Chuan Fa Influencing Early Taekwondo With Bajiquan From Ju An Pa Kung Fu 

        Kung Fu is often listed as a martial art that influenced the formation of Taekwondo in Korea. A Modern History of Taekwondo explains that the founding master named Yoon Byung In of the kwan Chang Moo Kwan (AKA YMCA Kwon Bup Bu) lived in Manchuria, China during his early childhood. There he learned the Chinese martial art called Ju An Pa (1999, A Modern History of Taekwondo, p. 7). I could not find any information on what exactly Ju An Pa is, or was, but people often label it Chuan Fa. It is a common thing to read on Wikipedia when looking up information on the early kwans, or when reading Taekwondo websites that have a history page, that something called Chuan Fa was practiced by early kwan leaders or was influential in the forming of Taekwondo. But that term simply means “Chinese martial arts” and has no distinction of a specific Kung Fu style. Apparently, the words Chuan Fa are a Chinese term meaning “law of the fist” (Oriental Outpost, date accessed 2015). So like the term “Kung Fu,” “Chuan Fa” is also an umbrella term for various Chinese martial arts. Much like the word Karate is an umbrella term for Japanese and Okinawan arts.

        It is explained in a Modern History of Taekwondo that Yoon Byung In trained with Chun Sang Sup (Founder of Choson Yoon Moo Kwon, which became Jidokwan) pretty much all the time. They trained so much together that they were labeled brothers in the martial arts (p. 7). Wikipedia also mentions they traveled to Manchuria together and train in Kung Fu together. This emphasizes that even the Jidokwan (formerly the Choson Yoon Moo Kwon Kong Soo Do Bu) must have dabbled in Kung Fu, or at least Yoon’s “Ju An Pa” influenced them. Wikipedia also states on the Chang Moo Kwan page that a style called Bajiquan influenced Taekwondo. Yet the source they cite cannot be found. A few websites of random Taekwondo school’s with a history page have also listed Bajiquan as a style that influenced Taekwondo. Just simply type “Kung Fu influence on Taekwondo” or “Bajiquan influence of Taekwondo” and you will see pages that claim this. Other sources not worth mentioning will simply list Kung Fu or Chuan Fa as a style that influenced Taekwondo. When I first saw Bajiquan being listed on Wikipedia I instantly went to look for youtube videos on the style to compare it to Taekwondo movements. Later, one blog I found that emphasizes ITF “Taekwon-Do” claims that Bajiquan influenced Chang Moo Kwan, and “probably” influenced the Jidokwan (So Shim Kwan, 2011, date accessed 2015). I have not found any academic sources or other types of “really credible” sources that mention Bajiquan or what kind of Kung Fu influenced Taekwondo, but I think the author of that ITF blog is right. Yet, I hate to actually agree with an ITF person’s view of Taekwondo history, but this part of Taekwondo history does not have to do with General Choi so I think it is acceptable to agree (note the sarcasm). I actually think it is plausible that Bajiquan did influence Taekwondo. It is a fact that Kung Fu (Chuan Fa or “Chinese styles”) influenced Taekwondo, and Yoon Byung In and Chun Sang Sup had access to it (in the form of Ju An Pa) and most likely taught the concepts in their gyms.

        I think it is possible thatt Ju An Pa must have been a name of a style directly related to, or an off shoot, of Bajiquan. Of course I cannot be sure 100%. There are several systems of Bajiquan created by various masters throughout the ages. This Chinese style also developed in areas within Manchuria where Yoon Byung In grew up. This style most likely developed from Shaolin Temple styles like most Kung Fu did in the North of China. I believe that it is more than likely that Ju An Pa is actually Bajiquan. A possible explanation for a strange name could be that his local instructor wanted to name his teaching something different like many instructors do. As there are many types of Karate with various names, Ju An Pa could be a name for a specific type of Bajiquan that his teacher developed that would label his style a more personal name. If anyone reading this knows what Ju An Pa means in Chinese let me know in the comments. Ju An Pa could also be a style that had influences from carious kinds of Kung Fu styles including Bajiquan techniques. I think that Yoon Byung In had to have been exposed to various kinds of Kung Fu in Manchuria besides the Ju An Pa he was dedicated to. Martial artists often trade techniques such as a kick or punch.

