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Himokiri Karate
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Joined: 13 Aug 2009
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Styles: Boxing, Korean Karate

PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2021 7:50 pm    Post subject: Have you seen any Taekkyon schools? Reply with quote

Has there been any schools or dojangs that teach taekkyon as a primary style in your country?


This is the original style of Koreans as is subak. I assume people would love to learn other Korean martial arts aside from Taekwondo.
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 12:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember back when I was a Black Belt Magazine subscriber seeing articles here and there on Taekkyon. However, by and large, any "modern" Taekkyon school is a reverse-engineering of what Taekkyon was believed to be, as opposed to what it actually was. One of the results of a country searching to recreate it's culture after it was taken from them.
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Zaine
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
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Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2021 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I recently did a good amount of research into the history of Korean Martial Arts because of another thread on the forum and my understanding is also that by-and-large we have lost Taekkyeon and what we have no is a reconstruction based of what material we have that survived Japanese occupation in an attempt to reclaim lost cultural practices. I live in DFW, which is huge, and as such I have access to just about every MA style you could think of, but when I looked around I couldn't find a dojang that does Taekkyeon.

Being that Taekyyeon is largely a reconstruction, you might have better luck finding a place where techniques and information is posted freely (or for a price if you can swing it) and work with a group to practice it.
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DWx
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 27, 2021 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its definitely not as widespread as other Korean styles like Taekwondo or Tangsoodo. Without knowing too much about it I gather a lot of it is rediscovering and reconstructing the techniques, sort of how people practice HEMA.

Nice little video from UNESCO on Taekkyon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga1Im-3ZtH8
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eighthundred
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2021 9:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first post on Karateforums will lend some context to this topic. Hope you don't mind me including that text again here...

Quote:
Taekkyeon being a retcon/reimagining is in a roundabout way partially true. The problem is that taekkyeon is not a monolith and there are in fact four main organizations who all teach different curricula despite claiming to come from the same root source = Song Duk Ki. This is generally what most people don't understand about taekkyeon.

Of the four aforementioned organizations, the smallest and least known is Song Duk Ki's taekkyeon (called Widae Taekkyeon <~~ I'll explain more about this later), which looks very different from the rest. The other organizations are what I'd call the "retcons" and are in fact greatly influenced by taekwondo. This is simply because the founders of these other organizations all had backgrounds in TKD. And this goes to answer the first part of what I quoted above... the claims of being trained in taekkyeon by TKD people... only a handful of people can claim to have been trained in taekkyeon and there are various reasons as to which I'll explain.

Taekkyeon is only known to have existed in Seoul. All historical record (paintings, pictures, written accounts) of taekkyeon were recorded around what is now modern day Seoul. This is not to say it didn't exist in other parts of Korea under a different name. In fact, that is the current popular theory. Some of you may have heard of Soo Bahk -- different from Soo Bahk Do, although the latter obviously took inspiration from the former -- some believe taekkyeon and soo bahk could have been the same as they are mentioned together in at least one historical document, but it's not clear if they are one and the same. Also, it is not uncommon for something to have a different name in another region of the country in general because culturally Koreans (especially historically) tend to be tribal.

This tribal nature is related to taekkyeon and where I personally believe the "game" aspect/misconception comes from. I mentioned that Song's taekkyeon is called Widae taekkyeon. Widae is loosely translated to something like "upper village" and describes an area of Seoul within the gates of what was historical Seoul. This area is where Song lived all his life, specifically in a neighborhood called Sajik right outside the walls of the palace. Taekkyeon itself is described by Song and in historical evidence as a competition between villages. Song described an Araetdae, or lower village, that existed outside the gates of old Seoul.

I describe all this to give some background and to also make the point that if someone were to claim to have been trained in taekkyeon it would have had to have been in Seoul pre WWII. This itself is unlikely because Song rose to prominence based on the fact that he was the last known inheritor of taekkyeon, which eventually led to his designation as a living cultural asset of Korea. I want to point out that many Koreans knew the existence of taekkyeon at this time, but just did not know the skills. In fact, the first president of Korea is famously known to have called what is now TKD taekkyeon the first time it was demonstrated to him. And TKD is indeed called such to more closely resemble taekkyeon.

