The Kwans of Taekwondo

NinjaChristian

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I am just wondering what the different kwans of taekwondo are and how they differ from each other.

I practice Chung Do Kwan taekwondo. My dojang has heavy emphasis on kicking but hand techniques are used in conjunction with the kicking; for example, our dojangs signature sparring move is a mid level front legged side kick followed by a side-ward back-fist to the head. Kicks below the belt, joint locks (especially wrist locks and arm bars) and take-downs are taught for self defense but are not used in sparring, and there is very little ground work taught.
 

Earl Weiss

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I am just wondering what the different kwans of taekwondo are and how they differ from each other.

I practice Chung Do Kwan taekwondo. My dojang has heavy emphasis on kicking but hand techniques are used in conjunction with the kicking; for example, our dojangs signature sparring move is a mid level front legged side kick followed by a side-ward back-fist to the head. Kicks below the belt, joint locks (especially wrist locks and arm bars) and take-downs are taught for self defense but are not used in sparring, and there is very little ground work taught.

If memory serves I asked you before and you indicated you did the Chang Hon Pattern system. If my recollection is not correct - apologies. If my recollection is correct then while you may have strong CDK roots, your school has diverted significantly from the system that originally defined CDK. As such, whatever your DoJang emphasizes can differ significantly from what that system emphasized. To determine what made each Kwan different you would first have to determine which sysem it initialy practiced. TSD, KSD, MDK, CDK, and simply see how those systems differed. As in your situation, whatever originaly defined the system used by the Kwan may have changed significantly in 60 years.
 

Ji Yuu

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I am just wondering what the different kwans of taekwondo are and how they differ from each other.

I practice Chung Do Kwan taekwondo. My dojang has heavy emphasis on kicking but hand techniques are used in conjunction with the kicking; for example, our dojangs signature sparring move is a mid level front legged side kick followed by a side-ward back-fist to the head. Kicks below the belt, joint locks (especially wrist locks and arm bars) and take-downs are taught for self defense but are not used in sparring, and there is very little ground work taught.
I love this question. I give the answer from someone who was a member of one. Remember that this answer is based on my own experience and knowledge gained from instructors who taught during the time periods given. It will differ from some of the online sources you may find.

I began Mun Mu Kwan Tae Kwon Do in 1975. I will not go through all the Kwans, but yours, Chun Do Kwan, was the first Kwan and actually created before 1945 while Japan still occupied Korea. The second Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, and the others were founded shortly after the liberation of Korea in 1945. They were not affiliated with one another directly, but did develop TKD under their own founders. Some of these founders had an emphasis in Shotokan. One had an emphasis in Judo/Jujitsu (this would be the Jidu Kwan). Others had a more Kung Fu feel to them. This was the defining element of the different "styles" of TKD. All of them, however, originally trained with Karate/Shotokan kata. Then the Chang Hon pattern set was developed. Eventually, the Kukkiwon was formed and TKD became political, wanting all TKD to be under one roof with one way of practicing, thus eliminating the individual Kwans. Not all Kwans went along with this. The Mun Mu Kwan refused to adhere to the Kukkiwon and continued to teach the way they did when the school was founded in 1966 (it was very Shotokan-like in appearance).

Since 1972, the Kukkiwon has more and more imposed the idea of competitive sport within its schools. This is the reason today people view TKD as little more than "foot fencing" than the martial art it began as. Remember, TKD was developed for the Korean military, not for sport. It was later marketed as sport to the western world. But, there were two Kwans which were taught to the Korean Air Force and Navy and to the US Army Special Forces during the 1960's and early 1970's: Mun Mu Kwan and Moo Duk Kwan. The original form of both of these had more hand techniques than kicking. Both incorporated Hap Ki Do in their curriculum. There was also weapons training in TKD (Kobudo) which included a rifle with a fixed bayonet.

So, to answer your question from today's perspective: There really is no difference in the different Kwans today as they have lost most of their uniqueness due to being under the Kukkiwon.

To see the real difference, you need to go back prior to the pre-Kukkiwon days. Hope this answer helps.
 

