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Himokiri Karate
Blue Belt
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Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 325

Styles: Boxing, Korean Karate

PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2021 9:49 pm    Post subject: Who was the first Karateka that taught the Koreans Karate? Reply with quote

So I am a bit confused with the specific reason as to why the Japanese taught the Koreans Karate. The reason is, they came as conquerors of Korea. They had disdain for the Koreans and treated them badly like slaves. Yet they also taught them Karate.

I am curios to know as to which Japanese Karateka decided to teach the Koreans Karate which gave birth to one of the origins of Tang Soo Do. My curiosity is that how Koreans mentioned how awful and evil the Japanese were. If that is the case, why would someone who deems an ethnic group inferior and potential enemy teach them Karate?

I searched but I could never find any specific reason as to what made the Japanese want to teach Koreans Karate. Historically speaking, the Chinese banned Kung Fu because they were worried about an empowered citizens that may challenge them. The British Colonies would shoot and cripple any South east martial artist because they did not want the people to gain spirit and vigor through martial arts.


Often times, those who hold power wish to maintain power and not empower others. Hence the logic of teaching Koreans Karate is very strange. Its even more strange because it gave birth to Tang Soo Do which is a Korean Karate mixed with Taekkyon and a very rare style of Kung Fu. Its a combination that is extremely powerful and even the sporty version of it in Taekwondo is still very potent and great way of developing physicality.

So now I am curios to know if anyone knows which karateka decided to teach Koreans Karate and what was the reason behind it?
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Zaine
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 1817
Location: Dallas, TX
Styles: Matsumura-Seito, Shobayashi-Ryu, Shudokan, Long Fist, American Street Karate, Southern Mantis, HEMA

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2021 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I have a few hypotheses here, so bear with me.

The first is that Japanese Karate isn't as influential as some claim. Korean Martial Arts has been around for much longer than Japan's occupation of Korea. We know that there were systems of what we think of as Subak and Taekkyon that were existing in Korea around the 1st century CE. It's likely that Korea, much like Japan, got some form of codified martial arts system from the Chinese, who systems of Kung Fu can be traced to before 1000 BCE. So it's not entirely correct to say that the Japanese taught the Koreans Karate, Korea already had codified systems. What they did do, however, was ban the practice of native Martial Arts in Korea. This, in turn, did everything but kill the native Martial Arts today.

This leads us your question. Why would the Japanese teach the Koreans karate if they were an oppressive force. I'm not entirely sure, but I do have a few guess based on my understanding of history.

The first guess is that either they didn't, or it was done by some sympathetic Japanese nationals in secret. I don't think that this is very likely, as something like this tends to make its way into the mythos of a system. Japanese relations with China was constantly tense but our systems still venerate people like Kusanku and Chinto, so it stands to reason that there would be a little more overt veneration of some specific Japanese figure in Korean systems (and maybe there is, I'm not as familiar with Korean lineage as I am with Japanese).

The second guess is that the Japanese were trying to assimilate Koreans into their cultural practices and, essentially, make Korea a second Japan. This is what I think is the most historically sound reason that Japanese style karate made its way in to Korean culture. If the idea was to erase Korean nationality and create a Korea that was just a Japanese country, then it makes sense that they would outlaw expressions of Korean nationalism and insert their own. This includes martial arts. So in that, the Japanese weren't doing the Korean people a favor, they were trying to erase the lineages of Korean martial arts and replace it with their own.
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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
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Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2021 11:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps all we have are assumes as to why the Japanese would teach the Koreans anything especially Karate. Even if there's solid proof as to that concern, we might never ever know the true underlying reason(s) as to the who's, why's, where's, when's, and what's.

Albeit, that the Japanese, shoot, many want to teach Karate because of their love for it, and/or any other MA; the MA is free for anyone, and not a selected group, unless said group forbids the sharing and teaching of said MA.

Also, perhaps the Japanese used the teaching of Karate to the Koreans in order to show what the Japanese deemed as their superiority towards and over the Koreans. I assume that the Koreans might've even wondered why this even was occurring at all in the first place.

Perhaps the Japanese wanted to share Karate to the Koreans out of pure eagerness and honesty. Perhaps the Koreans showed a keen interest in Karate and it's similarities and the lack therof.

Even now MA styles consider themselves superior over the other MA style; Japanese and Korean MA is no different, then or now.

Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.




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DWx
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Joined: 17 Jan 2007
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Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2021 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really recommend two books, A Killing Art by Alex Gillis and Taekwondo: From martial art to martial sport by Udo Moenig. Both are well resourced and delve into the history of Taekwondo or "Korean Karate".

Most of the Kwan leaders who went on to found Taekwondo learnt Karate in Japan itself under teachers like Gichin Funakoshi or were conscripted into the Japanese army where they were taught.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwan_(martial_arts)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_masters_of_taekwondo
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bushido_man96
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Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 29040
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2021 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DWx wrote:
I really recommend two books, A Killing Art by Alex Gillis and Taekwondo: From martial art to martial sport by Udo Moenig. Both are well resourced and delve into the history of Taekwondo or "Korean Karate".

