Posts Tagged ‘Korean taekwondo’

What It Means To Be Taekwondoin

        Many people are misguided and view martial arts as some kind of religion. It is not. Taekwondo is not a religion and I do not agree with what others say who claim it is spiritual. To me that is bogus. Taekwondo or any martial art is a physical activity and it improves your body and preserves you from violent attacks. There is nothing spiritual about that. I recommend you go to church and read the Bible and pray to God for spirituality.

When you improve your health through physical activity of course your mind feels better and stress is relieved and a positive feeling comes over you. That is to be expected with ANY physical activity, even playing basketball or another sport.
But the difference is that Taekwondo is a fighting art and gives you confidence that sports do not. It gives you the feeling of being able to protect yourself, be strong and powerful and stand up to aggressors.

Philosophy within Taekwondo is simply that, philosophy. Just ideas and concepts. Yes with any culture there may be a philosophical concept that also has basis in a local religion. For Taekwondo of course Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism have presented philosophical concepts in the art, but that does not mean you are practicing a religion. Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and Korea historically was Shamanism and later Taoism and Buddhism from China influenced them and also Confucianism. You do not have to be a believer or practitioner or such religions to be Taekwondoin. In fact, I wholeheartedly disagree with all of those religions and vehemently dislike Confucianism, but I am still Taekwondoin and the moral concepts from various parts of the religions are good.
There is a moral code in Taekwondo called the 5 tenets. Courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and indomitable spirit. These tenets are trans-religious and can be found any simple morality. They are good things and guide a martial artist, who should be a warrior in his community, to direct them to use their violent power for good and not evil. This should be for any martial art.

Competition is an extra thing and a noble pursuit if you do it for good reasons. Self glorification and ego are the wrong reasons but that is why so many guys fight and wish to be tough. What does it matter in the end if you were a champion in a combat sport or not? Does what you did benefit society? Is what you do beneficial to others and to God? That is what matters.

After you get old will you be able to fight like you once could? Things happen. Accidents, injuries and life situations. Of course being a serious Taekwondoin you MUST be able to fight and know how to. You cannot neglect that. Simply performing movements with n purpose makes no sense. Or if your purpose is simply to impress judges at a poomsae tournament then you are not a real martial artist. You are just a performance artist. Another problem with ego is when people learn a martial art to show off “cool moves” and glorify themselves by showing how many flips and kicks they can do. This is a pointless pursuit as well and is not martial arts. If you can do it on top of actual martial arts then good for you, but it shouldn’t be a goal. I don’t do flips and nether do many great and dangerous fighters. They don’t really have any practical application.

So your goal with martial arts SHOULD be learning how to actually fight well. The second goal is personal health and well being. If you are someone who fights or does a combat sport yet you neglect basic motions and perfection of movement you are also not a martial artist. You are a brawler who also engages in MMA or whatever. The best fighters are the ones who clam down, practice basics over and over, perfect the movement and do the quiet side of martial arts. As a Taekwondo fighter neglecting poomsae is an ignorant thing. Just because you do not understand poomsae does not mean it is worthless. Poomsae is the essence of our Taekwondo movement and only helps your body. When you are old, have injuries and more life situations you will not be spending time competing. What do you have left of Taekwondo? Nothing? Just get fat and sit around? Poomsae is what you have and practical self defense applications. Taekwondo and many other martial arts are things you can do well into old age and become a lifestyle choice. If you do not train your poomsae you do not train in Taekwondo and you are NOT Taekwondoin. I don’t care how many gold medals in Olympic sparring, MMA, or whatever you have.

Likewise, if you ONLY perform poomsae and never so much as hit a pad with force and you do not spar or practice self defense you are also not Taekwondoin! You are a performance artist and dancer. I don’t care what color your belt is or what certificate paper you received with your name and rank on it says.

Taekwondo is a fighting art and for self defense. Taekwondo also brings health to your body. Spirituality is found in Church. Don’t get it mixed up and think about the reasons you even train in martial arts.