SahBumNimRush

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I love this question. I give the answer from someone who was a member of one. Remember that this answer is based on my own experience and knowledge gained from instructors who taught during the time periods given. It will differ from some of the online sources you may find.

I began Mun Mu Kwan Tae Kwon Do in 1975. I will not go through all the Kwans, but yours, Chun Do Kwan, was the first Kwan and actually created before 1945 while Japan still occupied Korea. The second Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, and the others were founded shortly after the liberation of Korea in 1945. They were not affiliated with one another directly, but did develop TKD under their own founders. Some of these founders had an emphasis in Shotokan. One had an emphasis in Judo/Jujitsu (this would be the Jidu Kwan). Others had a more Kung Fu feel to them. This was the defining element of the different "styles" of TKD. All of them, however, originally trained with Karate/Shotokan kata. Then the Chang Hon pattern set was developed. Eventually, the Kukkiwon was formed and TKD became political, wanting all TKD to be under one roof with one way of practicing, thus eliminating the individual Kwans. Not all Kwans went along with this. The Mun Mu Kwan refused to adhere to the Kukkiwon and continued to teach the way they did when the school was founded in 1966 (it was very Shotokan-like in appearance).

Since 1972, the Kukkiwon has more and more imposed the idea of competitive sport within its schools. This is the reason today people view TKD as little more than "foot fencing" than the martial art it began as. Remember, TKD was developed for the Korean military, not for sport. It was later marketed as sport to the western world. But, there were two Kwans which were taught to the Korean Air Force and Navy and to the US Army Special Forces during the 1960's and early 1970's: Mun Mu Kwan and Moo Duk Kwan. The original form of both of these had more hand techniques than kicking. Both incorporated Hap Ki Do in their curriculum. There was also weapons training in TKD (Kobudo) which included a rifle with a fixed bayonet.

So, to answer your question from today's perspective: There really is no difference in the different Kwans today as they have lost most of their uniqueness due to being under the Kukkiwon.

To see the real difference, you need to go back prior to the pre-Kukkiwon days. Hope this answer helps

I am from the Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do lineage, as my KJN went with the unification process, supporting the military. My KJN, GM Sok Ho Kang, taught in the military while in Korea in the 60's. We do not include any of the weapons training, but we do focus on the self-defense and fighting skills over sport emphasis. We continue to practice the "old" curriculum, including the Japanese/Okinawan form sets.
 

Ji Yuu

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I am from the Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do lineage, as my KJN went with the unification process, supporting the military. My KJN, GM Sok Ho Kang, taught in the military while in Korea in the 60's. We do not include any of the weapons training, but we do focus on the self-defense and fighting skills over sport emphasis. We continue to practice the "old" curriculum, including the Japanese/Okinawan form sets.
That is cool! My old instructor was Grandmaster Chae Teok Goh. He trained our Spec Forces in Viet Nam as well as the Korean Navy in the 1960's. Keep the old teaching alive, my friend! That's what I'm trying to do.
 

J. Pickard

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From what I've seen the difference is mostly political. oh, and Ji Do Kwan was originally a judo school, so that's different and interesting. After the "unification" of the kwans there were many individuals who went their own way but still claim to be a part of their original kwan. Chung Do Kwan is a good example. There are basically 3 main lineages (over simplified a bit) to CDK: Son, Choi, and Uhm. The Duk Sung Son lineage uses the TKD name but commonly still train the same forms and methods as in the early TSD days mixed with a few early TKD forms, The Choi lineage tend to follow the Chang Hon system developed by Gen. Choi after he left the KTA, and the Won Kyu Uhm lineage tends to be more sport oriented and follow KKW system. There are also a few That learned TSD (Tang Soo Do) Chung Do Kwan, changed the name to TKD along with all the others, then because politics changed it back to TSD. The PKSA Franchise claims a dual CDK and MDK lineage but use the Tangsoodo name and training methods instead of the more modern TKD. Grossly over simplified, but gives a general idea.
 