        The full name of this Chinese martial art (or Chuan Fa method) is Kai Men Baji Quan which means “Open-Gate Eight-Extremities Fist.” If a reader of this blog wants to know what that name means or why there are “8 extremities” I suggest looking up the martial art style and researching it. This article is not about researching Bajiquan, but about movements and concepts within it that I see have influenced certain motions within Taekwondo. I am not saying Taekwondo looks like Bajiquan, but that Taekwondo has subtle motions which are similar techniques and could possibly have the similar applications. I have found some video evidence that supports this. On quick notice it is apparent that Bajiquan looks absolutely nothing like Taekwondo. This is obvious, but the concepts of some of the motions actually do look similar. Bajiquan is a quick, explosive, and very intense form of Kung Fu. Taekwondo is mostly slow and rigid with a step-by-step basis. Yet, some of the Taekwondo poomsae do in fact flow more and are faster when it comes to advanced black belt forms. Some of these forms have motions that look similar to what can be seen in Bajiquan. Before I explain how Bajiquan has similar motions with Taekwondo I will first explain a little about Karate’s influence on Taekwondo.

        Taekwondo takes another approach to training movements. A slower or more singly-concentrated effort with power for each step. The rhythm is different from Karate and Kung Fu with each step being one at a time. Kung Fu styles can slow up and speed up as they go. Bajiquan shows intense power, slowly winding up then fast bursts of power. Karate often has a step-by-step way of moving one at a time, but there are often parts of their forms which explode in speed with multiple hand motions and faster stepping as well as going off line diagonally. Karate can throw a punch with one step, then take 2-3 fast steps exploding with fast bursts of hand speed with blocks and counter strikes. There are also very slow, flowing, meditative, multiple hand motions in Karate for each step more often than in Taekwondo.

       This below video is a good example of how Karate uses multiple flowing hand motions within one stance, and also speeds up and slows down and uses various angles of attack and defense. Instead of going in straight lines up, down, left and right, Karate often goes into diagonal lines. So Karate could be going forward, but then go off to the side diagonally to block or attack. Also in the video notice the many slow hand motions and directional changes that are different from Taekwondo.

Another example of fast bursts of speed instead of just one step at a time is this female Japanese Kata champion:

Taekwondo forms usually stay within the same rhythm and do not slow up or speed up very often. For example this daughter of a famous Taekwondo grandmaster performing Tae Geuk Pal Jang:

        Taekwondo is basically a step and strike/kick, or a step and block way of doing forms. A couple of forms have 2 or 3 blocks in one stance, and hardly any multiple, slow flowing, meditative hand motions in it per stance (examples are how Koryo has one meditative breathing motion in the form not counting the ready stance, Tae Geuk Yuk Jang also has only one etc.) Where Karate might have 2 or 3 separate meditative hand motions and deep breathing within one stance, Taekwondo usually has 1 within a stance. Taekwondo is a very slow paced stepping martial art when practicing forms. Yet, this allows a practitioner to concentrate more power into each strike and each block. It is less about looking attractive and more about practical motions. This is not to say Taekwondo does not look good. It is just a different theory of martial arts movement. Most of the founding masters of Taekwondo had high black belt ranks in Karate and originally taught Karate forms to their students. Why Taekwondo became slower paced and 1 step at a time and less flowing, I have no clue. It just developed that way and the people who created the Taekwondo forms back in the day must have decided they wanted to move less complicated and at a slower pace for whatever reason. Originally, the Pal Gwe set of forms were created which incorporated motions that were copied from parts of various Karate forms called the Pinan set. But they were modified and changed slighty, yet the same movement is apparent. Kyokushin Karate is a form of Karate that moves slower more like Taekwondo does. It also developed into more singular stepping in an unchanging rhythm. Kyokushin uses the Pinan Kata’s which show almost the same motions as the Pal Gwe Poomsae in certain parts. Examples:

Kyokushin Karate motion in a Pinan form (only watch from 2:50-2:56):

Taekwondo motion in a Pal Gwe form (only watch from 1:13-1:18):

Here is an example of the Shotokan pinan movements (watch 0:29-0:35 only):

Notice the differences yet its the same kind of motions, just slightly different, but essential the same application.

