Those 40 Kwans

andyjeffries

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Leaving off the 'nim' is, as I understand it, an indication that you recognize their rank, but don't really respect them.

I think it's possibly even worse - I think it's not just that you don't respect them (i.e. neutral) but in doing so are showing considerable disrespect!

"Sabum" means teacher. "Sambumnim" means respected teacher. Kyosa is (again, a lot of things don't translate directly) essentially 'assistant instructor' with, again, the "nim" suffix being added to indicate respect. "Busabum" (literally 'half a sabum' is also used for an assistant instructor.

Agree with Kyosa/Busabeom, but Sabeom doesn't really mean teacher. Korean uses Seonsaeng (선생) and Seonsaengnim for those (and Ssaem 쌤 informally). I think master is likely a closer approximation, but I guess literally more just certified instructor. Although I haven't studied the etymology of the word (although now I really want to).

That being said, real world usage of these terms varies enormously. I've seen at lease one school that used Sabum for assistant instructor and Sabumnim for the chief instructor.

Let me guess, in America, right? ;-)

Personally, I don't get real bent out of shape if English speakers aren't fluent in Korean. They're making an effort, and if the terms may not be technically correct, they are still being used to show respect.

Absolutely right! Even in Korea where this stuff means so much, if you are trying, they love it - even if you're making a complete hatchet job of the language.

I accidentally spoke in the informal level to a very well world-known respected Grandmaster in Korea, he looked a little strange (perplexed/amused maybe) and I realised I'd done something wrong, then realised what I'd done in not using formal/polite language and started to super-apologise. He just laughed and said in Korean "it's OK, don't worry, keep talking". It was more important to him that I was trying to talk to him in Korean than that I'd just addressed him like a child or a super close friend.
 
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tomi

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Hello Everybody

Interesting discussion, but it seem little bit out of the original topic ;)

Tomi
 

andyjeffries

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Hello Everybody

Interesting discussion, but it seem little bit out of the original topic ;)

I agree and sorry for my part in hijacking your thread.

However, I think you're likely to be disappointed. I predict this is "about 40 Kwans" and that number was very much in flux as they started, closed, merged and split, so is an estimate of how many dojangs joined. I also estimate that most if not all of them were actually opened by students of one of the original or annex Kwans. Only the 9 Kwan leaders were present at the important meetings at the time.
 

dvcochran

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Sorry, this is definitely incorrect. The nim suffix has absolutely zero to do with the person's level or accomplishments, it's literally a suffix for respect when talking about someone else. A president or a business owner is a "Sajang", but you would refer to the owner of the crappiest/dirtiest restaurant you could find as "Sajangnim". The President of Samsung (which if you haven't really learnt about Korea you'd maybe underestimate how big/powerful they are in Korea) would have the same title.

Also, for example, if I'm talking to my friend's mum in Korea, Eomma (엄마) is how you say mother, but I would refer to her when talking to her or about her as Eommanim (엄마님). This makes it clear that I'm not talking about my mother, but my friend's mother. It has nothing to do with being a master mother or a highly accomplished mother, it's purely about respect.

As I wrote above, I think it's very common in America to misunderstand and misuse "Kwanjangnim" to mean "Grandmaster" (i.e. associating it with rank), so I'm guessing with 98%+ confidence you're American ;-) I'm not blaming you, just saying I think that's an Americanism.

A black belt (you didn't mention master rank, so I'm assuming 1-3 Dan) would not normally be known as Kwanjang, purely because in Korea they couldn't open a dojang at that rank (needs a minimum of 4th Dan PLUS Kukkiwon Master Certification). And it certainly would feel very disrespectful to use a good title like "Kwanjang" without the -nim when referring to someone else.

Kyosa/Kyosanim means instructor, so is often used for 1-3rd Dan.

Sabeomnim (사범님) is used for master ranks, 4th Dan upwards. However, while you could be a sabeomnim and a kwanjangnim at the same time, in Korea generally they would only use Kwanjangnim (it's more important that you're the school owner, whereas often there are multiple sabeom under the kwanjang which is a paid job in Korea)

I've never heard of "Junojinin". I would be interested in finding out the accurate spelling though...

I think you either need to go back and reread the post or we will have to agree to disagree on some of this. Nim is a reference of respect. Pretty straightforward. Definitely not incorrect although I am guessing different from what you are used to.
As I have mentioned in other posts speak to 10 different Koreans from different class structures and you are going to get 5 spellings, pronunciations, and 3 different meanings. Go to 10 different Korean websites, MA or otherwise, and it will be the same. This is no different from our 'Americanisms' or you Britianisms. Which you just showed in full force. Almost sounded like Jobo there.
 

