The Korean roots of TKD

SahBumNimRush

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The first question is what was it that your instructor's dad pass down to him? If it was strictly unarmed combat, was it hanpil, kwon bup, taekkyon or was it karate that the father may have learned?

If for no other reason than to give me insight into early KMA's, it would be interesting to know the answer to that question, but as you stated previously, it was likely done without a name.
 

miguksaram

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If for no other reason than to give me insight into early KMA's, it would be interesting to know the answer to that question, but as you stated previously, it was likely done without a name.
True, it may have just been his own fighting concepts. Again, for the record, I am not dismissing that family training did not happen in Korea. I am just saying that it would not be as wide spread as some would have you believe.
 

Kong Soo Do

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If for no other reason than to give me insight into early KMA's, it would be interesting to know the answer to that question, but as you stated previously, it was likely done without a name.

It may have been done without a name, or even perhaps just a family name. But it would have had a source. And it would be interesting, even if from just a historical perspective, to know the source(s). Further, would the source(s) have changed with the region? We know in China that the arts differed from the northern parts of China to the southern parts, at least in some regards. Would/could this have been the case in Korea as well? If Okinawans learned from the Chinese and brought it back, why not the Koreans during various parts of their history? While one or more Koreans could have traveled via ship to southern Chinese ports, those in northern Korea could have made the trip via a land route. For that matter, vice-versa. The point is that there could have been much taught father to son that while not officially sponsered or recognized, still could have existed. Even with the Japanese occupation which would have driven such training underground, martial arts in that era was a personal, secret thing not to be shared lightly. These factors could have limited the passing of these arts severely or perhaps even drove them to extinction (near).

From a purely statistical perspective, I'd find it unlikely that the Okinawans imported Chinese arts but the Koreans didn't at least have similiar influence on a father-to-son (or close knit group) basis. Although travel wasn't as speedy as today, we're still talking a close geographical area. Theorectical of course, but interesting to contemplate.
 

miguksaram

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It may have been done without a name, or even perhaps just a family name. But it would have had a source. And it would be interesting, even if from just a historical perspective, to know the source(s). Further, would the source(s) have changed with the region? We know in China that the arts differed from the northern parts of China to the southern parts, at least in some regards. Would/could this have been the case in Korea as well? If Okinawans learned from the Chinese and brought it back, why not the Koreans during various parts of their history?
Korea, unlike China was a bit more consistent in its geography which is mostly mountainous. Plus, again, there was very little in the ways of a systematic style of unarmed combat that was utilized (exceptions being mentioned before of taekkyon, ssirum). The differences would lie in actual military combat systems derived from various kingdoms of Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche. These systems, we very heavily influenced by Chinese military arts. This is seen through several manuals such as Muyedobotongji, Muyejebo, and a couple of other manuals whose names I can't recall at this moment. Kwon-bup, which is very similar to Chuan'fa was included in these studies, however, more emphasis was geared towards armed combat.
While one or more Koreans could have traveled via ship to southern Chinese ports, those in northern Korea could have made the trip via a land route. For that matter, vice-versa. The point is that there could have been much taught father to son that while not officially sponsered or recognized, still could have existed.Even with the Japanese occupation which would have driven such training underground, martial arts in that era was a personal, secret thing not to be shared lightly. These factors could have limited the passing of these arts severely or perhaps even drove them to extinction (near).
Again, while possible, it is very highly unlikely due to the culture of Korea during that time frame.
 
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Rumy73

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Korea, unlike China was a bit more consistent in its geography which is mostly mountainous. Plus, again, there was very little in the ways of a systematic style of unarmed combat that was utilized (exceptions being mentioned before of taekkyon, ssirum). The differences would lie in actual military combat systems derived from various kingdoms of Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche. These systems, we very heavily influenced by Chinese military arts. This is seen through several manuals such as Muyedobotongji, Muyejebo, and a couple of other manuals whose names I can't recall at this moment. Kwon-bup, which is very similar to Chuan'fa was included in these studies, however, more emphasis was geared towards armed combat.

Again, while possible, it is very highly unlikely due to the culture of Korea during that time frame.

My reason for starting this post was that Koreans are ultimately the owner of their martial arts.


Most of the commentary and positioning concerning the level of that influence Japan has had on Korea is faulty. People take the tack that since A looks like B, B is just A with a different name. More specifically Taekwondo was copied from Karate, because it had elements that look(ed) similar. This is an oversimplification and culturally insensitive at best. Taekwondo is most likely a coalescence of many things. It likely mainly pulls from historic Korean practices, and was enhanced by drawing from Japanese and Chinese modalities. Neighbors influence one another! Taekwondo has not remained static; it has evolved greatly since its inception after WWII. It will likely continue to develop.