Ji Yuu

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I, too, thank you for that info. My lineage is Mun Mu Kwan through Choi. I wish TKD had not gotten so political.
 

SahBumNimRush

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From what I've seen the difference is mostly political. oh, and Ji Do Kwan was originally a judo school, so that's different and interesting. After the "unification" of the kwans there were many individuals who went their own way but still claim to be a part of their original kwan. Chung Do Kwan is a good example. There are basically 3 main lineages (over simplified a bit) to CDK: Son, Choi, and Uhm. The Duk Sung Son lineage uses the TKD name but commonly still train the same forms and methods as in the early TSD days mixed with a few early TKD forms, The Choi lineage tend to follow the Chang Hon system developed by Gen. Choi after he left the KTA, and the Won Kyu Uhm lineage tends to be more sport oriented and follow KKW system. There are also a few That learned TSD (Tang Soo Do) Chung Do Kwan, changed the name to TKD along with all the others, then because politics changed it back to TSD. The PKSA Franchise claims a dual CDK and MDK lineage but use the Tangsoodo name and training methods instead of the more modern TKD. Grossly over simplified, but gives a general idea.

It really does get fragmented quickly. This is a decent resource as well. http://www.moodokwan.com/assets/pdf/HistoryoftheKwans.pdf

It briefly touches on curriculum and forms that were taught. Many were versions of the same forms with different names.
 

SahBumNimRush

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One of the recurring themes, as far as forms go:

2nd Dan Forms (only one form required for performance):

1. Balhan Hyung Dae
2. Chul Ki E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi E Dan)
3. Naebojin E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi E Dan)
4. Kima E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #2)
5. Choong Moo Hyung (General Choi form)

Why so many different names for Naihanchi? Are they all from different styles of Karate? Either way, looks like Naihanchi was a prevalent form. IIRC, Balhan was a Ch'uan Fa form.

3rd Dan Forms:

1. Ship Su Hyung (Jitte)
2. Pal Sae Hyung (Bassai)
3. Yon Bi Hyung (Wanshu)
4. Dan Kwon Hyung (Chuan Fa form)
5. No Pae Hyung (Ro Hai)
6. Ge Baek Hyung (General Choi form)
7. Ul Ji Hyung

A lot more variation at 3rd Dan

4th Dan Forms:

1. Chul Ki Sam Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #3)
2. Naebojin Sam Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #3)
3. Kima Sam Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #3)
4. Ja Un Hyung; Jin Soo Hyung
5. Am Hak Hyung (Chinto)
6. Jin Dong Hyung
7. Sam Il Hyung (ITF form)
8. Jang Kwon Hyung (Chuan Fa form)

Once again, we see Naihanchi as a prevalent form set.

5th Dan Forms:

1. Kong Sang Kun Hyung
2. Kwan Kong Hyung (Kong Sang Kun)
3. Oh Ship Sa Hyung
4. Ship Sam Hyung (ITF form)
5. Ban Wol Hyung
6. Pal Ki Kwon Hyung (Chuan Fa form)

In summary, by the first KTA test, it looks like there was quite a varied hyung curriculum within the various kwans, but there was also a lot of overlap of the same root form with different names.

I practice, Bassai, Chinto, Naihanchi 1-3, Kong Sang Kun, Ship Soo, Jion, Seisan, Wanshu, and Rohai (with the latter five no longer part of our core curriculum as an organization).

Do any of you practice any of the above mentioned forms?
 

dancingalone

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One of the recurring themes, as far as forms go:

2nd Dan Forms (only one form required for performance):

1. Balhan Hyung Dae
2. Chul Ki E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi E Dan)
3. Naebojin E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi E Dan)
4. Kima E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #2)
5. Choong Moo Hyung (General Choi form)

Why so many different names for Naihanchi? Are they all from different styles of Karate? Either way, looks like Naihanchi was a prevalent form. IIRC, Balhan was a Ch'uan Fa form.
I think it has to do with the Shotokan influence yet again. You probably know Gichin Funakoshi or certainly someone from the Shotokan school starting referencing the Naihanchi forms as Kibadachi (horse riding stance/calvalry riding stance/horse depending on the translation I see) while still calling it Naihanchi proper. Later, he changed the name fully to Tekki (iron horse).

