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6/12/2003 3:07pm,
"Karate Did Affect Taekwondo
-Most early Taekwondo founders were Karate practitioners
Kim Joon Sung (2001/03/19)

According to the report from Dong-A Daily Newspaper on March 6th, The National Public Information Section found out that 369 out of 654 (56.4%) foreign internet sites contained up to 515 kinds of misinformation on Korea. What attracts us is information on Taekwondo.

The National Public Information Section said that "www.bstkd.com", the site providing contents on martial arts in Montana, US, illustrated Taekwondo was originated from Karate, Japan. According to the report, The National Public Information Section requested to the webmaster of that site to correct this misinformation, providing related documents on it.

However, this reaction of The National Public Information Section cannot be appropriate; it is clear that Taekwondo got influenced by Karate. Who can rebut this when there's one insisting that Taekwondo had derived from Karate.

It is well-known that Lee, Won Kook, founder of Chung Do Kwan, and many other early Taekwondo authorities had practiced Karate in Japan. It is sure to be a noncontroversial historical fact. In fact, Lee has been registered on a genealogical list in Japanese Song Do Kwon.

Noh Byung Zik, founder of Song Moo Kwan, is known to have practiced Karate in Japanese Song Do Kwan. As a matter of fact, it is said that 'Song' in his own foundation 'Song Moo Kwan' was named after 'Song Moo Kwan'. Likewise, 'Do' in Chung Do Kwan came from ' Do' in 'Song Do Kwan'. These stories on naming are on the basis of statement of an anonymous person. He evaluated Taewkondo as only an 'imitation' of Karate.

The late general, Woo, Jong Lim had once said "It's the fact that I've practiced Kang Su Do. It is the general Choi, Hong Hee who took the initiative in pushing on changing its name afterwards. The late Lee Hang Wung, who had contributed a lot to Taekwondo boom in America as a president of ATA, had made a statement on his martial art as 'Korean Karate' and added that Karate is not different from it at all. These facts prove that Taekwondo did not exist until Korean emancipation from Japan, whereafter people having practiced Karate opened institutes teaching 'Kong Su Do' that is the Korean way of pronunciation of 'Karate', which was changed to Taekwondo later.

It's been well described in the book 'Modern History of Taekwondo' written by Kang Won Sik (president of The Taekwondo News) and Lee Kyung Myung (Professor in Chung Chong College)

Yang Jin Bang (Yong In University), Kim Young Sun (Yonsei University) and Ahn Yong Gyu (Korea National University of Physical Education) suggested that Karate's influence on Taekwondo should be admitted. Further, their suggestion has been getting on validity. Kang Won Sik stated that he's been teaching this to graduate students in his class.

A critical evidence of their suggestion is lack of evidence of Taekwondo's existence before in 1945. Besides, the fact that early Taekwondo authorities are Karate practitioners should never be overlooked. Consequently, the official position insisting on 'Taekwondo with 2000 years of history' must be abandoned which is presently taken by Kukkiwon and World Taekwondo Federation. Prof. Yang Jin Bang questioned validity of using the present terminology 'Taekwondo Expert', proposing to change it into 'Traditional Martial Art Expert'.

Based on statements of such early Taekwondo authorities, techniques or terms for Taekwondo is not different from those in Karate. One of them confessed that he just learned Taekwondo without any background of Karate, but finally realized how similar the two were, which was greatly surprising.

Of course, Taekwondo 'has jumped beyond' Karate over the past 50 years. It has developed original kicking techniques continuously, and has been accepted as official medal sport in Olympics. Nevertheless, it's clear that Taekwondo's come from Karate. Denial of it is no more than 'distortion of history'. Taekwondo has already taken its formidable position as a martial art, and has been spread around the world as widely as Karate. Who can question originality of Taekwondo? Then, why should we harrass ourselves with 'tradition complex'?

In addition, when you talk about the relation between Taekwondo and Karate, why don't stop bringing up ancient histories of the two? What use is it to discuss such things? We like to say that geographically or historically every Japanese culture must have been handed from China via Korean Peninsula, and it's virtually Korean, or that Okinawa was too small an island to create a horse-riding posture, a basic in Karate, and therefore it must have been originated from other horse-riding countries like ancient Korea. These are totally irrelevant.

FINALLY a break through in the BS.


Jeremy M. Talbott

[Post edited by Admin to include article for news section and further discussion]

6/12/2003 4:33pm,
I'm pasting this in without any permission from Dohrenwend, but I don't think he/she will mind as it's being copied by various Chung Do Kwan and TKD sites.

Informal(1) History of Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do

by R.E. Dohrenwend, PhD

This brief history is dedicated to Master Jonathan C. Henkel, 6th Dan, Chung Do Kwan.


The purpose of this history is to attempt to trace the roots of the style of Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do. To do this properly, it is necessary to show how modern Tae Kwon Do developed, and to indicate how that development took place. As the martial arts were often developed, transmitted, and practiced in secret, precise historical conclusions are impossible. The historical sequence described here is no better than probable, especially for events before 1800. Unfortunately, however, even relatively recent events in the Korean Martial Arts have been clouded by deliberate efforts to rewrite history for nationalistic or promotional purposes.

Tae Kwon Do is the youngest of all the Oriental martial arts. Its history begins with the opening of the Chung Do Kwan dojang in Soeul in 1944. At that time, Tae Kwon Do was predominantly Okinawan /Japanese (2) Karate with minor contributions from Chinese Chuan Fa. The original kwans taught Okinawan/Japanese kata, wore gis; and the art taught was Karate with an increasingly Korean flavor. At this point, little if anything had been contributed by the Korean martial art of Tae Kyon, which had all but vanished during the Yi dynasty and the subsequent Japanese occupation. Most of the Korean instructors had been students (3) at Japanese universities or soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army, and had learned their martial arts in Japan, returning to Korea as shodan or nidan black belts (4) .

More and more kwans were founded during the late 40’s and early 50’s, and what they taught was called “Korean Karate.” The name, “Tae Kwon Do” may have been suggested as early as 1955 at a meeting which was a first effort at unifying the kwans. From 1960 to 1970, under the direction of the Korean government, at that time General Park’s dictatorship, (5) Tae Kwon Do was unified under two international governing bodies, the ITF and later the WTF, originally the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association. This period ends with the official dissolution of the kwans in Korea, and is marked by the replacement of the ancient kata with brand new poomse and the creation of administrative centralization. This period also saw the beginning of the divergence of Tae Kwon Do from a martial art to a martial art based sport.

Between 1975 and today, there has been increased consolidation and centralization of authority. The sport aspect has received increasing emphasis to the point where training is now generally dominated by preparation for tournament competition sparring. Tae Kwon Do has become an Olympic sport, and Tae Kwon Do is no longer officially considered a martial art in Korea, but rather a martial sport. WTF Tae Kwon Do black belts are no longer registered with the Ki-Do Hae (6) , but rather at their own headquarters at the Kukkiwon.

Early History

The Chinese boxing styles which predated the introduction of Buddhism to China, are quite likely Taoist in philosophical orientation, and the roots for the modern Tai Chi, Pa Kua and Hsing-i Chinese styles. It is possible that not only these styles, but the attitudes characterizing ideal martial artists originated with the yu-hsia of the Period of the Warring States (403-221 BC) (7). This means that there are two major branches of the Chinese unarmed martial arts, one (generally Taoist in philosophy) (8) , older than the other. This is important, as the evidence suggests that an unarmed fighting system may have been practiced in northern Koguryo as early as ca. 37 BC. Sculptures and pictures of the Koguryo dynasty (109BC-668AD) show postures that could represent early kinds of empty hand fighting. However, as this evidence is equally compelling as proof for Chinese origins (9) , it is more likely that the ancient roots for the roots for Korean martial arts lie not in Korea but in China and that the early unarmed martial arts of Koguryo Korea may in fact simply be these early Taoist forms of Chinese boxing, as spread by the yu-hsia. (10)

In general, it would seem that most Asian martial arts per se in China, Korea, Okinawa, and Japan, derive from a combination of indigenous, relatively primitive (11) , techniques with the more highly organized Buddhist fighting arts as these were spread from India by missionaries. It is quite possible that these Buddhist martial arts owe much of their early development to an ancient Greek martial art, the Pankration (various spellings) (12) , which was the very first eclectic martial art for which we have firm documentation. This art became an Olympic event in 648 BC, a date which antedates any archeological sources in Korea. The art included boxing, kicking, sweeping, grappling, joint locks, and choking. The Pyrrhic Dance, a Greek martial dance which could be performed armed or unarmed, similar to modern kata or poomse, existed at the same time and was possibly used as a teaching tool for the techniques of the Pankration (13) .

