The begining of the Kukkiwon

terryl965

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Here is a list of account, let see if we all can agree or if it is even close.

August 7, 1978 can be considered a historical date for Taekwondo,
because it was on this day that the Kwans finally compromised and
closed the Kwan system, with a Proclamation signed finalizing Kwan
Unification. The following people signed the Proclamation on behalf of
their Kwan:

Kwan #1: CHUN Jung Woong (Song Moo Kwan)
Kwan #2: LEE Kyo Yoon (Han Moo Kwan)
Kwan #3: LEE Nam Suk (Chang Moo Kwan)
Kwan #4: CHOI Nam Do (Moo Duk Kwan)
Kwan #5: KWAK Byung Oh (Oh Do Kwan)
Kwan #6: LEE Kum Hong (Kang Duk Won)
Kwan #7: LEE Yong Woo (Jung Do Kwan)
Kwan #8: LEE Chong Woo (Jidokwan)
Kwan #9: UHM Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan)
Kwan #10: KIM In Suk (Kwan Ri Kwan)

Since 1972, we unified the Taekwondo terminology and poomse in
order to minimize the differences which existed between the different
Kwan. With respect to Dan Promotion Tests, the Sabum in the
individual dojang will recommend the candidates for rank
advancement. We will do our duty to treat everyone as equals and
to work towards a clean administrative procedural system. Because
Taekwondo is our National Sport, we promise to be good leaders
and unify all Taekwondoin throughout the nation. We will close all
Kwan offices and the Chong Bon Kwan will instead coordinate with
the Kukkiwon so that we can keep our administration clean. We
promise to do our part to unify Taekwondo."

The Proclamation was seen as a turning point because Taekwondo
could now work earnestly towards a meaningful unification. LEE
Chong Woo, LEE Byung Ro and KANG Won Sik were the people
who worked hard and did a good job for Kwan Unification, but
there were many more problems to solve.

So what does everyone think ?
 

Brad Dunne

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Well, the initial intentions of the unification where fine, but it dosen't look as if they were kept. The kwans are alive and have been for many years. It's not difficult to see, for there are many instructors who openly state what they teach by using the Kwan name first and then TKD, (ie:Chung Do Kwan TKD / Jido Kwan TKD / Han Moo Kwan TKD, etc). In my opinion, it looks as though there is a movement to refocus upon the heritage of the Kwans as they all taught differently. Even though the unification was to condense the art, it only did so to a minimum degree. The Kukkiwon offers a minimum standard curriculum guide, operative word there being "guide" and the indivadual dojangs have the option to exceed that and I would venture to assume that at least over 90% do exceed those minimums. This leaves lots of room to include any and all of the individual Kwans teachings. In addition to this, some of the Kwans are still issuing their own rank and instructor certifications. It's not mandatory, but rather an offering to the student. You can obtain a dojang cert, a Kwan cert, a Kukkiwon cert, or if the instructor should belong to a different organization, then you can get that cert as well. You want an AAU cert, hey that's another to add to the list. So to sum up all this rhetoric, it really dosen't look like the Kukkiwon has control of anything, or has actually truely mergered the Kwans for the betterment of the art. They became a clearing house for rank and a depository for incoming funds. We have asked this question before, but we'll do so again to illustrate a point. Who needs a Kukkiwon cert? Only those that wish to participate in the internation sport venue of TKD. So in reality, does the rest of the TKD world need it.............NO! So now, what has actually been accomplished?......................You Decide....
 
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terryl965

terryl965

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Brad I fully agree with you a KKW means next to nothing now a days and alot of instructor do not even issue them except for a few srudent that want to play the game. Look at the uSAT and KKW this weekend giving rank to whoever ask for it, the unification has done nothing for the art of TKD. But as far as the history and the thought of what was suppose to be be close?
 

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Brad I fully agree with you a KKW means next to nothing now a days and alot of instructor do not even issue them except for a few srudent that want to play the game. Look at the uSAT and KKW this weekend giving rank to whoever ask for it, the unification has done nothing for the art of TKD. But as far as the history and the thought of what was suppose to be be close?