Remember, it does not matter if you are the best fighter in the entire world and can dominate every other man you challenge or who challenges you. What does it matter in life? When it’s all said and done you have God to answer to about the meaning and quality of your personal life…

Peace of mind comes from God alone. Figure that out. Taekwondo skills are what matters, not a belt rank, or a fight record. Just practice and improve yourself and worry about yourself and not how others view you or your martial art. Other people dance, swim, play basketball, do gymnastics etc….I do Taekwondo. I train in Taekwondo fighting. I get the benefits that come with that. Others do not and that is fine, that is their choice. But do not get confused on what real martial arts are and what a true martial artist is.

Just do your best people! Give up and just train in the true way for yourself and not others.

I Completed The Kukkiwon International Instructors Course

        I completed this 51st Kukkiwon International Instructors Course for 2016 in Korea. It was held in the Kukkiwon itself in Gangnam in Seoul. Here is a video of what I was able to film. I really had no time to take many photos or videos during the training so all of the really cool stuff I could not film which is too bad. It was 5 days of lack of sleep for me and intense heat and hard work. I will never forget it. I am satisfied to claim I have completed master training for Taekwondo.

What I learned I will be able to take with me into my teaching in my future dojang. Not a lot of Taekwondo teachers have what I have since I was blessed enough to go to Korea.

My completion certificate and my new Kukkiwon/WTA dobok. Awesome!

Hwang In Shik is 73 years old and can still kick above his head like a maniac and do extreme cardio conditioning. 

I will post more details about the course later when I have more time. There are a lot of things to talk about and I feel motivated about the direction the Kukkiwon is taking Taekwondo. We were even taught by many famous Kukkiwon masters. Some of the guys I have seen in videos were there in person! I met Grandmaster Hwang In Shik and others.

 

My Visit To The Kukkiwon 

        After finding the Kukkiwon on the Lunar Holiday and it being closed I was able to go back to it a week later. I took the subway to Gangnam and was able to visit the Kukkiwon again and go inside. It was the moment all Taekwondoin worldwide want to experience. Visiting the “Mecca” of Taekwondo. Here is a video I shot inside:

A lot of people do not think the Kukkiwon is a big deal. Especially most Koreans. None are really concerned about it. But to foreigners it is mysterious and all of the stories of Taekwondo we heard, the superpowers of all the Koreans, and the power of Taekwondo being centered here is a huge deal! I heard other foreigners say they did visit the Kukkiwon and were unimpressed and bored.

Well it was fascinating to be inside, but I have to say the building of course is quit old and smaller than I thought it was. It actually is not that big of a gym. The Taekwondowon in Muju is way more impressive but less historically significant and is kind of a retreat park to go to for events. The Kukkiwon seems to hold less events. When you go inside you can walk around the entire dojang in hallways that have photos and posters of significant things in Taekwondo history. Some of them are kind of boring but others are interesting. If one has a lot of time to document Taekwondo history I believe they should spend a few days documenting the photos. Honestly most of them have to do with the Olympics and things I find quit boring. Like “so-and-so of whatever country introduces Taekwondo for the world tournament, or whatever. Like maybe a president of some random country is shaking hands with some master or whatever. One interesting photo is that of ITF North Korean Taekon-Doin with some Kukkiwon people who allowed them to do a diplomatic Taekwondo mission at the Kukkiwon. So in the past ITF and Kukki/WTF tried to have friendly relations and give respect to each other. Obviously, for the most part that is gone out the window, except you will have a very hard time finding a Korean master who will openly say bad things about the ITF. Instead they will use avoidance language and subtly say ITF is not so good, without directly insulting them. Anyway…

Inside the dojang floor one can see flags of many nations above. When I went half of the floor as taken up by a stage for doing demos. The Kukkiwon Demonstration Team puts on quite a show 5 nights out of the week at 7:30pm. So if you get a chance you and go see the show. IT IS FREE! What is amazing is the day I went hardly anyone was in the audience yet they put on a very high quality demo with great production. The demo team has worked so hard they are virtually flawless. This show could make a lot of money on tour at Arts Centers and Theaters worldwide. Kind of like how the Shaolin Monks tour, the Kukkiwon could do it too.

