Weapons: Artificially added or a part of the style

MBuzzy

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
5,328
Reaction score
107
Location
West Melbourne, FL
I'm starting this conversation as suggested by Astrobiologist here. It does seem like a great discussion.

I currently train in Soo Bahk Do AND Haidong Gumdo. My style of Tang Soo Do has no weapons in it, completely empty handed. I personally feel that studying a solely weapon style in its entirety gives a much more full understanding and appreciation for the weapon. It is quite obviously more than you could EVER learn by just learning a form or two.

So at your Dojang, do you use weapons, how are they taught? To what depth are they taught?

And most importantly - Do weapons belong in Tang Soo Do?
 

JWLuiza

Black Belt
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
654
Reaction score
32
Location
Pittsburgh
I'm starting this conversation as suggested by Astrobiologist here. It does seem like a great discussion.

I currently train in Soo Bahk Do AND Haidong Gumdo. My style of Tang Soo Do has no weapons in it, completely empty handed. I personally feel that studying a solely weapon style in its entirety gives a much more full understanding and appreciation for the weapon. It is quite obviously more than you could EVER learn by just learning a form or two.

So at your Dojang, do you use weapons, how are they taught? To what depth are they taught?

And most importantly - Do weapons belong in Tang Soo Do?

I think weapons training could coincide with TSD training, but the Kobudo forms didn't translate as well as the empty handed forms and we now end up with.... very athletic bong hyung that don't have the depth of some of the kobudo kata.... I know at my school we added bong hyung in a very awkard fashion and we're still trying to figure out it's place in our training.
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,322
Reaction score
281
Anyone ever seen the Daniel Nolan Tang Soo Videos from Panther Productions? As he performs the knifehand blocks in various hyung, his execution is very big & looping, almost like a figure eight by my recollection of years past. He might have very sound reasons for doing this (I think it's pretty myself), but IMO this movement pattern would not fit the same motion as performed in basic kobudo with a weapon like tonfa or sai. The same motions found in Okinawan kata reinforced those in kobudo and vice versa.
 

Blindside

Grandmaster
Founding Member
Joined
Oct 29, 2001
Messages
5,175
Reaction score
849
Location
Kennewick, WA
Anyone ever seen the Daniel Nolan Tang Soo Videos from Panther Productions? As he performs the knifehand blocks in various hyung, his execution is very big & looping, almost like a figure eight by my recollection of years past. He might have very sound reasons for doing this (I think it's pretty myself), but IMO this movement pattern would not fit the same motion as performed in basic kobudo with a weapon like tonfa or sai. The same motions found in Okinawan kata reinforced those in kobudo and vice versa.

I have no idea who you are talking about, but "knifehand" blocks performed on a figure 8 translate very well to bladed weapon application.
 

dancingalone

Grandmaster
Joined
Nov 7, 2007
Messages
5,322
Reaction score
281
Within southeastern Asian MA, no doubt. I'm speaking more from a kobudo approach. Yes, there are figure eight movements as it is a natural motion, but the patterns Mr. Nolan performed were introductory ones and from my martial tradition should be first taught as straight forward thrusts and slashes.
 

Montecarlodrag

Green Belt
Joined
May 24, 2008
Messages
115
Reaction score
2
It is difficult to say whether TSD incorporated weapons after the style was founded of before that.

All the styles of TSD I know use weapons. At least the Bong and knife. We do use Bong, knife, nunchaku and Katana. We even have Ho Sin Sul with weapons (knife).

Weapons are very ancient, its difficult to know their origin.
 

Yossarian

Orange Belt
Joined
May 14, 2007
Messages
82
Reaction score
2
Location
Scotland
I know that GM Shin added weapons after he formed the WTSDA. This suggests to me there were none while he was part of the MDK.
 

astrobiologist

Brown Belt
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
418
Reaction score
20
Location
York, Pennsylvania
I figured I would let this build a little before I threw my two cents in again...

