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  1. Fantasy Warrior is offline
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    Misguided style basher

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    Posted On:
    3/29/2005 11:22am

    Join us... or die
     Style: Kata

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Tang Soo Do (take 2)

    Sorry for the duplication, but this is my 'article' on Tang Soo Do History. It's too long to submit as an article in the fantasy warrior cartoon section, although a shorter version is submitted.

    Tang Soo Do history... more questions than answers.

    Sifting through the mountain of bullshit is quite a task, with so much of it, it is impossible to be 100% sure of the facts. But most of the bullshit is politically motivated (be it misguided Korean Patriotism, anti-Japanese sentiment or Tang Soo Do -v- Tae Kwon Do rivalries) and often quite transparent. This assists us in our quest for a credible and historically sound reconstruction of events.

    Executive summary
    Whilst many accounts of TSD tell us how ancient it goes back, it was in fact created from three distinct stylistic influences in 1945 by a chap called Mr Hwrang (laterly Grandmaster Hwrang). There is no credible direct link between pre-1900s Korean MA and TSD.

    Mr Hwrang had just five (max five yrs, 11 months) years of Kung Fu training to his credit when he created the style. He had apparently also self-taught Teakkyon (a Korean sport-art emphasising kicking) and read some Karate books.

    His style has become very popular outside of Korea and allegedly is nothing like Karate or Tae Kwon Do..........

    The longer version of events
    What is unquestioned is that a Mr Hwrang Kee (Kee being his first name) created Tang Soo Do as we know it today. Beyond that, there are always several versions of events.

    The first contentious issue is the extent to which Tang Soo Do is based on Japanese Karate. Korea was occupied by Japan from 1910 to 1945 and the Koreans and their culture were brutally opressed. This has understandably bread resentment which unfortunately has influenced the telling of Korean Martial Arts history. With the surge in Korean national pride in the 1950s, the Japanese influence on Martial arts was largely whitewashed out, and alturnative Korean styles were emphasised. These included Teakkyon -actually a sport. Martial Arts with (alleged) Japanese linage/influences were renamed to more closely align themselves with Korean ancestory -Tae Kwon Do (Tea to sound more like Taekkyon) and Tang Soo Do (Chinese hand way).

    Well, Tang Soo Do DOES include the basic Hyung (patterns) of Shotokan Karate. BUTGM Hwrang's accounts say that he got them out of a book. TSD masters (often) go to extreme lengths to say how different TSD is from Shotokan in detail. Official histories (such as on websites and in student handbooks) tends to ignore the Karate issue altogether. The WTSDA handbook is typical of this and merely reiterates that martial arts were banned during the Japanese occupation.

    Then there is the "TSD is 2000 years old" line. Nearly all histories of Tang Soo Do (or Tae Kwon Do, Hwarangdo etc) start by telling us about the Silla empire (57BC until 918AD) and how the Silla "Flowering Manhood" elite warriors (hwarang) used [-insert choice Korean MA here-]. But this is like saying that because the Vikings were accomplished warriors (demonstrating that they dids 'martial arts') and that Judo is practiced in Norway, then Judo is routed in the viking arts. Basically, there is no clear (or credible) conection between whatever the Koreans were doing in the Silla period and TSD. Pointing to a few carvings of silla warriors doesn't help either. TSD's connections to 'ancient' Korean MAs are explored in more depth later.

    Below is a pictorial history, based mainly on Grand Master Hwrang Kee's accounts:



    References
    1. Teakkyon linage
    GM Hwrang claimed to have witnessed a Teakkyon master use kicking defeat eight attackers in a market place in May 1921, which makes him 6 years old. It is also during the occupation which outlawed Korean MA.

    Aside from the credibility of using kicks to consistantly defeat multiple attackers, we have to consider the likelihood of the next part of the story -that Hwrang was able to follow the master home and subsequently observe him training Taekkyon. So this Teakkyon master was hardly secretative of his flouting of the law.

