Friday, 9 December 2011

Part Four; A Dan Promotion Test in 1962

Ok ready for the fourth and last part of this series? We have seen the requirements for 1-4th Dan. This time lets see what the students had to do for their 5th Dan. If you are wondering about the background for this post and its source please read through it in order:-)

Ok with no further adu I give you the forms that had to be performed for 5th Dan in 1962. Note that the students performed "only" two from this list as the list represents all the different schools at the time.

  • Kong Sang Kun Hyung
  • Kwan Kong Hyung
  • Oh Ship Sa Hyung
  • Ship Sam Hyung
  • Ban Wol Hyung
  • Pal Ki Kwon Hyung
Kong Sang Kun is known to be one of Gichin Funakoshi`s favorite forms. It is known in OMA and JMA as Kushanku, Kwanku, Kanku Dai, etc. It is said to be made by "Todi" Sakugawa to codify one of his teachers lessons.  Sakugawa learned an old form of Karate (Tode) from a budhist monk. One day the Okinawans got a visit from a Chinese envoy. Sakugawa trying to look good, or something (not easy to know what went through his mind at the time) decided it was a good idea to throw this envoy into a nearby river. The envoy being a master of the martial arts turned Sakugawa`s own force against him and the result was one very wet, very humiliated Sakugawa. Seing that this man had something unique to offer in terms of martial arts training he begged the envoy to teach him his method. After he left home to China Sakugawa made the form to remember and pass on his teachings.

As this is the first time I mention Sakugawa on this blog it is only fair to say how he fits in, in the Taekwondo history: Sakugawa taught Matsumura, Matsumura taught Anko Itosu as well as Azato. They again taught Gichin Funakoshi, Toyama Kanken and Mabuni Kenwa (the three Karate roots of Taekwondo is Shotokan, Shito Ryu and Shudokan Karate). You could say that Sakugawa is Taekwondo`s great great grandfather on the Karate side of our family tree.

Kwan Kong Hyung is another Korean name for essentually the same Hyung/Kata.

Below is a Shotokan example of Kanku Dai wich was also the model for the most common Korean version (about 99% the same form).

Here is a few Korean versions of the same form:

The next form on our list is Oh Ship Sa Hyung. Translated it means simply "54 form" or maybe I should write "fifty four form" so it looks a little longer?:-) I am wondering if this is a typo from my source as I have always seen this form reffered to as Oh Ship Sa Bo. Bo meaning steps. It is known as Usheishi/Gojushiho in OMA/JMA and Bill Burgar based his book "5 years one Kata" on this form. What is interesting about the book is that he based his studies on the Shotokan version instead of tracing the form backwards to find an "original" Gojushiho variant. The Korean version I have seen is essentually the same as the Shotokan version of the same form. So if you practise this form and want realistic applications to it I refer you to "5 years one Kata." Here is Shotokan version of the form:

The next form on the list is the Ship Sam Hyung. Ship sam Hyung is known as Seisan/Saisan Kata for OMA and JMA exponents. The Korean name is a direct translation for the Okinwan name for the form meaning "13". There are thoose who say the name means 13 steps, 13 attacks, 13 battles etc but the name is simply "13". In Shotokan it is known under the name Hangetsu meaning half moon, this is probably a reference to the stepping method used when performing the form. I do not know why the Koreans retained the Okinawan name for the form because the few times I have seen it it is clearly very simular if not the same form as Shotokans Hangetsu form. Ship Sam hyung or Seisan is known to be one of the oldest forms in the Karate comunity and it is practised in a wide variaty of Karate styles. Below is Shotokan`s Hangetsu:

 And here is the same form from Shito Ryu (Wich is also one of the styles the founders of Taekwondo studied):
Below is a Korean version of the same form:
Ban Wol Hyung I have no information on. I only know that it was practised in Chang Moo Kwan and Kang Duk Won. I can just say that most likely this is a form of Chinese origin and maybe it is still practised in some obscure Kwon Bup school? Again if you read this and you have any information on this form please leave a comment below.

Last form on the list is Pal Ki Kwon Hyung. It is a Kwon Bup form of Chinese origin. In Chinese it is known as Bajichuan. I do not have much more information on it and I was not able to find any present day Korean version of it either. I have been told that Kim Soo still practise this form and that he teaches it around 7th Dan in his Chayon Ryu system, but it looks as the forms are dying out in KMA. Below is a chinese version (allthough there are suposidly 20 different forms in the system so it is impossible for me at this time to say wich one this form represents).
And that concludes our epic Taekwondo Time travel. It has been incredible interesting for me to go through this list of forms, seing how early Taekwondo was a "mixed martial art" long before the term MMA was ever thought of:-) We have seen Shito Ryu, Shotokan and various Chinese forms here, and probably there were some Shudokan versions of the forms as well. Unfortunatly after the unification of all the Kwan and the establishment of the Kukkiwon most instructors had no choice but to abandon their original teachings and embrace the modern Taekwondo movement instead. However the forms we practise today were developed by representatives from each school, and therefore the list we have gone through in this series is like a "Taekwondo prototype". The originators of the Palgwae, Taegeuk and Black belt forms of today did have a varied platform of forms to develop their forms from. Taegeuk does seem to have taken most of its techniques from Pyongahn/Pinan/Heian series, but the black belt forms of Kukkiwon has a much wider base of techniques and sequences.

I can only hope that the students of Tang Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do, Chayon Ryu and the different Kwan that are still practising these now obscure forms will keep teaching them so they do not die out.

All the best:-)


  1. Ban Wol is Korean for Hangetsu (Half Moon) which is Gichen Funikoshi's version of Seishan kata based on a combination of old Tomari Seisan, Aragaki's Seisan and a Shorin Ryu Seishan.

    1. Thanks for commenting Don :-) I have been meaning to remake this series again since I have learned a lot more these last 9 years since I wrote this. I have simply not been able to find the time for the time being :-P But it will eventually come into fruition:-)