The people who call it kima hyung are following the kiba terminology. Those who call it Chul Ki are following the Tekki name. And of course Naebojin is simply Naihanchi.
 

dancingalone

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One of the recurring themes, as far as forms go:

2nd Dan Forms (only one form required for performance):

1. Balhan Hyung Dae
2. Chul Ki E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi E Dan)
3. Naebojin E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi E Dan)
4. Kima E Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #2)
5. Choong Moo Hyung (General Choi form)

Why so many different names for Naihanchi? Are they all from different styles of Karate? Either way, looks like Naihanchi was a prevalent form. IIRC, Balhan was a Ch'uan Fa form.

3rd Dan Forms:

1. Ship Su Hyung (Jitte)
2. Pal Sae Hyung (Bassai)
3. Yon Bi Hyung (Wanshu)
4. Dan Kwon Hyung (Chuan Fa form)
5. No Pae Hyung (Ro Hai)
6. Ge Baek Hyung (General Choi form)
7. Ul Ji Hyung

A lot more variation at 3rd Dan

4th Dan Forms:

1. Chul Ki Sam Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #3)
2. Naebojin Sam Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #3)
3. Kima Sam Dan Hyung (Naihanchi #3)
4. Ja Un Hyung; Jin Soo Hyung
5. Am Hak Hyung (Chinto)
6. Jin Dong Hyung
7. Sam Il Hyung (ITF form)
8. Jang Kwon Hyung (Chuan Fa form)

Once again, we see Naihanchi as a prevalent form set.

5th Dan Forms:

1. Kong Sang Kun Hyung
2. Kwan Kong Hyung (Kong Sang Kun)
3. Oh Ship Sa Hyung
4. Ship Sam Hyung (ITF form)
5. Ban Wol Hyung
6. Pal Ki Kwon Hyung (Chuan Fa form)

In summary, by the first KTA test, it looks like there was quite a varied hyung curriculum within the various kwans, but there was also a lot of overlap of the same root form with different names.

I practice, Bassai, Chinto, Naihanchi 1-3, Kong Sang Kun, Ship Soo, Jion, Seisan, Wanshu, and Rohai (with the latter five no longer part of our core curriculum as an organization).

Do any of you practice any of the above mentioned forms?
Master Rush (Dare I say Grandmaster Rush?) do you know what form is Jin Dong?

As you may or may not remember, I really think myself mostly as Goju-ryu guy but I know a variation of many of those kata/hyung on the lists above. The 3 Naihanchi, the 3 Temple forms (Jion, Chinte, and Jitte), Passai Dai and Sho, Chinto, Rohai, Kusanku, and Gojushiho. I don't claim to do them well, but I practiced variations in my youth when I did Shotokan and Shorin-ryu at various stops across the world in between my Goju-ryu studies. I find the method of execution and the mindset is more important than the actual choreography.
 

SahBumNimRush

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Master Rush (Dare I say Grandmaster Rush?) do you know what form is Jin Dong?

As you may or may not remember, I really think myself mostly as Goju-ryu guy but I know a variation of many of those kata/hyung on the lists above. The 3 Naihanchi, the 3 Temple forms (Jion, Chinte, and Jitte), Passai Dai and Sho, Chinto, Rohai, Kusanku, and Gojushiho. I don't claim to do them well, but I practiced variations in my youth when I did Shotokan and Shorin-ryu at various stops across the world in between my Goju-ryu studies. I find the method of execution and the mindset is more important than the actual choreography.
It's just Master Rush, but I really don't get caught up on the titles.. . I totally agree that mindset and method of execution are far more important than the choreography. I just had a student test for his 3rd dan over the weekend. It made me proud that he performed so well, but it was evident that other candidates testing did not have that same mindset or method of execution.

By the way, I'm glad you still lurk on these threads, I always find your input and perspective insightful.
 
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