Posts Tagged ‘korean martial arts’

Positive Reinforcement Psychology Used To Lie To Dumb Foreigners About Their Taekwondo High Master Skills

        People do alot of weird things in martial arts and Taekwondo has a lot. Some people do weird promotion testings with overly sentimental nonsense to act like something people are doing is profound and spiritual and just so….deep….so amazing! The following is part 1 in a series of videos showing a promotion test of some ITF off shoot group in Iowa.

I think that it is obvious that when a person thinks about 8th or 9th degree GRANDMASTERS of Taekwondo that their skill is impressive, amazing, and deadly. After all it would mean they have trained in Taekwondo their ENTIRE lives and have had probably 30 or more years of training. One would HAVE to be good right? WRONG!

Apparently, these guys are now 8th and 9th degree black belts. Don’t give me any bullcrap that their age is a factor in why they are not clean or accurate in movements. Yes people get old and have arthritis but many old men who have high ranks in martial arts can still move really good and do poomsae well. Not only poomsae but break boards well too and even fight. I think their instructor failed them and collected a lot of promotion testing fees this day.

They arrive in the back of a freaking pickup truck all close together like a real brotherhood! Positive psychology technique! Then they get out to a huge applause to so many people. Then get to bestow the virtues of Taekwondo and their amazing training and how Taekwondo saved their souls basically…then there is the weird performance of tul and some bastardied versions of Pal Gwe and WTF black belt poomsae mixed in.

There are about 5 parts to the video and the above is just part 1. The end of this video has such a silly thing, COUPLES POOMSAE! Yes a married couple created a romantic poomsae and get to perform it like a dance. And yes everyone there took it seriously and fawned at how cute and wonderful and meaningful it was.

In other parts of the series of videos you seem board breaking mess ups with guys trying things that are too hard for them only having to resort to easier techniques.

This is NOT the Taekwondo I teach or expect to be taught to people and I would never want to receive a high rank from anyone if I moved like them. Nothing in these videos looks crisp, beautiful, or interesting. It looks like a large mess of spazzing bodies too close in proximity to teach other. The sparring was also no touch contact and looked like nobody was even trying and being lazy.

I bet some old kwon group member will try to sculd me for stating what is observably obvious to anyone watching this promotion test on youtube and how I am not a real master because I criticize someone or ask questions. I don’t really care anymore. I don’t need to suck up to people who’s only claim of importance are political connections or a knowledge of General Choi history. What is interesting is in the last part there are some speeches and you can see that Vitale guy, the white guy who is an ITF and General Choi apologist and North Korean sympathizer who writes Taekwondo Times magazines showing his approval by being on the judges board of this testing.

The graduation ceremony was weird too with excessive deep bowing over and over and wearing some kind of hanbok flowing robes.

I think the grandmaster loves making foreigners bow to him a lot. I bet they had to pay for their Korean robes and they probably cost a lot and he made a huge profit.

Nowhere in Korea do people do this when earning dan ranks. It is a bit strange. This is so awkward and cringeworthy. The American’s clumsily go through the ceremony unsure of what the Korean grandmaster wants them to do. And then a silly oath is taken. “We are the highest levels of Taekwondo…” this seems cultlike, promising to attend class etc. Then they give personal accounts through small speeches about the virues of master Jung and Taekwondo and how he saved them. I think these people do not have much experience training outside this one dojang their entire lives. Being a black belt and 9th dan black belt is super important and serious.

What do you think of this? Do you find it weird or cringy? Or are you offended by this article? Discuss below!

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I Was Able To Train With And Spar Lee Dong Hee

        This month I was able to train with Lee Dong Hee and spar him. If you do not know he is sort of a Taekwondo YouTube celebrity in his own right. He always uploads interesting videos showing a serious combative nature of martial arts. He is a 5th dan black belt and a former Korean Tiger demo team member. So his days of Taekwon-dancing with sexy Taekwondo girls is far behind him and now his goal is real self defense and combat.

        Here are some videos of our day training. The first video is showing an immovable stance to develop proper tensing of muscles, and proper relaxing of muscles in order to keep your center balanced and learn to use your leg and arms for more powerful strikes.

The second video are clips from our sparring session. I had a great time and Master Lee is a great fighter! He is the type of Taekwondo master to enjoy training with. He has a very down to earth attitude and is easy going. You can simply talk to him and enjoy your time.

Of course we did not to no contact and were play fighting. It was just to go through motions and have fun and work on stuff. This is good training to keep you healthy.