    The story continues that the master refused to instruct Hwrang because he was too young. So Hwrang copied the moves from afar. That's the equivilent of learning Wing Chun from a video without sound or a rewind feature. We all know how many people truly become WC 'masters' by that mode of learning...

    There is no account (that I've come across) that records that Hwrang ever had any formal training in Teakkyon. Even GM Hwrangg said that he'd had no formal training.

    2. Kung Fu.
    In May 1935 Hwrang went to China to work in the Railways and he started learning Kung Fu from Master Yang, Kuk Jin in May 1936. In May 1937 he returned to Korea. In 1941 he fled wartime Korea (allegedly escaping a Japanese execution squad... ) back to Manchuria (also under Japanese occupation) and recomensed his Kung Fu training under Master Yang. By November 1945 Hwrang was back in Korea and set up his famous school; Moo Duk Kwan.

    So his kung fu training was at the most 5yrs 11mths (if he recomenced training on first January 1941... ). Five years is a reasonable estimate based on the information available.

    The style that he trained in is imprecise but generally considered to be TaiChi based.

    3. The karate kata issue.
    Hwrang accounts for his knowledge of Shotokan kata (which form the basis for the TSD hyungs) as having read books on Okinawan Karate in 1939.

    It is said that when he first set up his Kwan, Hwrang did not include the Karate kata but that he soon after added them "for commercial reasons". Apparently this addition was influenced by other Kwan.

    If he had not formally learned Japanese Karate (in the 'official' accounts it is decsribed as Okinawan Karate where it is mentioned), how was he in a position to teach them? We all know how much emphasise is placed on the 'hidden' meanings of kata moves in Karate. Some TSD people point out that since Shotokan kata moves can be traced back to China, Hwrang's Kung Fu training would have made the applications of the kata known to him -but remember that Hwrang's Kung Fu training was in NORTHERN Kung Fu.... and that Karate is evolved from SOUTHERN Kung Fu's.

    4. The historic texts and the creation of "Soo Bahk Do".
    In 1957, during the height of the anti-Japanese retake of Korean MA history, Hwrang Kee started translating a historic Korean Martial Arts text called "Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji", written in 1571 (debated, but certainly old). The manual is actually Chinese although it was adoped by the Korean military. It included a section on empty-hand fighting which Hwrang translated from ambiguous Chinese (each character having several meanings to choose from etc) into modern Korean.

    At least some TSD groups deny any direct link between the Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji and modern Korean MAs. However, according to Hwrang Kee, the 17 new Hyung which he says reflect the traditional (by implication not Karate and thus Japanese) Korean way of fighting.

    Remember that this took place in 1957 - which is interesting bearing in mind how many TSD websites say that GM Hwrang was training in Soo Bahk BEFORE he went to China.

    5. On Tae Kwon Do and commercial success.
    GM Hwrang resisted efforts to make his kwan join the government supported Tae Kwon Do style which characterises Modern Korean MA. Many of his students weren't so reluctant however and TSD was divided -with many going over to the TKD federation. Hwrang appears bitter towards the ITF/WTF Taekwondo federations and often pointed out how Tang SDoo Do was not a sport....

    But we must remember that present day Tang Soo Do routinely competes in semi-contact point sparring virtually indistinguishable from ITF Taekwondo or Karate for that matter.

    Outside of Korea TSD has flourished and is amongst the styles to commonly award child blackbelt grades etc.
    Last edited by Fantasy Warrior; 3/30/2005 2:00am at .
    You are a total Douchbag. Train more, post nevermore.
    FickleFingerOfFate -08-21-2007 08:59 AM

    just die already.
    Plasma - 08-20-2007 11:45 PM


    Aikidokkkkakkakakakaaaaa
    Best MA website ever!!!!!: http://www.dogjudo.co.uk/
  2. EternalRage is offline
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    WARNING: BJJ may cause airway obstruction.

