Old School Taekwondo Being Practically All Kicks

PhotonGuy

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I know that with many of the styles of modern Taekwondo as its been practiced for the last fifty years or so they have added in lots of hand strikes but I believe originally when Taekwondo was first being developed it was mostly just kicks with very few hand strikes. The reason for this from what I heard was because the Koreans were skilled craftsmen so they needed their hands for the stuff they would do and so training the hands to be used as weapons could be detrimental to their jobs involving crafts. Much like in the M*A*S*H episode "Oh, How We Danced" where the character Winchester starts learning some kicking techniques.
 

Tony Dismukes

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I'll defer to the actual TKD experts on the board, but I am pretty certain that this is not correct.

  1. Early TKD was pretty much Shotokan karate with a few other influences. The heavy emphasis on kicking developed over the years as Korean practitioners worked on differentiating their practice from the Japanese art.
  2. All the footage I've seen of TKD from the 1950s includes plenty of hand techniques. Ex:
  3. To the best of my knowledge, Korea did not have a higher percentage of citizens making their living as skilled craftsmen working with their hands then any other country in the region at the time. I'd need to see a source for any claims that they did.
 

skribs

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I'll defer to the actual TKD experts on the board, but I am pretty certain that this is not correct.
There are certainly folks on this board with more expertise than I have (and their first-hand historical knowledge extends further back than mine does), but I'm inclined to agree.

  1. Early TKD was pretty much Shotokan karate with a few other influences. The heavy emphasis on kicking developed over the years as Korean practitioners worked on differentiating their practice from the Japanese art.
This was definitely a part of it, but I also think it's because the sport developed into "what's difficult scores points" and "what's more difficult scores more points". Kicks are harder to land than punches, thus scores more points (or scores points at all).
 

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My understanding of TKD history is the exact opposite of OP. Over time, it has evolved to focus more on kicks, especially sporterized kicks, compared to its origins which were more evenly mixed or even leaning towards hand techniques.

There is so much more use of hands in pretty much every form set I've seen. This is what I've seen in ITF forms, ATA forms, KKW forms (both Palgwe and Taegeuk), and every in-house form I've learned. These forms have existed for decades.

Every video I see with hand techniques in TKD gets praised for "teaching old-school TKD" or "bringing back traditional TKD" or something like that.
 

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#facepalm There is not a single thing in this post that bears the slightest connection to reality.
I know that with many of the styles of modern Taekwondo as its been practiced for the last fifty years or so they have added in lots of hand strikes but I believe originally when Taekwondo was first being developed it was mostly just kicks with very few hand strikes.
Bollocks. Early TKD was primarily Shotokan Karate with some Judo and a little CMA. Hand strikes weren't added. They were always there, but kicking was emphasized. Kicks were stressed as a way of differentiating Korean arts from their Japanese sources.
The reason for this from what I heard was because the Koreans were skilled craftsmen so they needed their hands for the stuff they would do and so training the hands to be used as weapons could be detrimental to their jobs involving crafts.
Utter nonsense. This implies that Japanese craftsmen were less skilled, or at least were immune to training damaging their hands.
Much like in the M*A*S*H episode "Oh, How We Danced" where the character Winchester starts learning some kicking techniques.
Do you think at all before you post this stuff?
 
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PhotonGuy

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I'll defer to the actual TKD experts on the board, but I am pretty certain that this is not correct.

  1. Early TKD was pretty much Shotokan karate with a few other influences. The heavy emphasis on kicking developed over the years as Korean practitioners worked on differentiating their practice from the Japanese art.
Well from what I've seen about Taekwondo and from what I've done, I have done some TKD as well, is that they do place lots of emphasis on kicks particularly high kicks. Also there is a high emphasis on arial techniques particularly at higher levels. So what you're saying is that they focused more on kicks to make their style look different than the Japanese arts?
 
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PhotonGuy

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This was definitely a part of it, but I also think it's because the sport developed into "what's difficult scores points" and "what's more difficult scores more points". Kicks are harder to land than punches, thus scores more points (or scores points at all).
Yes that is true with the TKD competition that I've seen. High kicks and arial kicks score the most points. Hand strikes score less points.
 
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PhotonGuy

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Utter nonsense. This implies that Japanese craftsmen were less skilled, or at least were immune to training damaging their hands.
Traditional Japanese and Okinawan karate was practiced mostly by farmers and fishermen. Such occupations do not require such skilled use of the hands as some of the crafts that the Koreans excelled in, such as designing furniture.
Do you think at all before you post this stuff?
I do, quite a bit. The episode of M*A*S*H that Im talking about is the one where Winchester says he needs his hands for surgery, not for chopping kindling wood, so he learns kicking techniques instead.
 

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Well from what I've seen about Taekwondo and from what I've done, I have done some TKD as well, is that they do place lots of emphasis on kicks particularly high kicks. Also there is a high emphasis on arial techniques particularly at higher levels. So what you're saying is that they focused more on kicks to make their style look different than the Japanese arts?
That was definitely a part of it. A big endeavor in developing Taekwondo as a style was to make it "not Karate" or "not Japanese". There's a lot of Taekwondo history that's tied to South Korean patriotism. They basically did the same thing with General Choi and the ITF; when they created KKW, it was to be "not ITF" after Choi's exile.
 