WaterGal

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Also in the Taekwondo history book by Dr. He Yong Kimm in the end of chapter 7 these is an list major civilian dojangs in Saigon during vietnam war era.. It mention Kwans like

Oh Do Kwan
Chung Do Kwan
Jido Kwan
Jung Do Kwan

But also....

Kook Tae Kwan
Tau Ma Kwan
Punan Kwan
Hong Dau Kwan
Le Loi Kwan
Ji Yong Kwan
Bi Ryoung Kwan

an so on ( well, some names sound for my ear like Vietnamese)..... but in the end of the page says:

The Kwan Directors above operate two or three additional Taekwondo schools, so nearly thirty civilian schools were operating before the fall oh the country..


Of course it can be different situation in the early 70`s than late 40`s to mid 50`s, butt still I think there must be more styles than just 9 ( 4 original and 5 annex) in Korea in those early days or at last late 60´s - 70`s.

It also can be, that those later styles or schools teach some kind of mixture of Taekwondo and Vietnamese martial arts ( Vovinam, võ thuật Bình Định), because Kwan directors look like Vietnamese persons... just an speculation for my side....

I agree that that second list sounds more like Vietnamese names than Korean names. Though some of them could be Korean names ("Kook Tae Kwan" would be something like... National Kick Gym?).

These might just be schools that somebody started and decided to give a new name, rather than styles in their own right. Or like you suggest, maybe they were Vietnamese teachers mixing Taekwondo with local martial arts, and wanting to give their new curriculum a new name.[/QUOTE]
 

andyjeffries

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I think you either need to go back and reread the post or we will have to agree to disagree on some of this.

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I've just reread your post (hey, I'm human and open to making and acknowledging mistakes) and I'll quote portions below again.

Nim is a reference of respect. Pretty straightforward. Definitely not incorrect although I am guessing different from what you are used to.

As you've phrased it there is 100% correct. What is incorrect is when you said:

The easiest way for me to understand the salutation is to think of 'nim' as a master tradesman or someone highly accomplished in their field.

I explained with examples how this simply isn't true. It's not like you're a plumber, a plumber, a plumber then after 30 years in the trade you become a plumber-nim. I would say "I'm Andy plumber, nice to meat you David plumber-nim".

As I have mentioned in other posts speak to 10 different Koreans from different class structures and you are going to get 5 spellings, pronunciations, and 3 different meanings.

If you mean Korean-Americans or Koreans living in America, they may have Americanised things because it's what their target market is used to, but outside of normal synonyms found in any language, the words consistently mean the same thing.

But again, from visiting quite a few dojang in Korea, that's not the case on these two common titles and the usage of -nim.

Go to 10 different Korean websites, MA or otherwise, and it will be the same.

Again, I entirely disagree.

Can I ask, what is your reading/understanding level in Korean? Are you OK with Hangul, can you speak basic sentences, some level of fluency in being able to hold conversations in Korean? You say about going to Korean websites and see them used differently.

To tell you where I'm coming from, my Korean tutors have both considered me "lower advanced" in Korean, although I only feel comfortable saying I'm intermediate. I have a weekly lesson in Korean where we discuss current affairs more than actually "learning" and that hour is spent entirely in Korean - although I have to sometimes ask what a word means, but I do so in Korean and have the explanation given back to me in Korean. I've also been to Korea 8 times in the past ten years, have Korean friends there that I speak with in Korean while there and have hosted them here too and acted as translator on their last trip (previous times they've happened to have one of their team that is fluent in both, and I'm not fluent yet).

In case you don't speak Korean but want to learn by the way, I would recommend italki.com - it's where I've found my tutors and means I can have 1-1 private lessons by native speakers in my home over the internet.

Anyway, if I visit actual Korean websites (rather than American websites by Korean masters/grandmasters) again, the usage of -nim is consistent.

To revisit your message as you asked I reread it:

I have only heard 'kwanjangnim' used when addressing a Grandmaster. Kwanjang would be when addressing a BB in a leadership role.

Kwanjang still doesn't mean anything about a leadership role (i.e. running a class on behalf of a master), it's about school ownership.

The only possible time I can imagine this happening in Korea is if a senior grandmaster (high rank and old) is addressing a young school owner. In general when a senior is addressing a junior, you don't technically need the "-nim", but that shows it's about respect between levels rather than "master tradesman or someone highly accomplished in their field". Two newly qualified 4th Dan certified masters would address each other as Sabeomnim because neither is junior and neither is really a master tradesman or highly accomplished at that time, they're both fresh newbies ready for their first teaching sessions.

Also, even though it's technically not incorrect, I've still never heard that. I've had VERY senior grandmasters in Korea (both that I know privately and Kukkiwon senior officials) call me Andy Kwanjangnim and Andy Sabeomnim, even though they technically have the right to drop the -nim. Not because of any accomplishments, but because it's rarely dropped and is in everyday language used when referring to someone else's title.

