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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: Tue Jan 06, 2015 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harkon72 wrote:
What's wrong with it? It is well known that Taekwondo as it is today, and that's what they are teaching, is derived from Okinawan Karate as taught by the Japanese during their occupation of Korea. The evidence is in the forms, they are derivatives from the same root, whatever you want to call them. Tang Soo Do is a version of Shotokan Karate, they admit this themselves. And in my opinion, and this is not exclusive to the Koreans, they have made a poor replica. The bias towards making it a sport has destroyed it as a martial art. Paradoxically it is not "Korean Karate" as some claim but a shadow of what once inspired it. I have only met one Grandmaster in my life; Soke Hatsumi. Rank in its self does not qualify anyone for that title; even Yoda was content with the title "Master".


I would encourage you to not look at Taekwondo strictly through the lens of Karate. While the really history is certainly not the 2000 year old history portrayed in the ustw website, it is also not strictly a Korean version of Okinawan MA. Several original Kwan founders had Chinese MA backgrounds, as well as a Korean martial sport called TaeKyon.

Titles for Korean MA do not translate into English as "master" or "grandmaster." That is an English term that we in the West have put on the titles of "Sa Boem" and "Kwan Jang." But yes, they are different than titles in Okinawan & Japanese MA. In Kukki-TKD, (think World Taekwondo Federation and the Olympic sport) one is given the title of Sa Boem (often termed "master" in the West) at 4th Dan and is able to test their own students to BB. Kwan Jang (often termed "grandmaster" in the West) is given at 7th Dan.

And yes, like Yoda, there are many 9th Dan in Taekwondo that prefer to be called Sa Boem, than Kwan Jang. It is their privilege to use a term they are comfort with. Just like there are many Shihan-level Karateka who prefer to simply be called sensei.
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Harkon72
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Joined: 27 Aug 2012
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Location: Wales
Styles: Okinawan Karate, Aikido, Ninpo.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is true, Sensei Kawasoe is 9th Dan. Sensei Fumeo Demura is 10th Dan. Demura Sensei has been referred to as Shihan, but as we know, when you address even the highest Okinawan Karateka, you call them Sensei. As the Japanese language is interpreted by Westerners within certain traditions many terms have been used to describe adepts in the art, apart from the numerical Dan grades. Yudansha, Sensei, Renchi, Shihan, Kyoshi, Shidoshi, Kyusho, Kancho, Meijin, Soke, Dai-Soke. It's a cliché, I know, but as my Sensei says; the colour of your belt means nothing, stripes or not. What you call yourself or what you are referred to as being within your association doesn't mean anything in the slightest. An experienced eye can spot a martial artist at a glance. It's not only the way you move, it's the way you relax and react to your opponent, it's the eye contact, the bow, everything. I know there is a massive difference for example between an Okinawan Karateka and a Korean Tae Kwon Fighter; just as much as there is between a Judo player and a Russian Sombo Wrestler. But the spirit of effort to excel in their given art is the same, regardless of the way their art is taught. I gave up competitive karate and point scoring years ago, to be honest it didn't feel right. Maybe I'm a sad romantic, but I search for warriorship in a dying tradition. While many sensei are slaves to belt hungry parents and students still believe that the test of a fighter lies in a cage, I am disheartened. But while there is Kumite, Kata and Kihon, there is still hope.
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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: Wed Jan 07, 2015 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Harkon72 wrote:
What's wrong with it? It is well known that Taekwondo as it is today, and that's what they are teaching, is derived from Okinawan Karate as taught by the Japanese during their occupation of Korea. The evidence is in the forms, they are derivatives from the same root, whatever you want to call them. Tang Soo Do is a version of Shotokan Karate, they admit this themselves. And in my opinion, and this is not exclusive to the Koreans, they have made a poor replica. The bias towards making it a sport has destroyed it as a martial art. Paradoxically it is not "Korean Karate" as some claim but a shadow of what once inspired it. I have only met one Grandmaster in my life; Soke Hatsumi. Rank in its self does not qualify anyone for that title; even Yoda was content with the title "Master".