Understanding how outside ideas influence cultures is fascinating. It is often mistake to think that when a culture adopts an outside idea, it adopts it wholesale. It is also a mistake to believe that only stronger cultures impact weaker ones: Imperial Japan over Korea. I imagine the Japanese learned more than just a thing or two while in Korea.
 

miguksaram

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My reason for starting this post was that Koreans are ultimately the owner of their martial arts.


Most of the commentary and positioning concerning the level of that influence Japan has had on Korea is faulty. People take the tack that since A looks like B, B is just A with a different name. More specifically Taekwondo was copied from Karate, because it had elements that look(ed) similar. This is an oversimplification and culturally insensitive at best. Taekwondo is most likely a coalescence of many things. It likely mainly pulls from historic Korean practices, and was enhanced by drawing from Japanese and Chinese modalities. Neighbors influence one another! Taekwondo has not remained static; it has evolved greatly since its inception after WWII. It will likely continue to develop.

I think I see where you are coming from but let me try to say it in another way and let me know if I am correct in my interpretation. What TKD is today, has become an indigenous Korean art. While its beginnings may have stemmed from other countries, it has since evolved into it something entirely different and to say that today's TKD is just rehashed Japanese karate would be incorrect. It would be like saying today automobile is just a rehashed horse and buggy. While the auto concept may have stemmed from the horse and buggy, it has become something entirely different. Am I on the right track?

Understanding how outside ideas influence cultures is fascinating. It is often mistake to think that when a culture adopts an outside idea, it adopts it wholesale. It is also a mistake to believe that only stronger cultures impact weaker ones: Imperial Japan over Korea. I imagine the Japanese learned more than just a thing or two while in Korea.

There were many exchanges between Japan and Korea during the 3 kingdom periods. Many artisan skills that were developed by Korea was transported to Japan during these exchanges. Example would be rice paddy cultivation, architectural and arts.
 
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Rumy73

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I think I see where you are coming from but let me try to say it in another way and let me know if I am correct in my interpretation. What TKD is today, has become an indigenous Korean art. While its beginnings may have stemmed from other countries, it has since evolved into it something entirely different and to say that today's TKD is just rehashed Japanese karate would be incorrect. It would be like saying today automobile is just a rehashed horse and buggy. While the auto concept may have stemmed from the horse and buggy, it has become something entirely different. Am I on the right track?



There were many exchanges between Japan and Korea during the 3 kingdom periods. Many artisan skills that were developed by Korea was transported to Japan during these exchanges. Example would be rice paddy cultivation, architectural and arts.

Sort of. I see it as a mix of traditional Korean arts and outside influences that have evolved into something unique to Korea.
 
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Rumy73

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I think I see where you are coming from but let me try to say it in another way and let me know if I am correct in my interpretation. What TKD is today, has become an indigenous Korean art. While its beginnings may have stemmed from other countries, it has since evolved into it something entirely different and to say that today's TKD is just rehashed Japanese karate would be incorrect. It would be like saying today automobile is just a rehashed horse and buggy. While the auto concept may have stemmed from the horse and buggy, it has become something entirely different. Am I on the right track?



There were many exchanges between Japan and Korea during the 3 kingdom periods. Many artisan skills that were developed by Korea was transported to Japan during these exchanges. Example would be rice paddy cultivation, architectural and arts.

For the second of your points, yes!
 

Gorilla

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Taekwondo is Shotokan Karate that has grown up in Korea becoming a Korean Art. It is still close enough to it's begining to similar in many ways to Shotokan!

As time moves on it will become more and more unique!

Unless of course they start to influence each other! Which I think might happen!
 

ralphmcpherson

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I have to agree gorilla, I have been doing shotokan for a while now (along with tkd) and I have found the transition almost seamless. They are very very similar.
 

miguksaram

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Taekwondo is Shotokan Karate that has grown up in Korea becoming a Korean Art. It is still close enough to it's begining to similar in many ways to Shotokan!

As time moves on it will become more and more unique!

Unless of course they start to influence each other! Which I think might happen!
To say it is just Shotokan karate actually leaves out other influences. You have Chuan'fa, Shudokan (which are verified), and taekkyon (not verified) influences as well. Also, I should add to my point that the TKD that I refer to is KKW TKD, and not ITF TKD. KKW TKD as an art has become its own thing. While forms look similar to that of karate they are not karate forms. Karate has become its own art, yet there are some forms that are similar to chinese boxing forms, yet, we do not say that karate is just rehashed kung fu. It has become its own thing as well.

For ralphmcpherson, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you study the ITF TKD? If so that would explain the almost seamless transition between shotokan and TKD. ITF people correct me if I'm wrong, but ITF has kept a very close tie to its roots of karate at least closer than that of KKW. (Note: This is not to say one is better than the other just trying to point out a difference is all).
 