The idea that this Greek art is one of the major sources of all Asian unarmed martial arts today is not at all far-fetched. Alexander the Great was a Pankration enthusiast, and the Pankration, foremost among other Greek martial sports, went into Asia as far as India with Alexander’s armies of conquest. Alexander was the greatest general of his time and one of the greatest generals of all time. He and his armies enjoyed enormous prestige everywhere in the ancient world. Instruction in the favored martial art of that army would be highly valued by any soldier or warrior of the period.

There is an historical gap between the time of Alexander and the era where we find an elite caste of warriors in India, the Ksatreya, who practiced the martial art Vajramukti, which included nata forms similar to kata. The nata forms can only be documented by the time of the Gupta dynasty in India (4th to 7th century AD), and at this time they were closely connected to Buddhism. Although indigenous martial practices undoubtedly existed throughout Asia at this time, it is possible that the addition of Buddhist mental exercises to clearly formulated Greek techniques gave rise to Vajramukti (Chinese: Chuan Fa; Japanese: Kempo). This Indian martial art accompanied the missionaries who spread Buddhism from India into China (1AD to 600AD). It was probably a very gradual process, but legend has attributed the introduction of these techniques to a single Indian Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma. This monk supposedly combined Indian techniques with an existing style of Chinese boxing, formalized this combination, and taught it to the Buddhist community at the Shaolin temple in Honan as a means of spiritual meditation as well as effective self-defense.

Chuan Fa or, incorrectly, Kung Fu spread from the Shaolin temples all over China during the Chinese Tang dynasty (618-907), and it eventually separated into several distinct styles or schools. At this period, there was a great deal of military, political, and economic exchange between China and Korea, and it is likely that the techniques of Chuan Fa were adopted in Korea to become Subak. During the Silla dynasty (668-935), which unified Korea, the southern part of the peninsula was introduced to Subak, and Chinese combat forms (Hsing) or kata were used to train Korean warriors. The subsequent Koryo Dynasty (935-1392), saw a standardization of schools of empty hand combat under the names of Subak and Kwonpup (Chuan fa if the characters are read in Chinese). Korea was not always defined by its present political boundaries, and large areas of Manchuria passed back and forth from Chinese to Korean control allowing for an appreciable interchange of martial ideas and techniques among wariors and soldiers. Traveling scholars and monks would also have helped spread these ideas and techniques.

It is possible that Subak and the Chinese combat forms were used as a part of the training of the Hwarang. The Hwrang (14) (572-935 AD) (15) have a legendary relationship to Korean martial arts. These legends are as compelling in Korean as the legends of the King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table in English, and the Hwarang’s existence seems to be better documented (16) . But in spite of the legends, however suggestive, there is no historical justification for the common assumption that the Hwarang are related to any modern Korean martial art in the same way as the Samurai of Japan (17) . Available sources do not support such a conclusion.

These very limited sources do suggest that the Hwrang were both more and less than the Japanese Bushi or Samurai. First, they were not warriors. They bear no relationship to orders of European knighthood. They may have become and commanded warriors after having been Hwarang, but as Hwrang, they were not warriors. The Hwrang were not a part of the Silla army. Unlike the Samurai, they were not a particular social class, and they were not hereditary. They did not emphasize the unarmed martial arts, but rather trained in archery and fencing, with particular emphasis on archery. They did not follow Hwrang as a Do, for they left the Hwrang as they became older. They have some resemblance to the Japanese Yamabushi in their preference for training in mountains and wilderness. But they were not monks, and they did not remain in the mountains.

This is what they were not. What were they? The Hwrang were always the youth; they were always young, and this is important. Their training or education focused heavily on philosophy, the Chinese classics, and on religion. Their religious training seems to have been Buddhism heavily influenced by Taoism or indigenous animism, but the main goal of their training was Confucian in intent. They were a group of elite young men under training for positions of high authority and leadership in Korea during the second half of the Silla dynasty. The purpose of Hwrang training was to prepare the very best young men in the Silla Kingdom to occupy such positions in an honorable, restrained, responsible, dignified, and courageous manner. In brief, the Hwrang were students in a very demanding preparatory course. This training succeeded so well that the Hwrang have been an example of the best in Korea for over 1000 years. However, the historical Hwrang appear to have no direct connection with Tae Kwon Do or with the other martial arts of modern Korea (18) .

Subak continued as the Korean unarmed martial art until the end of the Koryo or beginning of the Yi Dynasty (1393-1910) when it subsequently divided into Tae Kyon (a striking art) and Yu Sul ( a grappling art - {chin na, yu sul and jujutsu are written the same way in Chinese}). Yu Sul appears to have died out, leaving Tae Kyon as the only surviving aspect of Subak. (The name Tae Kyon is not recorded until the 18th century at the earliest, so any earlier Korean fighting art is still correctly called Subak. The term "Tae Kyon" {in Korean Taek Gyeon} is not linguistically related to the term Tae Kwon Do.)

The latter half of the Yi Dynasty was characterized by Neo-Confucianism, which brought the martial arts into disfavor, and Tae Kyon nearly died out. In 1759 (1790<img src=icon_smile_question.gif border=0 align=middle>), King Chongjo ordered Gen. Lee Duck Moo to compile an illustrated official text of all martial arts, the Muye Dobo Tongj, which contained one chapter dealing with empty handed martial arts, identified as Kwonpup (Chuan Fa). But during the 18th-19th and early 20th centuries no organized martial arts instruction was available, and Tae Kyon was studied in secret, largely within certain families.

The Modern Period

Karate in Okinawa, known as Tote before the 20th century, was not recorded in Okinawa before the 18th century. Almost all modern Karate is firmly based on Chinese boxing techniques which were introduced to Okinawa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly from the Fuchou area in Fukien Province (19) . An earlier art, known simply as Te, is known and certainly has influenced the development of Karate, but not to same extent as Chuan Fa. The founding masters of Gojo Ryu and Uechi Ryu learned their arts in China, as did the founder of the older Shorin Ryu, (Shorin is the Okinawan pronunciation of Shaolin). Karate was, if not a secret art, at least closely restricted to the more well-to-do class, and often kept within families. It was not taught to the general public, and it was not a peasant art.

In 1882 the Dan/kyu system was adopted for Judo by Master Kano in Japan. This was the first belt ranking system in any of the martial arts. In 1921, the Japanese emperor attended an exhibition of Karate in Okinawa. He was very impressed, and the following year Funakoshi Gichin, an Okinawan master, introduced Karate to Japan. His style underwent several changes, adapting to the centuries of Japanese martial tradition, and became Shotokan Karate (20) . Other Japanese styles are also recent introductions from Okinawa.

In 1910, Japan occupied Korea, and as a part of an effort to promote Japanese nationalism in Korea, the remnants of the native Korean martial arts were suppressed. Very few people practiced these arts during the period of the Japanese occupation. Tae Kyon went underground after 1920 (21) , and the limited training available was conducted in secret. Known 20th century Tae Kyon lineage is very limited; and it is certain that at least some knowledge was lost. There were only 3 main Tae Kyon schools known for this period: the Gurigae dojang (22) , the Chongno dojang, and the Wangshimni dojang. After 1945, Tae Kyon was again taught openly, but as a very separate tradition with virtually no relation to Tae Kwon Do.

During the Japanese occupation, many Korean boys were taken to Japan for education and training, which sometimes included intensive training in the Japanese martial arts. (Masutatsu Oyama Sensei (Choi Yong-i) was Korean, Grand Master Lee (Yi) Won-Kuk trained in Shotokan under Funakoshi Sensei, and General Choi Hong Hi, founder of ITF, was a first (23) Dan in Japanese Karate.) Other Koreans went to China as students or were stationed in Japanese occupied Manchuria as soldiers where some of them were exposed to Chinese martial arts.

“The modern Karate of Korea, with very little influence from Tae Kyon, ...was imported directly from China and also from Okinawa through Japan.” (24)

“The main differences among Tang Su Do, Karate, and Kung Fu (sic) were in how pressure points were used and attacked.” (25)

Tracing instructional lineages of the founders of the kwans back beyond 1945 inevitably leads to Japanese styles of karate. Modern Tae Kwon Do was largely created by young men who had received their original training in Japan or China before 1945, but most never reached the higher levels of their arts. As they continued their training after Korean independence, no longer under the supervision of their former sensei or sifu, they started from a basis of incompletely transmitted knowledge to go in a different direction to develop a new art.