I'd think Brad's right about the refusal of the Kwans to simply merge into One like five or eight different bottles of the same beer poured simultaneously into a big jug. But one thing that gives a clue, I think, to your question in bold is that, if you look at where the 'living legacy' of the Kwans is most emphasized, as per Brad's post about schools teaching explicitly 'Jido Kwan' or 'Song Moo Kwan' (or whatever) TKD, mostly I suspect you'll find that in North America, not in Korea. To me that says that to some extent, the internationalization of TKD (which the Korean TKD directorate was of course very much hoping for) wound up have the unintended consequence that a lot of people outside Korea rejected the idea of a plain-vanilla TKD, directed top down, the way the KTA/KKW/WTF wanted. Sure, if you're trying to impose uniformity, you can do it, as long as you're recognized as calling the shots, and in Korea, the TKD experiment was strongly government supported and managed from the getgo. But not herewe're a fairly unruly lot and we don't want to be told, from afar, sorry, buddy, but you can't do that any more. Maybe we want to do it that older way, eh?

So in promoting TKD extremely successfully on a global stage, the ROK agencies supposedly running international TKD have gotten, and I think are going to get even more of, a rude awakening: a lot of us here like the way Kwan-era TKD (covering a lot of ground, I know) works. And for that reason, I think that the two Korean TKD establishment goalshomogeneity of the curriculum and the 'world-view' of the art on the one hand, world-wide spread of the art on the otherwind up grinding against each other. Once it leaves your borders, you're no longer in control of it...
 

IcemanSK

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Some folks have also chosen to keep their Kwan identity in addition to their KKW identity. Not just my branch of Chung Do Kwan, but others as well, have maintained both CDK & KKW roots. For us, I believe it's easier due to GM Uhm being the head of both groups. As has been said, perhaps it's easier to maintain both relationships abroad than in Korea. Less "pressure to conform" perhaps.

I also think of folks like GM Son, Duk Sung who came to the US in 1963 & wanted nothing to do with unifying anything. As far as he was concerned, he was teaching TKD CDK & that was that. I'm sure there were other folks that had a similiar feeling or reasoning why they didn't join on the KKW bandwagon.
 

CDKJudoka

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I am in one of the schools that WASN'T absorbed into the KKW. We are one of the only CDK schools in the east coast, AFAIK, and up until 2000, all of of the instructors in our school had Dan certificates Signed by GM Lee, Won Kuk. I know my GMs 9th Dan cert was signed by Lee in 1982.
 

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Does anyone have more information on the history of the kwans, who started them etc. Sort of like a family tree that traces them back to the beginning?
 

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Does anyone have more information on the history of the kwans, who started them etc. Sort of like a family tree that traces them back to the beginning?

Look at Dakin Burdick's and Erik Madis' papers:


Burdick, Dakin. 1997. 'People and events of Taekwondo's formative years. Journal of Asian Martial Arts'.

Burdick, Dakin. 2000. 'People and events of Taekwondo's formative years'. [expanded version of the 1997 JAMA article], available at http://www.budosportcapelle.nl/gesch.html

Madis, Eric. 2003. 'The evolution of Taekwondo from Japanese Karate'. In Martial Arts in the Modern World, ed. by Thomas Green, Prager Publishing.


Everything you want to know about the developments of the Kwans, the who when, and how, is in those three sources.
 
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Daniel Sullivan

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Here's a question: Why not 'taekwondo' used as 'karate' with numerous kwans existing in the same fashion as the numerious ryus? Thus they'd all be taekwondo, but as Brad illustrated, just call themselves by their kwan name? I realize that this kind of kills the need for the Kukkiwon, but that is another topic.

Daniel
 

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Here's a question: Why not 'taekwondo' used as 'karate' with numerous kwans existing in the same fashion as the numerious ryus? Thus they'd all be taekwondo, but as Brad illustrated, just call themselves by their kwan name? I realize that this kind of kills the need for the Kukkiwon, but that is another topic.

Daniel

Next step, we'll see someone invent "Combat Taekwondo". :)

On a serious note, I think we'll see exactly the scenario you describe above. As noted by several posters, people in the US already state proudly what their kwan lineage is. When TKD people ask me what kind of TKD I practiced, I always say "old Jhoon Rhee tae kwon do" or "Tex Kwon Do".
 