Gorilla

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Agreed other influences but the major one is Shotokan Karate!
To say it is just Shotokan karate actually leaves out other influences. You have Chuan'fa, Shudokan (which are verified), and taekkyon (not verified) influences as well. Also, I should add to my point that the TKD that I refer to is KKW TKD, and not ITF TKD. KKW TKD as an art has become its own thing. While forms look similar to that of karate they are not karate forms. Karate has become its own art, yet there are some forms that are similar to chinese boxing forms, yet, we do not say that karate is just rehashed kung fu. It has become its own thing as well.For ralphmcpherson, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you study the ITF TKD? If so that would explain the almost seamless transition between shotokan and TKD. ITF people correct me if I'm wrong, but ITF has kept a very close tie to its roots of karate at least closer than that of KKW. (Note: This is not to say one is better than the other just trying to point out a difference is all).
 

clfsean

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Taekwondo is Shotokan Karate that has grown up in Korea becoming a Korean Art. It is still close enough to it's begining to similar in many ways to Shotokan!

As time moves on it will become more and more unique!

Unless of course they start to influence each other! Which I think might happen!

Back in 80's I would train with my best friend at his Shotokan school. When it was forms practice time, the only time we deviated was when he did Tekki kata, I didn't & my kicks were better. Otherwise my Pyung-ahns were almost identical to his Heians.
 

miguksaram

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Back in 80's I would train with my best friend at his Shotokan school. When it was forms practice time, the only time we deviated was when he did Tekki kata, I didn't & my kicks were better. Otherwise my Pyung-ahns were almost identical to his Heians.
That would be because the Pyung-ahns were based off of Heinans. If I remember correctly GM Hwang Ki interpreted them from a book and the worked with GM Lee Won-kuk as well, prior to the formation of TKD so the forms would have been Shotokan forms.
 

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For ralphmcpherson, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you study the ITF TKD? If so that would explain the almost seamless transition between shotokan and TKD. ITF people correct me if I'm wrong, but ITF has kept a very close tie to its roots of karate at least closer than that of KKW. (Note: This is not to say one is better than the other just trying to point out a difference is all).

I think this is a reasonable position. The roots of ITF and KKW TKD are if not totally at least primarily identical. The influence of Karate can certainly be seen in the Chang Hon tul. I also think it's true that you can see a greater influence of Karate in the Palgwe poomsae (the original KKW forms) than in the Taegeuk poomsae. My understanding has always been that changing the forms was done for many reasons, but that two of those were to make TKD 'more Korean' and to develop forms with input from all of the original Kwans, since developers of the Palgwe poomsae did not include the Moo Duk Kwan or one other (sorry, memory fails me...).

That would be because the Pyung-ahns were based off of Heinans. If I remember correctly GM Hwang Ki interpreted them from a book and the worked with GM Lee Won-kuk as well, prior to the formation of TKD so the forms would have been Shotokan forms.

There's always been a lot of debate about how much of the forms were taken from books, but it's pretty obvious that the Pyung-ahn and Heinan forms are the same.
 

ralphmcpherson

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To say it is just Shotokan karate actually leaves out other influences. You have Chuan'fa, Shudokan (which are verified), and taekkyon (not verified) influences as well. Also, I should add to my point that the TKD that I refer to is KKW TKD, and not ITF TKD. KKW TKD as an art has become its own thing. While forms look similar to that of karate they are not karate forms. Karate has become its own art, yet there are some forms that are similar to chinese boxing forms, yet, we do not say that karate is just rehashed kung fu. It has become its own thing as well.

For ralphmcpherson, please correct me if I'm wrong, but you study the ITF TKD? If so that would explain the almost seamless transition between shotokan and TKD. ITF people correct me if I'm wrong, but ITF has kept a very close tie to its roots of karate at least closer than that of KKW. (Note: This is not to say one is better than the other just trying to point out a difference is all).
No I dont do itf tkd. We are independent but do palgwe forms and would best be described as "old school", which is probably why it seems so similar to shotokan karate.
 

Gorilla

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No I dont do itf tkd. We are independent but do palgwe forms and would best be described as "old school", which is probably why it seems so similar to shotokan karate.

The difference for us has been the focus...Shotokan (punching)...TKD(kicking)... The kids train 2hours a day in each...

It is funny the influence has been on both sides...Tkd is influencing the karate school...and karate influencing the Tkd school it has been cool to watch...
 

Gorilla

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I think that Karateka and Taekwondoin should be proud of their shared heritage!!!! It started in war and occupation but out of that debacle came something great TKD!!!!!

it is a truly modern art!!! its major influence is Shotokan but it's has grown up in Korea and it is truly a Korean Art Today!!!! Something that all Koreans can be proud of!!!! I thank them for spreading it to the world!!!
 

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