Rules For Testing At The Kukkiwon

        There are certain rules you have to follow to test at the Kukkiwon. The main rule is to wait 6 months living in Korea in order to be allowed to test. You cannot just come to Korea in test at the Kukkiwon for dan rank. I found out that I am NOT allowed to test until I have lived in Korea for 6 months.

        This does not make much sense to me but it is the way it is. If I want to get my fourth degree black belt I must wait 6 months now. I have already done well past my time limit as third degree, but I have to wait 6 more months unless I want to pay an American master a hefty sum of money to get my rank now. One of the things that kept me from testing was the extreme price that American masters charge. And I am talking about the Korean American masters who charge well over $500 just to get a belt rank.

        The point for me is to get an official Kukkiwon rank and have Korean training. I do not want to pay an unknown small American organization just to get a belt rank. I want it to be the most official rank you can get in that is why I came to Korea. I have trained in Taekwondo for 20 years. Even my current instructor in Korea thinks that I have the ability to be a fourth degree black belt in actually deserve it but that is how it is in Korea they have special rules for foreigners. So anyone thinking they can just take a trip to Korea and test for their belt rank needs to know the truth that it won’t happen. The only thing you can do is set up the foreign instructors course and take that and get your master teaching rank certification on the exact date they specified. I will do that next year.

        It is frustrating, but I am not worried about it. The point is to be good at martial arts and to be a good fighter to the best of my ability, and to be able to understand self defense. I am developing skills here in teaching ability and that is what really matters. Not a notch on my belt. I know I’m better than many 4th degree black belt, and can’t eat better and also fight better. The rank really means nothing except it gives you a backing for potential students and parents of students to understand you have a real training and are not a fake.

        One of the funny things is there is a current Kukkiwon scandal where officials at the Kukkiwon haven’t given the ability to skip multiple black belt rank up to 8th and 9th degree black belt if you pay $2,000. It is a way for Koreans to make money off of foreigners around the world who want to rank up fast. This was all over the news in Korea and is a complete embarrassment to the Kukkiwon. Many high ranking Taekwondo masters were protesting and angry. They must fire these cookie one officials right now if they want to save face. It also angers me because I know I’m good enough to be an official instructor and I have waited a long time and still have not tested for my proper rank. So the fact that cookie one is doing things like this angers me as well. I really hope the future of Taekwondo can be saved from such corruption, and to keep Taekwondo unified as a Korean martial art. The future of Taekwondo technique seems bright, but with such corruption scandals it ruins Taekwondo’s image more than has already been done before because of mcdojang mentality and lack of combative mindsets. Even the average Korean citizens who does not even care about martial arts is upset about what the Kukkiwon did.

I do not know of a Korean translation of the following video, but it is the news report on what the Kukkiwon did and you can see certain masters protesting against it. The famous Grandmaster Kang Shinchul is one of them. He has the long gray hair and is yelling. I don’t know who the Grandmaster with his shirt off kneeling is. From what I understand they are explaining in the video how dumb it is that the Kukkiwon is selling out for cash.

Link: https://www.facebook.com/tkdkangsc/videos/899887983428707/?pnref=story

Apparently, Master Jeong told me a couple of days ago the Kukkiwon quit this stupid policy. Finally. They need to take off those fancy suits and ties, and their shiney shoes and put on a dobok. Go back to fighting skills, not marketing.

        I am just going to be patient and either wait 6 months in Korea, or just pay the ridiculous $500 to the Korean American master. I do have a job and can save up. I will figure it out.

My Experience At The KTA 2015 Education Fair At The Taekwondowon

As a foreigner, being allowed to attend the official KTA 2015 Education Fair was a serious privilege. I was the only non-Korean there. It was a weekend of seminars on various topics of Taekwondo. It had the standard lectures of how to run a school, teach better, and some other less exciting topics, but the reason I went was to attend the technique classes and learn new combat concepts. I am extremely refreshed and encouraged to have seen high level Kukkiwon masters teach classes I was in about how to actually fight with Taekwondo. That is right, the Korean masters are teaching younger instructors about actually fighting and not doing performance and not only doing Olympic sparring. This was basically Korean street fighting.