Also, the high black belt level form TaeBaek also uses the same motion (watch from 0:40-0:46 only):

Most of Taekwondo’s motions are variations of Karate motions, but done slightly different. The Pinans were developed from Shotokan and taught by early masters of Taekwondo, most specifically in Tang Soo Do. But various Karate styles incorporate them into their curriculum.

Later the Kukkiwon decided to make new forms called the Tae Geuk set which uses short stances mixed in with the standard long stances. If one is lucky he can find an instructor that will teach him both Pal Gwe an Tae Geuk forms.

Taekwondo is very much like Karate. I have the opinion that Taekwondo is 80% Karate and 15% Kung Fu and %5 modern renditions of Taekyeon (at least in spirit from what historical ideas that the Koreans found to re-create Taekyeon in order to instill national pride by trying to reclaim their culture lost from Japanese occupation). So most Taekwondo motions and forms are practiced very hard, rigid, and slower than Kung Fu and most Karate. Chuan Fa (Kung Fu) is more fluid and soft with various wild movements. Kung Fu looks great for dancing, yet Taekwondo looks stupid for dancing (but why are the Koreans doing this Taekwon-Dance trend!!!)    

Now back to Bajiquan! Practically every serious martial artist that trains in Taekwondo knows about the historic Japanese and Okinawan Karate roots of Taekwondo. But hardly anyone knows about the Kung Fu roots. People know there was a Kung Fu influence, but no one I know of can explain the exact types of Kung Fu that influenced Taekwondo except for what I read in A Modern History of Taekwondo which said Ju An Pa was a style that was practiced. But understanding the area Yoon Byung In grew up, and the types of martial arts taught in Manchuria, and the ways these styles move, and comparing them to certain Taekwondo forms, it suggests that Bajiquan is possibly a main style that influenced Taekwondo in various motions, and Ju An Pa is probably a type of Bajiquan.

        I will try to mark where, in the video’s below of Bajiquancertain motions are possibly influential to Taekwondo. To understand which movements you need only to watch the time limits I list.

1. The Bajiquan Long Form

2. Another version of the same form

3. Various Bajiquan forms

Notice the straight line movements. It keeps going forward with a lot of power. There are a few Taekwondo high black belt forms that behave in a similar way, all though without the same speed of Kung Fu flair. The forms that come to mind are Pyongwon, Sipjin, Jitae, Cheonkwon, and Hansu.

Upward elbow strikes

Bajiquan apparently is known for elbow strikes. Watch the first video at 0:12-0:141:23-1:25, 0:57-0:59, and 2:41-2:43.

Watch the second video at 0:09-0:10, and 2:09-2:11.

The Hong Kong TV Show called Kung Fu Quest did an episode on Bajiquan and showed an elbow strike. View the following video from 2:50-2:53.

Now watch the Taekwondo form Pyongwon video below from 0:26-0:27, and at 0:38-0:39.

Notice the elbow strike? It is a different stance, yet it has the same principle of an upward elbow attack from close range. The Taekwondo stance is opposite leg and arm, and the Bajiquan stance is same arm, same leg. Just like the Bajiquan master on the episode of Kung Fu Quest said, it is an attack they least expect. I know that Karate has upward elbow strikes as well, but this is just one similarity I see with Bajiquan and Taekwondo. The Pyongwong form also happens to be in a straight line much like Bajiquan’s form.

