Palgwe Forms

nipper219

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I was just curious why the Palgwe forms have changed so much over the years, why they can't just stay the same. It feels like it's ruining the history of Taekwondo. Some of the forms have completely changed in a big way. Just was curious what your thoughts are on this?
 

Kung Fu Wang

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If you learn

- front kick, straight punch

in your form, you may try to change it into

- side kick, hook punch, or
- roundhouse kick, spin back fist, or
- hook kick, uppercut, or
- ...

Your new form can carry as much value as your old form can.

I believe that's the intention of the original form creator. Someone created a grammar. He expects others to use his grammar to construct their own sentences.

Old saying said:

- Green came from blue. But green is better than blue.
- The back wave pushes the front wave. The front wave crashes on the rock.

The new generation should be better than the old generation. Otherwise, our human being can be hopeless.
 
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Monkey Turned Wolf

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Do you mean why did they change it to the taeguk forms, or that the forms labelled the Palgwe forms have been themselves changed? And are you referring to a specific TKD organization?

I do not practice TKD, and so obviously do not have any answers, but will be following this thread as this is the first time that I've heard of the forms changing at an organization level (I have heard of individual instructors altering them for their schools before). It was my assumption that they were made to avoid needing future changes; until Kukkiwon started going with Taeguk instead.
 

Dirty Dog

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I was just curious why the Palgwe forms have changed so much over the years, why they can't just stay the same. It feels like it's ruining the history of Taekwondo. Some of the forms have completely changed in a big way. Just was curious what your thoughts are on this?
The Palgwae forms are used by a number of different schools, and some of them have changed them. They can do that, because they're not part of a larger organization that defines the forms. Personally, I think if they want to change them, fine. But change the name too. That avoids confusion.
There are also schools that still teach the original forms.
Which specific forms are you saying have been changed, and specifically how?
 

skribs

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The history of Taekwondo? I'll tell you the history of Taekwondo.

During WW2, Japan controlled Korea. The Japanese taught the Koreans the martial art of Karate. When the Japanese left, the Koreans took their forms, chopped them up and rearranged them, and came up with their own martial arts such as Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, etc.

Taekwondo was unified into the ITF. Due to political issues, the founder was exiled, and the South Korean government scrambled to create KKW and the WTF so they could have their own organization. A better organization, with blackjack and...nevermind. Anyway, they decided to remake the forms again. So they made the Palgwe forms and very soon after the Taegeuk forms. I imagine they were made parallel with each other, and internal politics are why they switched from one to the next so fast.

If anything, the idea that forms are chopped up and rearranged over time is perfectly consistent with the history of Taekwondo, because that's how they were created in the first place.
 

Dirty Dog

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The history of Taekwondo? I'll tell you the history of Taekwondo.

During WW2, Japan controlled Korea. The Japanese taught the Koreans the martial art of Karate. When the Japanese left, the Koreans took their forms, chopped them up and rearranged them, and came up with their own martial arts such as Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, etc.

Taekwondo was unified into the ITF. Due to political issues, the founder was exiled, and the South Korean government scrambled to create KKW and the WTF so they could have their own organization. A better organization, with blackjack and...nevermind. Anyway, they decided to remake the forms again. So they made the Palgwe forms and very soon after the Taegeuk forms. I imagine they were made parallel with each other, and internal politics are why they switched from one to the next so fast.

If anything, the idea that forms are chopped up and rearranged over time is perfectly consistent with the history of Taekwondo, because that's how they were created in the first place.
This is not right. It isn't even wrong.
 

skribs

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This is not right. It isn't even wrong.
It's a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but can you tell me what's not right about it?

Taekwondo forms are basically Shotokan forms, with some creators taking a little bit more creative license than others. That's what my research has taught me.
 

