Would you choose a different set of forms?

hkfuie

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Hello! I just thought I would start the day off with a little TKD blasphemy.

I do the Chang Hon forms.

But since moving to this area a few years ago I have met some TKD peeps that do the Pyong An forms.

They are an older set of forms and I suspect there is more info on the bunkai of these forms.

I don't want to switch my forms, but sometimes I wonder if there are not better nuggets of bunkai in those older forms.

As a side note, I attended a seminar with an old school TKD practitioner. I was one of the few people from outside the hosting school, which was a karate school. The leader of the seminar asked me what style of forms I do. When I told him, he said, "Oh. I'm sorry." Later he bragged about how he broke a guy's leg in a sparring match at a tournamnet and ended the guy's career. My respect for him as a person plummeted even further.

But I did respect his knowledge of martial arts and it made me think alot about my forms.

What do you all think? Are there better nuggets in the older Pinan forms? Or should I be able to find nuggets just as good in the Chang Hon forms, even though I believe Gen. Choi did not have bunkai in mind at all when he strung together these forms?

If you are sensitive to blasphemy and want to throw a pie at me, make it banana cream...or chocolate. I could go for either today. :)
 

dancingalone

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The most advantageous reason for choosing the Pyung Ahn forms, if you are a TKDist, is because of the large amount of material available on them via DVD, books, and most important from the various teachers across the world. A LOT of people use these forms: classic TKD, tang soo do, shotokan, wado-ryu, shorin-ryu, shito-ryu, etc...

My karate teacher has over 300 applications cataloged within the Pinan (Pyung Ahn) kata by themselves, and he's just one sensei. Imagine the inevitable variations made by different ryu-ha over the years to these forms as well as the resulting applications. There's that neck crank I'm fond of, for example, found within Pinan Shodan (Nidan to you Japanese karate people). My teacher doesn't teach that particular application, but an Okinawan Kempo guy showed it to me once. Do the Pinan forms and you're automatically a member of the largest kata club in the world. Like I said, a LOT of martial arts use these forms to teach basics with and yet they are still rich with meaning when you look for it.

Since the Chang Hon and Palgwe forms are really just a reshuffling of the same movements in the Pinan kata, you can practice and learn the same bunkai as a karate-ka or TSD guy will. It takes a bit more time to cross-reference sources, but it can be done. Still if you are VERY interested in application work, I think it makes sense to seek out the Okinawan shorin-ryu versions. They supposedly as close to the originals as possible and it's true that Okinawan karate focuses much more on bunkai than the typical Japanese karate or Korean TKD school will.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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I wouldn't call it blasphemy; Tang Soo Do uses the Pinan/Pyong An forms. Personally, I like the idea of doing different forms, from any style. It broadens the base and gives you an appreciation of what is being done in other styles.

Daniel
 

dancingalone

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Personally, I like the idea of doing different forms, from any style. It broadens the base and gives you an appreciation of what is being done in other styles.

Daniel

And you don't even have to pick another form from another style. Just pick a hyung you already know and then perform differently than is the norm. Instead of being sharp and punctuating as in usual in hard styles, why not try to keep all the movements chained together so you don't pause at all. Can you still hit hard even if there's not a thumping kihap to end a sequence of moves? This is a good exercise for those trying to develop short distance power.
 

chrispillertkd

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Hello! I just thought I would start the day off with a little TKD blasphemy.

I do the Chang Hon forms.

But since moving to this area a few years ago I have met some TKD peeps that do the Pyong An forms.

They are an older set of forms and I suspect there is more info on the bunkai of these forms.

There are certainly more resources for bunkai of the Okinawan forms than there are for Haesul/Bunhae/Haesok for the Chang Hun tul. Part of that has to do with the fact that Gen. Choi and the majority of the other early Kwan founders studied primarily Shotokan karate, which Funakoshi had already started changing from the Te he learned on Okinawa.

I don't want to switch my forms, but sometimes I wonder if there are not better nuggets of bunkai in those older forms.

That depends on what you mean by "better." More? Certainly. Better? Depends. Taekwon-Do as it was developed by Gen. Choi has its primary focus on developing devastating power through the use of body mechanics, not a combination of pressure point striking and joint locking (although these techniques are certainly present in his system).

As a side note, I attended a seminar with an old school TKD practitioner. I was one of the few people from outside the hosting school, which was a karate school. The leader of the seminar asked me what style of forms I do. When I told him, he said, "Oh. I'm sorry." Later he bragged about how he broke a guy's leg in a sparring match at a tournamnet and ended the guy's career. My respect for him as a person plummeted even further.