Linear directions and forceful stepping

        In this straight forward motion they use momentum to give power to strikes. Here is an example from the first video. Watch the first Bajiquan video up above at 0:27-0:30, and 1:47-1:54.

Now contrast the forward stepping and punches with the move in the Taekwondo form called Sipjin. Watch from 0:27-0:30, and 0:36-0:39.

Notice the forward stepping motion with a punch. I believe that is possibly one type of motion Taekwondo took from Bajiquan. It is of course practiced in a slower Taekwondo fashion, but it is nonetheless a forward stepping punch motion into horse stance much like Bajiquan’s. It allows for serious power in the punch going through the target.

“Santeul makki,” mountain blocking, or twin wide open blocking

        In Sipjin there is another move I notice that Bajiquan uses. It is what Taekwondo calls a “mountain block” which is hecho santeul makki in Korean. It is also known as “twinw ide open blocking.” Pyongwon also uses the same move. Looking up above at both the Sipjin an Pyongwon videos you will notice the move. The following video is an explanation:

Notice how the Bajiquan videos have this similar movement. Watch the very first Bajiquan video from 0:49-0:51, and 2:28-2:30.  Watch the third Bajiquan video from 0:32-0:34, and 5:27-5:33. Now of course they do it slightly different, and possibly their version are some sort of “hammer fist” strikes out to the side, or they could be blocks as well. The application for the Taekwondo movement of hecho santeul makki is the idea of breaking an attackers elbows who is grabbing you in front. You trap his arms and force your arms upward into his joints and break them. The Bajiquan movement could have similar application as well.

Downward hammer fist to the head level

        Tae Geuk O Jang, and Pal Gwe Pal Jang forms both have a downward hammer first strike. It is called mejumeok naryeo chigi. View the following videos:

Tae Geuk O Jang (watch from 0:58-1:20):

Pal Gwe Pal Jang (watch from 1:18-1:28):

Now watch the Bajiquan videos. First view video 1 of the Bajiquan videos above. Watch from 0:14-0:150:47-0:50, 1:24-1:27, and 2:23-2:26. Now watch the second Bajiquan video above from 0:23-0:25, 0:13-0:16, and 1:26-1:29. And finally, watch the third Bajiquan video from 1:51-1:53, 2:33-2:34.

The same motion is apparent. Of course it is done in a fluid Chinese way of moving as well as a different stance, but it is still possible that these motions were part of early kwan martial arts because of Byung In Moon and Chun Sung Sup’s Kung Fu teaching. Possibly these movements were common within early Korean Taekwondo and were put inside Pal Gwe Pal Jang, and later reissued into Tae Gaek O Jang. But then, if Karate also has these motions it could have come from Karate. But Karate originally developed from Kung Fu as well. I still think the downward hammer fists with the application of clearing a grab off of your wrist by swinging it underneath the armpit and your opposite hand’s palm clearing your wrist is probably from Kung Fu.

Fist to palm pulling motion juchumsegi palmok pyojeok chigi

        There is a motion in Taekwondo where one pulls the fist to the palm of the hand. The only poomsae that has the fist to palm or wrist pulling back motion is Hansu. This motion is called juchumsegi palmok pyojeok chigi or arae pyojeok makki. The first means horse stance, wrist target strike. The second means underneath (or low, or downward), target blocking. You can say it both ways.

Here is the technique:

Watch this video of Hansu from 0:31-0:33, and again from 0:45-0:47.

Watch this next Hansu video from 1:58-2:06:

And also watch this last Hansu video from 0:36-0:38, 4:42-4:59.

Bajiquan also has this same type of motion, although not identical, it still has the same motion and most likely a similar application.

Watch the very first Bajiquan video up above from 0:37-0:39, and from 2:06-2:08.

Watch the second Bajiquan video from 1:00-1:02.

And watch the third video from 0:19-0:21, 2:10-2:13, and 3:58-4:02.