Dirty Dog

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During WW2, Japan controlled Korea. The Japanese taught the Koreans the martial art of Karate. When the Japanese left, the Koreans took their forms, chopped them up and rearranged them, and came up with their own martial arts such as Tang Soo Do, Taekwondo, etc.
Incorrect. The various Kwan (which formed in 1945-ish) pretty much all started out teaching Tang Soo Do, because that is the Korean pronunciation of the Japanese characters for Karate-Do. The name taekwondo was proposed during the first unification, but wasn't actually adopted until the second, in 1959.
Taekwondo was unified into the ITF.
Incorrect. The Kwan unified, and the first name for that organization was the Korean Taekwondo Association. This later became the Kukkiwon. The ITF wasn't formed until 1966, well after the KTA formed in 1959. Nothing was ever unified into the ITF.
Due to political issues, the founder was exiled, and the South Korean government scrambled to create KKW and the WTF so they could have their own organization.
Completely wrong.
A better organization, with blackjack and...nevermind. Anyway, they decided to remake the forms again. So they made the Palgwe forms and very soon after the Taegeuk forms.
Incorrect. Prior to the KTA, the various Kwan taught the Pinan forms - the Shotokan forms they had learned in Japan. In 1965, representatives from six of the nine original Kwan began development of the Palgwae forms. They became the official curriculum in 1967. Their mandate was to create Korean forms, and to do it quickly.
The KTA then created another committee to develop the Taegeuk forms, but this time including all nine Kwan. Those were implemented in 1971. Their mandate was to create forms that were more distinctly Korean.
I imagine they were made parallel with each other, and internal politics are why they switched from one to the next so fast.
You can imagine anything you want, but the records (and the people who were actually there) say differently. The Taegeuks were developed to further separate Korea from Japan and to be more inclusive, in line with the KTA desire to assimilate all schools.

It's a little bit tongue-in-cheek, but can you tell me what's not right about it?
Pretty much everything, actually.
 

skribs

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Incorrect. The various Kwan (which formed in 1945-ish) pretty much all started out teaching Tang Soo Do, because that is the Korean pronunciation of the Japanese characters for Karate-Do. The name taekwondo was proposed during the first unification, but wasn't actually adopted until the second, in 1959.

Incorrect. The Kwan unified, and the first name for that organization was the Korean Taekwondo Association. This later became the Kukkiwon. The ITF wasn't formed until 1966, well after the KTA formed in 1959. Nothing was ever unified into the ITF.

Completely wrong.

Incorrect. Prior to the KTA, the various Kwan taught the Pinan forms - the Shotokan forms they had learned in Japan. In 1965, representatives from six of the nine original Kwan began development of the Palgwae forms. They became the official curriculum in 1967. Their mandate was to create Korean forms, and to do it quickly.
The KTA then created another committee to develop the Taegeuk forms, but this time including all nine Kwan. Those were implemented in 1971. Their mandate was to create forms that were more distinctly Korean.

You can imagine anything you want, but the records (and the people who were actually there) say differently. The Taegeuks were developed to further separate Korea from Japan and to be more inclusive, in line with the KTA desire to assimilate all schools.


Pretty much everything, actually.
I got some details wrong, but the overall story remains the same. Japanese taught the Koreans. Koreans wanted to make things their own so they chopped up the Japanese forms into what we have today.
 

Earl Weiss

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From a Chang Hon / ITF perspective. Perhaps it applies to the Palgwe as well. The form creator had a very specific standard in mind. However, many of the pioneers who learned the "New to them" forms had certain habits from years of training and those habits did not necessarily reflect the creator's standard. The progeny of those pioneers followed their instructor's habits unaware they did not follow the standard. As the creator traveled and taught what he wanted and as his written works became more detailed along with video many who thought they followed the standard he created and were surprised to learn they did not often commented that he changed things. A widespread example of people following certain habits are progeny of He Il Cho, Jhoon Rhee and H U Lee (from the days when he did Chang Hon) who do the pattern system with what I call a "Chung Do Kwan Flavor".
So as the old saying goes- "the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory. " So, you need to find the original authoritative texts from the official person / organization to see if their have in fact been "Changes" or something else like clarifications.
 