My instructor, Master Jeong, from Bucheon who is a 6th dan, Kukkiwon Education Committee member, and official KTA instructor had connections to get me into the fair and take some seminars. I paid 30,000 won to attend the weekend events. That is about $30 US. AMAZING! It included food and a room with a shower and nice floor heater. It was top notch like a luxury hotel. I am so thankful to my instructor for getting me in to this. The Taekwondowon is a center for Taekwondo culture with many acres of land and several large buildings. There is the famous “Taekwondo Park” as well, but this event was in the winter so the park was not open. They were busy renovating it and repairing things. A lot of landscapers were doing work all over. The museum was not open either. I will have to go back and check all of this out. The Taekwondowon is very popular and has commercial aspects to it that may be annoying to me, but there is still enough traditional martial arts and serious things about it. It will be full of tourists when it is open. But the event I went to sponsored by the KTA was so great!

During this entire weekend event I did not understand a lot of what was spoken or written. I do not speak Korean yet and I cannot read it yet. So all of the seminars I just copied the way the master moved and positioned himself and a couple of nice Koreans helped me understand what was going on.

The first seminar I took was Sparring Coaching topics. It was taught by a Master Lee who is known for sparring and self defense. He taught various conditioning drills and footwork with kicking techniques that coaches can use for their students. It was pretty good stuff. I remember these kinds of drills back in my Olympic sparring days as a teenager.

The next seminar afterward was on the subject of Poomsae Applications. This was poomsae fighting technique. To use the techniques in poomsae for actual fighting. This class was taught by a Master Um who also wrote a book on the topic. He had us do blocking drills and using concepts from poomsae with partners. He emphasized modifying techniques to make them tighter and faster instead of doing them only the “poomsae way and speed.” I could tell he had some boxing or Muay Thai skills as well in how he would throw punches and kicks. But all of the techniques were official from WTF poomsae. He talked about targeting and adapting the strikes to whatever position the enemy is in and he was super fast! His class was a breath of fresh air to finally get poomsae techniques confirmed as for so many decades foreigners did not learn and were unable to teach applications to forms in Taekwondo. It has been lost. But like Karate teaching Bunkai it is great to know the Kukkiwon and KTA are teaching such things for Taekwondo. There were even boxing style slips and perries. This seminar was awesome and on par with the seminar I took the next day.

The next day I attended 2 more seminars. The first seminar was on Hoshinsool, straight up self defense. This session was taught by a Master Kim. Master Kang  was basically teaching us Korean street fighting and kixckboxing with Taekwondo for actual fighting. He had perries mixed with the traditional blocks and boxing style punches, bops, ducks and some kicks. He taught us various striking and blocking drills, and kikboxing types of arranged sparring drills for developing hand eye coordination. I thought this seminar was amazing. It was very action packed and he was emphasizing fighting and not sport sparring. He also wrote a book on self defense with Taekwondo that will be out in English next year.

The last seminar was right after the previous. It was a Poomsae seminar on white belt basics teaching taught by the #1 poomsae champion of Yongin University (a Taekwondo university). I never learned his name because I could not understand Korea. But he is quite famous like the others. The seminar teacing was about where feet should be held correctly, fist distance from body and other arm, and how to drills white belts to learn them. It was interesting enough, but of course I did not speak Korean and the entire seminar was basically a lecture and not an exercise class. I basically sat there clueless until he showed a couple of hand positions and stances. He even surprised I was there and said that he does not speak English, only Korean. Then he wanted to know my name. It was kind of funny.

I had a great time and it was very wonderful to learn that Taekwondo is a fighting art, not a sport and not a dance. There is a sport using Taekwondo called Olympic Sparring, but Taekwondo itself is a fighting art. That is why I train and that is what the KTA was teaching during the KTA seminar at the Taekwondowon in Muju, Korea.

ITF Taekwon-Do The Original Taekwon-Dancers

        Choi created the ultimate dance system, even better than Jhoon Rhee’s Martial Ballet system. You may see all the wacky, Kpop, Korean kids in South Korea dancing up a storm with double knife hands and high sidekicks via the Korean Tigers, but the original TKD-dance system needs to be accredited to General Choi. Here are some amazing Taekwon-Dance athletes at a dance competition tearing up the dance floor in the couples division. The amazing thing about their dance style is it is “acapella” so to speak, as in they don’t even use music. The Rythm is in their sexy bodies! WOOO! Check out the gold medal winning performance of these New Zealanders World Championship achievement! The best in the world!

Look at their sexy communist marching at the end. Also notice the amazing portrait of Choi Hong Hi on the wall? ITF is not a cult guys…it is only the best dance club in the world! True Taekwon-Dance is spelled with a hyphen, not that fake, South Korean, WTF dance style of Taekwondance. International Taekwon-Dance Federation, Choi meant to spell it that way.

