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Himokiri Karate
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 11:43 pm    Post subject: Is Tang Soo Do pretty much Karate? Reply with quote

I noticed that many refer to Tang Soo Do as Karate or Korean Karate. In fact, many Tang Soo Do followers are more comfortable with being called a karateka as oppose to being associated with Taekwondo despite TKD absorbing the TSD organization in to their own.

This begs the question, is Tang Soo Do a hybrid style of China/Japan and Korea?

I mention china becomes Tang dynasty had Kung Fu styles that influenced Tang Soo Do. I really wish there was a documentary about Tang Soo Do.
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ashworth
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In my head I have always seen Tang Soo Do as 'Korean Karate' I haven't looked too much into it, that is just from what I have seen at tournaments and friends that I know doing it, they all seem to claim they train in Karate...

Be interesting if there are any TSD here that can comment...
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I, too, have always seen TSD as a Korean art. As far as it being identified as 'Karate', that I believe is for marketing purposes. The average layperson readily knows and understands what 'Karate' is whenever it's mentioned directly and/or indirectly, but have no idea what TSD is right off the bat.

Karate and TSD have some similarities, meaning they both have stances, postures, blocks, kicks, punches, strikes, and so on and so forth. It's for the most, the Kata's are where the similarities end.

Marketing speaking once again, if I had a TSD school, and knowing what laypersons know and understand as far as the MA is concerned, I'd stick a big sign that reads...KARATE. The immediate goal is to get the prospective students interest, which will hopefully get them to come inside, if nothing else that to watch class. But, the "KARATE" sign is an attention getter, business speaking, and imho, any MA school that has to meet a monthly overhead, is a business.

At the sit-down is when the TSD school can explain a many of things, including TSD and Karate differences, if need be.



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Wado Heretic
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is one of those questions with a "Yes and No" answer due to historical circumstances.

The "Yes" part comes from the fact that a lot of those practitioners who taught what is now often called Traditional Tae Kwon Do in the 1940s and 50s had a background in Shōtōkan-Ryū or Shūdōkan Nihon Karate-Dō. During this time, the nine Kwans, as they have become known, identified their arts as Tang Soo Do (Way of the Tang Hand) or Kong Soo Do (Way of the Empty Hand), and largely taught methods based on Japanese Karate at it developed in the 30s. Many of the kata taught during those times have been preserved in the modern iterations of Tang Soo Do.

The "No" part comes from the innovations that were occurring in the 1940s and 50s already in the Korean Arts. Including, but not limited to, the development of forms distinct from those inherited from Japanese Karate. Furthermore, the influence of Chinese Martial Arts, and Arts indigenous to Korea such as Taekkyon, was present in this early period. It is from these influences the way Forms are practiced started to change from the Japanese manner, and a greater emphasis on kicking techniques emerged.

I would personally say that Tang Soo Do exists in a similar space to Kenpo Karate when we compare it to Nihon Karate Do and Ryukyu Tode. It is a descendent and cousin of Okinawan Karate that could be called Karate, but when we look at its content, there are important differences we should recognise. As Nihon Karate Do has an ideology of Kihon, Kata, and Kumite which makes it divisible to the Hojo Undo, Kata, and Bunkai approach of RyuKyu Tode and thus its own creature, Tang Soo Do has a similar relationship to Nihon Karate Do. The Kicking techniques, disparate form tradition, and conceptualisation of combat make it divisible.

We can call it Karate because of a shared lineage, shared traditions (Kata), and indisputable similarities but we should not wave it off as Korean Karate as if it is just a version of its predecessor practiced in Korea. It is its own distinct art with distinct qualities. That is the danger in calling it karate. It is another branch of the tree, but in saying that we must acknowledge each branch as valuable in its own way.