Bragging about his lack of self-control is certainly a demonstration of this gentleman's character. Sadly, his name is legion. Heck, I attended a seminar of a very well know expert of pattern applications and came away with a poor taste in my mouth over his blatant disrespect for anyone who disagreed with him. Were his techniques effective? When done correctly, they usually were. Were they the only effective techniques? No.

But I did respect his knowledge of martial arts and it made me think alot about my forms.[/i]

It is often better to heed the message, not the messenger.

What do you all think? Are there better nuggets in the older Pinan forms? Or should I be able to find nuggets just as good in the Chang Hon forms, even though I believe Gen. Choi did not have bunkai in mind at all when he strung together these forms?

If you are interested in Okinawan-style applications to movements (not necessarily techniques) in patterns you could just use the material available and apply it to the patterns you already know instead of learning a new pattern set.

Also, let's not forget Gen. Choi's purpose when he developed the Oh Do Kwan, the Chang Hun tul and Taekwon-Do. He wanted to develop a martial art he could teach to masses of soldiers which was effective for unarmed combat. He took what he knew of Shotokan (being a second dan when there were only 5 degrees), a little bit of Taekkyon he had learned and concentrated on getting as much power as he could from the techniques themselves. The fact that he was a rather small man played an important part in this, I think. According to Grand Master Hwang, Kwang Sung if the General had been a larger man Taekwon-Do would've developed differently, viz. less of an emphasis on getting power from the whole body working together.

Taking a platoon of soldiers and drilling them on getting excellent results from a side piercing kick or a reverse punch is doable. Getting them all to grasp and perfect an intricate pressure point/joint lock? That's another matter.

If you are sensitive to blasphemy and want to throw a pie at me, make it banana cream...or chocolate. I could go for either today. :)

Not at all. The interest in "hidden applications" isn't going away anytime in the near future. There's nothing wrong with applying movements of patterns in different ways. If you want to take a bit more or a "Korean" approach (for want of a better term) you might do some investigating of Ho Sin Sul techniques. Gen. Choi, in fact, included many Hapkido techniques in Taekwon-Do which Grand Master Chung Kee Tae, a student of Grand Master Choi Yong Sul, helped put in the syllabus. While this area isn't as standardized as foot techniques or hand techniques it is an important part of training.

Pax,

Chris
 

dancingalone

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Taekwon-Do as it was developed by Gen. Choi has its primary focus on developing devastating power through the use of body mechanics, not a combination of pressure point striking and joint locking (although these techniques are certainly present in his system).

That's a good point, chrispillertkd. It may very well be frustrating for someone who is a TKDist but is also intensely interested in bunkai and elements of what is classified as "jutsu" like throws/locks/pressure points. He can work hard to pull these things back into his taekwondo, but he IS working against a tide of years where for many teachers this just was not taught nor passed on.

Bunkai is a much more universal concept in the Okinawan arts. Notable exceptions like Mr. Anslow or Mr. O'Neil aside, if you're doing TKD, should you just accept that the art is what it is and move on if your interests have diverged?
 
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hkfuie

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Bunkai is a much more universal concept in the Okinawan arts. Notable exceptions like Mr. Anslow or Mr. O'Neil aside, if you're doing TKD, should you just accept that the art is what it is and move on if your interests have diverged?

For me, NO. :)

I guess I thought some people were going to take offense b/c I have been attacked by people who will not tolerate questioning Choi, even peripherally. Sorry. Forgot where I was.

I am not going to choose a different set of forms, but i was just curious what people thought. Life would be easier if I knew the Pinans. But my brain has room for only a few more forms. Better save them for the rest of my current set.
 

chrispillertkd

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That's a good point, chrispillertkd. It may very well be frustrating for someone who is a TKDist but is also intensely interested in bunkai and elements of what is classified as "jutsu" like throws/locks/pressure points. He can work hard to pull these things back into his taekwondo, but he IS working against a tide of years where for many teachers this just was not taught nor passed on.

Bunkai is a much more universal concept in the Okinawan arts. Notable exceptions like Mr. Anslow or Mr. O'Neil aside, if you're doing TKD, should you just accept that the art is what it is and move on if your interests have diverged?

Should you just accept it and move on? The same could be asked of practitioners of Shotokan which, as I mentioned above, went through a major change from the Okinanwa Te Funakoshi originally learned. I will also point out that, IIRC, the pinans were developed to be taught to Okinanwan school children and thus the applications went largely untaught for some time (and this on top of the normal bit of "closed door" teaching that went on before this).

