Taekwondo History

G

GojuBujin

Guest
Something I've known and suspected for years is that Taekwondo was heavily influenced by Okinawan and Japanese Karate. The best evidence of this is the striking similarities and almost exact parallels the TKD forms have to that of Shotokan esp. but, also Kyokushin and Shorin-Ryu. I go the following out of the Dragon Times today, (www.dragon-tsunami.org)

I just wanted to get some fead back and see what the rest of you thought and whether anyone knew it all to be true.

This is by no means meant to be offensive to anyone or anyone's art. I'm just gathering information.


It will come as a disappointment to those who practice taekwondo to discover that their art is, in essence, Japanese Shotokan Karate.
Far from being a centuries old indigenous art, it was brought to Korea in the 1940s by students (of Gichin Funakoshi and Toyama Kanken) who had studied in Tokyo during the pre-war years and it was these young Koreans who became the leaders of Korean karate (latterly renamed taekwondo) in the immediate post-war era.
Apparently genuine Korean martial arts consist principally of archery and swordsmanship and are almost entirely imported from, or at least, heavily influenced by Chinese methods to the extent that it is not possible to even define a unique Korean art. This is hardly surprising when one considers that Korea had the misfortune of being subjugated by one or another of its neighbors for most of its history and was never able therefore, to develop a warrior class comparable with that of Japan or China..........


Michael C. Byrd
www.inigmasoft.com/goyukai
 
Hi Michael,

I thought the history of Taekwondo was well known by most people these days?
Though it has splintered into many different methods (just like our own goju-ryu has). It is clear that shotokan karatedo had a huge influence on it.

In one of the books I have on the system (Korean Karate, the art of Tae kwon do. By Duk Sung Son and Robert J. Clark, published in 1968 by Prentice-Hall U.S.A.) it states;
"Korean karate began more than two thousand years ago when warrior knights called 'Hwa Rang Do' developed a systematic and ummachable fighting technique called 'Tea kwon do'."

I think you can take that with a pinch of salt myself. The photos of the kata in the book could have been lifted from any old shotokan book and one would be hard pushed to spot a difference.

Good luck with your research.

Mike,
ps. Very nice web-page you have by the way. I'd like to know more,being connected to the late Miyazato sensei myself.
 
There are certain kata or "hyung", I think their called in Korean, that Tae Kwon Do uses that are almost exactly like the Pinan katas developed by Itosu in the late 1800's early 1900's.
They are just too similar to be accidental. Therefore, if Tae Kwon Do isn't "Korean Shotokan" then is sure as hell "borrowed" a lot from it.
 
There was an article in Black Belt magazine around 1987 - 1988ish that brought to light the stark reality that Tae Kwon Do was in fact nothing more than a bastardized version of Shotokan, and that its history was developed by the overly nationalistic Korean government workers in order to "compete" with other nations' martial arts traditions...

Excerpts from the foms were shown side by side, and the only differences were that the TKD forms were "higher" and focused the kicks at higher targets.

Around the same time, I was hanging out with a small group of martial artists, one of which was a Shotokan brown belt. When I mentioned the article one day, he stated that he had gone to a TKD school once after PCSing from one station to another (we were in the Army at the time), and stayed there for about 3 months. He left shortly thereafter, as the teacher offered to promote him to the same level (brown belt) in TKD, since he already knew all the forms...

My personal favorites are the Korean art of sport grappling - Yudo, the Korean version of Judo - and Kumdo, the Korean version of Kendo (which uses the exact same armor and weapons...:rolleyes: ).

Makes you wonder, huh?

Gambarimasu.
 
A lot of the TKD schools in existence nowadays (particularly after the formation of the WTF) no longer teach the Okinawan kata (pyong ahn/Pinan, chul ki/Naihanchi, bal-sek/Bassai, Chinto, and possibly others).

Typically, older TKD blackbelts know the Okinawan forms and may even teach them, but many of the newer blackbelts don't even know that TKD once included Okinawan forms in their curriculum.

I trained with a TKD instructor for a little bit and he taught the Pinan forms in his class. Students in his class from other (and newer) TKD organizations had never even heard of the forms before, much less knew them...and several were blackbelts.

If I recall, around the time of the formation of the WTF, a concious effort was made to purge all Okinawan forms from the TKD curriculum and keep/add forms that were Korean.

Cthulhu
 
Korea was annexed by both China and Japan over its long history- its indigenous martial arts are heavily influenced by both countries.

