Philosophy In Taeguek Poomsae

bluekey88

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Here's what I;ve wondered as of late....is there any document laying out the techniques (bunkai in Japanes...not sure of the Korean term) imbedded in the poomse? What were the creators intentions here?

I've seen this doen for the Chon-ji poomse but not for the Taeguk poomse and I think that would be an interesting study.

Peace,
Erik
 

fireman00

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Nice break down of the Palgwae's - I trained in WTF for 6 years before moving to a school that does both WTF and ITF and I'm a big fan of WTF forms. I think that the hard or straight line tactics of the WTF style is more suited towards self defense.
 

Last Fearner

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While I was reading this, I didn't realize until I read Iceman's post, that this was a thread bumped up from 2005. All good stuff though, and does a great job of informing students about the philosophy behind the forms.

I did notice one thing though. The title of the thread, and several posts within were spelling the term "Taegeuk" as "Taeguek." Perhaps I'm being picky, but for consistency sake, the Korean vowel " ㅡ " is usually translated as "eu" rather than "ue" and sounds like the double "oo" as in the English words "look" and "book."

태극 = Tae geuk or "Taegeuk"

Take a look at the Korean script for the word "Hangeul" which means Korean writing (borrowed from this site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangul
The horizontal blue line is for the "eu" vowel.



I have enjoyed learning, teaching, and thoroughly studying the movements of the Taegeuk and their philosophies over the past twenty years. I came up through the ranks in the ATA learning the Chang Hon tul (I learned up to the 6th Dan form there although I had not tested that high). In the early 80s I studied under a Korean at college who taught me the Pal-gwe. It was difficult to switch, but I poured my heart into learning something new.

Between 1982 and 85, I was no longer with the ATA but I had developed my own variation of the Chang Hon with more advanced kicks because I thought the originals were not challenging enough. Other instructors who saw my students performing them, liked the modifications. When I was first introduced to the Taegeuk Poomsae in the mid 80s, I found it even more difficult to learn a whole new set of forms, and was very disappointed in the basic movements, short walking stances, and the fact that you barely went anywhere during the form. Other forms took you all over the floor, but the Taegeuk seemed to have each line practically right on top of the other.

It wasn't until I had been teaching them for a few years that I really began to appreciate the beauty and genius of these forms. The reality is that natural walking postures are better suited for most self defense situations, and a deep, low, fixed front stance (which is used in most other Taekwondo forms) should be saved for the finishing move. A lot of criticism about Taekwondo is that you won't have time to go into deep stances, but of course, those are used at key points, when a powerful finishing move is appropriate. As it was said, there is balance in the training with kicks and fast movements in Gyorugi, methodical and smooth transitions in forms, and a combination of high stance and low stance in one step-sparring. It all comes together to make a great Art!

CM D.J. Eisenhart
 

Yeti

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Here's what I;ve wondered as of late....is there any document laying out the techniques (bunkai in Japanes...not sure of the Korean term) imbedded in the poomse? What were the creators intentions here?

I've seen this doen for the Chon-ji poomse but not for the Taeguk poomse and I think that would be an interesting study.

Peace,
Erik

Hi Erik
I've wondered the same thing and have (tried) to look a bit deeper into this topic. Here's a link to a thread on this subject that I started about 6 months ago. There are a few schools of thought presented as well as some really good information by all the posters. Hopefully this helps you get started.

http://martialtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=40287&highlight=Bunkai

Cheers!
 

IcemanSK

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I began my TKD training doing Tae Geuk & Pal Gue poomsae & never thought much of it. I then went to an ITF-style school where the Chang Hon tul were taught. I had the feeling (like some) that the deeper stances of the Chang Hon were "better" because they had deeper stances & therefore were more "traditional."

The Tae Geuks are growing on me (mainly due to GM Park's [Hae Man] influence), but it's taking a while. I'm partial to the Pal Gues, myself. I find them more challenging. But, doing the Tae Geuks daily, I'm finding the challenge in those as well.
 
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Miles

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Here's what I;ve wondered as of late....is there any document laying out the techniques (bunkai in Japanes...not sure of the Korean term) imbedded in the poomse? What were the creators intentions here?

Erik

Welcome to MT Erik! I know of no document which has the boon hae for the Taegueks. We did get a few glimpses in Korea of applications, but it was not comprehensive.

Last Fearner-not sure why I used "ue" versus "eu". As you pointed out, the latter is the correct Romanization.

Miles
 

zDom

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Since this thread has been revived, I’m going to chime in now, too :)

Let me start by saying I LOVE the Taegeuks.

At the Moo Sul Kwan dojang I trained at, white belts were required to start with Chang Hon’s Chon Ji and Taegeuk Il Chong.