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    Posted On:
    3/29/2005 11:32am

    Join us... or die
     Style: Bajillion Joo Jizzu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Not bad, kickcatcher. Say, why the sudden interest in TSD history? was it the tkd history thread?
  3. m4949 is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/29/2005 12:24pm


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by EternalRage
    Not bad, kickcatcher. Say, why the sudden interest in TSD history? was it the tkd history thread?

    http://www.karateforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=18882
  4. MALibrarian is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/29/2005 3:30pm


     Style: BJJ, Judo, SBGi, Archery

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Yep, that's about right.

    My research from the books published by GM Shin, GM Kim and Hwang Kee meshes very well with your accounts.

    Basically, if Tang Soo Do was founded today it would immediately be decried as Bullshido.

    I enjoy my martial art, and my school turns out skilled practitioners, but I do find attempts by my art's founders to claim a lineage that they have no right to more than a little embarrasing.
  5. m4949 is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/29/2005 3:51pm


     

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Something That I notice. Schools that teach TSD but ignore GM Hwang's addtions and changes tend to call TSD Korean Karate or acknowledge a shared liniage with Karate.

    Schools that Teach SBD or follow GM Hwang's teachings after ~1960 tend to use the revisionist history.

    It's also noteworthy that schools that are part of the WTSDF or other "governing bodies" tend to fall into the revisionist category. Schools that are independant tend to accpet a more truthfull version.

    Personally, I think Hwang accepted the truth, but after being pushed out of favor by TKD and the rise of sport TKD he revised the history in an attempt to keep TSD alive politically. I have no proof of this. I draw this conclusion because all the changes in TSD occured around the same time that TKD was gaining "Offical recognition". I also think it's obvious based on subtle remarks by hwang, that he did not like the TKD people at all.
  6. Kistrael is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/29/2005 4:37pm

    supporting member
     Style: MT nub, Ex-Tang Soo Do

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Actually, there's something that this drudges up from my memories, now that you mention Shotokan.

    When I was younger, say about 10 or 11, the YMCA which I live next to started teaching martial arts, namely, Shotokan. I decided to start taking classes. I can't remember all that much of what I was taught. I can remember the teacher's face vaguely, and I remember practicing. I also remember testing for my yellow belt and failing first. I got it on my second try. Eventually, something ended up happening where the teacher was no longer able to teach at the YMCA. My training ended in less than a year. (This is why I don't list my style as Shotokan).

    However, not too long after, another teacher started at the YMCA; this time, Tang Soo Do. My teacher's last name was Hyde, and his son learned with us. I remember that our grandmaster wasn't Jae Chul Shin, it was C.S. Kim. I remember distinctly that I didn't have to modify my style at all when transitioning between Shotokan and Tang Soo Do. Even the forms were similar. We also wrestled, along with sparring. We didn't learn any formal lessons on grappling, we were just left to do on our own. I did pretty well with grappling.

    From what I understand, there was some sort of politics and CS Kim separated from WTDSA and formed the Tang Soo Do Federation.

    So, take it for what little anecdotal evidence it is, but from my short-lived experience, they were VERY similar, if not the same.
    DIDN'T YOU KNOW?! The Chinese know everything! And they knew it 4,000 years before YOU did!

    "Yes. Yes I am. I'm clearly illiterate and dictating this post to a squadron of several dozen trained jumping beans I've coearced into living on my keyboard, each named after a letter or character, which bounce up and down as I call their names." -JohnnyCache
  7. Zid is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/30/2005 2:09pm


     Style: None as of yet

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I've lurking for a pretty long time and these 2 TSD threads have fueled my need to post.


    I've been practicing Tang Soo Do for years already and while I somehow suspected the art had a few hints of bullshido, I decided to not care so much about it since I really like the place. The owner's pretty nice, He gives good intense training(although the asst. instructor is more hardcore almost marines style) and the dojang is well equipped with sandbags,makiwaras and even big boxing ring and it not in closed office but in big ranch(my instructor's a farmer BTW). And the best part is the price: No monthly plans, no specials just $45 for membership and monthly payment of $25.