You must also remember that at the period of W.W.II, there was a tremendous amount of prejudice against foreigners in Japan, and this definitely applied to Koreans. It still does. Given the instructional traditions in the Japanese martial arts, this fact alone would have acted to keep most Korean students from receiving full instruction in these arts. This may have been a very healthy thing, allowing Korean instructors to evolve their art in new directions.

With the end of Japanese occupation, many of these young men returned to Korea, and the result was an influx of new techniques from China and Japan which led to rapid growth in the Korean (26) martial arts. With the exception of Tang Su Do, which is simply Japanese Karate as taught in Korea (27) and has retained the same kata as Shotokan, Korean black belts developed hybridized styles by combining techniques from Karate and modern Chuan Fa with indigenous Korean techniques: either their own inventions, or what could be recovered from limited experience with, or the popular idea of, Tae Kyon (28) . These styles became the kwans, the basis for the development of Tae Su Do (29) (early name for Tae Kwon Do) which became the most rapidly growing martial sport in the world. The first national association, the Kong Su Do Association was formed in 1945 (1951, 1953?), headed by Cho Ryon Chi. (Kong Su Do is a Korean pronunciation of the Chinese characters for Karate Do.)
Chung Do Kwan the first 1944/45 Won Kook Yi
Mu Duk Kwan 1945 Hwang Kee
Yun Mu Kwan 1945 Sup Jun Sang
Chi Do Kwan 1946 Yon Kue Pyang
Ji Do Kwan 1953/54 Gae Byang Yun
Sang Mu Kwan 1953/54 Byung Chik Ro
O Do Kwan (31) strictly military 1954 Choi Hong Hi & Nam Tae Hi

By 1950, there were 17 styles of Korean Karate. During the early 1950’s, the period of the Korean War, most Karate was taught within the military, and civilian instructors and schools were very scarce. In 1953, the ROK 29th Division stationed on Che Jo Island was made responsible for martial arts training in the ROK army. In 1961, the Korean government ordered the various styles to organize, and in the same year, (one source puts it in 1965 (32) ), the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association was formed with General Choi as its first president. The Korean government decided at that time that only the 5 top styles would be sanctioned as official TKD. The first style to be chosen was Chung Do Kwan.

Although the term Tae Kwon Do is of very recent origin, there is still some confusion as to when it was first used and by whom. Grand Master Yeon Hee Park says that at a meeting of Korean martial arts masters in April 11, 1955, (one source (33) says that this was a meeting of Chung Do Kwan instructors)it was agreed to unify the Kwans under name of Tae Su Do. This was the year that the Kong Su Do Association broke up. However, Grand Master Choi says he suggested the name, Tae Kwon Do, and it was adopted at that meeting. Grand Master Park says that the name was changed to Tae Kwon Do in 1957 . On September 14, 1961 the Korean TKD Association was formed. However, Grand Master Kim says that this was when the Korean Tae Su Do Association was given official membership in the Korean National Sports Association (KNSA), and that the name Tae Kwon Do was not fully accepted by all Koreans until August, 1965. In any case, it is evident that the name, Tae Kwon Do, is of very recent origin. It would also seem that the name was devised within the Chung Do Kwan.

Admission to the KNSA brings us to the most unsettling aspect of training in Tae Kwon Do today, the emphasis which is placed on sporting competition. There can be no doubt whatever about the deliberate intent on the part of the WTF and ITF Korean Masters to convert Tae Kwon Do into a pure sport. Tae Kwon Do sparring is now an Olympic sport. When practiced as a sport, Tae Kwon Do techniques are strictly limited in application for safety reasons. Dr. Un Yong Kim, the president of the WTF has said:

“Our focus is to develop Tae Kwon Do as a universal sport...Martial art tradition, as you know, comes from a very closed, narrow door (34) .” and later, “ Tae Kwon Do is gaining recognition as a well-developed world sport...The Olympics is a large umbrella. To be sheltered under it means a great elevation in status...We must continue to develop Tae Kwon Do into a sport. To remain as a martial art would be a simple matter. All that needs to be done is to do what people did in the old days when just a handful of people remained as hermits, developing and learning the arts...I am a plain sports leader...the martial arts and other forms of arts are usually practiced within small fields among people who have common interests...We are working hard to achieve the glory of attaining the world sports status...I will not bore you with the trivia of martial arts...Tae Kwon Do came a long way as a sport in a short time. We have accomplished the mammoth tasks of researching its history, re-defining the tradition, unifying the rules, and at the same time promoting it to the rest of the world.” (35)

The ITF founder and president is not only determined to have a sport, he is equally determined to gain fame as the originator of Tae Kwon Do. His comments reveal an ego problem unbecoming to a martial arts master.

“ It would be hopeless to try to merge Karate with Tae Kwon Do...Tae Kwon Do was largely born on April 11, 1955...If I didn’t know anything about Karate, I wouldn’t have invented techniques that are better than Karate...I invented a new martial art...My goal was to make Tae Kwon Do an international sport...I hope that Tae Kwon Do becomes an Olympic event...I invented the martial art of Tae Kwon Do...There is now no Tae Kwon Do in my home country of South Korea...There is no real Tae Kwon Do in South Korea...” (36)

The fate of Judo is a cautionary tale for Tae Kwon Do. Like Tae Kwon Do today, Judo was once (1950’s and 1960’s) the most popular martial art in the world. After it became an Olympic sport, and Judo training became more and more concentrated on sporting competition, Judo lost that popularity, and today it can be difficult to find a Judo dojo, even in a major city. This is often cited as a reason to suspect that sporting success may cause a martial art to lose its effectiveness as a martial art. When victory in a sporting contest becomes the major criterion for excellence in a martial art, then only the young, strong, and gifted will be able to excel in that art, and they will often leave the art when they pass their peak of competitive prowess.

“ The Japanese have devoted themselves to the study of Judo for competition. They have gone to extraordinary lengths to develop winning contestants and fine champions. I, on the other hand, have never trained for competition in my life. All I have ever done is trained in judo as a way of life, exactly as Dr. Kano taught. While the Japanese were devising competitive strategies, I was in the dojo practising basics and kata. I defeated the Japanese because I know judo better than the Japanese. The secret is to train every day in the basics. This will make you unbeatable.” Anton Gessink-World Judo Champion.

There is great pressure for Tae Kwon Do to evolve more generally into a sport with decreasing emphasis on basics, poomse training, and combat effectiveness.

“I am concerned that basic training is often neglected. There should be more emphasis on basic skills: balance, focus, strength training, conditioning of striking surfaces, stance. There is a lack of preparation, seriousness and committment. ..Many do not have hand training, knife- hand training, three-step sparring, or one-step sparring. ...there is an over emphasis on kicking techniques in most schools. This is another sign of immaturity.” (37)

The Poomse

Kata are central to Karate to the point where it is often said that “kata are Karate”, and this is the justification for a special section on poomse in this history of Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do. The original kwans taught kata which were taken directly from Japanese and Okinawan styles (Shorin and Shorei (38) ), that is kata which originated in either Okinawa or China. Becuse of the Japanese occupation of Korea, and the Chinese invasion in 1951, Japanese and Chinese associations were distasteful to the Koreans. For the correct development of Korean martial arts, it was considered necessary to distance these arts as much as possible from the Japanese and Chinese arts. This would not be possible while still practicing the kata of those arts. This attitude, while understandable, has been deplored by some Korean masters:

“ When this shift has completely stripped Tae Kwon Do of any traditional forms, where is the art in this martial art? Since any form not created in Korea has been cast out of Tae Kwon Do and replacement”Korean” forms thrown together to replace them, where is the tradition to preserve? How much wisdom can be gleaned from these new forms? They are the fast food of modern martial arts-quick, fast, simple, lacking in nourishment, prone to cause indigestion...I consider myself fortunate to have learned what I have from my instructors. I honor them by preserving ancient Karate and Chuan fa forms they taught me, and continue to hand them down to my own students. Leaving Korea in 1968 meant that I escaped the tremendous pressure to throw away everything that I learned, join the ITF or WTF, teach only new made-up forms with Korean labels, and teach how to win trophies in tournaments.” (39)