Choi Hong Hi Honored By North Korea During Anti America Month

        By now if you have regularly read this blog you will know it in no way seeks to be diplomatic to other Taekwondo groups and fully supports the Kukkiwon an also is a freedom loving, American martial arts blog. So this blog post is going to reinforce that by bashing Choi Hong Hi and the ITF. The White Dragon Dojang does NOT apologize either. If you don’t like this then stop reading it, and don’t waste your time posting your disdain in the comments section either. You will just create fodder for the LOLs.

The month of June in North Korea is basically dedicated to hating the USA and promoting the death of America and it’s South Korean collaborators. They shout for the destruction of the “gangster US imperialists.” It is “hate America month,” right now, but the official title is called “Struggle Against U.S. Imperialism Month.” It is the 65th anniversary of the Korean War, and about a week ago in this same month was a memorial for the late General Choi Hong Hi, the founder of the International Taekwon-Do Federation. I was informed by this memorial by a regular reader who sent me the link to the following video:

Historically, Choi was in the ROK (South Korea) military and fought against the communists during the war. Later, because of his ego damaged by the fact a lot of people did not like his ideas or want him to be the sole boss of Taekwondo, he defected to North Korea and brought his version of Taekwondo to them with his top students. No being able to return to South Korea he resided in Canada and set up the ITF headquarters. Choi brought martial arts skills, through his students, who taught North Korea combat techniques and his ITF tul (forms). Of course South Korea did not think it was a good idea that one of their former generals should bring martial arts teachings to their enemies that can be used against South Korean soldiers, and viewed him as a traitor. And rightly so.

Why ANYONE who loves freedom, loves Korean people, and especially, if they are Americans or from any freedom loving western nation would support the ITF and join them is beyond me. Knowing the history of Choi an ITF should give someone the sense to understand that it is immoral to be a part of something that supports North Korea. The philosophy of North Korean evil, “Juche” (the communist doctrine of the evil dictator Kim Il Sung) is all over ITF and used as propaganda to soften people’s view of North Korea and to have disdain or a little resentment toward South Korea. This is made apparent just by having conversations with people who have been indoctrinated by ITF Taekwondo history and ideas.

Why any Kukki Taekwondo practitioner or leader would ever want to be diplomatic with the ITF and give them a voice or associate with them and work together with them is also beyond me. It is counter productive. Honestly, it is my bold opinion that the ITF needs to just die out and allow Taekwondo to be unified and progress. The ITF not only struggled against the KTA, Kukkiwon and WTF, it had much internal fighting that 4 groups came out of it all claiming to be the true Taekwondo (3 separate groups claim to be the true ITF, and the other one calls itself Global Taekwondo Federation). ITF holds Taekwondo back with annoying arguments (especially online with ITF people around the world who post on blogs comments sections, youtube videos etc.), the fact their uniforms look stupid and seem to have never been updated since the 1960’s, the fact the sine wave concept which is not based on real physics or science and holds the progression of serious techniques back, and other nonsense and shenanigans. Yes, I am being humorous but also serious. The ITF needs to disappear and so does communism. It is the 21st century.

Notice in the above video that all of the glory and honor of Choi is North Korean specific and gives their regime glory. All of the flags in photos are of the North Korean flag and appear to show Choi acknowledging them as the true Korea. What do you see in every ITF dojang though? You see a South Korean flag. What Taekwondo do South Koreans practice and promote? Kukkiwon/WTF Taekwondo, they do not support ITF or acknowledge it. Culturally, Taekwondo in Korea is Kukkiwon and that is their martial arts cultural identity. So it is illogical for ITF dojang to use South Korean flags when we all know Choi would be pleased if you would fly the North Korean flag. Why don’t ITF dojangs just fly the communist flag and be straight up with us?

General Choi definitely has his place in the beginnings of Taekwondo history: being the force behind the “Taekwondo” name we use and being the first KTA president. But that is not enough to give him the glory and honor the North Koreans give him for Taekwondo. He was a trouble maker, a jerk, a schemer, and problematic for Taekwondo and he had to go. That is why he was told to leave and given the permission to just go do his own thing an start his own ITF Taekwondo. He did this but then decided to go to North Korea and get praised by them and betray his countrymen and soldiers. He was never a true master of martial arts or given rank above 2nd dan because of skill. All we know is his highest rank in Karate was 2nd dan before the formation of Taekwondo. Any high rank he received was strictly honorary because of his influence as a general. I think this is why he created such wacky forms as the higher up ITF forms seem to get ridiculous and illogical. Then he created the sine wave concept and started another annoying war within Taekwondo which is based on incorrect physics. Now people can argue forever about why the sine wave ius better and makes forms cooler and more powerful, while the rest of Taekwondo people shake our heads at the stupidity. Obviously, he had no clue about what is going to work in a fight or what is good in martial arts.