        Of course, just as the other movements mentioned in this article, the move is not done exactly the same as the Taekwondo way, yet it is very much similar. It has the same concept. The Bajiquan guys are doing it higher on the wrist and arm, whereas the Taekwondo way is hitting the top of the fist into the palm of the other hand. I know this movement is also apparent in other Chinese martial arts as well. I firmly believe this move did not come from Japanese Karate, but from the Kung Fu roots of Taekwondo whether it be directly from Bajiquan or another style. Like I said before, Yoon Byung In had to have been exposed by various Chinese styles with similar movements.

 Simultaneous high block and face punch, keumgang apjireugi

        The movement of a high block simultaneous with a high punch to the face is called keumgang apjireugi. This means “diamond high punch,” or “diamond face punch.” An example of this movement is in the forms Jitae, and Cheonkwon.

Example of the movement in Jitae (watch from 0:44-0:46):

Example of the movement in Cheonkwon (watch from 0:59-1:05):

Now if you watched the sequence from 0:59-1:05 you will see the man do the movement 2 times. He does a sequence of movements with a downward double knife hand block, scissor block, the high block and face punch, butteerfly kick, then again the high block to face punch. He does keumgang apjireugi twice. If he was not wearing a Taekwondo uniform and was in regular clothing would you be able to tell that what he did in that sequence was Taekwondo in itself? I think a person could easily assume it was Kung Fu. The form Cheonkwon is full of Kung Fu types of movements.

Now see how Bajiquan has the same movement:

Again go back to the very fist Bajiquan video above in the list and watch from 0:33-0:34, and from 1:57-1:59.

Now go to the third Bajiquan video and watch from 1:01-1:04, 1:15-1:17, 3:31-3:37, 3:49-3:51, 4:03-4:05, 4:14-4:17, and 4:30-4:32.

The movement is the same as the Taekwondo technique. It is likely that Taekwondo got this move from Bajiquan. Now of course this may have come from Karate, but with the fluid Chinese style movements in Cheonkwon I believe this move came from either Bajiquan or another Kung Fu style. Various styles of Kung Fu have the same movement as well. Even so, reflecting on Yoon Byung In and his Manchurian Kung Fu training I think it is very plausible it came from his Ju An Pa or Bajiquan influence on his training.

        Now of course there are other movements I could go over, but this article was tedious enough. I could also mention other forms like Tae Geuk Chil Jang with its palm block in tiger stance, and tiger stance and back fist over the arm, and inside crescent kicks to the palm  into elbow strike. I could also mention cross stepping from Tae Geuk Pal Jang and the outsie block into elbow strike to punch as well. I could mention the butterfly kick in Cheonkwon too. These movements are all very Kung Fu-like. Especially the butterfly kick. Chinese martial arts are full of the tornado crescent style kick that is called the butterfly kick in Taekwondo. The move here you do a tornado crescent kick into the palm of your hand. Chinese martial arts have always had the inside the foot kicking to palm of the hand as well as the flying spinning tornado-like crescent kicks. Okinawan Karate of course also has small inside crescent kicks as well, but I believe the ones from Taekwondo come from the Kung Fu influence from various Chuan Fa styles, most most likely the Ju An Pa, or Bajiquan styles.

        I think by the time the poomsae of Taekwondo was being created these Bajiquan techniques were common practice in the early formation of Taekwondo and added in. They not only have a combat application, but they also look really aesthetically pleasing and display athleticism and agility. I think the Chang Moo Kwon and Jidokwan collaborated and had influence on the other kwons.