I am not the expert on whether or not TSD had weapons at the advent of the modern style. But from what I've seen of modern day TSD weapons practise, I would have to think they were not.

This was my response in the previous thread:

"That baton-twirling mess is one of the reasons that a lot of TSD/TKD schools are looked at as McDojang. They bring in a few weapons that they don't have any kind of a curriculum for and they make up forms for them or take weapons forms that they've seen elsewhere and blend them. The students learn these and then think that they actually know the weapon.

For instance, the McDojang I started at when I was a kid, Kim's Karate, taught 3 staff forms, a nunchaku form, and a knife form (when I was there at least). They didn't teach anything else about the weapon. There was no explanaition of movement, no basics, no sparring with the weapon, no application, no discussions about how weapons also teach skills for empty hands, and most of the movements were exagerrated. Now, having some Kobujutsu under my belt and a more anayltical approach to the martial arts, I've realized that what they were teaching is really lacking in martial application. So, pretty much, just baton-twirling...

Cross-training means actually delving into another art, not just adding some moves to your current system that you think may work or look cool in a form without having any knowledge of the technique."
 
OP
MBuzzy

MBuzzy

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
5,328
Reaction score
107
Location
West Melbourne, FL
It is difficult to say whether TSD incorporated weapons after the style was founded of before that.

All the styles of TSD I know use weapons. At least the Bong and knife. We do use Bong, knife, nunchaku and Katana. We even have Ho Sin Sul with weapons (knife).

Weapons are very ancient, its difficult to know their origin.

Actually, It isnt' very difficult unless we are discussing the use of the term Tang Soo Do itself and more historical issues. When GM Hwang Kee founded the Moo Duk Kwan in 1945, thereby creating Tang Soo Do officially, it was an empty handed art. Today, Hwang Kee's organization (or his son's to be more precise) the US Soo Bahk Do Federation, still does not have any offensive weapons in its curriculum. We do weapons defense, but no offensive weapons.

That says to me that as TSD organizations have separated and started independent organizations, those weapons have been added. I am not sure how extensively the major organizations use them, but I have heard that there are some weapons forms at higher ranks.

So how much can you really learn like that? It took me 2 years with constant training to be comfortable enough to use a live blade when training with a sword. I can't imagine that these organizations are teaching one form, then putting live blades in the hands of students.....Let alone allowing them to cut.

As for other weapons incorporated in TSD - there are several Korean weapons that are historically considered to be used in ancient Korea, now whether those weapons were imported from elsewhere or not is a matter of conjecture, although it is pretty coincidental how those neighboring countries used such similar weapons. Many styles of TSD's weapons forms also look mysteriously close to some other styles!
 

Makalakumu

Gonzo Karate Apocalypse
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
13,887
Reaction score
232
Location
Hawaii
An interesting area of research would be to see what styles of kobudo were known or taught by Azato or Itosu. My guess is that any styles of kobudo that are directly linked to our lineage would have a huge similarity to what we find in our empty handed forms.
 

JT_the_Ninja

Black Belt
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
592
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
We don't really practice weapons in my style, as far as I know.

We do have several bong forms (very basic at the start, but with increasing diversity of technique and complexity), but no bong sparring. We train in defense against knives and swords (and supposedly we're supposed to learn gun defense now).

As to application of our bong forms, our instructors, and my sa bom nim in particular, very much stress the concepts behind movements. As far as my training has progressed, the bong for me is an extension of my hands with a few additional properties. I'm not so much concerned with being able to twirl a baton like a majorette (though I do practice, just for coordination-increasing purposes...and because it looks cool) as being able to defend myself, and that's really the focus of my school. In fact, we recently cut out all the flipping and twirling from our basic bong hyung, increasing the focus on focused, effective, basic techniques.