The hyung currently in use by the International Tae Kwon Do Federation, (ITF) were the Chang Hon poomse developed by Hong Hi Choi before 1965, and they are still taught. The Palgwe series and the Taeguek series are very recent poomse which were originally introduced and adopted by the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association on Jan. 30, 1967. Grand Master Hae Man Park (Chung Do Kwan) was one of the creators of the Taegeuk Poomse, and creator of the 6 Kibon drills (40) . These are the basic colored belt poomse for the WTF, and they are still in development, undergoing frequent minor adjustments. One TKD school uses an independent series of poomse, the Chung Bong series, which were developed by one man in 1974. (41)

“ At the founding of the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association (KTA) the founding members agreed to favor none of the forms of the participating schools, but to create an entirely new series of forms in the interest of overall Tae Kwon Do and to ensure agreement among the different schools. A team of Korean Grandmasters was made responsible for carrying out this project. This committee created the Palgwe- Taegeuk- and the remaining nine black belt poomse, but only a short time later, the Palgwe forms were discarded.” (42)

The Taegeuk poomse were designed especially for colored belt training in Tae Kwon Do. However, as many of the Korean masters, especially the older generation, have been trained in Japanese, Okinawan, or Chinese styles, it is hardly possible that this training could have had no influence on their development of the new Korean poomse. Indeed, the Japanese influence is often obvious. The poomse for the third dan grading examination, Taebek, is a very beautiful form when correctly performed, but about 40% of the techniques in Taebek come from two separate Pinan (Heian) kata (nidan and sandan). These borrowed sequences within Taebek are a perfect example of the immense unacknowledged debt which WTF TKD owes to Karate.

The many poomse created by the modern Korean masters since the beginnings of Tae Kwon Do in 1945 are extremely valuable for Tae Kwon Do training. They are very new, however, and not entirely satisfactory. Small changes continue to appear in them. Unlike changes in the older kata which often are a result of a lack of knowledge concerning the application of a specific technique, these changes in Korean poomse are a deliberate attempt to make the poomse deeper and to improve the effectiveness of the techniques presented. A good recent example of this trend is the introduction of the 6th kibon exercise in the spring of 1997. In Tae Kwon Do, we are in the presence of the creation of a vital martial tradition, with the poomse which will carry that tradition into the future still in the process of development today. This is a very exciting time to be training in Tae Kwon Do. But, there are hazards to be faced.

There is an increasing possibility that poomse practice will become more shallow, and that their development will be retarded. This tendency will exist for several reasons (poomse are not for competition; poomse techniques are highly dangerous when correctly applied; poomse practice is more directed to the perfection of the practitioner’s character than to sporting applications, etc.). This has created a dangerous potential for the devaluation of poomse, as the relation of the Taegeuk poomse to the rest of the training becomes more and more tenuous.

Although the Taegeuk poomse have a higher percentage of kicking techniques than Japanese/Okinawan kata, Clark (43) makes the point that “the proportion of kicks in training for sport free sparring is still not reflected in the poomse, which at this time retain many of the more practical combative techniques of the older martial arts, (emphasis mine)”. He concludes that the modern Korean style of TKD has been changing forms to reflect sporting emphasis and a Korean predilection for kicking techniques.

It may be expected that the poomse will continue to change to reflect the increasing emphasis on the sporting aspect of Tae Kwon Do, and the emphasis that training in modern Tae Kwon Do places on kicking. Almost all of a TKD training session is normally spent on various aspects of kicking drill, and training for excellence in sporting competition is focused on the artificial conventions of Tae Kwon Do full contact sparring to the neglect of poomse and a reduction of their importance. In many dojangs we find that, unlike karate, poomse are rarely central to training in Tae Kwon Do. Indeed, some highly competitive black belts don’t know any poomse! (44)

Chung Do Kwan

Early in the 20th century, Won Kook Yi (Lee), a Tae Kyon (sic) student, traveled throughout the Orient, returning to Korea in 1940. In 1941, he added techniques from other styles to Tae Kyon, and developed "Tae Su Do Chung Do Kwan". He retired in 1945, but before doing so, he named his successor as head of Chung Do Kwan, Grand Master Uoon Kyu Um. Great Grand Master Yi is presently (1996) in retirement in the United States. The Chung Do Kwan style was taught in secret in 1944, and in 1945, the Chung Do Kwan, the first Kwan to openly teach a native Korean Martial Art opened in Yung Chun, Soeul. In 1954, General Choi Hong Hi became “director” (Kwan Jang Nim) of Chung Do Kwan, then the largest civilian kwan in Korea (45) and held that position for several years (46) .

A different version of these events appeared in a recent issue of Tae Kwon do Times (47) which adds some details, but contradicts other seemingly reliable sources. According to this version, Grandmaster Lee opened his school with the tacit approval of the Japanese authorities on September 14, 1944. Grand Master Lee trained students until 1950, when he had to leave Korea for Japan for “political” reasons. Duk Sung Son then became Kwan Jang Nim of Chung Do Kwan. “A few years later” Duk Sung Son left Korea for the United States, and only then did Uoon Kyu Um become Kwan Jang Nim. Uoon Kyu Um is mentioned among the original students of Grand Master Lee and so is Jhoon Rhee but, in this version, there is no mention at all of General Choi Hong Hi. The omission is incorrect and was made for political reasons.

Finally, yet another version emerged in a 1997 interview with Grand Master Lee (Yi, Yee) which also appeared in TKD Times. (48) Born April 13, 1907, Grand Master Lee states that he was instructed in Tang Su Do (Shotokan Karate) when he attended a university in Japan in the 1920’s. He identifies his instructor as “Sensei Hunagoshi, founder of GojuRhu Karate”. He has to mean Funakoshi Sensei, founder of Shotokan Karate, not Miyagi Sensei, founder of Goju Ryu. He taught Tang Su Do for the first time in Korea at Yung Shin School Gynasium in Sa De Mun, Ok Chun Dong district in Soeul. During the confused period following the defeat of Japan in 1945, Tang Su Do was associated with gang violence, so the government refused to allow any public facilities to teach Tang Su Do. Grand Master Lee was forced to move and “ this was the time when I established Chung Do Kwan at Tae Go temple (Tae Go Sa) in Sorul.” He was then forced to move to Kwan Yung Kwan in Soeul. Later he moved his dojang to No. 80 Kyun Ji Dong district in Soeul.

After Grand Master Lee conducted a very successful demonstration at the YMCA Gym in Soeul, Tang Su Do again received government favor, but unfortunately, this involved pressure to support one political party. Korea’s first President Syng Man Rhee requested that all Chung Do Kwan members apply for membership in the Korean Republican Party. Grand Master Lee rejected the offer, and he was arrested and accused by the government of being the leader of a group of assassins. Eventually released in 1950, he and his wife fled to Japan as political refugees. He served as Tae Kwon Do instructor to the US military for a period in the 60’s. Grand Master Lee emigrated to USA in 1976. In the interview, he states: “ I am the founder of modern Tae Kwon Do in Korea.”

The major students named by Grand Master Lee in this interview were:
Un Kyu Um (Kukkiwon VP)
Choi Hung Hi ( Founder of ITF)
Jae Chung Ko (Jae Chun Ko)
Chong Myung Hung(Hyun)
Chung Ki Paek (Wan Ki Paek)
Chong Lim Woo
Pong Seok Kim
Sang Hung Lee
Seok Kyu Kim
Jun Yoo Eung (Introduced TKD to North Korea)

In 1966, the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF) was formed by General Choi. In 1967, the President of South Korea declared Tae Kwon Do a national sport. In 1973, twenty countries formed the World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) and made the Kukkiwon, a large building constructed by the Korean government for Tae Kwon Do study, administration, and competition, their headquarters. In 1974, the ITF had moved from Korea to establish its headquarters in Toronto. In 1975, The WTF issued an announcement which dissolved all the kwans, and issued each with a number in order to unite Tae Kwon Do as one world sport. Supposedly, Chung Do Kwan officially died in Korea on that date. In fact, dan certificates are still being issued from Korea under the Chung Do Kwan name.