This is no different from our 'Americanisms' or you Britianisms. Which you just showed in full force. Almost sounded like Jobo there.

I assume you mean Bojo? ;-) (Bo-ris Jo-hnson)

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to discuss this. It just feels that you're incorrect and I'm trying to help you understand what the correct situation is. There are a lot of topics where I'll shut up and let others talk and I'll learn. There are some like this where I try to provide correct information as best I can from the experience I've had.

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts" -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan

If @Jaeimseu wants to jump in and correct me, he has even more experience than me in Korea and Korean culture around -nim and the title Kwanjang, having lived in Korea for a number of years and regularly trained in a Korean dojang. (sorry to drag you in to it and feel free to just ignore if you don't want to get involved)
 

Jaeimseu

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I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I've just reread your post (hey, I'm human and open to making and acknowledging mistakes) and I'll quote portions below again.



As you've phrased it there is 100% correct. What is incorrect is when you said:



I explained with examples how this simply isn't true. It's not like you're a plumber, a plumber, a plumber then after 30 years in the trade you become a plumber-nim. I would say "I'm Andy plumber, nice to meat you David plumber-nim".



If you mean Korean-Americans or Koreans living in America, they may have Americanised things because it's what their target market is used to, but outside of normal synonyms found in any language, the words consistently mean the same thing.

But again, from visiting quite a few dojang in Korea, that's not the case on these two common titles and the usage of -nim.



Again, I entirely disagree.

Can I ask, what is your reading/understanding level in Korean? Are you OK with Hangul, can you speak basic sentences, some level of fluency in being able to hold conversations in Korean? You say about going to Korean websites and see them used differently.

To tell you where I'm coming from, my Korean tutors have both considered me "lower advanced" in Korean, although I only feel comfortable saying I'm intermediate. I have a weekly lesson in Korean where we discuss current affairs more than actually "learning" and that hour is spent entirely in Korean - although I have to sometimes ask what a word means, but I do so in Korean and have the explanation given back to me in Korean. I've also been to Korea 8 times in the past ten years, have Korean friends there that I speak with in Korean while there and have hosted them here too and acted as translator on their last trip (previous times they've happened to have one of their team that is fluent in both, and I'm not fluent yet).

In case you don't speak Korean but want to learn by the way, I would recommend italki.com - it's where I've found my tutors and means I can have 1-1 private lessons by native speakers in my home over the internet.

Anyway, if I visit actual Korean websites (rather than American websites by Korean masters/grandmasters) again, the usage of -nim is consistent.

To revisit your message as you asked I reread it:



Kwanjang still doesn't mean anything about a leadership role (i.e. running a class on behalf of a master), it's about school ownership.

The only possible time I can imagine this happening in Korea is if a senior grandmaster (high rank and old) is addressing a young school owner. In general when a senior is addressing a junior, you don't technically need the "-nim", but that shows it's about respect between levels rather than "master tradesman or someone highly accomplished in their field". Two newly qualified 4th Dan certified masters would address each other as Sabeomnim because neither is junior and neither is really a master tradesman or highly accomplished at that time, they're both fresh newbies ready for their first teaching sessions.

Also, even though it's technically not incorrect, I've still never heard that. I've had VERY senior grandmasters in Korea (both that I know privately and Kukkiwon senior officials) call me Andy Kwanjangnim and Andy Sabeomnim, even though they technically have the right to drop the -nim. Not because of any accomplishments, but because it's rarely dropped and is in everyday language used when referring to someone else's title.



I assume you mean Bojo? ;-) (Bo-ris Jo-hnson)

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to discuss this. It just feels that you're incorrect and I'm trying to help you understand what the correct situation is. There are a lot of topics where I'll shut up and let others talk and I'll learn. There are some like this where I try to provide correct information as best I can from the experience I've had.

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts" -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan

If @Jaeimseu wants to jump in and correct me, he has even more experience than me in Korea and Korean culture around -nim and the title Kwanjang, having lived in Korea for a number of years and regularly trained in a Korean dojang. (sorry to drag you in to it and feel free to just ignore if you don't want to get involved)

In my experience, you’re on the mark, Andy. You would never use “nim” in reference to yourself. Nim is an honorific. You’ve already given several examples, so I won’t bother with more. In my experience, people err on the side of respectful pretty much all the time.

For the vast majority of us, making a mistake in Korean will matter more to us than to Koreans, though that changes if you are proficient (or if the Koreans you’re speaking to believe you are).

I got lightly chastised for speaking only in “polite” speech while taking the written exam for my 4th Dan test at Kukkiwon.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

dvcochran

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I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. I've just reread your post (hey, I'm human and open to making and acknowledging mistakes) and I'll quote portions below again.