I guess my (current) position is this: if it's interesting to you go ahead and research it. I have to some extent, although not nearly as much as others. My instructor has roots in both Chang Moo Kwan (with its link to Chinese arts) and the Oh Do Kwan and he teaches some applications that are more close in and personal (so to speak).

I will also point out that Gen. Choi's attitude, from what I have heard from others who trained with him many times (I only did once :( ) was that if an application works it's a good one. That said, he obviously had a predisposition towards striking applications. My own attitude is very similar, though sometimes I wonder at some of the "hidden" applications that some people find.

Pax,

Chris
 

chrispillertkd

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I guess I thought some people were going to take offense b/c I have been attacked by people who will not tolerate questioning Choi, even peripherally. Sorry. Forgot where I was.

Heh, I have experienced a very similar attitude, except from the other side of things. Acceptance of diversity only goes so far, it seems ;)

What I would like to see is an increase in courtesy when people discuss this topic in general and when they discuss people such as Gen. Choi and the other Kwan founders in particular. These are people to whom we owe a huge debt and belittling their (supposed) lack of knowledge is not only unseemly but at odds with the practice of martial arts, IMNSHO.

Disagree? Sure, by all means. On both sides of the issue. But do so courteously.

Pax,

Chris
 

dancingalone

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I am not going to choose a different set of forms, but i was just curious what people thought. Life would be easier if I knew the Pinans. But my brain has room for only a few more forms. Better save them for the rest of my current set.

That's why I'm always bemused when I read about people practicing the various sets of forms simultaneously. How could you possibly keep them straight in your head without spending 70%+ of your focus on just remembering the choreography. It'd be real easy to confuse Won-Hyo with Pinan Godan. Best to stick with one, I think.

At this stage of my training, I 'know' many kata, hyung, and sets. I have copious notes and drawings I've made over the years in a number of styles I trained. Lots of forms... I actively practice only three however. One for body conditioning, one for the wonderful bunkai contained within that I still take apart and work with a partner, and one with many difficult movements within it to challenge myself with. To be honest, I know only ten applications from the last form and they are fairly superficial. I'm sure my teacher knows at least a hundred to show me. I'll be busy with this one for a few years...
 

dancingalone

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Should you just accept it and move on? The same could be asked of practitioners of Shotokan which, as I mentioned above, went through a major change from the Okinanwa Te Funakoshi originally learned. I will also point out that, IIRC, the pinans were developed to be taught to Okinanwan school children and thus the applications went largely untaught for some time (and this on top of the normal bit of "closed door" teaching that went on before this).

Yes, you're right. As you probably know, there's evidence to suggest that the Pinans were inspired by Kusanku or perhaps a lost kata called Chanan. I've never seen Chanan, but there are applications enough within Kusanku.

I guess my (current) position is this: if it's interesting to you go ahead and research it. I have to some extent, although not nearly as much as others. My instructor has roots in both Chang Moo Kwan (with its link to Chinese arts) and the Oh Do Kwan and he teaches some applications that are more close in and personal (so to speak).

I will also point out that Gen. Choi's attitude, from what I have heard from others who trained with him many times (I only did once :( ) was that if an application works it's a good one. That said, he obviously had a predisposition towards striking applications. My own attitude is very similar, though sometimes I wonder at some of the "hidden" applications that some people find.

Pax,

Chris


My first black belt was achieved in tae kwon do. It was tough training, but what I learned there was very much a punch and kick art, pretty much what you stated above that General Choi set out to create. If you're interested in a more well-rounded interpretation of martial arts, well there's the problem. It's a rare TKD school indeed that teaches anything more than basics, sparring, some crude hoshinsul, and hyung without analysis. I believe you almost have to switch styles if you want something more. Of course if you can find a TKD teacher than can show you more, then you are one of the lucky ones.
 
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hkfuie

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Heh, I have experienced a very similar attitude, except from the other side of things. Acceptance of diversity only goes so far, it seems ;)

What I would like to see is an increase in courtesy when people discuss this topic in general and when they discuss people such as Gen. Choi and the other Kwan founders in particular. These are people to whom we owe a huge debt and belittling their (supposed) lack of knowledge is not only unseemly but at odds with the practice of martial arts, IMNSHO.

Disagree? Sure, by all means. On both sides of the issue. But do so courteously.

Pax,

Chris

Hear, hear.
 

Twin Fist

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I would go one step further.

When Ralph Castro was setting up his Shaolin KeNpo system, he created a new set of forms, or dances as he called them.

