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IcemanSK
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1084
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Fri Mar 25, 2016 10:23 pm    Post subject: GM Duk Sung SON's Chung Do Kwan Reply with quote

*Please note that this is not an indictment against GM SON, or his Chung Do Kwan in any way. Some of my history & details of GM SON is probably off. I'd welcome corrections.*

GM Duk Sung SON (1922-1911) was the second Kwan Jang (President) of the Chung Do Kwan. He remained Kwan Jang until 1959, when GM Woon Kyu UHM became Kwan Jang. GM UHM is still Kwan Jang to this day.

In the 60s, GM SON began teaching Chung Do Kwan in New York State. He wrote a book with a student of his in the 1960s. "Korean Karate: The Art of Tae Kwon Do." In that book, GM SON says that a specific form in the book has a time limit in which to perform it. In other words, it's done quickly.

From my understanding, many of GM SON's forms are to be performed quite quickly. Videos of these students of GM SON performing forms have become objects of ridicule online in recent years, due to their speed. Many have referred to their training as worthless, bad TKD, &, of course, McDojo-ish. I have a different theory on GM SON"S Chung Do Kwan that explains why it's different than other TKD, or even Chung Do Kwan found elsewhere.

GM SON left as Kwan Jang of the CDK on bad terms & moved to the US. He was held at arms length by the leadership of CDK at that point. He was very much on his own. My guess (and that's what it is), is that GM SON developed his particular style on his past experiences in CDK. His his 1968 book, the kicks were typical of the TKD kicks of that era. Unlike others in TKD, he no longer had peers to bounce ideas off of or try new ways of throwing techniques. So, "the old ways" remained how he taught. He probably also saw martial value in speed in performance of hyung, so that is how he taught them to his students. Evolution of technique, was solely his prerogative. So much stayed the way he thought best. While the rest of the Chung Do Kwan evolved with the collective larger student & teaching body, GM SON's CDK, remained largely the same.

Many of GM SON's students refer to their brand of CDK as the "real Chung Do Kwan" because he was the Kwan Jang at one time & they were told that "this is Chung Do Kwan." To my mind, it stands to reason that they would think that. His students may not not know the ongoing history of CDK.

GM SON did not have the collective thought of larger Chung Do Kwan or other Kwan that other early pioneers had post 1959. If someone was doing something new, GM SON was, most likely, not in the loop. Sparring rules, new sparring gear, new ways of throwing familiar kicks, etc. were probably not something he was privy to due to his lack of connection.

My Chung Do Kwan lineage is from GM UHM, the current Kwan Jang of Chung Do Kwan. I see GM SON's students as family, even though I don't subscribe to their thinking. I'm hurt when I hear bad things about the way they train. My grandmaster taught us to perform Yun Bi (Karate kata, Empi), with a 45 second time limit. Some in our organization, have felt that performing it as quickly as possible. Technique seems to suffer at the expense of speed. We help them to perform it closer to the 45 second time limit to strengthen good technique.

Perhaps it is an offshoot of GM SON's group who are doing them so quickly. I don't know. I see value in training what has been passed down to us. Every master changes something that was past down, either intentionally or unintentionally. I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing.

I'm interested in the thoughts of others here on this subject.
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DWx
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I get what you're saying regarding the differences in training style and GM Son sticking to the old ways. You see the same with ITF practitioners. Over time there have been a number of prominent instructors and student bodies leave the ITF and you can clearly see the difference in technique with some still practicing the "old' way. This is especially noticeable with the whole sine wave thing. You get people who are pre-sine wave, early-sine wave and then folks who do the more refined movement ITF does today.

You even see differences within the ITF groups themselves depending on which one you are part of. The technical differences are small but definitely are a product of being in one group over another.

On the speed of the forms, I can see the benefit of going fast, but equally I'd agree that for most students technique will suffer. Personally I think practicing both slow and fast has benefits.
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IcemanSK
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Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 1084
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DWx wrote:
I get what you're saying regarding the differences in training style and GM Son sticking to the old ways. You see the same with ITF practitioners. Over time there have been a number of prominent instructors and student bodies leave the ITF and you can clearly see the difference in technique with some still practicing the "old' way. This is especially noticeable with the whole sine wave thing. You get people who are pre-sine wave, early-sine wave and then folks who do the more refined movement ITF does today.

You even see differences within the ITF groups themselves depending on which one you are part of. The technical differences are small but definitely are a product of being in one group over another.

On the speed of the forms, I can see the benefit of going fast, but equally I'd agree that for most students technique will suffer. Personally I think practicing both slow and fast has benefits.


Yes, & think you're right, DWx. I thought about ITF folks, & even Kukki-TKD folks who stick with the Palgwe poomsae, too. I spent some time years ago with an ITF high-ranked man who went to many seminars with Gen. Choi. When he's teach tul he'd say, "when I was with Gen. Choi last year, he said...." My master at the time, could care less. There are plenty of of Kukki-TKD folks that like the "old ways" of the Palgwe poomsae, despite the Taegeuk poomsae being normative since 1975. Kukkiwon is making an effort (a strong one at that) to ensure compliance with standardizations they've imposed. Some high-ranking folks are reacting by either pushing back or leaving Kukkiwon altogether.

I didn't want to post a video of this group doing forms, in part because I didn't want to hold them up to ridicule. But also, I couldn't find the video shown to me. It basically showed forms being done as fast as possible with no pauses or transitions between techniques.

