What Parts of Your Curriculum Form Your Art's Identity?

Oily Dragon

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You guys all know what "Seon" (선) comes from?

Talk about martial arts identity, not to mention the Korean ideal of "good".
 

Holmejr

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Many things make the FMA arts different, but this is a major aspect.

Beginning students start with hand held weapons and graduate to open hands, although open hands are an integral part of defending and attacking with a weopon. We presuppose that a weopon will be used in a combative confrontation. Sticks and blades move faster and change directions than hands. We become accustomed at defending and attacking at that type of speed. Specializing in close quarter combat.

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Gyakuto

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I can pinpoint that for my former Karate style - Wado Ryu.

It is characterised by-
1) Evasion of attacks by subtle twists of the body (tai sabaki) removing it from the line of the attack.
2) Refinement and greater emphasis of kicks to streamline the movement eg. no dog-like cocking of the leg in roundhouse kicks, nearly all kicks are of the ‘snap‘ variety.
3) Less time spent in the ‘high energy phase‘ of a technique. In a punch, one remains relaxed for the greater part of it’s duration with kime (focus) applied for a much shorter duration giving them a ‘snappy’ appearance.

Conversely I could not define my school of Iai compared with others other than superficial things such as the replacement of the sword into the scabbard and the performance of the ‘blood shake’. That quite surprises me 🤔
 

tkdroamer

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This is a great question.
When you see upper-level people perform Kukkiwon Yudanja Poomsae, you will see spectacularly high kicks. A hallmark of TKD. When the average practitioner does Poomsae, it may be a little harder to identify.
Moving to other variants of TKD/TSD and it can be very hard to differentiate from Japanese/Okinawan styles unless the spectator knows the pattern.
 

Gerry Seymour

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I missed this thread when it first came up, and I'm glad it has reawakened. @Tony Dismukes asked me basically this question when I was visiting him (3 years ago?). I didn't have a good answer to it then, but the question got me thinking.

NGA is defined (to me) by 3 components:
  1. A focus on aiki-based movement. This is hard to define, but incorporates several body principles. One of those principles (blending and timing) is likely outside what the term "aiki" means in Japanese, but is common to all the aiki arts I've seen or experienced. The rest are harder to see if you haven't trained in them, and they take a fair amount of time to develop.
  2. A blending of striking and grappling. I'm on thin ice with this one, as a lot of NGA dojos mostly pay lip service to the striking - it's not at all integrated in their tactics and strategy.
  3. Use of the classical forms ("Classical Techniques") to practice and develop those principles. You could develop those principles without these, but you'd arguably not be doing NGA at that point. (I argue with myself about whether this is true, so don't expect me to hold fast on this one.)
 

Monkey Turned Wolf

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ITF or KKW (which have lineage that crossed). That's the only insurance that you will learn real taekwondo. And not made up one like the ATA where someone randomly decides to create his own system and keep the same name.
Crazy looking into it. Apparently the founder started training in 1953, got his black belt in 1954, was an army tkd trainer by 56, opened his own school in 59, and founded his own style just 10 years later.

Google-fu is failing me though on what style of TKD he trained, do you know?
 

Earl Weiss

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ITF or KKW (which have lineage that crossed). That's the only insurance that you will learn real taekwondo. And not made up one like the ATA where someone randomly decides to create his own system and keep the same name.
So, since General Choi appointed 7 people to GM status and only one or 2 of those remained with an org that used the name "ITF" then the progeny of 5 of General Choi's most senior students plus various other Seniors that trained extensively with General Choi are not learning "real taekwondo" notwithstanding they would be learning TK-D?
 
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