As you've phrased it there is 100% correct. What is incorrect is when you said:



I explained with examples how this simply isn't true. It's not like you're a plumber, a plumber, a plumber then after 30 years in the trade you become a plumber-nim. I would say "I'm Andy plumber, nice to meat you David plumber-nim".



If you mean Korean-Americans or Koreans living in America, they may have Americanised things because it's what their target market is used to, but outside of normal synonyms found in any language, the words consistently mean the same thing.

But again, from visiting quite a few dojang in Korea, that's not the case on these two common titles and the usage of -nim.



Again, I entirely disagree.

Can I ask, what is your reading/understanding level in Korean? Are you OK with Hangul, can you speak basic sentences, some level of fluency in being able to hold conversations in Korean? You say about going to Korean websites and see them used differently.

To tell you where I'm coming from, my Korean tutors have both considered me "lower advanced" in Korean, although I only feel comfortable saying I'm intermediate. I have a weekly lesson in Korean where we discuss current affairs more than actually "learning" and that hour is spent entirely in Korean - although I have to sometimes ask what a word means, but I do so in Korean and have the explanation given back to me in Korean. I've also been to Korea 8 times in the past ten years, have Korean friends there that I speak with in Korean while there and have hosted them here too and acted as translator on their last trip (previous times they've happened to have one of their team that is fluent in both, and I'm not fluent yet).

In case you don't speak Korean but want to learn by the way, I would recommend italki.com - it's where I've found my tutors and means I can have 1-1 private lessons by native speakers in my home over the internet.

Anyway, if I visit actual Korean websites (rather than American websites by Korean masters/grandmasters) again, the usage of -nim is consistent.

To revisit your message as you asked I reread it:



Kwanjang still doesn't mean anything about a leadership role (i.e. running a class on behalf of a master), it's about school ownership.

The only possible time I can imagine this happening in Korea is if a senior grandmaster (high rank and old) is addressing a young school owner. In general when a senior is addressing a junior, you don't technically need the "-nim", but that shows it's about respect between levels rather than "master tradesman or someone highly accomplished in their field". Two newly qualified 4th Dan certified masters would address each other as Sabeomnim because neither is junior and neither is really a master tradesman or highly accomplished at that time, they're both fresh newbies ready for their first teaching sessions.

Also, even though it's technically not incorrect, I've still never heard that. I've had VERY senior grandmasters in Korea (both that I know privately and Kukkiwon senior officials) call me Andy Kwanjangnim and Andy Sabeomnim, even though they technically have the right to drop the -nim. Not because of any accomplishments, but because it's rarely dropped and is in everyday language used when referring to someone else's title.



I assume you mean Bojo? ;-) (Bo-ris Jo-hnson)

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to discuss this. It just feels that you're incorrect and I'm trying to help you understand what the correct situation is. There are a lot of topics where I'll shut up and let others talk and I'll learn. There are some like this where I try to provide correct information as best I can from the experience I've had.

"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts" -- Daniel Patrick Moynihan

If @Jaeimseu wants to jump in and correct me, he has even more experience than me in Korea and Korean culture around -nim and the title Kwanjang, having lived in Korea for a number of years and regularly trained in a Korean dojang. (sorry to drag you in to it and feel free to just ignore if you don't want to get involved)

First, I want to be eminently clear that do not claim expertise in the Korean language and will not get into a 'war of words' with someone who supposedly is.

Clearly there are some location and mannerisms to take into consideration here. As I said 'nim' is akin to saying Mr. In my culture it is probably used more than anywhere else in the world. While I may include more to the title, Mr. is always included when addressing someone, especially someone of high accomplishment.

Straight from the website you referenced:

What does nim mean in Korean? The word 님 (nim) could be roughly translated to “Mr.” or “Madam” in English. It is one of the most common honorifics used in the Korean language. 씨 (ssi) This suffix is used to address people that are roughly on the same level of the social hierarchy.

Based on this statement, do you address you instructor/master/grandmaster as Mr/Mrs? This is making an assumption that you are or have been an instructor and may hold a higher title. Let's be fair, this is exactly what the content of the thread encompassed, not one Joe talking to another.

No, I was referencing @jobo, counterpart from your area I believe.

If you do not think 10 different TKD websites (from Any part of the world) are going to use Korean terminology differently and spell it differently you need to spend a little time surfing. I have easily been around a several hundred different Korean instructors. The same can be said. More than a few times I have seen disagreements flare up at tournaments based on terminology and calls. It really is not that uncommon.

A leadership role would of course include ownership. I do not consider leading a class here and there a substantial leadership role. But I feel we are simply parsing words here.

I appreciate the correction. I need it as often as anyone else. Just like there are variants in the English language the same is true with the Korean language.
You have to consider to specifics of the topic.
 
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