School Forms

skribs

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I'm just curious about a [similarity or difference] between TKD and Karate.

In Taekwondo, I think almost every school I've been to has either their own set of forms, or at least multiple sets of forms that they train. My original school had "Exercises", which were like mini-forms, but also used unofficial Kibon forms, older-style Palgwe forms, and newer-style Taegeuk forms, only the last of which was currently recognized and required by the organization.

15 years later, I joined the school where I trained most of my adult life at. At the time I joined, we had a different set of Kibon and Palgwe forms that took us to black belt, at which point we had the official black belt forms and a second set of unofficial forms that we trained. Recently, he added in the Taegeuk forms (the ones recognized and required by the organization).

I recently moved, and the school in my new town primarily does the Taegeuks. However, the first two forms are "Tiger" forms, which are similar (but slightly different) to the Kibon forms I've learned before.

From speaking with some other guys on here, I know that many non-Kukkiwon schools (or at least, schools that are not primarily focused on KKW) will teach their organization's forms, plus the KKW forms.

I'm curious how Karate is. If you train a particular style of Karate, would you expect every school in that style to have the same forms? Do schools often mix forms between styles? Or sometimes even have their own forms?
 

_Simon_

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Yeah generally a style will have the same forms even across different schools. Eg Shotokan schools generally do Heian 1-5, Empi, Bassai Dai etc, and Goju schools will have their own. I've noticed some oomissions though depending on the lineage, and also variations within the forms which are inevitable. Our style is a mish-mash, primarily Goju but we have Shorin-ryu kata and internal CMA forms too.

But generally yeah. The forms seem to almost be a signature stamp of the style, they aren't THE style, but a definitive mark of it, and in the forms you can generally find all the main principles that a style adheres to and teaches as a foundation.
 

SahBumNimRush

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I think the thing to consider is that Taekwondo evolved rapidly over the past 50 years, taking on no less than 4 sets of forms depending on the branch you find yourself in. Originally, pre-TKD era, all Tang Soo Do and Kong Soo Do practiced karate forms. My KJN joined the unification efforts, but left Korea before the "new" TKD forms were created. He teaches what he was taught, not what evolved after he left. In my eyes, that makes his curriculum "traditional" and "valid." We practice Kicho 1-3, Pyung Ahn 1-5, Bassai, Chinto, Naihanchi 1-3, and Kong Sang Kun as our core sets.

The MDK developed newer forms after my KJN left Korea as well, so some MDK schools have other forms that they practice. In the WT lineage, the Taeguks and Palgwes were invented and implemented later, depending on how you trace your lineage you may have all 3 sets in your school. In the ITF lineage you have their individual sets as well. So yeah, I think it has to do with the "development" of the art, and what forms mean to the art.

In Karate, the forms are more of a codex of techniques. In TKD, its more rudimentary than that; in many cases nothing more than an exercise rather than a living, breathing encyclopedia. I consider myself fortunate to still train the older "karate" forms.
 

wab25

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Yeah generally a style will have the same forms even across different schools. Eg Shotokan schools generally do Heian 1-5, Empi, Bassai Dai etc,
Yes and no at the same time. Shotokan schools usually pull from the same list of kata. Funakoshi included nearly 30 kata in Shotokan. Most Shotokan schools will pick from that same list, but they don't always pick the same kata. There are common ones like the Heian katas and Bassai Dai... but there are also uncommon ones like Bassai Sho and Ten No kata. Some schools will teach these and some won't.

The order and timing of when the katas are taught can be different as well. Some schools will teach Bassai Sho before Bassai Dai, other schools the other way around. Sometimes Empi before Tekki, sometimes Tekki before Empi. Some schools consider Bassai Dai to be a black belt kata, other teach it at much lower ranks.

I study Kenkojuku style Shotokan. My sensei had another sensei bring his school to join our school. Both taught Kenkojuku style Shotokan Karate and both had rank in the same organization. But, there were lots of discussions and changes about which kata would be required, what order they were taught and what ranks would do them. (as well as discussios about moves within the kata...) Our school was then invited to join a Kenkojuku Shotokan Associatation... they sent their master instructors.... and the conversations started up again, as they taught a slightly different set of kata, in a different order and at different times.