J. Pickard

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I was just curious why the Palgwe forms have changed so much over the years, why they can't just stay the same. It feels like it's ruining the history of Taekwondo. Some of the forms have completely changed in a big way. Just was curious what your thoughts are on this?
It's likely that it's due to a lack of regulation by a larger governing association. The palgwe haven't really be used in Kukki TKD since the taegeuks were created and relatively recently Kukkiwon cracked down on mandating that all Kukkiwon TKD schools only promote students using Taegeuks and stopped accepting palgwe all together.

My hypothesis is that when TKD first came to the US the forms being taught were the original Hyung (karate kata) and the palgwe poomsae. Schools across the US, Canada, and Europe had spent years developing instructors to be proficient in those forms. Then out of no where they get news that Korea is replacing palgwe poomsae with taegeuk poomsae(probably long after the rollout happened in korea since news traveled slower back then). Being that this happened in the 1970's you can imagine how difficult it would be to get all of those forms taught without the internet and easily available videos. so all these schools just spent years training instructors and students and now have to spend many more trying to learn new forms at a slow pace as they make there way across the ocean. It's a lot of work and a logistical nightmare so instructors decide to just keep the palgwe. But since they are no longer regulated by any major governing body, individual schools start to make small changes to the form based on things the instructors focus on in their school ( a sport school might add or replace techniques with round kicks, kick boxing schools might add working from a guard with no pulling hand, etc.). Over time these small change become bigger changes and the form becomes unrecognizable from it's origin.
That's just my hypothesis though.
 

Earl Weiss

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.................

My hypothesis is that when TKD first came to the US the forms being taught were the original Hyung (karate kata) and the palgwe poomsae. .................................... Being that this happened in the 1970's you can imagine how difficult it would be to get all of those forms taught without the internet and easily available videos. so all these schools just spent years training instructors and students and now have to spend many more trying to learn new forms at a slow pace as they make there way across the ocean. It's a lot of work and a logistical nightmare so instructors decide to just keep the palgwe. .............................
That's just my hypothesis though.
A question or two and a couple of points.
When you refer to "The original Hyung....) ae you referring to Chang Hon or the Shorin / Shorei / Shotokan forms that pre dated that system?

"Being this happened in the 1970's.... " This exactly the point I referred to with the Chang Hon forms . 1975 while in College went to a WTF school teaching Chang Hon forms with General Choi's 1965 Book - in Korean on the desk. 1971 Jhoon Rhee put out some books with the Chang Hon forms and that along with He Il Cho's book as well as Hu Lee's teaching were the likely source of many old habits proliferating. I tell student's who started only 20 years ago they had the good fortune of better materials available with Video and digitla photography and word processing so their were less errors to fix.

" regulated by any major governing body,..." Exactly where ITF instructor course (Likely KKW as well but I will let someone with direct experience comment) come in.
 

skribs

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From a Chang Hon / ITF perspective. Perhaps it applies to the Palgwe as well. The form creator had a very specific standard in mind. However, many of the pioneers who learned the "New to them" forms had certain habits from years of training and those habits did not necessarily reflect the creator's standard. The progeny of those pioneers followed their instructor's habits unaware they did not follow the standard. As the creator traveled and taught what he wanted and as his written works became more detailed along with video many who thought they followed the standard he created and were surprised to learn they did not often commented that he changed things. A widespread example of people following certain habits are progeny of He Il Cho, Jhoon Rhee and H U Lee (from the days when he did Chang Hon) who do the pattern system with what I call a "Chung Do Kwan Flavor".
So as the old saying goes- "the shortest pencil is better than the longest memory. " So, you need to find the original authoritative texts from the official person / organization to see if their have in fact been "Changes" or something else like clarifications.

Yes and no. I'll give you a few examples.