TKD however was invented by General Choi as a national sport and athletic system to be taught in public schools at first essentially taking the Japanese Karate and emphasizing the kicking that was already made popular by the Korean street sport of taekkyon (a no hands all feet knock me down if you can game.)

That was its genesis. its creator, the late General Choi, felt that he had used the Japanese Karate as start point only and had ultimately created a unique system. He gives his own story here.

http://www.brianrbarton.com/dojang/history.html

Many Koreans assign a longer history for political and nationalistic motives. The General fought many a political battle in Korea over the direction and "story" of Tae Kwon Do.
 
Originally posted by jazkiljok

TKD however was invented by General Choi

Although I am not involved in either Shotokan nor TKD, I take exception to the idea that TKD was "invented" as opposed to simply "imported." Given that I spent time in the early 80's hanging out with a lot of people in both TKD and Shotokan, and from their testimony, they were esentially the same, with the differences I noted before.

Cthulhu is right when he points out that the TKD governing bodies changed all their forms... Amusingly, not too long after the article came out "exposing" the Japan connection...

Its creator, the late General Choi, felt that he had used the Japanese Karate as start point only and had ultimately created a unique system.

While I have my own personal biases about and against TKD, I will admit that it has in recent years finally come into its own as a martial art. Once the governing bodies changed the forms (which is one of the points of contention I have - where did the "new" forms come from, and do they actually have any meat?), TKD was no longer a watered-down karate style.

Many Koreans assign a longer history for political and nationalistic motives. The General fought many a political battle in Korea over the direction and "story" of Tae Kwon Do.

Another point of contention that I know a lot of people have trouble with - the political and national versions of TKD history. I think that if folks were just up front and honest about how TKD came about, nobody would get worked up. But assigning it a 1000 year history and such gets folks eyebrows raised...

Gambarimasu.

(surprise, surprise - we have managed to stay nice on this thread instead of devolving into a mud slinging fest!)
 
Originally posted by Yiliquan1


(surprise, surprise - we have managed to stay nice on this thread instead of devolving into a mud slinging fest!)

On the other hand, no TKD practicioners have posted in this thread yet :)
 
Not a whole Lot of TKD pracitioners really ever bought into the whole "TKD is 3000 years old" stuff to start with. (As the mirror thread in the TKD forum illustrates.)
 
Originally posted by Marginal

Not a whole Lot of TKD pracitioners really ever bought into the whole "TKD is 3000 years old" stuff to start with. (As the mirror thread in the TKD forum illustrates.)

connecting with a long and ancient past is an obsession with many styles. yet karate itself is a relatively recent development- the teks, forms, basics, etc which make up the many "styles/systems"-- what's being taught and how it's being taught is of recent history not ancient.

most rational folk can and do find the facts through relatively simple research.

Believing that an ****-kicking bhudda climbed down a mountain some 2000 years ago with the 10 commandments of death written on two stone tablets gives some people a mystical connection to the arts. One that they hope will lead to some grand form of englightenment.

and it all starts with a cheap gi and first month lessons free.
 
Originally posted by jazkiljok

connecting with a long and ancient past is an obsession with many styles. yet karate itself is a relatively recent development- the teks, forms, basics, etc which make up the many "styles/systems"-- what's being taught and how it's being taught is of recent history not ancient.


Really?
How old would you say Karate is then?
 
Originally posted by Yiliquan1


While I have my own personal biases about and against TKD, I will admit that it has in recent years finally come into its own as a martial art. Once the governing bodies changed the forms (which is one of the points of contention I have - where did the "new" forms come from, and do they actually have any meat?), TKD was no longer a watered-down karate style.
As for the forms, you'd have to compare them from the encyclopedia.

Depends on where the meat's supposed to be I suppose. If they're supposed to be leading you towards no contact KO's etc... Um... No.
 
The "meat" is the content of the form, the actual breakdowns that are included in the movements. I don't consider simple "punch/kick/block" combinations to be the limit to a form's breakdown, either.

So my concern is, how much "meat" is there in the new forms? Are throws, joint locks, vital point striking, etc., all included in the forms, or are they "stand on one leg while roundhouse kicking in a 360 degree circle" forms that just showcase spectacular kicks with no real combative application?

Not meaning to cast a bad light on TKD, but it is not generally known for its shining reputation as a combat heavy art...

Gambarimasu.
 