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Here's a question: Why not 'taekwondo' used as 'karate' with numerous kwans existing in the same fashion as the numerious ryus? Thus they'd all be taekwondo, but as Brad illustrated, just call themselves by their kwan name? I realize that this kind of kills the need for the Kukkiwon, but that is another topic.

Daniel

I had some ideas about this that I tried to explore in this thread quite a while back. The bottom line is that that wasn't what the ROK military&#8212;which was intent on taking KMAs under its wing, so to speak, from the days of Syngman Rhee on&#8212;wanted. I see the possibility of their doing that as a reflection of a very different role of MA culture in Korea as vs., say, China or Japan, which was one of the things I wanted to get discussion going on in that thread....
 

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The Proclamation was seen as a turning point because Taekwondo
could now work earnestly towards a meaningful unification.
So what does everyone think ?

It was a turning point for TKd for sure.. but not for that reason! :uhyeah:

Stuart
 
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terryl965

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Next step, we'll see someone invent "Combat Taekwondo". :)

On a serious note, I think we'll see exactly the scenario you describe above. As noted by several posters, people in the US already state proudly what their kwan lineage is. When TKD people ask me what kind of TKD I practiced, I always say "old Jhoon Rhee tae kwon do" or "Tex Kwon Do".


Sorry we have someone here that calls it Combat Tae Kwon Do the real art.
 

StuartA

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Come on Stuart explain Sir....
Sorry, should have read it a bit better.. I thought it refered to the formation of the WTF, which was obviously the day many things were set into motion regarding Ch'ang hon TKD and its subsequent future in history.

Anyway, with my ignorance hopefully forgiven, wasnt that the day when the melting pot started and what was once martial became sport!

Or am I getting things mixed up here, as WTF history is not my strong point!

Stuart
 

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Terry said:

Sorry we have someone here that calls it Combat Tae Kwon Do the real art.

No, no ... you're getting it all wrong. The REAL art is Combat-TKD. With a hyphen. ;)
 

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Sorry, should have read it a bit better.. I thought it refered to the formation of the WTF, which was obviously the day many things were set into motion regarding Ch'ang hon TKD and its subsequent future in history.

Anyway, with my ignorance hopefully forgiven, wasnt that the day when the melting pot started and what was once martial became sport!

Or am I getting things mixed up here, as WTF history is not my strong point!

Stuart

These are kinda slippery concepts for me to grapple with.
I try to understand it as best I can, but there's so much
contradictory information out there that I can never be
sure how much of it I have right.


I believe this thread is about the unification to form KKW, which
is the central offices of the Korean-government-sanctioned
oversight body for the world-wide administration, maintenance,
promotion, and teaching of the art of Tae Kwon Do.

It is not about the formation of WTF, which is the (closely-associated)
Korean-government-sanction body for the administration and
promotion of the competitive sport based on TKD (especially, but
not exclusively, that related to the Olympics).

The decisions of the earlier-mentioned kwans to unite themselves
under the authority of the KKW was an attempt to put a single
face on the art to facilitate interaction between the various kwans
and between the kwans and the government. Without unification,
there could be no governmental oversight/regulation; without
the govermental oversight, there could be no official recognition;
and without official recognition, the political clashes between
the kwans and the state would continue to cripple the kwans'
ability to operate. Seoul basically told them "Either you start
speaking to us with one voice, or we will silence all of you."

The purpose of KKW wasn't to elimate individual kwan identity,
or to homogenize them into a single style. It was to create
a common template for equivalence between the kwans. Sure,
some traditions were modified to conform to the shared guidelines
(moreso for some kwans, I'm sure, than others), but the intent
was not that identity would be sacrificed for it.

The desired result would be more uniformity in grading (BB, anyway)
across kwan lines and, to a lesser extent, in techniques. (Of course,
we have seen a lot of dispute over whether that has happened in
any meaningful way.) Additionally, it would provide a common basis
for schools to interact without so much prideful bickering about
whose is the best.