@astrobiologist: I see you're from Pennsylvania...is the Kim's Karate you mention C.S. Kim? If so, you got the wrong impression or came in at the wrong time.
 

astrobiologist

Brown Belt
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
418
Reaction score
20
Location
York, Pennsylvania
@astrobiologist: I see you're from Pennsylvania...is the Kim's Karate you mention C.S. Kim? If so, you got the wrong impression or came in at the wrong time.

There are two C.S. Kim's in the area. Chun Sik Kim and Chung Su Kim. I had trained under the latter for nearly 12 years. My father trained under him for nearly 20 years. A few years ago, a large portion of his instructors, schools, and students left him to get away from the greed and the politics. He's suing them for the fourth time (three lawyers and three judges so far have told him he has nothing to sue for). We were with that group for a bit while we started our own school and got things going for ourselves.

I can't speak about Chun Sik Kim, who also has a Kim's Karate organization in PA, but Chung Su Kim's schools are known in this area as McDojang. I see C.S. Kim and his sons around once in a while. They were at a street fair in our town recently performing. From the looks of it, they're still teaching the same stuff. They have a few bong hyung, no applications, just movements. Now that I'm studying Kobujutsu and learning more about the bo, I see how lacking the old bong hyung C.S. Kim taught me really are.

I'm not trying to offend you J.T. But with my 12 years and my fathers 20, I'm pretty sure we weren't in at "the wrong time". And two decades is more than enough to get past an "impression". I am thankful for what Chong Su Kim taught me when I was younger. It was a pleasure to travel to Korea with him when I was a child. I have some good memories from my training at Kim's Karate. But it truly was amazing when I discovered how much more there was to the martial arts than the narrow vision that's shared at his schools.
 

seasoned

MT Senior Moderator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2007
Messages
11,250
Reaction score
1,227
Location
Lives in Texas
An interesting area of research would be to see what styles of kobudo were known or taught by Azato or Itosu. My guess is that any styles of kobudo that are directly linked to our lineage would have a huge similarity to what we find in our empty handed forms.


Weapons are an extension of our hands.
 

JT_the_Ninja

Black Belt
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
592
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
@astrobiologist: Ah; I'd never heard of Chung Su Kim...I can see why that would cause confusion. I train at a Chun Sik Kim dojang...so that relieves me a bit. I've been training there for going on 10 years now, and never encountered anything to label it McDojang (from the teaching perspective...business models/practices are another thing). My sa bom nim in particular spends a good deal of time teaching application, once a student has mastered the basics of moving (have to try walking before you can learn what you can do with it). So I guess we don't have any issue.
 

astrobiologist

Brown Belt
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
418
Reaction score
20
Location
York, Pennsylvania
@astrobiologist: Ah; I'd never heard of Chung Su Kim...I can see why that would cause confusion. I train at a Chun Sik Kim dojang...so that relieves me a bit. I've been training there for going on 10 years now, and never encountered anything to label it McDojang (from the teaching perspective...business models/practices are another thing). My sa bom nim in particular spends a good deal of time teaching application, once a student has mastered the basics of moving (have to try walking before you can learn what you can do with it). So I guess we don't have any issue.

Good to know! I'm not here at MT to start battles (but I'm ready for them if they happen).

I'm not saying that all bong training currently used in TSD is bad, I'm just saying that from my experience many TSD/TKD schools that have staff forms have no other curriculum for the staff. My old Jujitsu instructor, who also teaches TKD, told me that at his school for TKD they actually have a pretty decent curriculum of Bong Sul and Bong Hyung. I never saw any of their training, but from talking to him it sounded like he had spent a lot of time training/learning technique and application for the staff. I think that's the question here: should weapons be part of a school's arsenal if they are only taught for the purpose of adding more forms but technique and application are not considered? If the weapon is taught with technique and application in the curriculum, does it belong in TSD?

My answer to the first is No! My answer to the second is Yes! A good weapons curriculum blends very well with a study of TSD.
 