Then the Taegeuks were required and the Chang Hons were optional — you could learn them IF the instructor thought you had your required form down well.

Then Chong Moo and Koryo were both required at il gup. Gaebek at first dan and Yu Shin at second dan were also required.

(I forget which WTF forms were required as I started first dan training under Moo Sul Kwan and completed it under the U.S. Chung Do Kwan.)

At first I just learned the Taegeuks so I was allowed to learn the Chang Hons. I trained Dan Gun, To San, Won Hyo, Yul Gok and Joon Gun.

I learned the movements to Toi Gye and Hwa Rang, but I never really put in the reps to “learn” the form because my attitude changed:

I started really liking the Taegeuks — a lot.

While I think the deep stances of Chang Hon are great training, I think the Taegeuks' mix of high and deep stances is even better (something I think should NOT be changed!).

I like the built-in philosophy in each of the Taegeuks. And I think the Taegeuks DO seem more like taekwondo (more kicking) while the Chang Hons are very Shotokan-ish.

Furthermore, I think the Taegeuks are better training tools for students coming up through the ranks with the nice progression in difficulty.

But excepting Koryo, which I think is a great form, I really like the Chang Hon dan forms over the WTFs’.

It’s almost like the WTF forms peak in difficulty at Koryo and then nosedive.

On the other hand, Gae bek (talk about a difficult form!) and Yu Shin (68 exhausting moves!) are just beautiful, to me. Part of me would like to seek out and learn the Chang Hon forms my organization skipped over to see if I like those as much.

Anybody who trained them care to give me their opinion?

But then, I have taken a different path (hapkido) and I really don’t haven’t had the time to devote to ANY forms training until just recently.

Think I might brush up on the Taegeuks, Chung Moo, Koryo and Yu Shin, as these are my favs. :)

I’m waaaaay too rusty on Gae bek, though; I can’t remember that pattern at all :( only a couple of the sequences here and there.
 

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Which version of Koryo did you learn?

R. mcLain


Since this thread has been revived, I’m going to chime in now, too :)

Let me start by saying I LOVE the Taegeuks.

At the Moo Sul Kwan dojang I trained at, white belts were required to start with Chang Hon’s Chon Ji and Taegeuk Il Chong.

Then the Taegeuks were required and the Chang Hons were optional — you could learn them IF the instructor thought you had your required form down well.

Then Chong Moo and Koryo were both required at il gup. Gaebek at first dan and Yu Shin at second dan were also required.

(I forget which WTF forms were required as I started first dan training under Moo Sul Kwan and completed it under the U.S. Chung Do Kwan.)

At first I just learned the Taegeuks so I was allowed to learn the Chang Hons. I trained Dan Gun, To San, Won Hyo, Yul Gok and Joon Gun.

I learned the movements to Toi Gye and Hwa Rang, but I never really put in the reps to “learn” the form because my attitude changed:

I started really liking the Taegeuks — a lot.

While I think the deep stances of Chang Hon are great training, I think the Taegeuks' mix of high and deep stances is even better (something I think should NOT be changed!).

I like the built-in philosophy in each of the Taegeuks. And I think the Taegeuks DO seem more like taekwondo (more kicking) while the Chang Hons are very Shotokan-ish.

Furthermore, I think the Taegeuks are better training tools for students coming up through the ranks with the nice progression in difficulty.

But excepting Koryo, which I think is a great form, I really like the Chang Hon dan forms over the WTFs’.

It’s almost like the WTF forms peak in difficulty at Koryo and then nosedive.

On the other hand, Gae bek (talk about a difficult form!) and Yu Shin (68 exhausting moves!) are just beautiful, to me. Part of me would like to seek out and learn the Chang Hon forms my organization skipped over to see if I like those as much.

Anybody who trained them care to give me their opinion?

But then, I have taken a different path (hapkido) and I really don’t haven’t had the time to devote to ANY forms training until just recently.

Think I might brush up on the Taegeuks, Chung Moo, Koryo and Yu Shin, as these are my favs. :)

I’m waaaaay too rusty on Gae bek, though; I can’t remember that pattern at all :( only a couple of the sequences here and there.
 

zDom

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Which version of Koryo did you learn?

R. mcLain

Not knowing exactly what you mean, I would answer:

"Not the OFFICIAL version."

Actually, I was taught that the official version calls for knee/mid section for the initial sidekicks but was told that Moo Sul Kwan prefers them knee/head or even belt/head.

My personal preference (based on aesthetics and also what I think would work for me) is knee/head.

When I hooked up with the U.S. Chung Do Kwan, I got the distinct impression that my choice of targets for the sidekicks was fine with GM Sell.
 