Originally posted by Yiliquan1

The "meat" is the content of the form, the actual breakdowns that are included in the movements. I don't consider simple "punch/kick/block" combinations to be the limit to a form's breakdown, either.

So my concern is, how much "meat" is there in the new forms? Are throws, joint locks, vital point striking, etc., all included in the forms, or are they "stand on one leg while roundhouse kicking in a 360 degree circle" forms that just showcase spectacular kicks with no real combative application?
I can only comment on ITF forms, but generally, they do have those elements built into them, and there's not a whole lot of flash/fancy kicking going on in the forms in general.

If you can ever get a look at Gen Choi's TKD encyclopedia, it talks about breakdowns along the lines of hold breaks, pressure point strikes, throws etc and it probably covers them better than I'd be able to. ;)
 
Back in 1977, I had the opportunity to purchase General Choi's book (long out of print, now)...I wish I had...he clearly outlines the history (the REAL history) of Tae Kwon Do...but, alas, I was but a PFC in the US Army and the book cost $48 (a huge price, in those days) and I was simply trying to keep food on the table.

:asian:
chufeng
 
Hello everyone,

I have a old copy of Choi Hong Hi's book published in 1965. My father bought it while on leave from active duty in 1965 or 66 in New York City. This old copy has both Okinawan forms and the forms Choi created in 1950 listed and pictured. Choi's "Blue Cottage" forms from 1950 were certainly based on his karate studies in Japan.

Most of the Korean MA students were studying Okinawan and Chinese forms before the 1950's in Korea. When Choi made up the new forms and put labels on them, he used titles that had significance to something from Korean historical things, people, or events.

Before the WTF:

In December 1967, the Korean Taekwondo Association held a clinic and gave out pamplets, teaching and introducing "New" Black Belt forms: Koryo, Tae Baek, KumGang, Ship Jin, Jee Tae, etc.

"Koryo Hyung" was first featured in America in 1969 in a Karate magazine published in New York City.

In 1973, the same organization(later became WTF), held special clinics in Korea to introduce forms for the "gup"(under black belt) students of Taekwondo, the "Palgue" forms.

That same year a Korean, Master Kim Pyung-Soo, published a book through Ohara Publications in AMerica, that taught the first three Palgue forms, as they were originally taught at the clinics. You can still buy this book, it has an orange cover with a Korean performing a flying side kick, and is titled, "Palgue 1-2-3 of Taekwondo Hyung."

There was lots of jealousy in the new WTF that Master Kim published this book, instead of someone on their board - Master Kim was from the teachings of the early kwans in Korea (Chang Moo Kwan & Kang Duk Won) which taught karate & Chuan-fa, which many Korean martial artists in the 60's & 70's thought was unpatriotic. He came to America on January 16, 1968 to preserve the old teachings, and escape the political pressure to only teach taekwondo.

So, in 1974 the WTF introduced new "gup" level form requirements, "TaeGuek." These were supposed to replace the "Palgue" forms. Also, introduced was a new "Koryo" form, because the WTF found out the Master Kim had introduced "Koryo Hyung" in 1969 to the magazine in New York.

Grandmaster Kim has continues to teach even now, but still preserves the karate and chuan-fa forms of his teachers. He has continued to include the Palgue and Black Belt forms in his curiculum. He teaches the original 1967 black belt forms at 3rd-1st gup. Students learn 3-5 forms per belt level.


Hope this helps with some of your Taekwondo form questions.

Sincerely,

R. McLain
 
A programme I recently watched on sattelite tv accused Gen.Choi of basic robbery. It mentioned that the General practised Shotokan up to 2nd Dan, but basically just rearranged the Shotokan he knew and used his military influence to call it Taekwon Do.

Apparently he initiated Tkd just to get one up on the Japanese, he even allegedly tried to convince Mas Oyama to return to Korea and champion the Tkd cause. It is believed Gen.Choi had a history of inciting resistance in his school days, during the war and with Tkd. But it was his life and how he used it was his business. Nobodies perfect!!

Tkd has become an enigma for most people. Most Karate styles have a Shotokan influence, Jeet Kune Do has big Wing Chun influence and the new art Choi Kwang Do is influenced by Taekwon Do which was influenced by Shotokan which was influenced by........you could go on all day.

The present is all that matters and what the individual should practice what he/she enjoys regardless of their arts history.