        There are many reasons why Taekwondo turned into a slow paced martial art in their forms doing one step at a time. The main reason is because most kwon leaders were Shotokan and Shudokan Karate masters and some were already practicing the Karate style in the form of Tang Soo Do, the Koreanized version of Karate. Both Yoon Byung In an Chun Sang Sup were Karate masters with high black belt levels. Yoon Byung In was so passionate about martial arts he received a 5th degree black belt in Shudokan Karate from Toyama Kanken when he went to Japan to study abroad. He most likely dedicated himself more to Karate than Kung Fu and his Karate influence must have influenced his Kung Fu interpretations of movements. It is said he still taught his students his Chinese martial art style as well. But why Taekwondo is not more Kung “Fooish” than it is, is probably because his Karate mastery became more prevalent in his personal expression as well as the other kwon leaders all studying Karate. Chun Sang Sup of Chosun Yun Moo Kwon Kong Soo Do Bu (Jidokwan) also studied Karate first as well as Judo before he collaborated with Yoon Byung In‘s Kung Fu. Yoon Byung In possibly started to like Karate more than his Chuan Fa as he gained such a high level of expertise in it over the years.

        Since most of the kwon leaders were Karate masters (iroically excluding General Choi since there is absolutely NO evidence he got above 2nd dan in Karate) as well as studied Judo one can see why the early Korean masters adopted the Japanese gi (uniform) and not other kinds of clothing like you see in Chinese styles. Chinese styles have no belt system, but Japan was so influential on Korean culture they adopted the belt system as well and the same uniform. Only later did they create the v-neck style that we wear today. One can see how Taekwondo is heavily influenced by Karate, yet now after understanding the knowledge about Chuan Fa movement through Bajiquan and what Ju An Pa possibly was one can also see how Taekwondo has a very real Kung Fu influence from China. Taekwondo is a very eclectic martial art. This has given Taekwondo the ability to refine, and adapt techniques over time to make them better. Taekwondo technique is still being refined and researched by the Kukkiwon in Korea today.

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Comments
  1. dobokdude says:

    hello WDD. Recently I have seen personally the opinion of modern taekwondo. This kid in my class claims he does muay thai way in Sacramento but we live in Fairfield California. But he said that he fought 3 taekwondo guys and that he beat them. He said taekwondo is more of an art form and that the kicks are graceful and not meant to hurt people(I know it’s bullcrap). He even said that you don’t fight in a horse stance. But I knew this But he said it like I was some idiot. Obviously if he actually knew about taekwondo he would know we fight from high narrow stances with our hands up. See this is why I do online research and read books so I know what taekwondo actually is while he was making dumb assumptions. Nice article by the way.

    • White Dragon says:

      Dont worry about people like him. They are ignorant and display their lack of knowledge in martial arts when they say such stupid things. And I think he is probably lying or embellishing the truth about fighting anyone. He is just another poser.

      Thanks for reading my blog hope you enjoyed this article about Kung Fu influencing Taekwondo.

  2. Paul Gorman says:

    The style that byung-in yoon practiced was a form of northern longfist. Some of his students today, now masters in their own right, or his students students still may practice it in their curriculum. The Changmookwan schools haven’t carried on his lineage of longfist forms (their schools founder Lee Nam Suk chose not to) but the Kandduk Kwan has. Park Chul Hee, the founder of the Kang Duk Kwan and one of Yoons students, he is still in his 80s and practices these forms. The best person to ask about this is Master KimSoo Park in Texas he has done a lot of research and actively practices and keeps these in his schools curriculum. Look into Kang Duk Kwan and you’ll see. I could tell you more if you’re interested. Most kungfu that is practiced in korea came after the cultural revolution in china in the 1950s and from what i see are longfist or mantis masters who fled to Korea. Byung-in Yoon was the exception as he was teaching these before that time period.

    • White Dragon says:

      Thanks for the informtion.

      In Korea there are hardly any Kung Fu practitioners today. I have not seen even 1 yet or heard of a school here. I am sure there are some and I never came across them yet.

      Most schools here are of course Taekwondo, Hapkido, Kumdo, Kyokushin, Boxing, MMA, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo etc. Foreign martial arts are by far more serious and popular among adults in Korea. Taekwondo is only larger due to kids as it has become a Korean cultural form of daycare (sad reality). Maybe 1% of Taekwondoin are epanding on fight knowledge and trying to incorporate new concepts into their training. And these are the ones who actually fight and spar (not just olympic but MMA or Kickboxing).

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