Alternative History of TKD?
Below is a link to a relatively long article offering an alternative view on the history of TKD. In a nutshell, the author calls bullshido on TKD's claim of a direct lineagae from martial arts practiced in Korea 1,500 years ago. He then argues that TKD is derived from karate.
I don't speak, read or write Korean, so I can't do research primary on source material. Nor do I know any Koreans with whom to discuss the issue, so the author could be full of it. However, I am aware of the history of Japan's occupation of Korea and, frankly, find the article's reasoning persuasive. Unfortunately, I found this site, read the below article, etc., only after earning a BB and and advancing beyond 1st dan. I train in Kukkiwon TKD, but my instructor is contempuous of "Olympic style sparring" and believes it is the ruination of TKD. We spar and train against resisting partners and children are not welcome. Still, I have always had a gut feeling that something was missing. Sure, I can kick a guy in the head, but I've never tried it on an icy sidewalk or against someone who would take the fight to the ground. This site helped give substance to that gut feeling and I have started looking for other styles to supplement my training. Now, however, after reading this article, I am starting to think that if my style can't be honest with itself about its history, then it can't be honest with me about the practical value of anything that I have learned. Instead of looking to supplement my training, I am thinking about leaving TKD altogether and starting over in something else.
I would be interested in any thoughtful responses to the article - it has caused an existential crisis for me. Well, perhaps not that exteme, but damnit, if I've wasted time learning bullshido, I'm going to be pissed.
Thanks in advance.
Are you kidding?
Originally Posted by kihap
This isn't really news here, general consensus is what he's saying is right (although I can't read Korean either, so pinch of salt) TKD is derived from karate, shotokan specifically. I'm sure someone more knowledgeable will come along soon to give the full story.
Don't feel bad, this revelation is better late than never, and lots of people have gone through the same thing. Just be happy that now you know, you can take the good things you got from your training and move on (or not, you might be one of the lucky ones who attend a decent TKD school).
Of course I'm kidding!! That's why I posted it. Seriously, the general consensus in France was that the Maginot Line would stop the Germans cold. I should have asked if anyone is aware of scholarly research with citations to primary source material that supports the "official" history of TKD. As a trained historian, what I seen so far in support of the official history falls fair short of accepted standards of reserach and verification. I was just too blind to realize it.
Originally Posted by Lu Tze
As far as the general consensus, I have seen posts stating, for example, that taekyon (sp?) is part of TKD's history. This article says that taekyon was basically leg sweeping and was just a game the same as rock throwing contests between two villages. I am perfectly willing to discard my previous understanding of TKD if the reasoning is sound. I find the article's reasoning sound, but before writing TKD off, I would to know if there is an equally reasoned article supporting the official history - if there is, I haven't found it.
I didn't mean to sound like such a wise ass in my reply. I'm just looking for some answers grounded on something more than consensus based on ... who knows what. My concern is also more about TKD's integrity than its merit relative to other styles. That's a different topic. Thanks for your reply.
Why would you write it off just because the history is suspect? Honestly, from the sounds of it your school actually seems decent (no kids, none faggoty sparring), the history shouldn't really have any bearing on what you do. There are several mods here with TKD backgrounds, so don't throw out the baby with the bathwater just yet.
If you're really concerned, get yourself to a muay thai gym or a kyokushin dojo (or a similar hard striking style), or look up vids on youtube, and see how their training differs from yours. Or you could attend a throwdown if there's one in your area.
Argh, missed your 3rd post. You'll have to wait for more knowledgeable peeps to answer your specific questions, sorry.
You are talking like someone wants to quit baseball because Abner Doubleday did NOT invent it.
Personally, I'm more disappointed that the WTF has written General Choi out of TKD's history than Korean nationalists fudging history.
- It's widely known that Karate heavily influenced TKD.
- It's also believed that Koreans have been practicing martial arts for centuries.
- It's also widely known that the Joseon Confucians could have cared less about martial arts and made little attempt to preserve its history.. The exception to this is the Muye Dobo Tongji.
Sometimes I think that the "Official" policy is:
- All Korean Martial Arts are just different forms of TKD.
- There have been Martial Arts in Korea for centuries.
- Therefore there has been TKD for centuries.
I only browsed that document, but apart from some incorrect points I noted, it looks fairly accurate, albeit with some clunky writing that annoyed me after a few pages.
A Modern History of Taekwondo is a good source of info on the early tkd guys.
There is an article in the book Martial arts in the Modern World titled 'The evolution of taekwondo from Japanese karate', which I think is excellent and well researched (the article, I really never read the rest of the book).
Additionally, while it's often a pretty lame, earnest MAP-esque forum, taekwondo.net has some posters with an almost encyclopedic knowledge of taekwondo history. Lurking around there some time ago was what originally sparked my interest in seeking out an accurate history of taekwondo.
As other posters have stated, don't worry about not knowing the real history. Probably 95% of taekwondo practitioners don't - and that includes plenty of Koreans. I sincerely doubt my former instructor or even his instructor could give an accurate account.