One mans tea is another mans poison
 
I think any TKD player who doesn't realize at this point that TKD is adapted Shotokan, is either a novice - still swallowing there instructors rhetoric, or one of the many deluded MAists who buy into the " my art is the true method" line of horse crap.
As I have stated before, my personal training has included many years of both Shotokan and TKD. Over the last 23 years, I have fought, trained and studied with many practitioners of numerous styles.My conclusion is that if one can fight - that is to say you have speed, strength, athletic ability, balls,ect. then the minor differences taught in most striking arts make little difference.
As to poomse/kata, I find nothing wrong with new forms being developed - I don't believe that fighters/teachers/masters/whatever are inherently 'better' just because they are dead! However, I wish the WTF had merely added to the base of handed down Karate kata, rather than replacing them. Fortunately I am at a point where I simply do both - that's one of the benefits of being an old timer (even if I'm only in my early 30's!).
"stand on one leg while roundhouse kicking in a 360 degree circle" forms that just showcase spectacular kicks with no real combative application?
- to my knowledge there is only one WTF form that contains round kicks, Taeguek six I believe, if I remember correctly a round kick was added to a Shotokan kata at one point ( it was later removed I believe ). It is interesting to note that two of the intermediate WTF Dan level forms have no kicks what so ever, Keumgang and Sipjin specifically. While most other black belt poomse use front and side kick tech. only.
The WTF has done its best to distance itself from Japanese Karate. My personal belief is that the ultimate goal was to gain Olympic acceptance - not for Karate, Kempo,ect, but for TKD and TKD alone. They have accomplished this and the growth rate ( read - financial benefit) cannot be denied:EG:
 
Originally posted by Cthulhu
A lot of the TKD schools in existence nowadays (particularly after the formation of the WTF) no longer teach the Okinawan kata (pyong ahn/Pinan, chul ki/Naihanchi, bal-sek/Bassai, Chinto, and possibly others).

Typically, older TKD blackbelts know the Okinawan forms and may even teach them, but many of the newer blackbelts don't even know that TKD once included Okinawan forms in their curriculum.

I trained with a TKD instructor for a little bit and he taught the Pinan forms in his class. Students in his class from other (and newer) TKD organizations had never even heard of the forms before, much less knew them...and several were blackbelts.

If I recall, around the time of the formation of the WTF, a concious effort was made to purge all Okinawan forms from the TKD curriculum and keep/add forms that were Korean.

Cthulhu

As an addemdum to this post...Most new practioner of TKD does not even know the art that they belong to. When asked what style ..The common response is "WTF" or "ITF" or "I don't know".

I would correct them by stating that ITF or WTF is a federation not a style. Style is Oh Do kwan, Jidokwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan...etc..

So much for national pride,, :shrug:
 
I have been researching alot of this lately myself due to my current situation. It's a wonder I even ran accross this post.

In my city (Muncie, In) the majority of all the Karate / TKD schools here are reffered to as American Freestyle Karate or TKD. My school is reffered to as Korean Karate within itself. We traced our roots back to an early WWII soldier who learnt TKD from an IK Lee while stationed in Korea. He brought this back not really knowing much on the history side himself. So over the years it was never really questioned until recently. In our school we even though it may be reffered to as TKD we use Japanese term's. Our forms/Kata are the Pin-an forms, nihanchi sho and bassai sho kata. From Shotokan. We have one other form which is messed up in the name im tryng to fix. The kata ToSan, which is the Same form ran in Korean called "won hyo". Not the original ITF DOSAN. (confusing) what we've been able to figure out is during the Japanese occupation of Korea during WWII the Japanese would not allow the Koreans to speak thier home language they tried to overthrow and teach them Japanes and if anyone was caught speaking Korean they were imprissoned or killed. Hence the reason for our using Japanese terms. When the Korean taught the American Soldiers in return for whatever they agreed on, they gave them just the bare essentials of what they could. When the American's liberated Korea from JAPAN in WWII, still unsure what was going on, the Koreans just continued teaching the US Soldiers a mix of Shotokan and TKD hence the confusion arrised. When the Soldiers came back to the states to teach they taught what they learnt under the impression they were correctly taught. With no guidence or rank structure in the states many promoted themselves and gave themselves ranks, developed thier own orginizations etc, etc..... When Jhoon Rhee arived and the Korean Kukkiwon Federation started to send Koreans over for whatever reasons and began teaching TKD to the americans many older ex-soldiers refused to fall under that lineage or thier rules and continued to teach generation, after generation and pass on a mixed form of Korean Karate that in many states is still passed along today. IS IT RIGHT OR WRONG is the question?
 

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