So yes... if you go to a shotokan school, you can expect to see Bassai Dai. But, it may be at black belt, brown belt, purple belt or yellow belt. You may or may not see the Taikyo Ku katas.... you may see 1 but not 2 and 3.... or they might just start with Heian. While they all generally pick from the same list that Funakoshi taught.... there are a lot of combinations....

Now if you are talking karate in general, not Shotokan karate... I believe Bassai Dai is practiced by lots of styles of karate... but the heian's and taikyo Ku's you would see less of.... but then the list of karate katas gets much bigger than just what Funakoshi taught. So you would see lots of different collections of kata.
 

Dirty Dog

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The MDK developed newer forms after my KJN left Korea as well, so some MDK schools have other forms that they practice.
What forms are those? From my understanding (my KJN was there...) about 2/3 of the MDK stayed with then unification and began teaching the Palgwae forms. The other 1/3 left with GM Hwang Kee and reverted to teaching the Pinan forms under the name Tang Soo Do. The Pinan forms were continued when the style was renamed Soo Bahk Do.
If you know of others, I'd like to hear more.
In the WT lineage, the Taeguks and Palgwes were invented and implemented later, depending on how you trace your lineage you may have all 3 sets in your school. In the ITF lineage you have their individual sets as well. So yeah, I think it has to do with the "development" of the art, and what forms mean to the art.
If you're still talking about the MDK, then what forms are taught seems to be primarily connected to when the branch split off from the unification. If your branch was part of the 1/3, you'll use the Pinan forms, and the split occurred sometime between GM Hwang Kee leaving the unification and his decision to rename the style. If your branch was part of the 2/3, and left after the Palgwae forms were implemented, that is what you likely teach. If you left after the Taegeuk forms became standard, you likely use those.
Our KJN came to the US in 1969, prior to the Taegeuk forms. So we use the Palgwae forms are our primary forms. He did maintain KKW affiliation as a secondary connection, and so we do teach the Taegeuk forms as an option for those who want KKW certification, or are just interested in learning more forms. I also teach the Chang Hon forms (non-sine wave) for those interested, but we do not offer certification by any of the ITF splinters. Just MDK and KKW.
In Karate, the forms are more of a codex of techniques. In TKD, its more rudimentary than that; in many cases nothing more than an exercise rather than a living, breathing encyclopedia. I consider myself fortunate to still train the older "karate" forms.
I think this statement is mistaken. The various TKD forms are no more rudimentary than the Pinan forms, and it is every bit as reasonable to consider them an encyclopedia.
 

SahBumNimRush

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What forms are those? From my understanding (my KJN was there...) about 2/3 of the MDK stayed with then unification and began teaching the Palgwae forms. The other 1/3 left with GM Hwang Kee and reverted to teaching the Pinan forms under the name Tang Soo Do. The Pinan forms were continued when the style was renamed Soo Bahk Do.
If you know of others, I'd like to hear more.
My statement may not have been clear. I am not asserting those were replaced, merely that the Chil sung, and Yuk ro forms came after that, to my knowledge.
If you're still talking about the MDK, then what forms are taught seems to be primarily connected to when the branch split off from the unification. If your branch was part of the 1/3, you'll use the Pinan forms, and the split occurred sometime between GM Hwang Kee leaving the unification and his decision to rename the style. If your branch was part of the 2/3, and left after the Palgwae forms were implemented, that is what you likely teach. If you left after the Taegeuk forms became standard, you likely use those.
Our KJN came to the US in 1969, prior to the Taegeuk forms. So we use the Palgwae forms are our primary forms. He did maintain KKW affiliation as a secondary connection, and so we do teach the Taegeuk forms as an option for those who want KKW certification, or are just interested in learning more forms. I also teach the Chang Hon forms (non-sine wave) for those interested, but we do not offer certification by any of the ITF splinters. Just MDK and KKW.

My KJN came to the states in 1968, His certificates were through both the Moo Duk Kwan (5th dan 1968) and the KTA. I didn't see that he had any KKW certs until the 1980's.

I think this statement is mistaken. The various TKD forms are no more rudimentary than the Pinan forms, and it is every bit as reasonable to consider them an encyclopedia.