No end of confusion comes, though, because KKW is not the name
of an organization. The organization itself, as far as the Korean
government is concerned, is "Tae Kwon Do". Thus, any schools
calling their art "Tae Kwon Do", but whose blackbelts have not
been certified under the authority of KKW and who do not follow
KKW cirriculum guidelines are not really practicing TKD and are,
in essence, infringing on South Korea's trademark.

There is too much tendency to assume that WTF, by having
a name that is similar in structure to "ITF", must similarly be
a form of TKD. It is not. WTF is not even a martial art. It has
no schools, no style, no forms, no techniques. Just a set of
regulations for competition and a body to oversee them.

Then there is also tendency to assume that KKW is a countpart
to ITF. Well, yes and no. It does oversee what it considers
to be a single martial art, with set forms and, to an extent,
set techniques. But it is comprised of multiple kwans--each
potentially representing what could arguably be considered
its own distinct TKD-family martial art. Unlike ITF, KKW has
not had a single or very small number of guiding figures
shared across the organization throughout most of its
existence who was solely responsible for determining what
was and wasn't to be considered canon.

Am I completely mistaken on what has gone on?

Dan
 

exile

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The decisions of the earlier-mentioned kwans to unite themselves
under the authority of the KKW was an attempt to put a single
face on the art to facilitate interaction between the various kwans
and between the kwans and the government.

The Kwans did not 'decide' to unify, except in the sense that you 'decide' to give your trash collection contract to Tony Soprano. It was decided for them, according to the best-documented and researched KMA history, by the Korean military and the Rhee dictatorship (more or less interchangeable concepts) in order to provide a standardized teaching curriculum for the Korean military which&#8212;unlike any other military in the world, at that time&#8212;had decided to use an Asian TMA as the combative system for their infantry forces. See the papers

Burdick, Dakin. 1997. 'People and events of Taekwondo's formative years.' Journal of Asian Martial Arts.

Burdick, Dakin. 2000. 'People and events of Taekwondo's formative years'. [expanded version of the 1997 JAMA article], available at http://www.budosportcapelle.nl/gesch.html

Madis, Eric. 2003. 'The evolution of Taekwondo from Japanese Karate'. In Martial Arts in the Modern World, ed. by Thomas Green, Prager Publishing.

already referenced for documentation for this fairly important point. Unification was imposed top-down on the Kwans by the military dictatorship in power in the Korean War era.


Without unification,
there could be no governmental oversight/regulation; without
the govermental oversight, there could be no official recognition;
and without official recognition, the political clashes between
the kwans and the state would continue to cripple the kwans'
ability to operate. Seoul basically told them "Either you start
speaking to us with one voice, or we will silence all of you."

I find this a rather strange formulation of the problem&#8212;the Kwans were doing fine on their own. The Chung Do Kwan had in excess of 5000 members. How exactly was their ability to operate impaired, any more than the ability of various schools of Karate in Japan to operate, or FMA schools in the Philipines, or... ? Seoul told them to unify because the military government saw the Korean MAs as an important combat asset&#8212;which should be no surprise, given who one of its ranking officers was, eh? Simply as MA schools, the Kwans could happily have continued their independent status in perpetuity. If you want some insight into how the military regime viewed MAists, read carefully Madis' account of how Lee Won Kuk was persecuted, falsely accused and imprisoned by the ROK government for turning down the 'request' by Rhee's head of the Korean national security police for Lee to in effect turn over the Chung Do Kwan to Rhee's own political party to use as they saw fit, in exchange for which, Lee was to be appointed Minister of Internal Affairs! A problem with the Kwans' functioning?? The only problem the Kwans had was the military dictatorship.

The purpose of KKW wasn't to elimate individual kwan identity,
or to homogenize them into a single style. It was to create
a common template for equivalence between the kwans. Sure,
some traditions were modified to conform to the shared guidelines
(moreso for some kwans, I'm sure, than others), but the intent
was not that identity would be sacrificed for it.

The desired result would be more uniformity in grading (BB, anyway)
across kwan lines and, to a lesser extent, in techniques. (Of course,
we have seen a lot of dispute over whether that has happened in
any meaningful way.) Additionally, it would provide a common basis
for schools to interact without so much prideful bickering about
whose is the best.