Who else is sick of annoying, dorky white guys as seen in the above video that want to sympathize with North Korea and actually think it is okay to visit there just to give praise to Choi. The type of guys who want to feel special and be a part of some special Asian club and will listen to anything the Asian masters say. These kinds of guys are all over martial arts like Kung Fu or “Ninjutsu.” You know those white guys who are nerds and do not have critical thinking and believe in martial arts myths and hand on to every word some important Asian martial arts guy says. These white guys for Taekwondo are the ones who believe in the General Choi myth, that he solely is the father of Taekwondo and worthy of our worship and honor even to the point of ignoring all of the atrocities and human rights violations that North Korea has committed every day since its inception in 1945. It is beyond reason unless they actually love communism. These are basically the same guys who run Taekwondo Times Magazine or think it is a great Taekwondo publication full of all kinds of knowledge…yeah….

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.

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.

Photo Shows Historic Boxing Similar To Taekwondo Hand Techniques

        Here is an old photo showing a boxing technique from the old-old-school days. It is from a book called Boxing and How to Train by Richard K. Fox from 1913.

 

This movement in Taekwondo is called keumgang jireugi (or keumgang yopjireugi). It means “mountain punch, or mountain side-punch.” The boxing photo above shows the same movement except for a slightly different angle and small and forward leaning stance, but it is essentially the same thing. I believe the Taekwondo stance is stronger and more powerful than the boxing photo, but it shows that western boxing and Taekwondo have more in common than people would believe. It it also interesting that Korea has had a deep history in western boxing all through the last century and had some of the world’s best boxers in the 1980’s. It would not at all seem surprising to find out that Taekwondo in its early stages borrowed a few moves from western boxing, but at the same time Karate already had these techniques and it is possible western boxing either copied some moves, or through experimentation came to the same logical conclusion as Karate techniques. I think the latter is more plausible. So martial arts styles often reach the same conclusions on some theories.

If more people train Taekwondo hand techniques and try to spar with them and do not conform your ideas of rigid poomsae to be binding, you will do well.  The great thing about Taekwondo is it does not have a strict shape you must follow, but it is expected you will adapt your stance and angles to what you need in a real fight.

I thought this photo was interesting and shows historic martial arts technique.

Kill Mode

          “…the determination of a hungry animal chasing its prey. When an animal senses a kill for food, it has no fear, only a single goal of getting the food.” The word’s of Hanho (Sang H. Kim) in his book Combat Strategy: Junsado Way of the Warrior (p. 117). In self defense, or true combat that has a life of death, or unknown intentional outcome probably one of the best defenses is to go into what I call “Kill Mode.” It is when you go all out, without fear or concern, yet with strategy and plan, everything around you narrows yet the target you see widens and becomes large and within a split second you go off with deadly intentions. The only thing you are thinking is “I must win” and you will do anything you can to win without hesitation, without stopping until the objective of winning is complete. The result could be total destruction (death) of your attacker, or at least an incapacitated aggressor on the floor while you remain standing, or an opening of escape after you have damaged the attacker causing him to recede and cower and stop his attack.

        In Taekwondo even we must have the killer instinct, the ability to snap into kill mode. You see targets, you see the signals of the attack being placed on you and counter with a simultaneous, direct attack to vital targets. You overwhelm them with a barrage of strikes. If he attacks you he has no right to get out of there without some punishment. You must show him he attacked the wrong person, what he perceived as being a victim, you are anything but. Cutting in with punches and kicks then grabbing and throwing. Smashing them up on the ground then walking away the victor, or running away to avoid his friends. Whatever you have to do to survive you must. There is no “gentlemanly” conduct in a street fight. There are no rules, no gloves, no illegal 12 to 6 elbows or illegal kicks to a downed opponent. This is not MMA, this is a real assault being places on you. If you do not know what will happen next, intentionally make the outcome at that moment and place to be that you remain standing. Use every fiber of your being including your will, and power of your mind to inflict fear and total dominance of your opponent.

      Because of your training, not simply technique and forms or sparring with rules, but psychological and mental conditioning you will be able to prevail in an attack and win. This is the goal of combat.