Two questions re: ODK =? ITF

TrueJim

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Over in the Facebook group "Rise of the Kwans", this was posted today:

Michael Whang: ITF from the beginning was not just filled by Oh Do Kwan people. ITF was the international organisation of Taekwondo of Korea which was established by the Korean government. Many people from different kwans worked in ITF, for example, the first Secretary General of ITF was GM Nam Suk Lee (2nd President of Changmookwan). ITF instructors sent out to countries all over the world came from different kwans. I do not equate ITF = ODK.

There are two particular parts of this posting that I'm curious a out, since it's not a part of taekwondo history that I understand very well. It's hard to get good answers in Facebook groups though, so if you don't mind I'd like to pose my questions here to see if you guys might happen to have the answers at your fingertips:

1. When Michael says that the ITF was established by the Korean government, I don't know what he's referring to there. What should I be reading that would help me better understand the Korean government's role in the establishment of the ITF? Is that in Gillis' book and I just don't remember? (When I get home I intend to look, but I thought maybe you guys might know of a specific reference that would be more on-point.)

2. So often one hears something along the lines of "ITF is just the ODK version of TKD" which seems like a credible claim given the origins of ITF, but Michael makes the point that this is too simplistic. I'd like to understand this better too. To what extent was ITF a multi-kwan development?

When I get home later today I plan to go back through my sources and do some reading, but you guys have SO much knowledge in your noggins I thought I should try picking your brains on this too. Thanks!
 

Dirty Dog

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The statement that the ITF was established by the Korean government is just flat out wrong.

As to the involvement of other kwans... sure, of course there were. Given that they adopted the ODK curriculum as part of their transition to the ITF, some would say that they were then part of the ODK in any real sense. It's still reasonable to say that the ITF is ODK TKD.

But there are always hairs to be split.
 

Earl Weiss

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OK, here goes. ITF was not formed until 1966. ODK was the name of the Military gym where TKD (Chang Hon) was developed. (Cica mid to late 1950's)

ODK, Often translated as "Gym of My Way" was the new Gym where various Kwan members, top martial art talent were recruited into the 29th Infantry division were gathered to develop the new system. Detractors of General Choi sometimes use this translation as a way to demean him as an egotist (He may well have been) saying things like "See , he named it his way".

By having a new gym various Kwan members would not feel as though they were going into an existing rival Kwan. As explained by Nam Tae Hi (https://1c47d0f0-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/ntkdacad/files/NamTaeHiTKDTimesJan.2000.pdf?attachauth=ANoY7crniTc723mMQr9TodDblhUaAOzAkV48rUFuwVWYvhTO1waPT3gS6XtDrCEyYIA4Sbi6pTIOmiHzSLnziSYku3J8DXUrUbhV9GDNFX5l1DPQ6WgOaaVj0iL3En1tydS1I8ib8ISw3AKeuSOyOU5bXOXZjkctGT6Q6zTO5XxW6_QCLamNz_w1mlRrJ-gK3ENrBgJSSuYZOmG1k7lGu5u20KfSmKN_pTMZybNIxgtRy_urON4QqVw=&attredirects=0) see portion on article which has the page number "84" the ODK translationas "Gym of My Way" was really meant for each person speaking in the first person as "My Gym" or the gym for all of us.

Basically, the ITF was formed by General Choi when he split from the KTA.

So the ODK was used to develop a single system but was populated by various kwan members, and the ITF continued to recruit people from Various Kwans, Noteably CDK luminaries like He Il Cho, Jhoon Rhee, , and ATA founder HU Lee.

Many of the ODK top people like Nam Tae Hi, and Han Cha Kyo were also of the CDK. They remained CDK membes until their deaths although it had become more of a fraternal group and less of a specific MA Gym following KKW unification of the Kwans under it's umbrella.
 
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TrueJim

TrueJim

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So as I understand it, when Lee Won-Kuk was railroaded out of Korea, he appointed Choi as the "honorary" head of Chung Do Kwan, with Son Duk-Sung serving as the acting head on a day-to-day basis.

So when Michael on Facebook said that ITF was formed by "multiple" kwan, that sounds like a bit of an overstatement. It was mostly Oh Do Kwan with Chung Do Kwan, both of which fell under the auspices of Choi in one way or another?

Not detracting from ITF or what Michael said...just trying to get a more accurate picture.
 

Earl Weiss

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So as I understand it, when Lee Won-Kuk was railroaded out of Korea, he appointed Choi as the "honorary" head of Chung Do Kwan, with Son Duk-Sung serving as the acting head on a day-to-day basis.

So when Michael on Facebook said that ITF was formed by "multiple" kwan, that sounds like a bit of an overstatement. It was mostly Oh Do Kwan with Chung Do Kwan, both of which fell under the auspices of Choi in one way or another?

Not detracting from ITF or what Michael said...just trying to get a more accurate picture.

I think you are correct in that that the neither the ITF nor the ODK were formed by multipe Kwans. They were both formed by General Choi and had people whose training background was from various Kwans. Since the CDK was the largest gym at the time the ODK was formed it is only natural that the ODK and later the ITF may have been populated by a large majority of people with a CDK background.

As far as Lee Won Kuk being railroaded out of Korea, that could be an interesting story. How was he able to have a Kwan under Japanese occupation, and how was it that he had to leave. For many of us from democratic countries, what it must have been like to be in countries that were occupied, had govenrments overthrown and leaders put in prison is a difficult reality to grasp.

Even the CDK was a mess with Son Duc Son, removed as president and then taking out an advertisement purporting to expel Uhm Woon Kyu, Nam Tae Hi, and General Choi as well as rescinding CDK rank awarded to General Choi. As we know Uhm Woon Kyu remained CDK president for decades and Nam Tae Hi remained a respected member as well also serving as KKW president. If nothing else, that is very telling what was thought of Son Duc Son's expulsion advertisement.
 
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TrueJim

TrueJim

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As far as Lee Won Kuk being railroaded out of Korea, that could be an interesting story. How was he able to have a Kwan under Japanese occupation, and how was it that he had to leave. For many of us from democratic countries, what it must have been like to be in countries that were occupied, had govenrments overthrown and leaders put in prison is a difficult reality to grasp.

I agree wholeheartedly. For everyday working Koreans living at that time, they lived in a region immersed in mixtures of recent Japanese imperialism, Chinese and North Korean communism, and South Korean totalitarianism and military regimes. Trying to do anything with one's life while also navigating all of THAT must have been nearly impossible. I don't have a lot of sympathy for people who say things like "Choi should have done this..." or "Lee must have done that.." because I don't think that we in our cushy armchairs sipping lattes can fully appreciate the damned-if-you-do / damned-if-you-don't world these people lived in. It's impossible now to know the truth of what drove who to do what.

Before he passed away, Lee lived not far from me...but of course I never met him. The head of our school apparently used to hang out with him though. If I had returned to taekwondo a few years earlier I probably would have gotten to meet Lee, but of course I wouldn't have had the nerve to ask any probing questions.
 

IcemanSK

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Even the CDK was a mess with Son Duc Son, removed as president and then taking out an advertisement purporting to expel Uhm Woon Kyu, Nam Tae Hi, and General Choi as well as rescinding CDK rank awarded to General Choi. As we know Uhm Woon Kyu remained CDK president for decades and Nam Tae Hi remained a respected member as well also serving as KKW president. If nothing else, that is very telling what was thought of Son Duc Son's expulsion advertisement.

As a point of fact, UHM Woon Kyu is still CDK president to this day: So since 1959.
 
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