OP
MBuzzy

MBuzzy

Grandmaster
MTS Alumni
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
5,328
Reaction score
107
Location
West Melbourne, FL
While a good weapons curriculum does blend well and does compliment your empty handed technique well....I would question the "belong" part. I mean, it can easily be integrated....but as it was originally intended, TSD was empty handed. So it depends on your definition of "belong" I guess. Hwang Kee obviously didn't see the need for it. The individual instructors years later have incorporated it. Many of which have added it for the "coolness" factor instead of the training factor though.
 

Makalakumu

Gonzo Karate Apocalypse
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 30, 2003
Messages
13,887
Reaction score
232
Location
Hawaii
Here's the thing, a good weapons program should compliment your curriculum. It should flow from what you do with empty hand. It should operate on the same principles. If it doesn't then it's a separate art. For example, when you take arnis de mano, you start with the weapons and then move into empty hand. The weapons build the foundation of everything that you do so that when you move into the empty hand range, the very same principles you applied with weapons now apply with empty hands.

The problem with adding weapons to TSD is that this kind of dovetailing is almost impossible. I have never seen a weapon touched in a TSD dojang that didn't come from somewhere else and its use was completely different from its practice of empty hands unless that TSD dojang practiced the flippy dippy jump kicky weapon forms in sparkly gold dobaks.

TSD was not conceived as a weapons art. All of the weapons I've taught have been in a separate class that was devoted to their instruction. I date not call it part of the art yet...

...and here's the rub...it goes back to my question I posed above. TSD DID come from somewhere. Okinawa. TSD was shaped by Okinawans. What if it were possible to discover a style of kobudo that Itosu Sensei or Azato Sensei practiced? Perhaps this style of kobudo was at one time integrated into the teaching of the Te they practiced? This isn't out of the question considering the fact that many Okinawan styles also dovetail nicely with kobudo.

Craig and I had the change to visit Sensei Peter Carbone in Detroit MI. He now the soke of a major Okinawan system of Kobudo and is currently building the new Honbu dojo in Detroit. He is also perhaps one of the finest makers of Okinawan weapons in the world. The masters from Okinawa order his weapons.

Anyway we drank his homemade booze and listened and asked questions. One of the most interesting things he said was that all karate was ultimately weapon based. He said that our skills with empty hand flowed from the use of weapons in exactly the same way that it does in Arnis. IMO, if someone is really interested in adding weapons to a TSD or any Karate curriculum, then you need to explore that connection. That is where you are going to find the real authentic connection that TSD has to weapons.
 

astrobiologist

Brown Belt
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
418
Reaction score
20
Location
York, Pennsylvania
Craig and I had the change to visit Sensei Peter Carbone in Detroit MI. He now the soke of a major Okinawan system of Kobudo and is currently building the new Honbu dojo in Detroit. He is also perhaps one of the finest makers of Okinawan weapons in the world. The masters from Okinawa order his weapons.

Anyway we drank his homemade booze and listened and asked questions. One of the most interesting things he said was that all karate was ultimately weapon based. He said that our skills with empty hand flowed from the use of weapons in exactly the same way that it does in Arnis. IMO, if someone is really interested in adding weapons to a TSD or any Karate curriculum, then you need to explore that connection. That is where you are going to find the real authentic connection that TSD has to weapons.

Success! The Okinawan Ryukyunote Kobujutsu that I am training in is coming directly from Sensei Carbone. He is now my father's instructor and we are taking his approach to weapons and blending that with our Tang Soo Do. We are also learning Isshinryu from Sensei Carbone. Master Jay S. Penfil, who is instructing us in TSD, is also training with Sensei. We will have Carbone at our school in about a week for a few days and then about two days after he leaves Master Penfil is coming down (yay!).