They had the floor covered with rubber so we could wear our shoes in the dojang. The demo has a lot of drama and theatrics, but for the most part it does not suck. The music and little drama really make the show good and most of the techniques are flawless poomsae, basic motions, and a ton of super high flying board breaks with kicks and punches. Very talented acrobatics and spinning kicks. Some of it is also “tricking” style. Then there are a few fight scenarios. One was a bit unrealistic and too fantastic to be believed could work and was more like a movie fight. Others had more hoshinsool oriented concepts which in my opinion was the absolute BEST scene of the entire demo. Unfortunately, at the end they add some cheese and do hip hop Taekwondo-dance with Gangnam style Taekwondo silly dance nonsense to close out the show. Of course the general public who are not martial artists or fighters will love it, but for me I hate it. Other than that the Kukkiwon demo was AMAZING and totally worth seeing.

Now besides that, I went to the Kukkiwon Museum which is a smaller building behind the dojang building which is above a cafeteria. I do not know when they serve food but it seems to be ONLY for special occasions. The museum above though is up some steps and the museum is quite small. The artifacts are 99% Olympic oriented artifacts and photos from world tournaments, International Olympic Committe stuff, various games and souvenirs and medals. Some doboks of former world champions, old hogu and protective gear are displayed too. One cool artifact was the original bamboo hogu. So it is true, the original hogu were bamboo instead of foam padding. The bamboo is covered by leather or some material that is the standard color of chest gear with the red or blue target area on white. The rest of the artifacts are quite boring, and also the false history of Taekwondo being 2,000 years old is promoted and pretty annoying. Saying in the 4th century Korean kingdoms practiced a version of Taekwondo. I wish they would be accurate about Korean martial arts history.

Now the best part of the museum in my opinion are the brass plates that have the original kwan seals on them. The 9 original kwans (they do not have a seal for the administrative kwan called KwanRiKwan, so it seems to be an unimportant kwan not worth mentioning) are displayed. I took some photo for people to see:

kwanseals

kwanseals2

MOO DUK KWAN

moodukkwan

JI DO KWAN

jidokwan

OHDOKWAN

ohdokwan

SONG MOO KWAN

songmookwan

KANG DUK WON

kangdukkwan

CHANG MOO KWAN

changmookwan

JUNG DO KWAN

jungdokwan

CHUNG DO KWAN

chungdokwan

HAN MOO KWAN

hanmookwan

So there is a good look at the artwork and symbols in the original kwan seals with their original spelling.

Overall, I believe if given the chance, even if it may be unimpressive to some, the Kukkiwon is a must visit place. If you can come to Korea you have to visit the Kukkiwon and experience it. It will further your Taekwondo life education and it is a nice place to hang out. You an hang out there outside in the park area under the Korean gazebo and use the outdoor work out equipment. It gives you a good view of the areas of Gangnam as well. What is amazing is the entire area had no houses, no buildings, and as just fields and woods when the Kukkiwon was built. The Kukkiwon stood on the hill in view of all. Now it is hidden by skyscrapers and large trees. You cannot see it unless you go to it. The whole city is huge now overshadowing the Kukkiwon. Gangnam is a fancy rich area sort of like the USA’s Beverly Hills and people go there to party and shop. The new culture is taking over and the old warrior culture is fading away.

In reality the Kukkiwon is just a building for office work and printing back belt certificates and registering people. The gym floor is usually used for demonstrations and less classes and training now. What is crazy is Conan O’Brian came to Korea the day after I went to the Kukkiwon. Conon visited the Kukkiwon the day after I was there. I fI showed up I would have saw Conan O’Brian in person breaking a board. CRAZY! Oh well!

