Posts Tagged ‘vietnam martial arts’

Military Taekwondo Stock Footage From Vietnam War

        Taekwondo is a traditional martial art, but it grew up as a military martial art as well, not simply a civilian style. Special fores soldiers in Vietnam learned it. The following are various stock footage videos showing literal Taekwondo training in full uniforms as well as combatives practices. Check them out!

Taekwondo was about 25 years old in these videos. The above video shows the primitive techniques and movements that that been of courses tweaked, changed, and developed into better and more practical movements. But it is interesting to see wide stances, wide choonbi  stances and the standard Karate gi style doboks they are wearing. It looks very cool. Even special forces soldiers start out as white belts in Taekwondo and even perform the part. The Vietnamese soldiers are very small people and very thin as well due to growing up in such a harsh place in war torn Vietnam.

You will also notice that one some scenes they seem to be doing parts of ITF forms. This is because the O Do Kwan was still run by General Choi and the KTA still used some of his early forms to be used in the military kwan. Around 1965 Choi had been asked respectfully to remove himself from the KTA and was given permission to develop his ITF organization. So there was some crossover is forms and style going from this time to the ealy 1970’s until the Pal Gwe and Tae Geuk sets of forms were created. Later, the KTA and all kwan groups of martial arts fully committed and promoted the Kukkiwon and the WTF (including the Oh Do Kwan which was Choi’s kwan which he led in the military). So the Vietnam era of Taekwondo is part of both ITF and Kukkiwon/WTF history as it was sanctioned by the KTA to teach South Vietnam Special Forces as well as U.S. Special Forces Taekwondo combat.

Another very important thing to notice is the sign that says “Tae Kwon Do.” It is spelled simply as Tae Kwon Do, which could also be written Taekwondo. Many ITF people strictly spell the style name as “Taekwon-do” or “TaeKwon-Do” with a hyphen. They claim that is the only way to spell the martial art name. General Choi apparently added the hyphen in English for some reason. This shows that historically Taekwondo was not written with a hyphen and it is not important to do so. In original Korean language (hangul) there is no hyphen, and I believe, nor should there be in English.

At the end you notice the Korean black belt instructors kicking and punching the hanging bag. One is doing a toe kick with his round kick. The other guy seems to have some form of gloves on as he punches as well. You never saw that much in Taekwondo gyms in the 90’s when I started training. The primitive and outdated kicking styles are seen as well. For their time it was pretty impressive and this is when the US military and others were just figuring out the martial arts systems for their soldiers.

 I love this footage. It is white belts sparring. I notice a lot of front legged side kicks and some jumping round kicks. The military salute instead of bowing is also cool. The interesting stances and way they are holding their fists is unorthodox for today.

More white belts sparring. Very terrible technique, but they seem to be having so much fun and all smiles. It is horrible to think they may have to fight in the jungles of Vietnam later and end up killing people or getting killed themselves. Hope their Taekwondo training was good if the battle comes down to hand to hand.

Notice the US Soldiers, white men, in the background watching and taking photos. The dojang is very cool with artwork of fists and techniques and a sign that says Taekwondo.

Here is some wild and crazy hand to hand and close quarters combat techniques show with Vietnamese Special Forces. Man these special forces look so young, like cute kids and all smiles. The grappling, flying and throwing techniques are pretty flashy. It is also funny to see these Special Forces guys smoking so much in the background. Clearly it cannot help their Taekwondo and grappling techniques. At the very end of the clip it looks as if they were learning how to fall properly and keep their legs up in a defensive position for ground kicks and deflecting attacks. But I do not really know.

Here are some Army Ranger’s teaching new recruits. I believe it is a continuation of the above video. The trainees clearly have no clue what they are doing. Imagine these guys having to be taught all of these techniques so fast and then expected to use them in actual battle. These are breakfalling and rolling techniques.

I like this video a lot. It shows some basic knife defenses in a dirty and not so perfect looking way. A South Vietnamese combat instructor is teaching the young cadets about what it means “to kill or be killed.”

Well this is some proof that Taekwondo was a military martial art meant for serious combat including killing. Taekwondo grew up in the military where it developed further self defense techniques over time. It was primitive back then but still got the job done, now days it has developed into way more crisp movements and precise movements. Unfortunately, much of the serious nature of Taekwondo as a martial art has been lost due to pop culture and a politically correct mindset that watered down much of Taekwondo. But in the dark corners of the Taekwondo world there are still Taekwondo instructors and fighters like all of us who love Taekwondo and train for realistic combat and self defense.

Advertisements