Chung Do Kwan in the United States

In 1967, Grand Master Edward B. Sell, (then a 4th Dan), founded the first Chung Do Kwan school, " The Academy" in the United States in Trenton, MI. He also founded the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association of America in that year. This association subsequently became the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association of America and Canada, and in 1975 (1977<img src=icon_smile_question.gif border=0 align=middle>), the name was changed to the United States Chung Do Kwan Association (USCDKA). Note that there is also a Chung Do Kwan International, Inc., headed by a Grand Master Sung Jae Park. (49)

Grand Master Sell was trained in Korea while in the USAF attached to the 6314th Air Police Squadron at Osan Air Base, Pyon Teak Kun. His instructors while training to first dan were Mr. Myong Kil Kim and Mr. Tae Sung Yi, 3rd Dans. He was promoted to second Dan in 1963, and promoted to 8th Dan March, 1987.

In the first two USCDKA association manuals, forms are referred to as "kata", and Tag'kuk Il Chong is the same as the first Taikyoku drill in Shotokan Karate. In 1979, the Palgwe forms were taught by the USCDKA, but by 1987, these had been replaced by the Taeguek forms. In book three, Grand Master Sell introduces the Korean terms “hyung” and “poomse” for forms along with “kata”, and by 1987 the Japanese/Okinawan term "kata" has disappeared, to be replaced by the word “poomse. This gradual removal of Japanese/Okinawan terms and influence from Tae Kwon Do is an understandable effort to emphasize the nature of Tae Kwon Do as a Korean martial art, and to obtain Korean validation for the American association and its instructors.

United Chung Do Kwan Association

To a certain extent, the United Chung Do Kwan Association (UCDKA) owes its existence to Master Jonathan C. Henkel, (then 1st Dan, currently 6th Dan), who was assigned to South Dakota State University (SDSU) ROTC after returning from Korea, where he had been promoted to first Dan on December 9, 1973 at the Kukkiwon in Soeul, Korea. At SDSU, Master Henkel started Master Jeffrey Holsing in his TKD training under the auspices of the USCDKA.

The UCDKA was first conceived in Alabama. Under the leadership of Master Jeffrey Holsing, the UCDKA formally broke away from Grand Master E.B. Sells’ USCDKA in the early summer of 1989. The first organizational meeting of the UCDKA was held in Brookings, SD on June 4, 1989 (50) . For the next 14 months, the masters and senior black belts held a series of 19 organizational meetings which established the UCDKA. Although there have been some changes since the autumn of 1990, by that date, the UCDKA had essentially completed its organization. The nucleus for this new association of martial artists was largely provided by the Chung Do Kwan black belts from South Dakota, with another center of UCDKA activity in the Southeast which contributed much to the early development of the association. Grand Master Cha Sok Park, 8th Dan, agreed to arrange the validation of UCDKA Dan ranks at the Kukkiwon in Korea. At Grand Master Park’s recommendation, the association adopted Grand Master Daeshik Kim’s books as the authority for UCDKA poomse.

Much of the organization, traditions and structure of the organization were very similar to that of USCDKA, as both are Chung Do Kwan, and the original UCDKA Masters had all trained with Grand Master Sell. Among the things which were taken from the USCDKA were the patch placement on the dobak, the student’s name in Korean and English, the design of the instructor patch, and the gup colors up through brown belt.

In April of 1996, the chairman of the Board of Directors of UCDKA was asked to resign his position. The chairmanship was held by several different masters in rapid succession, but by the beginning of 1997 most of the active clubs had withdrawn from the UCDKA, which then virtually ceased to exist.

American Chung Do Kwan Ltd.

The dojangs which had withdrawn from UCDKA came together during the early months of 1997 to form a new association, the American Chung Do Kwan Ltd (ACDKL), under Masters J. Bice and J. Henkel. This association consists of the majority of dojangs which had formerly belonged to the UCDKA, and still follows most of the formal practices of that association. A new constitution has been adopted by the ACDKL, and has significantly changed association structure and organization.

In Conclusion

The idea behind writing this history was to correct some of the common errors which have crept into the instructional materials associated with Tae Kwon Do, and to present the students of American Chung Do Kwan with as accurate a history of their art and style as the sources allow. The history of Chung Do Kwan is something we can all be proud of. It is certainly no disgrace to train in a dynamic fighting style created by an exceptional Korean martial artist which can trace its roots back through Okinawan Karate to ancient China. Chung Do Kwan lacks ancient roots only within Korea, and this is of no importance at all. Young growth is the most vigorous, and it is within Korea that Chung Do Kwan has developed into the style in which we train today.

The above history is both incomplete and often incorrect. All suggestions for additions and corrections are always very welcome, and may be sent to the author in care of Husky Tae Kwon Do. However, to be usable, such suggestions must be supported by published references and/or attributable to the person supplying them.



Bannon, D. 1994. Pak Yon: How a Dutchman in 17th Century Korea Changed Martial Arts History. Dojang. Summer. 1994.pp60-62

Bannon, D. 1996. Who Were the Hwrang? Dojang. Winter1996. pp 59-63.

Bishop, Mark. 1989. Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. A & C Black. London. 192pp

Burdick, D. 1997. People & Events in Taekwondo’s Formative Years. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. (6):1 pp 30-49

Cho, S,H. 1968. Korean Karate: Free Fighting Techniques. Tuttle, Rutland. VT. 249pp

Choi Hong Hi. 1965. Taekwon-Do: The Art of Self-Defense. Daeha Publication Co. Soeul. 304p

Clark, R. 1995. Korean Forms. Tae Kwon Do Times. 16(4) pp42-48

Cocoran, J. and E. Farkas w/ S. Sobel. 1993. The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia. Pro-Action Publishing. Los Angeles. 437p

Draeger, D. & R.W. Smith. 1980. Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Kodansha. Tokyo. 207p.

Draeger, D. 1972. Classical Bujutsu. Weatherhill. Tokyo. 109p.

Draeger, D. 1972. Classical Budo Weatherhill. Tokyo. 127p.

Dukes, T. ( Shifu Nagaboshi Tomio) 1994. The Bodhisattava Warriors. Weiser. York Beach, ME. 527p

Ferguson, R. 1994. Is Tae Kwon Do Really a Korean Art? TKD Times. (15):2 pp 50-55, 82

Haines, B.A. 1968. Karate's History and Traditions. Charles E. Tuttle Co. Rutland, VT. 192 p.

Haines, B.A. 1995 (revised edition). Karate's History and Traditions. Charles E. Tuttle Co. Rutland, VT. 192 p.

Hallander, J. 1993. The Truth Behind Martial Arts in Korea Today. TKD Times. (13):5 pp 50-53.

Hargrove, F. 1986. The 100 Year History of Shorin-Ryu Karate. Privately Published. 220p.

Hassell, R. G. 1991. Shotokan Karate: Its History and Evolution. Focus. Publications. St. Louis, MO. 150p.

Higaonna, Morio. 1995. The History of Karate: Okinawan Goju-Ryu. Dragon Books, 226 pp

Johnson, N. 1994. Xen Shaolin Karate. Tuttle. Rutland 240p

Kim, D. 1991. Tae Kwon Do. V. 1. NANAM Pub. Seoul. 210p.

Kim, D. 1991. Tae Kwon Do. V. 2. NANAM Pub. Seoul. 224p.

Kim, D. & A Bäck. 1989. Martial Meditation. ICMAEP. Akron, OH. 372p

Kim, R. 1974. The Weaponless Warriors. Ohara. Sta. Clarita. CA

Lee, J. 1995. The History of Tae Kwon Do. TKD Times (15):5 pp50-58

Lee, Kang Seok. 1997. Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee: Founder of Chung Do Kwan. Tae Kwon Do Times. 17 (3) pp 44- 51

Lindsey, R.L. 1995. Solving the White Crane Mystery: The Heritage of the Okinawan Systems. Dojo. Fall 1995. pp14-19

Liu, James J.Y. 1967. The Chinese Knight-Errant. University of Chicao. Chicago. 242p

McCarthy, P. 1987. Classical Kata of Okinawan Karate. Ohara. Santa Clarita, CA. 255p.

Pieter, W. 1994. Notes on the Historical Development of Korean Martial Sports- An Addendum to Young’s History & Developmemnt of Tae Kyon. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. (3):1 pp82-89.

Poliakoff, M.B. 1987. Combat Sports in the Ancient World. Yale University Press. New Haven. 202p.

Ratti, O. & A. Westbrook. 1973. Secrets of the Samurai. Charles E. Tuttle. Rutland, VT. 483p.

Reid, H. & M. Croucher. 1983. The Way of the Warrior. Overlook Press. Woodstock. NY 240p.

