignorance can do.
 

stoneheart

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Even aside from the fighting aspects of changing the forms, I'm just troubled that the forms are so easily changed year after year. I know the Tae Guks are recent creations, but what ever happened to tradition in TKD? Why the do the forms have to be tweaked every year?
 

Steel Tiger

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Even aside from the fighting aspects of changing the forms, I'm just troubled that the forms are so easily changed year after year. I know the Tae Guks are recent creations, but what ever happened to tradition in TKD? Why the do the forms have to be tweaked every year?

This is a big issue. Speaking as someone from outside the art, it really gives the appearance of an MA still trying to find its feet. Knowing, as I do, something of the history of TKD, I know this is not true it is a well established art. A newcomer to the MAs might have a rather different impression with the governing body seemingly continually changing what might be considered core elements (even if they are not, they may be perceived that way).

All in all, it just presents a confused image to the laity.
 

Telos

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Fortunately I know all of the Taegeuk style poomse. And I remain undefeated in Taeguek Poomse f=with competition. So I kind of don't care.

However for teh serious martial artsist....it may hamper future aspects.

then again not every mster will take on teh rules change.

just like the WTF addition of teh Super heavy Weight Division of 225 and up. I have yet to see anyone implement that.
 

Laurentkd

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Amen, brother!!

The line about making the poomsae more `natural' and `reducing stress on the body' and so on only make sense under the assumption that you are going to literally do the poomsae as a fighting technique (as opposed to drawing applications from it which can be used in a real fight). When you see someone in a low Shotokan stance, no one actually believes that the practitioner was supposed to fight like that... what the low stance was telling you is something like, project your weight into this tech and down. If you've established a pin or lock, drive your weight into it, and down, to get the attacker's head down so that it's accessible to your elbow or hammerfist or knifehand to the throat or whatever. In other words, the way poomae are performed is an indication of body dynamics in an actual fight (retraction = countergripping and pulling the assailant's gripping hand in to trap him, the `chamber' of the `down block' is an elbow pin, etc.)

By attempting to change the taegeuks in this way, the KKW seems to be making it clear that they're giving up all reference to hyungs as compendia of CQ fighting techs. They're training for way-distant sparring, period. People like Simon O'Neil, whose book on bunkai for the KKW forms, including the Taegeuks, should be out sometime in the next year, has shown that the Taegeuks do have plenty of combat applicationas you might expect, since in spite of the Korean TKD directorate's best efforts to purge Japanese elements from their hyungs, there are still plenty of Shotokan subsequences in the Taegeuks, and the Shotokan bunkai for those subsequences are readily available, or can be reconstructed using the methods of people like Iain Abernethy or O'Neil himself. But teaching people to `fight' with their feet one right behind the other in a line??

We are on the exact same page as always! I just don't understand why the "powers that be" are so set on making everything sport oriented, and sport only. My guess is that they see that as the easiest way to spread the "art" but who cares if millions of people practice one watered down aspect (olympic sparring) when the rest of the ART disappears? I just wish I understood....
 

Miles

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I read an article recently, written by someone who has just attended the International Instructors Course at the Kukkiwon.

Apparently the Taeguek Poomse are changing, using sports science to reduce the stress on the body (seriously) and are even being re-numbered to better allow assesment of students.

Having spoken to my seniors and betters I have gathered that among other things the stances are being narrowed, the conventional wider sitting stance becoming what is now shoulder wide sitting stance, long/forward stance is to become so narrow that the feet are almost in line. .....
Thoughts? Anyone attended the course who can further elaborate or correct me?

It is actually called the Foreigner Instructor Course and when you pass the course, you are an Instructor...not International Instructor.

While there have been some changes to the Taegueks throughout the years, the changes have actually been very minor.

There is a new set of Kukkiwon-produced DVDs available which detail the poomsae and basic motions. I suggest every Taekwondoin invest in their training by purchasing them.

Miles
 

exile

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We are on the exact same page as always! I just don't understand why the "powers that be" are so set on making everything sport oriented, and sport only. My guess is that they see that as the easiest way to spread the "art" but who cares if millions of people practice one watered down aspect (olympic sparring) when the rest of the ART disappears? I just wish I understood....

I think that what we're seeing here&#8212;the key part&#8212;is that the TKD directorate operates according to what was originally a politically (and now an athletically) nationalist agenda. They have a profoundly different view of TKD than we have, I think; they see it in a way similar to the way that OPEC nations see oil&#8212;a powerful lever of influence in the world that gives them clout they otherwise wouldn't have along with massive economic benefits. As I was trying to suggest in a recent thread discussion, Koreans, lacking the family/clan ownership tradition or its equivalent in the MAs that have been documented for the Chinese and Okinawan MAs (and can be plausibly argued for the JMAs as well), tend to fall in easily with the RoK's TKD-as-an-instrument-of-national-policy agenda. We in NAmerica and the West in general, taking our economic and political might for granted, see TKD as a rich and deep system of combat strategy, tactics and training approaches. Their view and ours are, I think, fundamentally incompatible and at odds. That's why I very strongly suspect that sometime in the not-too-distant future, a lot of currently affiliated NAmerican and European TKDists and dojangs will very happily part company with the WTF/KKW. I just hope I live to see it...
 

zDom

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I think that what we're seeing herethe key partis that the TKD directorate operates according to what was originally a politically (and now an athletically) nationalist agenda. They have a profoundly different view of TKD than we have, I think; they see it in a way similar to the way that OPEC nations see oila powerful lever of influence in the world that gives them clout they otherwise wouldn't have along with massive economic benefits. As I was trying to suggest in a recent thread discussion, Koreans, lacking the family/clan ownership tradition or its equivalent in the MAs that have been documented for the Chinese and Okinawan MAs (and can be plausibly argued for the JMAs as well), tend to fall in easily with the RoK's TKD-as-an-instrument-of-national-policy agenda. We in NAmerica and the West in general, taking our economic and political might for granted, see TKD as a rich and deep system of combat strategy, tactics and training approaches. Their view and ours are, I think, fundamentally incompatible and at odds. That's why I very strongly suspect that sometime in the not-too-distant future, a lot of currently affiliated NAmerican and European TKDists and dojangs will very happily part company with the WTF/KKW. I just hope I live to see it...