The first is Palgwe 1. This form is pretty consistent in terms of what the end of each step looks like, but I've seen a lot of subtle variations. These aren't just variations in standard, but in what technique you do. I've seen on youtube and other sources about 4-5 different ways of doing the form, none of which exactly matched ours.
  • Our version has 2 back stances, which are on steps 9 and 11. Other versions have back stances on more of the blocks, on all blocks, or even on some of the strikes.
  • Our version has inside blocks. Other versions have outside blocks instead. Some replace the left-right inside blocks, some replace the forward-back inside blocks, others replace all of them.
  • Our version has two middle punches, other versions have high punches.
These are all very similar to each other. It's kind of like if five different people tell the same story. The details might be different, but the overall plot is the same.

But the further down you get, the more it starts to deviate.


Here's a video of the official version of Palgwe 7.

This is our version:
  • Start with a tension movement and jump into horse stance with a double block. Move forward with a series of X blocks (low X, rechamber, high X) and kick, ending with a side kick, chop, punch combo.
  • Turn around to face the back, quick series of block-punch-block-punch-block-punch in place.
  • Face the right side of the room (compared to starting position), we have a similar-ish combo, except ours has a different sequence and is another rapid-fire combo. Outside block, reverse punch, high block (with cat stance), front kick off the lead leg, reverse punch, side kick, reverse punch. Repeat left side.
  • Face the rear of the room. Similar combo as they have: low X, high X, fancy hand movement, chop, punch, 360 turn, stomp and down block. When we turn and crescent kick into the hand, we do a jump crescent and land in a kneeling position.
  • We have an additional combo towards the front, before starting to the back. We step back with a sort of "reverse front stance" do the bow-and-arrow blocks, but our ending is more along the lines of our opening movement.
In this case, I can't see how the form is just doing the form to a different set of preconceived standards. This isn't like two of your friends explaining Die Hard differently. It's like one friend telling you the plot of Antz and the other A Bug's Life.
 

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When you refer to "The original Hyung....) ae you referring to Chang Hon or the Shorin / Shorei / Shotokan forms that pre dated that system?
all of the above. I believe the, and correct me if I'm wrong, The first TKD forms separate from karate kata (pinan, naihanchi, etc.) were the Chang Hon series and shortly after the palgwe (because politics and infighting), then because of reasons the Taegeuk were created in the early 70s. I can only imagine how hard it would be to make that transition in the 1960s and 1970's when resources weren't yet so readily available.
 

Earl Weiss

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all of the above. I believe the, and correct me if I'm wrong, The first TKD forms separate from karate kata (pinan, naihanchi, etc.) were the Chang Hon series
Correct - The Chang Hon forms were created shortly after the name TK-D. This was taught to the 29th infantry division as General Choi created the forms with input and assistance from various Pioneers, many of whom were CDK products and in his 1965 Book General Choi references and provides examples of the Shorin and Shorei forms. These Chang Hon forms circulated throughout the world as 29th infantry gave demonstrations and often became instructors in other countries. They also proliferated as General Choi traveled and recruited Korean instructors to teach this system with the Jhoon Rhee example being well known.
 

HighKick

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Yeah, everyone knows that TKD is actually an ancient Korean martial art that is well over 2000 years old . That one still gets me.
While I agree in part, there is hard evidence of influence by Chinese Chaun Fa, and that is going pretty far back (1,100's). Think of it this way, the land where Korea sets has been around for millennia, agree? Whether it was called Korea or not, it did exist. There has been occupation by at least three major countries. Japan, lesser China, USSR, and even the US can claim this title in one form or another.
I think the only way to talk about Korea and martial arts is to set a limit on time frame and whether you at talking North or South Korea. Or talk 'ancient' vs modern martial arts. And notice I am using the term martial arts. As hard as I have tried, I am unable to clearly discern between Tae Kwon Do, taekwondo, and Tae Kwon-Do (although the latter is a bit clearer).
The very consistent facts are the creation of the Kwans, the cause & effect, the dissolution to a degree, and the unification under the WT/KKW banner. And the history of General Choi, albeit clouded.
Make no mistake, most of the Kwans are alive and well and live in harmony in many schools along with the KKW curriculum, whatever that is.
 
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