Yeti

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Just an observation but I used to think the early Taeguek forms looked kinda ugly and simple, mostly because of the short stance

Then in working on some self-defense I noticed how many times at close range you would move your feet in a short manner. a lot of timing going from a 'ready' stance to a walking stance as you countered a move. It sorta dawned on me that while waking stance doesn't look like much, being self-aware of your body in that position and being able to reliably step the proper distance with balance is a good technique to learn
Excellent post. At my old school my instructor used to make us walk from one end of the dojang to the other. At the end was Sabunim holding a focus pad and without breaking stride, we had to throw (and land) a roundhouse kick to the pad. It really made you appreciate the walking stance and as you mentioned, being aware of your body while in that position.
 

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Looks like you do the 1974 version of Koryo. There is an older, completely different version, that was created and introduced in 1967. They don't resemble each other at all.

R. McLain




Not knowing exactly what you mean, I would answer:

"Not the OFFICIAL version."

Actually, I was taught that the official version calls for knee/mid section for the initial sidekicks but was told that Moo Sul Kwan prefers them knee/head or even belt/head.

My personal preference (based on aesthetics and also what I think would work for me) is knee/head.

When I hooked up with the U.S. Chung Do Kwan, I got the distinct impression that my choice of targets for the sidekicks was fine with GM Sell.
 
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Miles

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Robert, do you know of a website which might have the older Koryo version online?

TIA!

Miles
 

rmclain

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I was about to ask the same thing! I would love to see it.

I wish I knew of a video. I did a search on youtube.com this morning and found 4 pages of the 1974 version of Koryo, but not 1 video of the 1967 version. It must be out there somewhere. I noticed in the TKD books at Lang Son Traders (MA store in Arlington, Tx) they don't have this form anymore either, though I haven't come close to looking at all of the TKD books available elsewhere.

I hope this form doesn't get lost. I only know of two instructors in my area still teaching it, myself and Roy Kurban. There must be more.

R. McLain
 

terryl965

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I wish I knew of a video. I did a search on youtube.com this morning and found 4 pages of the 1974 version of Koryo, but not 1 video of the 1967 version. It must be out there somewhere. I noticed in the TKD books at Lang Son Traders (MA store in Arlington, Tx) they don't have this form anymore either, though I haven't come close to looking at all of the TKD books available elsewhere.

I hope this form doesn't get lost. I only know of two instructors in my area still teaching it, myself and Roy Kurban. There must be more.

R. McLain


Master McLain we do the older version GM Kurban tought it to me and my family while we was part of his Texas Karate League, it is called Koryo #2 by alot of instructor, I know Master combe has a video of it from GM Suk Lee out in California I will try and e-mail him to see if he can download it to me.
Have a wonderful day
 
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Miles

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Cool, I'd love to see it.

BTW, when I was just starting out in TKD, my hero was Roy Kurban. He was prominently portrayed in Official Karate magazine with his favorite combination. I later learned his instructor, GM Won Chik Park, had a school in Detroit at one time. Another one of GM Park's students was Richard Plowden who is a super nice guy. Master Plowden was a point champion for many years.

Miles
 

Laurentkd

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I wish I knew of a video. I did a search on youtube.com this morning and found 4 pages of the 1974 version of Koryo, but not 1 video of the 1967 version. It must be out there somewhere. I noticed in the TKD books at Lang Son Traders (MA store in Arlington, Tx) they don't have this form anymore either, though I haven't come close to looking at all of the TKD books available elsewhere.

I hope this form doesn't get lost. I only know of two instructors in my area still teaching it, myself and Roy Kurban. There must be more.

R. McLain

Mr. McLain,
Why not put a video up of yourself doing it?? :)
 

Laurentkd

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Master McLain we do the older version GM Kurban tought it to me and my family while we was part of his Texas Karate League, it is called Koryo #2 by alot of instructor, I know Master combe has a video of it from GM Suk Lee out in California I will try and e-mail him to see if he can download it to me.
Have a wonderful day

That would be wonderful sir!
 

rmclain

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Master McLain we do the older version GM Kurban tought it to me and my family while we was part of his Texas Karate League, it is called Koryo #2 by alot of instructor, I know Master combe has a video of it from GM Suk Lee out in California I will try and e-mail him to see if he can download it to me.
Have a wonderful day

I think Grandmaster Kurban learned the 1967 version of Koryo from my instructor, Grandmaster Kim Pyung-soo. He was one of the only Koreans that knew those in the US in the late 1960's.

http://www.kimsookarate.com/gallery-first30/firstclinic.html

R. McLain
 

IcemanSK

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Surely there is someone who knows the 1st version who would be willing to video it & put it on youtube?
 
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