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I know that with many of the styles of modern Taekwondo as its been practiced for the last fifty years or so they have added in lots of hand strikes but I believe originally when Taekwondo was first being developed it was mostly just kicks with very few hand strikes.
The foregoing ranks up there with the 2000 year old myth. First and foremost it is nearly 70 years since TK-D was first developed as a "New" system which like many other "new " systems was built on earlier systems, Secondly, General Choi was fond of skewering the
mostly Kicks myth by pointing out his system has something like 2000 hand / arm techniques and 1200 foot / leg techniques. (With liberal application of what makes one technique different than another) Granted, it's no secret WT sparring used few hand techniques compared to the earlier systems.
 

skribs

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The foregoing ranks up there with the 2000 year old myth. First and foremost it is nearly 70 years since TK-D was first developed as a "New" system which like many other "new " systems was built on earlier systems, Secondly, General Choi was fond of skewering the
mostly Kicks myth by pointing out his system has something like 2000 hand / arm techniques and 1200 foot / leg techniques. (With liberal application of what makes one technique different than another) Granted, it's no secret WT sparring used few hand techniques compared to the earlier systems.
So Choi was a lister, not a lumper?

I do find it interesting how sometimes that works. For example, at the school I recently attended, "roundhouse kick" as a curriculum item was all-encompassing to include roundhouse kicks to the body and head, skipping kicks, jumping kicks, turning roundhouse kicks and tornado kicks. But then there were 3 separate curriculum items for "axe kick" depending on the trajectory.

Kick number...
  1. Front kick and all its variants
  2. Roundhouse kick and all its variants
  3. Side kick and all its variants
  4. Back kick and all its variants
  5. Hook kick and all its variants (including step-behind kick, spinning hook, jump spinning hook)
  6. Straight axe kick
  7. Inside axe kick and crescent kick
  8. Outside axe kick and crescent kick
It was things like this that made it difficult for me to keep track of his system. Especially because that was the order of kicks, but you learned them in the order of 2-1-678-3-4-5.
 

SahBumNimRush

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I know that with many of the styles of modern Taekwondo as its been practiced for the last fifty years or so they have added in lots of hand strikes but I believe originally when Taekwondo was first being developed it was mostly just kicks with very few hand strikes. The reason for this from what I heard was because the Koreans were skilled craftsmen so they needed their hands for the stuff they would do and so training the hands to be used as weapons could be detrimental to their jobs involving crafts. Much like in the M*A*S*H episode "Oh, How We Danced" where the character Winchester starts learning some kicking techniques.
My KJN used to speed break punch red street bricks, in the 1960's. I believe he was most famous for his headbutt break through multiple slabs of concrete. I am very confident that "old school" Tae Kwon Do definitively had strikes beyond kicking.
 

HighKick

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My KJN used to speed break punch red street bricks, in the 1960's. I believe he was most famous for his headbutt break through multiple slabs of concrete. I am very confident that "old school" Tae Kwon Do definitively had strikes beyond kicking.
Most definitely.
TKD hand techniques did not start to disappear until the advent of WT/KKW.
 

Tony Dismukes

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Traditional Japanese and Okinawan karate was practiced mostly by farmers and fishermen. Such occupations do not require such skilled use of the hands as some of the crafts that the Koreans excelled in, such as designing furniture.
More mythology. My understanding is that the Okinawan karate masters were predominantly from the upper classes. Certainly this is true of Gichin Funakoshi (the founder of Shotokan) and the instructors he learned from.

When Funakoshi moved to Japan and started teaching Shotokan, he was largely teaching university students, not farmers and fishermen.

And of course, Japan also had plenty of skilled craftsmen and Korea had plenty of farmers and fishers. I'd have to see some sort of source for the claim that Korea had a higher per capita number of craftsmen than Japan or that TKD was an activity more likely to be practiced by craftsmen than by other professions.
 

Dirty Dog

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Most definitely.
TKD hand techniques did not start to disappear until the advent of WT/KKW.
They started to disappear from KKW TKD. Lots of us kept them. Some of us even (wait for it...) PUNCH TO THE HEAD.
 

Xue Sheng

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I know that with many of the styles of modern Taekwondo as its been practiced for the last fifty years or so they have added in lots of hand strikes but I believe originally when Taekwondo was first being developed it was mostly just kicks with very few hand strikes. The reason for this from what I heard was because the Koreans were skilled craftsmen so they needed their hands for the stuff they would do and so training the hands to be used as weapons could be detrimental to their jobs involving crafts. Much like in the M*A*S*H episode "Oh, How We Danced" where the character Winchester starts learning some kicking techniques.
Nope, wrong. I trained old school, preolympic TKD and we had a lot of hand strikes, some joint locks, inclose fighting drills, take downs and kicks, The only difference I can say about TKD as compared to things like Karate is that it had more high kicks

Should also add my teacher was a student of General Choi
 
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MadMartigan

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Sir, I have no idea what this means.
If I read it correctly, I believe he meant:
- A Lister, someone who lists a new separate name for each technique
Vs
- A Lumper, 'a side kick is a side kick'. All variations lumped together.
 

skribs

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Sir, I have no idea what this means.
Lumper - There are 4 kicks in TKD, thrusting kicks, roundhouse kicks, hook kicks, and slashing kicks.

Lister - There's front snap kick, front push kick, front rising kick...
 
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