My thought, as I read how others enjoyed a laugh at these folks' expense, is that these folks are neither my students nor my masters. My opinion on the "rightness or wrongness of their technique matters little. As sensei8 says in terms of martial application, "the proof is on the floor." I've not seen how they apply their forms, so I don't know.

I'm not sure what it is in human being that makes one marginalize another human being for sport. I guess it makes us feel better about ourselves without having to do anything to earn that feeling.
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DWx
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Sat Mar 26, 2016 12:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IcemanSK wrote:

Yes, & think you're right, DWx. I thought about ITF folks, & even Kukki-TKD folks who stick with the Palgwe poomsae, too. I spent some time years ago with an ITF high-ranked man who went to many seminars with Gen. Choi. When he's teach tul he'd say, "when I was with Gen. Choi last year, he said...." My master at the time, could care less. There are plenty of of Kukki-TKD folks that like the "old ways" of the Palgwe poomsae, despite the Taegeuk poomsae being normative since 1975. Kukkiwon is making an effort (a strong one at that) to ensure compliance with standardizations they've imposed. Some high-ranking folks are reacting by either pushing back or leaving Kukkiwon altogether.

The bit about Gen. Choi is probably even worse nowadays. All the time people refer to different seminars he taught at and "The Book [encyclopedia] says...". We even get into arguments over which edition of the encyclopedia is being referred to as there are subtle differences. The masters try to change the techniques slightly and not only do you have people argue over which master is right but over whether that was how the General taught it.

IcemanSK wrote:

I'm not sure what it is in human being that makes one marginalize another human being for sport. I guess it makes us feel better about ourselves without having to do anything to earn that feeling.

This piece by George Orwell is worth a read:
http://www.orwell.ru/library/articles/spirit/english/e_spirit

"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting."

Without going all philosophical, I think it's part of human nature to want to be better than others and unfortunately the nasty side of this oftens come out as people belittling others. Once upon a time I was naive enough to be critical of others for not doing things the "proper" way, nowadays I take a similar view to you, if it doesn't directly impact me, I couldn't care less what people spend their time doing.
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Marlon Bangkil
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Joined: 07 Apr 2017
Posts: 24
Location: Cauayan City, Isabela Philippines
Styles: Freestyle Nunchaku

PostPosted: Fri Apr 07, 2017 1:15 am    Post subject: Re: GM Duk Sung SON's Chung Do Kwan Reply with quote

IcemanSK wrote:
*Please note that this is not an indictment against GM SON, or his Chung Do Kwan in any way. Some of my history & details of GM SON is probably off. I'd welcome corrections.*

GM Duk Sung SON (1922-1911) was the second Kwan Jang (President) of the Chung Do Kwan. He remained Kwan Jang until 1959, when GM Woon Kyu UHM became Kwan Jang. GM UHM is still Kwan Jang to this day.

In the 60s, GM SON began teaching Chung Do Kwan in New York State. He wrote a book with a student of his in the 1960s. "Korean Karate: The Art of Tae Kwon Do." In that book, GM SON says that a specific form in the book has a time limit in which to perform it. In other words, it's done quickly.

From my understanding, many of GM SON's forms are to be performed quite quickly. Videos of these students of GM SON performing forms have become objects of ridicule online in recent years, due to their speed. Many have referred to their training as worthless, bad TKD, &, of course, McDojo-ish. I have a different theory on GM SON"S Chung Do Kwan that explains why it's different than other TKD, or even Chung Do Kwan found elsewhere.

GM SON left as Kwan Jang of the CDK on bad terms & moved to the US. He was held at arms length by the leadership of CDK at that point. He was very much on his own. My guess (and that's what it is), is that GM SON developed his particular style on his past experiences in CDK. His his 1968 book, the kicks were typical of the TKD kicks of that era. Unlike others in TKD, he no longer had peers to bounce ideas off of or try new ways of throwing techniques. So, "the old ways" remained how he taught. He probably also saw martial value in speed in performance of hyung, so that is how he taught them to his students. Evolution of technique, was solely his prerogative. So much stayed the way he thought best. While the rest of the Chung Do Kwan evolved with the collective larger student & teaching body, GM SON's CDK, remained largely the same.

Many of GM SON's students refer to their brand of CDK as the "real Chung Do Kwan" because he was the Kwan Jang at one time & they were told that "this is Chung Do Kwan." To my mind, it stands to reason that they would think that. His students may not not know the ongoing history of CDK.

GM SON did not have the collective thought of larger Chung Do Kwan or other Kwan that other early pioneers had post 1959. If someone was doing something new, GM SON was, most likely, not in the loop. Sparring rules, new sparring gear, new ways of throwing familiar kicks, etc. were probably not something he was privy to due to his lack of connection.

My Chung Do Kwan lineage is from GM UHM, the current Kwan Jang of Chung Do Kwan. I see GM SON's students as family, even though I don't subscribe to their thinking. I'm hurt when I hear bad things about the way they train. My grandmaster taught us to perform Yun Bi (Karate kata, Empi), with a 45 second time limit. Some in our organization, have felt that performing it as quickly as possible. Technique seems to suffer at the expense of speed. We help them to perform it closer to the 45 second time limit to strengthen good technique.

Perhaps it is an offshoot of GM SON's group who are doing them so quickly. I don't know. I see value in training what has been passed down to us. Every master changes something that was past down, either intentionally or unintentionally. I don't see this as necessarily a bad thing.

I'm interested in the thoughts of others here on this subject.


thanks for this info
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