Rodine, Tim. 1996. From Generation to Generation to Puerto Rico. Tae Kwon Do Times. (16) 10 p 26

E.B. Sell 1973. Revised edition. v. #1 Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan for the Beginner. Korean Tae Kwon Do Association of America/Canada. 62p

_______ 1973. v. #1 Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan for the Beginner and Advanced Student. Korean Tae Kwon Do Association of America/Canada. 92p

E.B. Sell & B.J. Sell. 1979. Forces of Tae Kwon Do, U.S. Chung Do Kwan Association. 240p.

_______1987 revised 7th edition. Forces of Tae Kwon Do. U.S. Chung Do Kwan Association. 273p.

Young, Robert W.1993. The History and Development of Tae Kyon. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. v.2 n.2. pp44-69.



(1) A truly authoritative history would have to be firmly based on years of research using the best available sources in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. As the author does not possess these linguistic skills, the present history must be considered informal and subject to change as more and/or better information becomes available.

(2) Main influence would appear to be Shotokan as taught in the Japanese university clubs in the 1930’s.

(3) Dussault, J. and S. Dussault. 1993. Patriarch of the Chang Moo Kwan. Inside Tae Kwon Do. 2(5) pp42-49 - In this article, the founding of the Chang Moo Kwan is attributed to Yun Pyung-in, who had to be a young man at this time as he was a college student in Japan during the “40’s”. He had studied both Chuan Fa and Shudokan Karate (promoted 4th Dan by Toyama Kanken, which may make him the highest ranking Korean karate-ka to return to Korea in 1945.) before opening a Kwonpup club at a high school in Seoul in September, 1946.

(4) These ranks were much more difficult to attain in the Japan of that era than they are today, and consequently may reflect a deeper understanding of the arts studied.

(5) Rees, D. 1988. A Short History of Modern Korea. Hippocrene. New York. 196p

(6) Hallander, J. 1993. The Truth Behind Martial Arts in Korean Today. TKD Times. 13(5) pp50-53

(7) Liu, James J.Y. 1967. The Chinese Knight-Errant. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 242p

(8) Taoism also appeared during this period, and its teachings have many similarities to the attitudes of the yu-hsia , or Chinese knight errants.

(9) Ibid.

(10) See Burdick, D. 1997. Taekwondo’s Formative Years for a discussion of the Chinese derivation of Korea’s early martial arts.

(11) Some of the early Chinese styles may have been very sophisticated.

(12) Mu Tau as taught by J. Arvantis is thought to be the only modern descendant of the Pankration, but schools proporting to teach this art have existed in Europe up to modern times.
(13) Poliakoff, M.B. 1987.

(14) Bannon, D. 1996. Who Were the Hwrang? Dojang. Winter1996. pp 59-63.

(15) It is curious that this period corresponds very closely to that of the Chinese T’ang Dynasty

(16) See footnote 1

(17) Pieter, W. 1994. (3):1 pp82-89.

(18) The reader is alerted to the fact that there is indeed a powerful modern Korean martial art, Hwarangdo, which claims a lineage going back to the classical Hwarangdo. The late Michael D. Echanis was the most famous American student of this art. For an overview of the martial legends of Hwarangdo, the reader is referred to the web site www.hwarangdo.com/hrd1.htm.

(19) Unlike Tae Kwon Do, Karate’s early history has been relatively well documented. The reader is referred to: Higaonna, Morio. 1995. The History of Karate: Okinawan Goju-Ryu. Dragon Books, 226 pp and Bishop, Mark. 1989. Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. A & C Black. London. 192pp

(20) The history of Shotokan Karate is also fairly documented. The reader is referred to Harry Cook’s new book on the history of Shotokan due to be published this fall.

(21) Burdick, Op. Cit.

(22) The ‘Do’ suffix for a martial art originated in Japan

(23) He may have been a second Dan - sources disagree.

(24) Cho, S,H. 1968.

(25) Lee, Kang Seok. 1997. Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee: Founder of Chung Do Kwan. Tae Kwon Do Times. 17 (3) pp 44- 51

(26) Korea refers here to the Republic of Korea (ROK) or South Korea. Although it is very difficult to obtain any good information concerning the martial arts within North Korea, there is reason to believe that the private practice of the martial arts were considered subversive by the Communist regime in North Korea, and these arts have not survived there. It is known that General Choi has attempted to introduce Tae Kwon Do there.

(27) Note here that the Chinese ideographs used for Tang Su Do and for Karate Do (before 1930) are identical.

(28) I am unaware of any early Tae Kwon Do master with an instructional lineage in Tae Kyon. It would appear that Tae Kyon and Tae Kwon Do are entirely separate with little technical relationship between them.

(29) Burdick, Op Cit.

(30) Sources differ as to dates and names

(31) Associated with Chung Do Kwan - Burdick Op. Cit.

(32) Burdick, Op. Cit. says that the Korean Tae Su Do Association was formed only changing the name to Tae Kwon Do in 1965

(33) Clark, R. 1995.

(34) Interview with Dr. Un Yong Kim. 1986. TKD Times March 1986. pp30-42

(35) Interview with Dr. Un Yong Kim. 1994. TKD Times March 1994. pp36-37;80-81

(36) Interview with General Choi, Hong Hi 1986. TKD Times March 1986. pp30-42

(37) Lee, Kang Seok. 1997.Op Cit.

(38) Ibid

(39) Guest Editorial- 1996. MasterKim Soo. Nationalism Means Closed Arts. TKD Times. January, 1996

(40) Pers comm. from Master J.C. Henkel, who was told directly by Grand Master Hae Man Park

(41) Song Moo Kwan - Jay Hong in Robert Frankovich. 1994.

(42) Konstantin, Gil und Kim Chul-Hwan. 1994. Taekwondo Perfekt 1: Die Formenschule bis zum Blaugurt. Falken-Verlag. Niedernhausen. 175pp(pp16-17): Bei der Gründung der Koreanischen Taekwondo Verbandes (KTA)kamen die Gründungsmitgleider dennoch Überein, keinen der Formen aus den neun beteiligten richtungen zubevorzugen, sondern im Interesse eines gemeinsamen Taekwondo und um den andern Poomse-Richtungen entgegenzukommen ganz neue Formen zu kreieren. Ein Team koreanischer Großmeister wurde mit der Ausführung dieses Projekt beauftragt. Dieses Gremium schuf die Palgwe-, Taegük-, und die restlichen neun Meister-Poomse, wobei die Palgwe-Poomse schon kurze Zeit später wieder verworfen wurden.”

(43) Ibid

(44) Pers. comm. Master Darby Holsing

(45) Choi Hong Hi. 1963.

(46) Pers. comm. Senior Master Ron Rose; Burdick, Op. Cit. says only “late in 1954”

(47) Rodine, Tim. 1996. From Generation to Generation to Puerto Rico. Tae Kwon Do Times. (16) 10 p 26

(48) Lee, Kang Seok. 1997. Op. Cit.

(49) Ibid.

(50) I owe a debt of gratitude to Master Darby Holsing for the loan of the minutes of all these early meetings.

I Pat Easterling would like to thank R. E. Dohrenwend for his research efforts and for giving other martial arts sites permission to reprint this enlightening history of Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do (I copied from the Husky TKD web page though I really could have cheated and got it from vanooyen TKD history and they say Author Unknown which is really silly and if there is a problem, which I doubt, I take full responsibility for pasting it and my email is [email protected] if anyone has a problem).


Edited by - patfromlogan on June 12 2003 16:43:44

6/12/2003 8:11pm,
I am proud to see TKD join the olympics with the other great and illustrious martial arts like volleyball and ball room dancing. It is a true testament to its efficacy, efficiency and practicality. TKD practitioners everywhere should be proud.

6/13/2003 6:41am,
You missed out synchronised swimming, shame on you

6/13/2003 8:20am,
Pat, great post. I will try to update some of my research with some of the information made here. What is Mr. Dohwenrend's web site or email so that I can ask him for a blessing to use some of the research.

Now this brings up a point that. TKD history, is derived from several different kwan histories. So should we post we should post Subjects such as TKD - Chung Do Kwan so we know what aspect of TKD history we will be covering.


Sorry we can't all be great Bruce Lee followers like yourself, but read the Rules of the Road post. If you don't have anything constructive to add to the thread, then keep your mouth shut and let the adults talk amongst themselves.

Jeremy M. Talbott

6/13/2003 9:42am,
I thought TKD was ballet, not a martial art. All kidding aside I think this enlightening history lesson will make some TKD stylists very upset. Should be some interesting, and amusing posts in the next few days.