I think that depends on what you're looking at. I agree the rudimentary level of pyung ahn/pinan forms are aguably no better/worse than the Taegeuk forms. However, I believe the intent of what the creators were trying to achieve with creating the forms may have been a bit different. With that intent, there may be a deeper level of understanding to attain studying the older form sets. I will assert, I obviously wasn't there when anything was created, so it is just my belief/opinion on the matter. I'm not attempting to admonish or degrade those form sets, merely that the intent for which they were created were probably different. I also don't formally know the modern TKD forms, outside of a handful of black belt forms that we had to learn back in the USTU days.
 

dancingalone

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I'm curious how Karate is. If you train a particular style of Karate, would you expect every school in that style to have the same forms? Do schools often mix forms between styles? Or sometimes even have their own forms?
It's important to understand that so-called styles (Goju-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Uechi-Ryu, Shotokan, etc) also have lineages within them and head instructors/masters often add their own kata. For example, Meibuken Goju-ryu has a few extra that Yagi Sensei added, as did Toguchi Sensei within the Shoreikan (also Goju-ryu). Within Shotokan, Kanazawa Sensei added Sanchin in his organization, and Asai Sensei created MANY kata that are that are taught by his successors in the JKS.

But it is true enough that if one does Okinawan Goju-ryu, I would expect to see some standard kata that everyone would know regardless of lineage such as Sanchin, Saifa, Seipai, Kururunfa, Tensho, etc. Same with the other styles. There are kata that everyone does within the style, though there will be lineal differences in execution.
 

_Simon_

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It's important to understand that so-called styles (Goju-ryu, Shorin-ryu, Uechi-Ryu, Shotokan, etc) also have lineages within them and head instructors/masters often add their own kata. For example, Meibuken Goju-ryu has a few extra that Yagi Sensei added, as did Toguchi Sensei within the Shoreikan (also Goju-ryu). Within Shotokan, Kanazawa Sensei added Sanchin in his organization, and Asai Sensei created MANY kata that are that are taught by his successors in the JKS.

But it is true enough that if one does Okinawan Goju-ryu, I would expect to see some standard kata that everyone would know regardless of lineage such as Sanchin, Saifa, Seipai, Kururunfa, Tensho, etc. Same with the other styles. There are kata that everyone does within the style, though there will be lineal differences in execution.
Nice to hear from you @dancingalone :)
 

Bill Mattocks

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Our dojo practices the empty-hand kata of the Isshinryu system:

  1. Sanchin
  2. Seisan
  3. Seuinchin
  4. Naihanchi
  5. Wansu
  6. Chinto
  7. Kusanku
  8. Sunsu
We also have weapons kata which are kobudo but still considered part of the Isshinryu system. We use bo, sai, and tonfa (tuifa as we call it). We are also a Tokushinry贖 Kobud dojo, which is entirely weapons, but that's not part of our Isshinryu training.

We do teach Sanchin first, which many Isshinryu dojos do not do.

We also have a 'dojo' kata that we use with the beginners to help them remember the kihon in our system. We call it Taikyoku, but I've seen other kata that go by that name; some similar, some different. It's just an H-pattern kata with most of our upper-body basic exercises in it. It is not required for any promotions and is not considered part of the Isshinryu system.
 

isshinryuronin

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It's important to note that many traditional karate forms (though in varied incarnations) are shared by numerous styles. This is because these forms were devised by the old masters prior to the evolution of modern styles. It was common in the old days that karate experts trained with several masters over the years and learned forms from multiple sources, so there was a common body of knowledge. As time passed and styles developed these forms underwent changes (to a lesser or greater degree) to fit each particular style's principles and methodology.

To illustrate - Itosu Anko learned from Bushi Nagahama and Higashionna Kanryo, who both praticed Naha Te, and he also studied with Bushi Matsumura, developer of Shuri Te. Itosu's students included Funakoshi ("creator" of Shotokan), Mabuni (creator of Shito Ryu), Chibana (developer of Shorinryu) and Motobu (a Tomari Te stylest). All of these guys also studied with masters other than Itosu. There was a lot of cross pollination of karate ideas and kata.

But this is a far cry from some random black belt today appropriating another style's kata to include in his curriculum just to be different. A full understanding of the systems involved is needed and best left to someone at a master level, IMO.

As for a dojo kata, particular to a single school, I think that's fine for beginners to quickly learn the basics and the concept of kata, as well as satisfy their need for instant gratification, getting a simple rudimentary kata down quickly. Though traditional forms are taught in a specific (IMO arbitrary) order, this order usually does not reflect levels of difficulty as the forms were not designed to be taught in sequence, but rather represent fully developed (advanced) forms from multiple sources.
 
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