You have to remember that Taekwondo was born out of the Japanese occupation of Korea; near half a century of cultural and political repression and censorship. Unfortunately whilst virtually every TKD practitioner knows about the Karate influence, it's not exactly a celebrated fact. Besides, it's not purely Karate derived in the sense that some kwan founders also studied Kung Fu and related styles in China. In addition, early TKD practitioners took inspiration from Taekkyon and Subak as a way of distinguishing themselves as Korean martial artists and Karateka or Japanese and so tried to revive the old way of kicking and moving: http://youtu.be/Ga1Im-3ZtH8

Whilst it doesn't explicitly say Karate or Shotokan that page I linked does acknowledge that the early kwan leaders came back to Korea having learnt other styles and doesn't claim to be solely Korean in origin.

If you're interested there are some really great history resources out there, both on the internet and in print. I would highly recommend A Killing Art by Alex Gillis as a starting point.
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Harkon72
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Joined: 27 Aug 2012
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Location: Wales
Styles: Okinawan Karate, Aikido, Ninpo.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2015 5:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an interesting video, the style does look like the flying swallow wu shu form rather than modern taekwondo. I struggle to see a comparison to be honest.
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ninjanurse
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Styles: TKD;Shotokan;JuJitsu;Tai Ji

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the info...and the lively conversation everyone!

I think that even among TKD schools & associations the titles of SaBoem and Kwan Jang are used/applied at different Dan levels so-eh-just a title and not a reflection of skill or age. Escpecially since some TKD "Masters" I know were given "Grand Master" rank by the Kukkiwon for political reasons only. AND, TKD is not the only art where this kind of thing runs rampant.

It will be interesting to see what comes of it. Thanks again!


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

PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ninjanurse wrote:
Thanks for the info...and the lively conversation everyone!

I think that even among TKD schools & associations the titles of SaBoem and Kwan Jang are used/applied at different Dan levels so-eh-just a title and not a reflection of skill or age. Escpecially since some TKD "Masters" I know were given "Grand Master" rank by the Kukkiwon for political reasons only. AND, TKD is not the only art where this kind of thing runs rampant.

It will be interesting to see what comes of it. Thanks again!



Sadly, there was also the "magic plane" in the 60s-80's where folks would get on the plane in Korea as 2nd Dan and land in the West (usually the US) as 4th-5th Dan. Rank would magically be added enroute. That happens a lot less no-a-days, however. Another issue is that many older Koreans have Kwan rank, but not Kukkiwon rank (or not sufficient to test their students. ie. 4th Dan or above KKW to test students to 1st-3rd Dan). There are more than a few fake Kukkiwon certificates out there given by Korean as well as other nationalities.

Here's a breakdown of Americans who actually have Kukkiwon certificates. Unfortunately, the number who have been told and who believe they have them is much greater.
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you had a link in there, it missing, Iceman.
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IcemanSK
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Joined: 12 Oct 2005
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
Styles: Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://kms.kukkiwon.or.kr/usr/club/club.do?level=2&contCd=005&nationCd=101&divisionCd=&engNm=UNITED+STATE+OF+AMERICA&subCnt=52&lat=37.09024&lng=-95.71289100000001&zoom=4&page=1&orderBy=&rowsPerPage=10&pagesPerIndex=10&continentList=005&nationList=&method=pageList

Sorry folks.
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most of the ones in KS are in the Wichita and KC area. Nothing on the west side of the state, which is where I am.

Cool resource, though, thanks for sharing it.
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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: Tue Jan 20, 2015 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
Most of the ones in KS are in the Wichita and KC area. Nothing on the west side of the state, which is where I am.

Cool resource, though, thanks for sharing it.


They update the numbers often (I'm guessing quarterly) & I think it's neat to see how they change. One thing that's not well known in Kukki-TKD is that one must travel to Korea to test for both 8th & 9th Dans. One cannot test for those Kukkiwon rank in the States (or anywhere outside of Korea).

*A side note* The lone 10th Dan listed is the late Grandmaster Edward B. Sell (my late instructor) who died last year. 10th Dan Kukkiwon is an honorary degree, usually given posthumously, to 9th Dan holders who have done exemplary things in the advancement of Taekwondo. There are less than 20 people given this honor. Two men who have received this are still living. 1) International Olympic Committee Chair Juan Antonio Sammarach (sp?) 2) Dr. Un Yong KIM, first president of both Kukkiwon & WTF.
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