I Randomly Found The Kukkiwon While Walking In Gangam

Yes I went to Gangnam and realized that the Kukkiwon is also in Gangnam. So after getting off the subway I decided to walk around in hopes of finding the Kukkiwon and before I knew it I walked right into it. WOW! Enjoy the video!

Chinese Taekwondo Students Visit Korea 

        Last week for 3 days Chinese students in 3 separate group came to the Chun Ji Hoe Dojang in Bucheon to experience Taekwondo from Master Jeong. Every group went through some basics and saw poomsae demonstrations by Master Jeong’s students and a mini-bunhae demo where Master Jeong showed some self defense techniques. The first group brought some older students with them who were part of a school Taekwondo team. They performed some poomsae for us and it was a great time. The 2nd group had less people and more children and they were new to Taekwondo and learned some basic punching. The last group were all white belts and middle school aged students. The cultural exchange was great and hopefully these kinds of thing can make a positive impression to foreigners who train in Taekwondo, especially Chinese martial artists. Koreans were able to have a positive experience with Chinese people and promote some Korean culture. Since I was there too I was able to represent America to the Chinese and hopefully made a positive impact to these young minds about what a American is like.

        These kinds of things are great. Politics aside you can create friendships and hopefully the future Chinese generations will have fond memories of an American as well as Koreans. Peace and friendship through martial arts.

        The first day unfortunately I had no video footage. I should have brought my camera or used my phone to record. That day I performed Pal Gwe Yeuk Jang. Oh well, but the second day I was able to capture video. I performed Pal Gwe Sa Jang:

Master Jeong’s top black belts perform poomsae:

The Chinese students learning some basics:

The Chinese school Taekwondo team performing poomsae:

Day 3 was the largest amount of people where the dajang had to cram 85 white belt students into itself with hardly any space to move around. Amazing! Watch the Chinese white belt kids practice the basic punches:

I performed Pal Gwe O Jang:

Master Jeong’s top black belts:

Master Jeong shows bunhae (application) of poomsae for self defense fighting:

The 3 days were a great time. I am blessed to have experienced this and be in Korea to hep promote Taekwondo and the martial arts to other countries. It is great to see Chinese people training an loving our martial art.

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.

Update On My Taekwondo Training In Korea

       I have been busy with work a lot so I cannot post as often as I would like, but here is a little update on some stuff I have been doing with Taekwondo in Korea. I basically train 3-4 times a week taking classes and free training. Master Jeong had a parents day for the kids and the students did a little demonstration of various things. I showed “English Taekwondo Class” by leading a short 10 minute min-lesson for the kids speaking English the entire time. The kids get to learn Taekwondo words in English which is a big deal for many Koreans.

I also performed some Pal Gwe forms. The floor is a bit slippery though so it is hard to make good stances. I did okay though.

In the near future master Jeong is going to publish his next self defense book. I will help him out with making sure the English translation is correct as well as be featured in photographs in the book with him as well as be in some videos that will be supplemental to the book for smartphone apps and computers. So a lot of cool things are going to happen very soon. I will keep updating my blog about this.

It is now Christmas Eve in Korea and I am going to go have some fun tonight as well as tomorrow. Keep reading and commenting!

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.

Taekwondo For Fighting Slip Rope Training

        Here is a great drill for working on fast footwork and speed and head movement.

Dodging punches and kicks is important. This drill uses twine taped to posts. You can use it for fast pivoting and footwork and ducking punches. Make sure to throw punches and kicks as well. I have tied 4 strings around in various places, in the middle it makes kind of an “x” or “+” shape. You can duck and slip under in multiple directions. This drill will make your legs strong and help with instability. If you have joint problems this drill might be tough, but if you do it right it is a fun way to work on strengthening the thigh muscles from the squatting down over and over. This drill also can simulate multiple attackers from various directions. Do this in 3 minute drills. Try it! This is Taekwondo for serious fighting and MMA.

Try it yourself!