Would you mind providing some documentation for these statements? And would you please provide some shred of evidence that having a diversity of approaches and competition amongst them produces an inferior result, compared to top-down imposition of curriculum, technical standards and view of the purpose of the art (increasingly, over time, to promote the Korean image on the world stage, and to hell with whether or not it maintains its effectiveness as an all-out fighting system)?

I'd strongly suggest you take a look at Rob Redmond's essay at his 24FightingChickens site, about the occasional suggestions to do something similar to Karate, which so far as I can see, has absolutely flourished under lack of scrutiny or imposed uniformity from the Japanese government.
 
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GlassJaw

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The Kwans did not 'decide' to unify, except in the sense that you 'decide' to give your trash collection contract to Tony Soprano. It was decided for them,

Indeed, that is perhaps more accurate. Thank you.

I find this a rather strange formulation of the problemthe Kwans were doing fine on their own.
Yes. I find it strange, too.

Would you mind providing some documentation for these statements?
Documentation that that is my understanding of their motives?
Okay, how's this: That is my understanding of their motives.

In small part, based on a private conversation with GM Park Hae Man
in '07 (who didn't seem exactly forthcoming when I asked him about
the role of kwan identity post-unification, but that may have been
more due to my ineffectively expressing myself through the inexperienced
translator who knew very little about TKD), but mostly on trying to fit
together little pieces of random information I've encountered over
the years. Unfortunately, I cannot point to the exact sources from
which that image formed, I can only say that that is the one I have.
Thus my request for clarification from the forum.

And would you please provide some shred of evidence that having a diversity of approaches and competition amongst them produces an inferior result,
Um...no. I have no evidence of such, nor have I claimed it to
be the case. You seem to be mistaking my perception of others'
views as my own. I have perhaps been a bit careless in my wording.

I'd strongly suggest you take a look at Rob Redmond's essay at his 24FightingChickens site, about the occasional suggestions to do something similar to Karate
Ah, thanks for that. I have not seen it before.

Dan
 

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Dan, one of the things that drives a lot of us crazy in the KMA community is this relentless insistence (which you often find in official ROK TKD stuff) that the state of Korean karate (as it was during the Kwan era) was 'dire' and the whole thing was untenable and so on. Don't let them put one over on you in this area! The fact is, the Korean striking arts were just getting up and running, and were in the usual boisterous 'mine-is-longer-than-yours' early phaseand this wasn't something unique to the Korean peninsulathe kakedimishi challenge story had become a clich矇 in the Japanese MAs by the time Kurosawa and other gifted film makers started revisiting the feudal castle era, but a clich矇 only because it was true! And we find some evidence of it in the early history of Okinawan karate as well (Itosu's famous fight with Tomoyose in 1856, where according to local tradition, the sainted Itosu went out looking for the Naha loudmouth who's been dissing the Shuri style). I'm kind of a fundamentalist on this point, I suppose, but my own take is, you only get superior results when all contenders are allowed to clash on an equal footing, and may the best theory/analysis/technique/system/whatever win. There has to be dispute, there has to be contention, in order to pressure test the alternatives, no? Otherwise, we are very likely going to be missing the best solution, the true insight.

Now in virtually every other TMA, you get this kind of chaotic, expansive development of local stylesjust look at China, the taproot for so many other MA traditions in Asia. But haven't you ever wondered just why it was that in Korea, alone of all of them, a governmental monopoly and control of the development of the arts was put into effect? I mean, these people had been fighting with each other for thousands of years.... why was the development of the empty-handed fighting arts in this one part of the world dictated by state apparatchiks? It sure as hell wasn't because Korea was the sole dictatorship in the massive region in which what we call the TMAs developed. Something else is involved... I have some ideas about this, but it would take a lot of time and research to back them up satisfactorily, and I'm not sure it could be firmly established even so. The main point that I think you need to always consider when dealing with the KMAs is, TKD is viewed in Korea as a crucial marketing tool and a very high-valued component of the South Korean 'brand'. You aren't going to get anything like a detached, candid story from anything or anyone connected with the ROK so far as the earlier history of Korean karate and TKD, or TSD, are concerned. You have to be very skeptical about the 'origin myths' that emanate from theretheir sole purpose is to legitimize the current setup.
 

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