The next logical point if someone were to claim to have been trained in taekkyeon would have had to have been with Song Duk Ki post Korean war. Many individuals did seek out Song once he became known, but only a very small handful can say they actually trained under him. If we were to examine the three current heads of the "retcons" only one can claim to have learned from Song directly and for any significant length of time. In reality, most people who sought Song out probably learned a few moves here and there and went on their way. And some of these techniques did make their way into TKD - kahl jebi being the most famous example.

The current leader of Widae Taekkyeon, by the way, lived in the same neighborhood as Song Duk Ki and was Song's longest tenured disciple before moving to the US a few years prior to Song's death. Song Duk Ki died in the late 1980s and the retcon organizations popped up after the mid to late 90s. Paints a picture doesn't it?


To answer Himokiri Karate's original question... it's very difficult to find a taekkyeon school outside of Korea (this is even before considering the information I included above). Having said that, I know that one organization has a presence in France, another organization has a presence in Germany, and Widae Taekkyeon is currently within the United States in Los Angeles.

Quote:
However, by and large, any "modern" Taekkyon school is a reverse-engineering of what Taekkyon was believed to be, as opposed to what it actually was. One of the results of a country searching to recreate it's culture after it was taken from them.


Quote:
Being that Taekyyeon is largely a reconstruction, you might have better luck finding a place where techniques and information is posted freely (or for a price if you can swing it) and work with a group to practice it.


Again, Widae Taekkyeon is Song's lineage of taekkyeon, in other words, historical taekkyeon. Widae Taekkyeon still exists and is practiced today but is largely unheard of and doesn't have much of an English online presence. The reason for this is largely due to the politics within taekkyeon.

To give you a short version... I mentioned in my original post that the current head of Widae, Ko (last name), immigrated to the US in the 1980s shortly before the death of Song. Well, in the early 2000s he opened a school in Los Angeles (which has since closed) and there were some Korean language news articles written about him. These made it to Korea where it caused a kind of commotion amongst taekkyeon practitioners. A short time later, a book was published about taekkyeon (mainly just photos showing Song demonstrating taekkyeon techniques) and lo and behold Ko was a key figure in the book. This led to some practitioners seeking Ko out and discovering that Widae was very different from the "taekkyeon" that they had been exposed to. This led to a lot of questions being asked, which in turn led to an exodus of taekkyeon practitioners, many of whom turned to Widae taekkyeon. Some of the other organizations responded to this by denouncing Widae and Ko. Meanwhile, Ko met with and shared his knowledge to anyone who sought him out, but that backfired on him as some of that knowledge miraculously started appearing in those same organizations that tried to discredit him. This is the direct reason for a lack of -- particularly videos -- online presence for Widae.

To add some more background... Although they may look similar to the laymen, these four organizations are vastly different when it comes to curricula, terminology, emphasis and even philosophy. This is even why you see so many different spellings of taekkyeon (taekkyon, taekgyeon, taekkyun) as the official English spelling for each organization is different. When I say Widae is different, it's readily apparent to anyone who has practiced taekkyeon. First of all, Song emphasized the martial aspect of Widae. In the aforementioned book, there are techniques where Song is gouging eyes, joint locking, and even pinching (can't think of a better word) sensitive areas. This is extremely different from the other organizations, such as...

Quote:
Nice little video from UNESCO on Taekkyon:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ga1Im-3ZtH8


..this one, mentioned by DWx, whose stance is that taekkyeon was a game. Their kicking techniques emphasize pushing as to not harm the opponent, which gives you an idea of how different they can be.

Widae is also balanced in both hands and feet, which you won't see in other organizations in any practical way.

Here is a video of what Widae taekkyeon looks like...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DcwAnee9Pc

The man demonstrating was actually a top-ranked member (CCO if I recall correctly) of one of the other taekkyeon organizations, but everything he is showing in this video is Widae Taekkyeon. This is because he is also a professor and he sought out Ko on his own. This eventually led to his ties being cut with said organization. This is also him -- on the right -- demonstrating some of that organizations curriculum... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHkN0_aH4vs&t=32s ...notice the contrast?

Anyways, the information available in English basically hasn't caught up or is focused on a false narrative about taekkyeon. There is a lot of information in Korean especially for those interested in taekkyeon, but that's just it... the general Korean population is not interested enough to go against the false narrative either. Hopefully, this will change in the future...
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