Sensei8 is on the point about the marketing element as well. In the 60s, many books about Chinese Arts were plastered with the word Karate so the lay person would understand they were about Asian Martial Arts. The Secrets of Chinese Karate by Ed Parker comes to mind, as does Modern Kung-Fu Karate: Iron Poison Hand Training by James Lee.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2021 3:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TSD is the Korean style that really embraced it's Karate roots more so than any others. This mainly happened due to a nationalization movement to get away from all things Japanese and develop a more individual, Korean national culture (this taking place after the Japanese occupation of Korea was over). General Choi worked very hard to bring the kwans under one umbrella; his. The one that remained outside of this umbrella was what remained known as Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan. Yes, the style did have some flavor all it's own, usually most recognizable in the flavor of high kicking.

However, they retained many forms that are rooted in Karate katas. Their Pyong Ahn series of forms strongly resemble the Heian series of katas. The Keemah Hyung bear strong similarities with the Tekki series, Sip Soo and Jitte, etc. TSD, I believe, as opposed to trying to remove itself from it's roots in Karate, has done more to embrace it.
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scohen0300
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2021 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once walked into a dojo that had a big “KARATE” sign out front. Since I already had a background in Shorin Ryu, I asked what style of karate they taught and the instructor seemed to “admit” that it was TSD. He then explained that it’s for marketing, because while not everyone will know what TSD is, everyone will know what karate is. I wish I could answer your question!
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Himokiri Karate
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scohen0300 wrote:
I once walked into a dojo that had a big “KARATE” sign out front. Since I already had a background in Shorin Ryu, I asked what style of karate they taught and the instructor seemed to “admit” that it was TSD. He then explained that it’s for marketing, because while not everyone will know what TSD is, everyone will know what karate is. I wish I could answer your question!


Sort of but I mean, Taekwondo is more popular than Karate since it has been an olympic sport for so long and many people love the kicks which is more palatable for movies due to flashiness. I mean Tang Soo Do could associate with Taekwondo all together ( some do) and not have anything to do with Karate.


I just feel that it resembles Karate a great deal.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 12, 2021 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Himokiri Karate wrote:
scohen0300 wrote:
I once walked into a dojo that had a big “KARATE” sign out front. Since I already had a background in Shorin Ryu, I asked what style of karate they taught and the instructor seemed to “admit” that it was TSD. He then explained that it’s for marketing, because while not everyone will know what TSD is, everyone will know what karate is. I wish I could answer your question!


Sort of but I mean, Taekwondo is more popular than Karate since it has been an olympic sport for so long and many people love the kicks which is more palatable for movies due to flashiness. I mean Tang Soo Do could associate with Taekwondo all together ( some do) and not have anything to do with Karate.


I just feel that it resembles Karate a great deal.


Depending on the style/branch of TSD you are talking about, you are correct.
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JazzKicker
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

About 25 -30 years ago, I researched this question, and additional information has come along since then, too.

Even before then, in my college days in the early 80's, I started off in Shito-Ryu karate, taught by a Japanese immigrant who had come out of their college system. When I transferred to another college, i found Tang Soo Do. The forms were essentially the same!
Much more high & jump kicks, though, and overall the style is a little more circular, less rigid.

So I already knew from experience that Tang Soo Do was essentially karate, I just didn't know the back story. The official story was TSD was "a 2000 year old martial art with roots in China"....blah blah blah, no mention of Funakoshi or the Okinawan history, before Japan, even.

Eventually I started learning about other interpretations of karate like Ryu-Kyu kempo, pressure point theory- and I realized there was much more to what I had been taught.
Then people on the web like Len Losik, Dan Nolan, John Hancock revealed what they had found out, too.

Later, getting into hapkido, and meeting & hearing stories from Korean masters from back then, I realized how culturally these "origin stories' came to be.

Honestly, it's probably better just to train, and not get into it, particulalry with Korean masters- it can be a very touchy subject.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2021 12:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TKD, Hapkido, and even TSD's "origin stories" go back to the Japanese occupation of Korea, and afterwards, their desire to establish a national identity.

A good book, titled A Killing Art by Alex Gillis does a good job of telling the story of Korean Martial Arts history.
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