Me too.
 

Independent_TKD

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This is why I chose to be part of the AAU rather than the WFT/KKW based organizations. The marketing and sport focus give TKD a bad name overall in the martial arts community. I find that it is getting harder and harder to defend TKD overall.

Where can people find any official news of these changes? I don't want to buy DVD just to see the forms changes. Is there an official site stating these changes?
 
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FieldDiscipline

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Where can people find any official news of these changes? I don't want to buy DVD just to see the forms changes. Is there an official site stating these changes?

I agree entirely. Having looked at the KKW website the videos of the patterns are the same as they have been for the last few years, so they obviously havent changed them yet. Will hopefully get a little more information over next few days, right now all I've heard is rumour. Thanks for everyones input.
 

Laurentkd

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This is why I chose to be part of the AAU rather than the WFT/KKW based organizations. The marketing and sport focus give TKD a bad name overall in the martial arts community. I find that it is getting harder and harder to defend TKD overall.

Where can people find any official news of these changes? I don't want to buy DVD just to see the forms changes. Is there an official site stating these changes?

I have a question, and I asked it with complete respect....

How is being a part of the AAU (amateur athletic union) not making your TKD sport focused?

What I am saying is, I think that any over-all federation a school is a part of doesn't truly tell you whether the school in and of it's self is sport oriented. I have a Kukkiwon Black Belt, but am definitely not sport oriented. And it sounds like you have an AAU black belt, but that you also are not sport oriented.

So, what about the AAU makes it better than the WTF, in your opinion... Maybe I can learn something from you sir as I haven't really considered getting a certificate from the AAU.
 

MSUTKD

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First to all friends, I am sorry for my long absence from the forums. I had a bad experience on another board and just thought I would stay off the internet for awhile, but, now I am back.

I am very involved in the changes that everyone is talking about. I have been training and competing in international style poomsae competitions for almost two years. I have attended both US Team Trials and feel that this is exactly what we need in this country to finally increase the level of our poomsae. Lets face it; the USA is the bottom of the barrel right now as far as poomsae competition is concerned, even though we have some amazing athletes competing. I did indeed say athletes; most people do not really look at poomsae as an athletic event but if done properly it is.

The first time I heard about the changes I was concerned but after really seeing and understanding what is going on I am glad. Most of the changes are actually fixes on deviations that have happened in this country. Pick up the 1975 book from the Kukkiwon on Poomse (old spelling). You might be surprised on how similar international competition follows the old way. I learned the old way and I have not had to really adjust my stances very much at all. This becomes very apparent in the higher yudanja forms; Shipjin, Jitae, Chongkwon, Hansoo and Ilyeo. They appear to be unchanged from the old way; the reason is that they have rarely been done and changed by us in the USA. Unfortunately forms like Koryo, Keumgang, Taebaek and sometimes Pyongwon have been slaughtered. Flexibility instead of power and accuracy in Koryo, squatting and popping up during Keumgang and slow motions in Taebaek , just to name a few US style problems, produce wins at US nationals. Why, because we have no standard. Poomsae is already subjective enough but how can we have a fair competition if we have no standard from which to compare?

The current system of dividing black belts by rank and weight is silly. It creates a false sense of skill and produces too many national champions. That is why I rarely compete at nationals now, not too many 5th Dans still compete and I would still go against any younger competitors but they are not 5th Dans. The international system divides competitors by age: 14-18, 19-30, 31- 40, 41-50 and 51+. Rank does not necessarily have anything to do with it; same as sparring. Also, each competitor must be prepared to perform eight forms, not just one. This really develops a more versatile and consistent competitor and martial artist.

This is not a WTF/Kukkiwon conspiracy nor is the AAU any better; actually it is much worse as far as forms go. This style was actually developed by the ETU (European Taekwondo Union). They have been doing this for over 7 years and if you compare the average forms competitor in Europe to the US it is night and day; we are playing catch-up with the world.

I am going to be giving some introduction to International Poomsae seminars this year, to help me prepare for the next team trial. I want to get more US practitioners involved so that we can develop and train some world class poomsae athletes in this country. You have about a year to prepare for a chance to represent your country and believe me; it is going to take that long to be good enough. Up for the challenge?
 
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FieldDiscipline

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Thanks MSUTKD. I was hoping for an opinion from someone who knew and I got one.

Most of the &#8220;changes&#8221; are actually &#8220;fixes&#8221; on deviations that have happened in this country. Pick up the 1975 book from the Kukkiwon on Poomse (old spelling). You might be surprised on how similar international competition follows the &#8220;old&#8221; way. I learned the old way and I have not had to really adjust my stances very much at all.

That what I like to hear, I can relax now and climb out of my bomb shelter!
 
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