6/13/2003 9:49am,
Well, it will upset more of the older generation westeners who have blindly followed and subscribed to the 2000 year old history crap. If we are lucky it will cause some of the younger generation to start comparing what they do to what was done before. At that point we can hope to see that they will start to come to grips that TKD tournament sparring is not the best form of self defense out there. There is nothing wrong with it for fun and sport, but it should not be passed off as a viable self defense.

The Korean GM's will have to get over the fact that the 2000 year old myth just won't sell lessons anymore. The truth is out there.

Jeremy M. Talbott

6/13/2003 1:42pm,
Where should I begin?

Our Eternal Grand Masters name was miss-spelled as Lee Hang Wung. It is actually Haeng Ung Lee.

Also, in the ATA, we are told that Taekwondo is only 48 years old, having been offically created in 1955. We do recognize that their were other martial arts in Korea before the occupation of Japan, but we also understand that Taekwondo, just like Karate and Gung Fu, are martial arts that have been handed down from other arts.

As far as Taekwondo not being viable for self defense, well that is just a plain ridiculous statement, and only a moron would attempt to use tournament sparring as form of self defense. Perhaps some schools do not emphasize the self defense aspects of Taekwondo, but ours does and we focus on more then just kicks and punches. In fact, even though Taekwondo is an Olympic Sport, we do not train for that aspect. Yes, we attend tournaments, but we are not an Olympic Style.

This will probably not destroy the myth that Taekwondo is a useless art. However, it is probably a useless attempt to get people to realize that your opinions about Taekwondo are not fact. That is the real truth.


Knowing it is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.

Edited by - Bolverk on June 13 2003 13:44:02

6/13/2003 2:43pm,
"As far as Taekwondo not being viable for self defense, well that is just a plain ridiculous statement, and only a moron would attempt to use tournament sparring as form of self defense."

OK, perhaps I should have made my statement a bit more clearer. When I said "There is nothting wrong with IT for fun...." I was refering to tournament aspect of TKD not TKD as a whole. I agree that only a moron would use tournament style fighting as a form of self defense (which was my point in the first place)

"This will probably not destroy the myth that Taekwondo is a useless art. However, it is probably a useless attempt to get people to realize that your opinions about Taekwondo are not fact. That is the real truth."

"The late Lee Hang Wung, who had contributed a lot to Taekwondo boom in America as a president of ATA, had made a statement on his martial art as 'Korean Karate' and added that Karate is not different from it at all."

So this statement is false? EGM Lee never said this? This is just an opinoin of the author that EGM may have thought it that way? Which opinoins are false and what FACTS do you have to show otherwise. If you are going to accuse us of not having our facts straight then please provide evidence to such. Don't be so defensive. People on this thread are trying to get truth out there. Feel free to add in

Jeremy M. Talbott

6/13/2003 4:14pm,
Well, it will upset more of the older generation westeners who have blindly followed and subscribed to the 2000 year old history crap. If we are lucky it will cause some of the younger generation to start comparing what they do to what was done before. At that point we can hope to see that they will start to come to grips that TKD tournament sparring is not the best form of self defense out there. There is nothing wrong with it for fun and sport, but it should not be passed off as a viable self defense.

The Korean GM's will have to get over the fact that the 2000 year old myth just won't sell lessons anymore. The truth is out there.

Actually, this is mostly what I was replying to. The simple fact of the mater is this, Taekwondo does have roots that span back about 1800 years, though virtually all of the Grand Masters have studied Karate. Taekwondo became offically recognized in 1955, but, the formation of the art did involve trying to remove the Karate influence and get back to an art kicking which emphasized kicking more, trying to regain some of the T'aekyon flavor.

However, all Eastern Martial Arts can be traced back to India. Does this mean that these arts are not unique? No it does not, because each of them developed their own philosophies, as well as techniques. Taekwondo is no different. In fact, many of the kicking techniques used in Taekwondo have found there way back into the other Martial Arts. It is only natural to use techniques that are effective, that is why when they are discovered they naturally are incorporated into other arts.

Taekwondo used to be called Korean Karate at one point. It was not a terminollogy used just by Eternal Grand Master Haeng Ung Lee, but by a great deal of people in the Martial Arts. However, they wanted Taekwondo to remove its Japanese influence, and hence the new name of Taekwondo.

I will post a little of the information on Taekwondo that we have on our site.

Oh, and as far as being defensive goes, I think most Taekwondo practitioners on this site are probably a little defensive. After all, we take a lot of abuse.


Knowing it is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.

Edited by - Bolverk on June 13 2003 16:18:13

6/13/2003 4:16pm,
Taekwondo History:

Although its roots can be somewhat traced back to ancient Korea, it is a historic fact that Taekwondo as an organized art is relatively modern. In fact, the only documented history begins in the mid 1900's.

The actual beginnings of Taekwondo are obscured by time, yet many historians believe it originated from a Korean martial arts form known as t'aekyon practiced over 1,300 years ago.

In the early 1900's the art evolved with the introduction of Chinese and Japanese techniques, a practice which concerned some because these influences did not demonstrate the incredible kicking power of the art nor its traditional values or philosophy.

The actual name (and art) of Taekwondo wasn't official until 1955. At that time Korean General Hong Hi Choi organized a movement to unify Korea's various martial arts styles (Called kwans) and presented the name "Taekwondo" to a committee specially formed to select a name for the new art. On April 11, 1955, Taekwondo was recognized as the name for the newly unified, officially recognized Korean martial art.

As an interesting side note, the word Taekwondo itself is made up of three Chinese/Korean words: Tae, meaning to kick or jump; Kwon, meaning fist or hand; and Do, which means "the way". Loosely (if not literally), it can be thought of as "The Way of the Hand and Foot."

In the 1960's Taekwondo began to spread internationally and evolved throughout the late 1900's (along with most martial arts) into primarily a combat sport, although self-defense, fitness, and the philosophy of the practice (including self-discipline and self-knowledge) are still crucial elements of Songahm Taekwondo, the style of Taekwondo developed and supported by the ATA.

Taekwondo is currently the most popular martial art in Korea, and ranks among America's and the world's most popular martial arts.


Knowing it is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.

6/13/2003 4:24pm,
"Martial Art" is a broad term encompassing the many styles of physical discipline (fighting) arts that have been developed over the centuries. To say that the style of Songahm Taekwondo is just another "martial art" would be an oversimplified explanation of the world's largest centrally administered martial art. This system of teaching and training is unequaled in the martial arts community.

During its early years, the ATA used the Chahng-hun style of forms (also used by the International Taekwondo Federation). But although this style was widely accepted in the Taekwondo community, Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee felt that its forms did not accurately reflect Taekwondo -- particularly the strength and beauty of Taekwondo kicking techniques. As a result, he believed the forms contributed little to the Taekwondo curriculum. For example, white belts were expected to know front kicks and side kicks, but no front kick appeared until the third (yellow belt) form, and there was no side kick until the form after that!

From 1983 to 1990, Eternal Grand Master introduced the eighteen Songahm forms. These forms are part of a fully-integrated curriculum, in which everything a student learns reinforces everything else. The forms contain all or nearly all of the techniques that students are expected to know at each rank, the one-step sparring segments complement the forms, and all of these patterns lead logically to the movements required for each succeeding rank.

The Songahm curriculum facilitates a smooth progression from one rank to the next, so that students who begin Taekwondo feeling they'll never be able to do a simple block (for example) suddenly find themselves a few years later doing 360-degree jumping kicks with ease.

Songahm Taekwondo also focuses on personal development of the mind and body. To say it is just self-defense would be to lose most of the valuable ideas and philosophy behind this ancient art.

The heightened capacity for self-defense resulting from our Taekwondo is really a fringe benefit that is gained by dedicating one's self to the values, philosophy and training of Songahm Taekwondo. When learning, a student is in a true, traditional Taekwondo class, focusing not just on the physical but also on discipline, honor, self-control, respect, courtesy, perseverance and loyalty.

A beginner does not focus on being a skilled martial artist within a month or two, as a strong foundation in Taekwondo must be built first. Trying to advance beyond your level without proper guidance is like building a house on concrete that has not dried. Though the house may still stand, the foundation would not be as strong and the appearance of the house may not be as presentable.