The Shaolin KeNpo forms are unique in my experience because they are taught two ways:

The kata itself, and they are nice looking, fun kata to do

The kata with attacks, so the students learn the application of the moves while they are learning the kata

the kata in the Shaolin KeNpo system all follow the same basic series of attacks:

a grab
a punch
a step through punch
a double punch combination
a club attack
a knife attack
etc
etc

and the kata get progressively more complex as the students learn more.

I am planning on doing this in my own school over time.
 
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hkfuie

hkfuie

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Sounds like very organized forms, Twin Fist. And they're fun to boot? It would be great to create something like that, but I am still learning, still taking in info. Not ready to create my own set of forms. I would want them to be more awesome than I could make them now.
 

Kacey

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If I were to learn a different set of forms, I'd rather learn something totally different - for example, another instructor I know knows Kung Fu forms as well as TKD forms, and he's taught me part of one. They are so totally different from what I'm used to that I really have to think about them, and I really enjoy it.
 

jfarnsworth

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It would be very difficult to try to learn a set of forms in the TKD style vs. or at the same time a kung fu system. The stances alone are very different. I'm not saying it couldn't be done but more in the lines saying it would be very difficult at best to be proficient at both. One or the other would look sloppy.

As far as being in the TKD system & learning new forms... I found it difficult enough to go through what i had let alone to add more. The add more isn't always better. Some people can't handle adding more & more. I for one, at that time, could not do that.

Oringinally Posted by hkfuie
...It would be great to create something like that, but I am still learning, still taking in info. Not ready to create my own set of forms. I would want them to be more awesome than I could make them now.
One of the better ways to learn and gain better insight into your art is to create a form or kata. Come up with something. One technique or series of movements. Figure out how you can transition into the opposite side of that same technique or moves. Mold it after a self defense based application. AFter you come up with that, move onto a second technique or series of moves for another application. It just may be a little easier than you think & with greater indepth rewards than you know of. At least as of yet.:) Good luck on your quest.
 
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hkfuie

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The kung fu I did had the very same stances as the TKD I do. The difference was in the arms. They did not end in a snap like TKD. Every once in a while I'd let a little snap into my KF and my sifu would just shake his head and we'd laugh.

My point was would you switch from the newer Chang hon forms, which I don't believe Choi had the bunkai in mind while creating, to the older forms, which MAY have had those bunkai imbedded in them?

Do you think one is better than the other?

Were the Pinans created by someone or people with the intent of the bunkai that are in them?

Does it matter what form you do? Or does it only matter what you do with the forms you know?

This is all just academic conversation. I am curious what other people think. I get bored just listening to my own brain all the time. That's why I come here! :)
 

dancingalone

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Were the Pinans created by someone or people with the intent of the bunkai that are in them?

They were created by Anko Itosu, a direct student of Bushi Matsumura. I don't doubt at all he had some specific bunkai in mind when he designed them, given the speculation that he was inspired by either kata Kusanku or Chanan during composition. Applications are central to Okinawan martial arts. I've never run across an Okinawan karate stylist who didn't consider bunkai highly important.

While the Pinan were meant used for teaching school age children, this does not preclude them from containing effective combat sequences within them if you only know the rules for extracting them.

Does it matter what form you do? Or does it only matter what you do with the forms you know?

Body type and physiology do play a role there. I believe one can naturally disposed to certain martial arts style due to body or mental make up. If you are talking about the various hyung sets with Japanese influence found in taekwondo, I would say it doesn't matter (too) much since they're close enough in range of technique and you can largely analyse them in the same fashion. If you want to throw in recent creations like Songahm, I would indicate a clear preference for the Pyung Ahn sets.
 

jfarnsworth

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I was an ITF guy at the time. During that point & time in my life I really didn't care much for the katas. Spent most of my time sparring. I learned them enough to pass the belt tests. Even then, didn't care much about the betls or the katas. Until I got into my 20's did I find that the forms were valueable & needed a very close understanding of how they worked & why.

Again, going back to the original question at hand, learning new or more forms for me would have been a waste of time.

However, on the other hand. Now, I practice my forms before work, during my lunch hour at work, & after the kids go to bed. My students also, step through the forms with me during class. Kids, as well as the adults. Lastly, I've put together some of my own to help practice the self defense techniques more. I received a gift from one of our higher ranked instructors with the yellow & orange curriculum. From that blue print (if you will) the purple, blue, green was put together. My adult students have had a great time with these. It also helped them remember the techniques more.
Just a thought.
 
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