Most of the Kwan leaders who went on to found Taekwondo learnt Karate in Japan itself under teachers like Gichin Funakoshi or were conscripted into the Japanese army where they were taught.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwan_(martial_arts)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_masters_of_taekwondo


Great post, and I was going to recommend Gillis's book, as well.

During the occupation, if the Koreans wanted to get university education, I believe they had to go to Japan. I think they often took Japanese names, too. At this point in history, with militaries that were mechanized for the most part and used firearms and various explosive devices as the main weapons, they probably weren't terribly concerned about a few Koreans wanting to learn Karate recreationally. Unarmed combatants, no matter how skilled, usually won't survive a volley from regiment of soldiers.

Another consideration might be the idea of further inundating Koreans with Japanese culture, which Karate most definitely is.
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bushido_man96
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Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Nov 11, 2021 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
The second guess is that the Japanese were trying to assimilate Koreans into their cultural practices and, essentially, make Korea a second Japan. This is what I think is the most historically sound reason that Japanese style karate made its way in to Korean culture. If the idea was to erase Korean nationality and create a Korea that was just a Japanese country, then it makes sense that they would outlaw expressions of Korean nationalism and insert their own. This includes martial arts. So in that, the Japanese weren't doing the Korean people a favor, they were trying to erase the lineages of Korean martial arts and replace it with their own.


I think this is spot-on. It's also why after the occupation was over, the Koreans who had learned Karate and where beginning to fashion their national style, mainly General Choi Hong Hi, started to change things and give it their own flair and style, elevating kicks and adding jumping and spinning techniques, in order to try to move away from that Japanese influence and try to make it more their own. Along with that, came the reverse-engineering of the history to the 5000 year martial history of TKD, and it's "roots" in arts like Subak and Taek Kyon.
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Himokiri Karate
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Joined: 13 Aug 2009
Posts: 325

Styles: Boxing, Korean Karate

PostPosted: Fri Nov 12, 2021 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zaine wrote:
So I have a few hypotheses here, so bear with me.

The first is that Japanese Karate isn't as influential as some claim. Korean Martial Arts has been around for much longer than Japan's occupation of Korea. We know that there were systems of what we think of as Subak and Taekkyon that were existing in Korea around the 1st century CE. It's likely that Korea, much like Japan, got some form of codified martial arts system from the Chinese, who systems of Kung Fu can be traced to before 1000 BCE. So it's not entirely correct to say that the Japanese taught the Koreans Karate, Korea already had codified systems. What they did do, however, was ban the practice of native Martial Arts in Korea. This, in turn, did everything but kill the native Martial Arts today.

This leads us your question. Why would the Japanese teach the Koreans karate if they were an oppressive force. I'm not entirely sure, but I do have a few guess based on my understanding of history.

The first guess is that either they didn't, or it was done by some sympathetic Japanese nationals in secret. I don't think that this is very likely, as something like this tends to make its way into the mythos of a system. Japanese relations with China was constantly tense but our systems still venerate people like Kusanku and Chinto, so it stands to reason that there would be a little more overt veneration of some specific Japanese figure in Korean systems (and maybe there is, I'm not as familiar with Korean lineage as I am with Japanese).

The second guess is that the Japanese were trying to assimilate Koreans into their cultural practices and, essentially, make Korea a second Japan. This is what I think is the most historically sound reason that Japanese style karate made its way in to Korean culture. If the idea was to erase Korean nationality and create a Korea that was just a Japanese country, then it makes sense that they would outlaw expressions of Korean nationalism and insert their own. This includes martial arts. So in that, the Japanese weren't doing the Korean people a favor, they were trying to erase the lineages of Korean martial arts and replace it with their own.


I have been reading the responses and all of them are great and I really enjoyed reading them. I believe that this might be the true reason to teach Koreans. The idea was not to do them a favor but to make them follow their ways. Similar to making someone be part of your religion or faith. You may not like the person but their support and effort towards your ideals do work well to serve your own cause.


I believe this is where Tang Soo Do comes in. You have frustrated Korean Karatekas being used as punching bags or perhaps being held back in rank or not being taught as much as the Japanese students. From there, few of them picked up Taekkyon and the story of that one Korean Martial artist who jumped over the wall of China, learned Kung Fu and added to his Karate and Taekkyon to create Tang Soo Do. Of course Tang Soo Do means China Hand which was the original definition of Karate.

TANG SOO!
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tatsujin
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Joined: 12 Oct 2021
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Styles: Ryusei-ha Ryukyu Kempo Karate-jutsu

PostPosted: Mon Nov 15, 2021 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keep in mind too that Choi Yong Sul (the founder of Hapkido) trained in Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu under Takeda Sokaku for at least a short time and probably received more indepth training from Yoshida Kotaro. Choi appears at least once in Takeda's eimeiroku (英名録, a record of who Takeda taught, when and for how long).

Yoshida was known for teaching Koreans and other foreigners. He passed along Shidare Yanagi Ryu to Don Angier and taught the famous and Oyama Masutatsu, founder of Kyokushin Karate (also Korean, actual name Choi Yeong-eui).

So it would not be totally uncommon for Japanese to teach Koreans (and others).

Hope that is of some help.
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