The ATA and its affiliated organizations help build a strong foundation of Songahm Taekwondo in each of its members, a foundation from which advancement in both the martial art (mind and body) and in self defense can be built and added on to in perpetuity.

"In victory, be humble. In defeat, be strong. In all things be fair."
--Eternal Grand Master H.U. Lee


Knowing it is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.

6/16/2003 9:49am,
"Although its roots can be somewhat traced back to ancient Korea, it is a historic fact that Taekwondo as an organized art is relatively modern. In fact, the only documented history begins in the mid 1900's."

Wrong sir, TKD can not be traced back to ancient Korea at all. TKD is, was and always will be an off shoot of Okinwin Karate. Now you can trace TKD to ancient Okinawin arts, but that is it. There were arts indengenious to Korea, but, again, they were lost in time to due to two main factors: 1) Korea adopted Confucianism as the countries religion. This brought about the big down fall of Korean martial arts. People who practiced any type of fighting art were thought of as low life gangsters. Even the folk of taekkyon (which so many TKD poeple swear is the grandfather of TKD) was pretty much stopped. 2) Japanese occupation squashed most if not all documentation of any other Korean fighting systems that were still being practiced. Any art that was allowed to be practiced was Japanese. This is not theory, this is fact. Check out Korean history books.

"The actual name (and art) of Taekwondo wasn't official until 1955. At that time Korean General Hong Hi Choi organized a movement to unify Korea's various martial arts styles (Called kwans) and presented the name "Taekwondo" to a committee specially formed to select a name for the new art. On April 11, 1955, Taekwondo was recognized as the name for the newly unified, officially recognized Korean martial art."

Ok...now we are spewing out ITF propaganda. This was handed down by your EGM because his original school was Oh Do Kwan, Gen. Choi's kwan. First of all Gen. Choi was not the organizer, though he held a lot of clout with President Rhee at the time, the formation of TKD was a joing effort of all the kwans not just one man. "General Choi was favored by ROK President Rhee Syng Man, so General Choi was able to summon and create a Naming Committee composed of various men of society. After he and his adjutant Nam Tae Hi conducted research, they finally used "Taekkyon" and "Do" to create the name "Taekwondo" (Won Sik Kang and Kyoung Myoung Lee - Modern History of Taekwondo) This is where that myth that Gen. Choi "organized" the kwans to form TKD. Secondly, this naming committe took place in 1959 not 1955. In 1955, Choi used his influence to so that he could teach the Oh Do system through out the military.

Taesoodo (the previous name of TKD)was not recognized as a national martial art but a national sport in February of 1962 by the Korean Amatuer Sports Association.

"Taekwondo is currently the most popular martial art in Korea, and ranks among America's and the world's most popular martial arts."

TKD is popular in because it is the equivalent of baseball to us. Your statement should read it is popular martial sport. But get ready, Yudo and Kumdo are starting to take its place in popularity amongst Koreans.

"For example, white belts were expected to know front kicks and side kicks, but no front kick appeared until the third (yellow belt) form, and there was no side kick until the form after that!"

Yes, but WTF and ITF students were still required to learn them regardless of the forms. What difference does it make when they are introduced in a form as long as they are introduced as a regular technique?

Anyway...it looks like you are reading straight out of the ATA text book. You need to go beyond what your GM or EGM or SGM or SEGM or USEGM or whatever title you instructor has given himself. The ATA, WTF, and ITF will only tell you the history that they want you to believe, you have to get the real history for yourself.

Jeremy M. Talbott

6/16/2003 10:27am,
I searched and I think he (Dohrenwend)is a prof at mich. tech. and that's from the http://www.sos.mtu.edu/husky/tkdhist.htm address that has "mtu." Searching mtu brought me to the above, but that's as far as I got.

This is from Kim's TKD (Kim's Tae Kwon Do Center, Inc.)and is the typical bullshit. As far as I can tell, Lee=truth, Choi=bullshit.

The Hwa-Rang Do defended themselves by using postures resembling Taek Kyon and Jujitsu techniques. They had a strong desire for patriotism and became an elite fighting warrior corp as they gained respect from their enemies. The Hwa-Rang Do unified the three kingdoms of Korea and the martial arts flourished.

Soon after Korea was united, the dynasty acquired an anti-military posture. This began a period of civil enlightenment, and anything dealing with the military was debased.

The final blow came with the Japanese occupation (1909 - 1945) when it was forbidden to practice any martial arts. Taek Kyon was secretly practiced and passed on to a handful of students.

In 1945 Korea was liberated and a young second lieutenant, Choi Hong Hi, recently released from a Japanese prison camp taught his martial arts to some students.

In 1955 this art was given the name Tae Kwon Do by a board of instructors, historians, and prominent leaders, including General Choi Hong Hi. Tae means foot, Kwon means hand and Do means art. It is now practiced in over 60 countries with millions of students.

Tae Kwon Do has reached its potential as it has no equal in power, technique, and mental conditioning. (ha ha ha)

This crap implies that Choi was one of the guys who "secretly practiced" and that it had been "passed on to a handful of students," among the handful was Choi, I guess. What bs.

I don't think we are going to get more than a few to defend the bullshit history of TKD, it is too obviously ****, and this forum has weeded out most of the bullhshitters.

Bolverk, I don't mean that you are a bullshitter, at all. But I'm getting confused, first the spelling of Asian names is very problematic, and second, the different Lee's and the different spelling have me dizzy. I need a chart to keep it straight. I have read the article I posted twice and found out that the local TKD (I've worked out with them)is a Chung Do Kwan Lee lineage school and the other TKD I worked out with (from Orem, UT) is a Choi lineage school and I now know more about their history than either of those school's teachers! In my experience the Chung Do Kwan was better, and less sport oriented.

Edited by - patfromlogan on June 16 2003 10:29:40

6/16/2003 2:07pm,
Taekwondo Tutor (http://www.tkdtutor.com/) is a great location for the history of Taekwondo. Some of which agrees with what you say, some of which contradicts what you say, and some of which goes into more depth and explains more of the history behind Korean Martial Arts.

As far as when our Eternal Grand Master met General Choi:
"In 1968, Korean General Hong Chi Choi (the man responsible for originally standardizing Taekwondo in 1955) met with then Master Haeng Ung Lee (now Eternal Grand Master), who at the time was teaching Taekwondo-Japanese mixed martial arts to his organization of followers. General Choi quickly taught Eternal Grand Master Lee the first 16 Cheon-jee forms of Taekwondo in only 4 days and three nights (this system of forms was the first set of forms developed under the new Taekwondo of Korea)."

Knowing it is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.

6/16/2003 3:39pm,
This excerpt was taken from the TKD Tutor: "Originally, two Chinese characters were used to depict the martial art of "kara hand" or "the hand of the Kara Kingdom." The Japanese pronounced these two characters as "Karate" which means "empty hand."

The kara of "kara hand" refers to the Kara Province, one of the old provinces of China that unified all of China and became known as the Kara Kingdom."

Now I am not Chinese history major so I decided to ask 6 mainland Chinese people who work in my company. None of them have heard of the Kara Kingdom, Province. Kara in terms of the character was to represent 'China', if any dynasty was to be represented, it would have been the T'ang. This charater was changed by GM Funakoshi to represent 'Empty'. Once again the TKD tutor starts emulating the 2000 year old BS. "Dr. Danjee states further, that the art of Subak was eventually introduced to China as Kwon Bup and as a form of Jujitsu to Japan."

This is utter nonsense. It was the T'ang army that HELPED the Shilla kingdom in defeating the Pakchae armies. T'ang TAUGHT the Shilla army different tactical fighting methods. Overall the TKD Tutor has lost a lot of credibility as far as their teaching of history is concerned.

"In 1968, Korean General Hong Chi Choi (the man responsible for originally standardizing Taekwondo in 1955) met with then Master Haeng Ung Lee (now Eternal Grand Master), who at the time was teaching Taekwondo-Japanese mixed martial arts to his organization of followers"

On that same page where you got that information it lists a timeline of EGM's training. He began martial art traing in 1953. This would have made him 17 years old and most likely in the Korean Army (since it is mandatory that all males serve). In 1953 the only "official" martial art training being done was Gen. Choi's Oh Do Kwan (School of My Way). So I will go out on a limb and say that EGM learned ITF style of TKD. Again...quit taken right from your ATA homesite and start doing some in-depth study. This is not to say that ATA is a bad martial art. I am only saying that the history that you are repeating is not entirely correct.

Jeremy M. Talbott