Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Another long lost form: Chulgi hyung

This time I would like to share with you another form that used to be practised widely in the Taekwondo comunity but wich is now almost dissapeared in Taekwondo practise. Before we had the Chang Hon forms (these are now practised by ITF or ITF derived Taekwon-Do schools), the Plagwae forms (These are now practised by a small part of the WTF/Kukkiwon derived schools) and the Taegeuk and black belt forms (Now practised in all the main stream WTF/Kukkiwon derived schools) we had the old Hyung that the founders of Taekwondo brought from outside sources and "borrowed" to form Taekwondo.
 The most common source of the KMA striking martial arts founders was the shotokan. Shotokan Karate is a deriative of Okinawan Shurite, and the basis of all Shurite is a very special form (or Kata/Hyung) called Naihanchi or Naifanchi in Okinawan. Gichin Funakoshi renamed it "Tekki" when he brought Karate to Japan. In Korean it is known as Chulgi. It is a very old Kata thought to be Chinese in origin and possibly brought to Okinawa by the legendary "Bushi" Matsumura. Others say that it was practised in Okinawa even before "Bushi" Matsumura was born, but we can safely say that it was practised from Matsumura lifetime and onwards.

Choki Motobu performing Naihanchi Shodan. Note that the technique also appears in our Keumgang Poomsae.
Another legendary Karate master named Anko Itosu would later (around 1910) make the 5 forms named Pinan 1- 5. Funakoshi would later rename them Heian when he moved to Japan, and the Koreans called them Pyonghan. Before these forms were made the Chulgi form was the first (and sometimes only) form taught to the early Karate masters. Gichin Funakoshi`s first decade of training centered exclusively around the 3 Naihanchi forms (Anko Itosu also made two more forms wich he called Naihanchi 2 and 3), and the infamous Choki Motobu based his whole martial art on this one form.

I learned this form to understand where Taekwondo came from. I soon came to understand how application rich this short form is and I can now fully apreciate why so many of the old master choose to devote most of their study to this form.  The techniques in this form still exist in the Taekwondo pomsae allthough they are scattered around in different poomsae.

My version of performing the form is not uniquely Korean style but rather a synthesis of how many of the Karate styles perform it today, as well as my study of the writings of Choki Motobu. Also my own experinces came into play. Anyhow I hope you enjoy watching it, and if you want to learn it I advice you to study the writings of Gichin Funakoshi, Choki Motobu and if you do not have to have a Korean way of performing it but rather making it personal, see how all of the different Karate styles are performing it and find something in between or study the applications and make your own way of performing:)

I hope to provide some of my own applications on a later post:)


  1. Love your blog! I practice Chung Mu Kwan TKD, and our curriculum includes 3 Chulki forms for black belts. By itself, this one is Chulki Chodan, combine it with two other forms, and it is taught at our provisional black belt level as "Chulki Bongo Ship Soo." Bunch of stuff in here if you're interested. http://www.youtube.com/user/pinelaketma?feature=CAQQwRs%3D

    I trained in ITF style TKD a long time ago. Do you have and idea how the ITF's Po Eun and the rest of the Chulgi/Tekki forms are related?

    1. Hi and thanks for that positive feedback.

      Interestin link. It looks like your Dojang has pared to original Hyung together to make new integrated forms. In Chulki Bongo Ship Soo there is two distinct forms, first you do one of the Chulki Hyung and after it is complete go straight into Sip Soo Hyung.

      The Chulgi/Tekki link to Po Eun Hyung I do not know much about as I have never trained formally or even a lot in Chang Hon style Taekwondo, BUT the pioneers making the Chang Hon forms that the ITF is practising today did originally train in Kwan (schools) using imported Japanese Kata as their Hyung (Hyung being the Korean pronounciation of Kata). Other pioneers without a direct link to foreign schools trained under instructors who did. We can speculate as to how much they took from Chulki forms when making Po Eun or what they thought but it will only be speculation (and especially on my part as my knowledge base is Kukkiwon style).