Video Analysis Of Kung Fu Influence On Taekwondo 

        It is true that there is a slight Kung Fu influence on Taekwondo when it comes to self defense and certain movements. I have found a couple of Eagle Claw style, Kung Fu forms videos that show a few similar movements found in Taekwondo, high black belt level forms.

Here is a video showing Eagle Claw’s form called Kung Lek Keun which is translated “Power Fist.” Just watch the beginning motion as he starts. He raises his arms upward and then moves his elbows straight down hard.

That motion is the same move found in the Taekwondo form called Sipjin which is translated “10.”

The beginning motion in this form is called a “bull block” but it is done with tension and slow movement.

Then is uses explosive power downward. A bull block itself blocks simultaneous, sideways strikes coming at you at a high level toward your head. This is different from simple upward blocks. But in this form this movement is actually an escape from someone holding you from behind. The fists come up through the arms and the elbows jam and pull down on the attacker enabling you space to escape.

Another Eagle Claw form is called Jeet Kuen which is translated as “Quick Fist.” Again, just watch the beginning motion. He raises his arms in a circular motion outward and comes up with a double hand strike to the chin area. His palms are open and fingers are jabbing the attacker’s throat or underneath the chin.

It is similar to the Taekwondo form called Cheonkwon which is translated as “Heaven’s Great Might.”

The beginning motion in this form has the same circular direction of the arms moving and an upward double hand strike. The only difference is the Taekwondo form goes into a “tiger stance” with a double, middle knuckle-fist strike upwards to the chin level instead of finger jabs. This motion is actually a simultaneous palm block sweeping away a high attack such as a headbutt. If a person has grabbed you and headbutts toward you the 2 palms, you push away his forehead, and a counter with 2 middle knuckle strikes just underneath his chin will knock the attacker out saving you from your head and nose getting bashed by his forehead. This motion is called a “Spring Punch.”

What is interesting is that the Taekwondo form Cheonkwon has the idea of “great sky” such as “watching an eagle fly high in the sky” and the emotions felt when a man looks at how great and high the sky is. It is very interesting how it alludes to a great sky such as seeing an eagle fly so high which is reminiscent to Eagle Claw. The very beginning of the form has the palms extended out sideways on both sides which has the meaning of “the bird expanding its wings.” Much like an eagle expands it wings and stretches them out as it launches off a cliff to fly.

There are also similarities with the circular palm blocking followed by a punch in Cheonkwon and some movements the Eagle Claw form showed. Another big movement that the Eagle Claw stylist shows is the butterfly kick which is the same kind of kick seen near the end of Cheonkwon with the tornado-like spin and kicking the palm of the hand in the air.

This is not to say that the exact Kung Fu style of Eagle Claw influenced Taekwondo directly. That is an overstatement. What this comparison shows is that Kung Fu, as in Chinese martial arts concepts themselves, are apparent within Taekwondo. Martial arts traditions like Taekwondo have techniques that can be traced back to ancient times. Similar concepts passed along through the ages that appear in various martial arts throughout Asia. This is something to be proud of as a Taekwondo fighter.

  1. Interesting post:-) my teacher has made his own form set that he has developed slowly over the last decade or so. It was interesting to see that there was a larger overlap betweenhis set and the chinese forms than the kta poomsae and the chinese forms. In the second form just after the first butterfly kick he does hakdari seogi keumgang arae makki (one legged stance high and low block as in keumgang poomsae) if my eyes did not deceive me:-) thank you for sharing this and I hope you will pursue this further. “Everyone” is checking out the Japanese/Okinawan connection but few research the Chinese roots of TKD.

    Hwang Kee, Yoon Byung In and Yoon Kwae Byung all had connections to Chinese Martial Arts during their study.

    • White Dragon says:

      Thanks a lot for reading it. I find all the typical stuff people write about in the internet “inner circle” of Taekwondo guys (which I proudly am not a part of and dont ever plan to be) always look at the same stuff.

      For me im a martial artist and I love martial arts. So how I find videos of this I dont even TRY to. I just watch random stuff and notice things. I saw this eagle claw form and it instantly registered and I had to point it out.

      I am sure there are other things too.

      Grandmasters of TKD often make their own forms for themselves or their students. If you notice Lee Kyu Hyung and Master Kang who have videos on youtube of their forms they did for demonstrations, you can clearly see a fluid kung fu style in various techniques, but it still looks like Taekwondo.

      Taekyeon was probably influenced by chinese martial arts as well but that is something I dont know about…

      The very high an forms are the only ones I know that have several kung fu types of moves, except the last 2 forms in the tae geuk set as well.
      In the pal gwe set I think pal jang has some kung fu stylish movements. Bust most seem to be karate influence to the extreme almost copies of popular in sections. I like it.

      Also that eagle claw guy wrote me a message on his comments without me saying the application to the Sipjin movement. He said what I always knew i was, he said that it is an escape from a grab around the shoulders up high (behind). And I knew this was the application for Sipjin as well because it just seems logical. So its cool to know the eagle claw movement is the same purpose. Showing popular techniques passed on through martial arts in Asia.

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