    It does have it's cons though like too much focus on katas and step-by-step techniques, and a lot of littles kids there too even in the adult class.And while we do spar and grapple sometimes most of the sparring is tournament style 'point'
    sparring.

    But haven't been going lately because of my uni studies and ever since I found this site I'm now considering to switch to another style probably muay thai or bjj but I can't find a nearby school that's within a 30 min. drive.

    So my questions are:


    1.Is my school a mcdojo?

    2.Should I switch schools or should I stay?

    3.What new style should I take?(Whether replacement or "extra" style)


    BTW, My school is run under the WTSDA (J.C. Shin)
  8. Fantasy Warrior is offline
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    Misguided style basher

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    Posted On:
    3/30/2005 3:21pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: Kata

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Zid
    1.Is my school a mcdojo?

    2.Should I switch schools or should I stay?

    3.What new style should I take?(Whether replacement or "extra" style)


    BTW, My school is run under the WTSDA (J.C. Shin)
    Well, it's cool that this site is feeding you information. Both Muay Tahi and BJJ are respectable styles with few McDojo/bullshido instances.

    But my article wasn't intended as a wholesale attack on TSD. Re your questions... IMO...

    1. No. Although I'm in UK so prices are in a differentr currency, the commerciality of your club sounds OK. McDojoism is basically commerciality detracting from training. It is possible that the desire to make the club accessible to kids has created the non-robust training regime, but actually that sounds like any other TSD club. And the prioces sound (from here) cheap. But whether it is Bullshido (bullshit) is another question.,,,, the training doesn't exactly sound convincing.

    2. It's good to look around -but don't be sucked in to anything. Work out what you honestly (always the difficult bit) want and find the club(s) that best suit.
    A full-contact striking style or robust grappling style would probably offer the quickest (and most IMO) gains.

    3. look around. lots are generally good. NOTHING is perfect (except my stuff.... cough cough...).
    You are a total Douchbag. Train more, post nevermore.
    FickleFingerOfFate -08-21-2007 08:59 AM

    just die already.
    Plasma - 08-20-2007 11:45 PM


    Aikidokkkkakkakakakaaaaa
    Best MA website ever!!!!!: http://www.dogjudo.co.uk/
  9. SRK85 is offline

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    Posted On:
    3/30/2005 3:28pm


     Style: Tae Kwon Do/MT

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Hmm my school only has point sparring for the children once your an adult like me you sparr all out. Forms suck and if your class is about 30mintues of forms that might be a red flag.I would suggest stay unless you really dont like it there.
  10. Kistrael is offline
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    Posted On:
    3/30/2005 3:41pm

    supporting member
     Style: MT nub, Ex-Tang Soo Do

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    1.Is my school a mcdojo?

    Sounds like it. Don't worry, mine is too. I do envy your payment method though, that's pretty damned cheap! McDojos aren't necessarily bad per se; they usually just want your money and teach you semi-practical fighting. The quality of a McDojo varies though, sounds like yours is pretty typical. We always go through the same drills, hyungs, and then usually one-steps or sparring.

    2.Should I switch schools or should I stay?

    That, my TSD brother, is entirely up to you. If you would rather learn how to actually really fight, I suggest changing. But, affter all, it is your money. I personally am working out a way that I can get to a MMA dojo in Philadelphia, which teaches Muay Thai, BJJ, and boxing. If you don't have any other choice but to do TSD in the meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with still taking it, as long as you know it's a McDojo.

    3.What new style should I take?(Whether replacement or "extra" style)

    The most popular choices right now are Muay Thai, BJJ, and Kyokushin.
    DIDN'T YOU KNOW?! The Chinese know everything! And they knew it 4,000 years before YOU did!

    "Yes. Yes I am. I'm clearly illiterate and dictating this post to a squadron of several dozen trained jumping beans I've coearced into living on my keyboard, each named after a letter or character, which bounce up and down as I call their names." -JohnnyCache
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