I agree. Sensei's weapons are amazing. We have several of his bo, eku bo, nunchaku, tanbo, and sai. Before too long we'll be bringing in tonfa, kama, and sword as well. We are working from the beginning in his weapons curriculum. He trained under Remy Presas in Arnis and is sharing that with us and his understanding of Okinawan weapons is amazing. If anyone has a chance, check out Sensei's website
http://www.weaponsconnection.com/
 

Montecarlodrag

Green Belt
Joined
May 24, 2008
Messages
115
Reaction score
2
There are two C.S. Kim's in the area. Chun Sik Kim and Chung Su Kim. I had trained under the latter for nearly 12 years. My father trained under him for nearly 20 years. A few years ago, a large portion of his instructors, schools, and students left him to get away from the greed and the politics. He's suing them for the fourth time (three lawyers and three judges so far have told him he has nothing to sue for). We were with that group for a bit while we started our own school and got things going for ourselves.

I can't speak about Chun Sik Kim, who also has a Kim's Karate organization in PA, but Chung Su Kim's schools are known in this area as McDojang. I see C.S. Kim and his sons around once in a while. They were at a street fair in our town recently performing. From the looks of it, they're still teaching the same stuff. They have a few bong hyung, no applications, just movements. Now that I'm studying Kobujutsu and learning more about the bo, I see how lacking the old bong hyung C.S. Kim taught me really are.

I'm not trying to offend you J.T. But with my 12 years and my fathers 20, I'm pretty sure we weren't in at "the wrong time". And two decades is more than enough to get past an "impression". I am thankful for what Chong Su Kim taught me when I was younger. It was a pleasure to travel to Korea with him when I was a child. I have some good memories from my training at Kim's Karate. But it truly was amazing when I discovered how much more there was to the martial arts than the narrow vision that's shared at his schools.

I think everybody speaks depending of the way things developed for himself. We had a bad experience with WTSDA politics, but I still don't think or say bad things about Jae Chul Shin...

My school is under Chong Su Kim system. We affiliated with Him a year ago.
We decided to stay with Him because we saw very different and good things.
We have been members of ITF, WSTDA, WMDKTSD, and a few other. Most of them are more Tae Kwon Do than TSD, nothing related to true TSD.

We liked GM Kim because he is the opposite of a Mc Dojang, he does not sell ranks or certificates. I don't quite understand why you say that but I respect you opinion.
Chong Su Kim is going to come to see us training, to certify our ranks, and more important, to MEET Us. Nobody has done the same for us in the past, only Jae Chul Shin. It seems nobody cares about schools with less than 500 students ($$$), but Kim does care and He is going to travel from PA to Mexico with 7 of His senior members only to meet us, test two 3rd Dan BB and all of the gup members.

My Sah Bom Nim is a 4th Dan, 22 years experience in TSD (He is not easily impressed). He was examined and re-certified for his 4th Dan. The test was done in 4 days, very hard.
He says GM Kim is a very different master. He is not interested in money as all of the other we know are. I asked twice about a set of videos and some merchandise from his webpage, got no answer (it was before we affiliated with him). Now I know He does not sell anything to somebody he doesn't know.
He is widely respected, has several magazine covers and is member of the hall of fame of Black Belt Magazine and some others.

I am going to meet Him personally on march, when I will submit my 3rd Dan testing to Him. So, I will have a pretty good idea about Him.

Regards.
 

JT_the_Ninja

Black Belt
Joined
Jan 10, 2007
Messages
592
Reaction score
8
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
@ Montecarlodrag: I'd like to interject that, from what I've seen of ITF, training under Chun Sik Kim and his instructors (well, mostly from one of his instructors) that it is certainly nothing like "flippy dippy jump kicky" TKD. We strive for traditional and practical TSD training.

In fact, as relates to the topic of this thread, the ITF has taken out all the "flippy" moves from the first few bong hyung, leaving only basic blocks/strikes. Whenever I help someone with a bong form, one of my points of emphasis is that the bong is just an extension of your hands - you just have to adapt to how the staff works, making use of its advantages.

Oh, and Chun Sik Kim has also been featured in several magazines, but I don't like to sound like a P.R. guy repeating all the stuff from the website.

Interesting that both our organizations have schools down in Mexico, as well.
 
Top