Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Korean terms for "lost concepts" Part One

Gichin Funaksohi
In the latest issue of Totally Taekwondo Magazine (one of the best Taekwondo Magazines in the whole universe in my own humble opinion) there has been one "series" of articles that I have enjoyed a lot. It is called "The Okinawan Elephant in the room" and as the title suggests it is a series examining the relevance of Karate Kata to our Taekwondo Patterns (well the Chang Hon ones anyway). At the end of Part 4 in the latest issue in that magazine everyone should read:p there was an interesting part:

"Lost concepts - Knowledge of the concepts that were essential study in ancient Kung-Fu and Toudi is vital when attempting to understand the Kata/ Tul (Poomsae). Though many of these concepts have all but disappeared from modern Karate and Taekwon-Do there are at least Japanese names for these concepts; even if their translations never made it into Taekwon-Do." - Ciarân McDonald

There was a list of concepts after this quote that are in use in Japanese Martial Arts (JMA) but wich are as the author rightfully say not used in mainstream Taekwondo today. One of the goals of this blog however is to "re-introduce" these concepts into the mainstream. If I can enlighten or give just a few readers anything of value that they can take into their own teachings and studies then all the writing has been worth it. When I read the article and saw the list with the Japanese terminology I thought it to be a shame that Korean Martial Arts practicioners did not have their own terminology of these important concepts. Therefore I have opted to recount his list of concepts but with my own interpretations/explonations of them and providing both the authors original terminology (as many readers of this blog undoubtfully know allready) and the Korean terminology (wich is not used in the mainstream).

Warning/Disclaimer: I know some Korean, but I am not affluent in it and I am certainly not a Korean myself. So if you are reading this as a person affluent in the Korean language and you for some reason disagree with my please do not hessitate to drop a comment below.

Lost concepts mentioned in "The Okinawan Elephant in the room":
  • Hikite
  • Bunkai
  • Oyo
  • Henka
  • Muchimi
  • Kyusho Juitsu
  • Quinna (Chin Na)
Hikite is a Japanese term that is translated into "The Pulling Hand". It refers to the hand that is pulled toward the hip in typical Karate and Taekwondo Techniques. Gichin Funakoshi himself wrote in his 1925 book (but the same essense can be found all the way to his last 1950s book):
"The true meaning of the hikite, or pulling hand, is to grab the opponent's attacking hand and pull it in whilst twisting it as much as possible so that his body is forced to lean against the defender." - Gichin Funakoshi
The early Karate pioners who taught those who would later found the Kwan (schools) that later formed Taekwondo left us a pretty good idea what the function of the pulling hand was through their writings. After we as Taekwondo practisioners embrace our Karate roots instead of trying to hide them we can dvelwe deep into these Karate resources and make sense of our own system. The interesting thing is that eventhough our modern mainstream practises does not make logical use of "Hikite" as Funakoshi describes in the above quote, the founders of the different Kwan did study with the Karate Pioners and I can not help but think that if they put the function of Hikite in their writings all the way through the 1950s then it would be strange if the pioners of Taekwondo did not learn this meaning for "Hikite" too. The Korean term for "Hikite" is "Dangki Son"  (당기손) wich means "Pulling hand"

Bunkai is the JMA concept for researching Kata or Forms. It means to dissect or to break appart like a mechanic taking apart an engine to see how it works or to find and fix the problem. I have written about this concept before so I will just briefly mention the Korean terms again:
  • Boonhae (분해) is the Korean pronounciation of Bunkai. It means to take apart but I do not find this to be a good term on its own, coupled with "Hae Sul" (look below) would make a lot more sense..
  • Bonseok (분석) means analisys and is a better term in my opinion than boonhae in itself.
  • Hae Sul (해설) means "indepth study" or "explanation" and can be used together with Boonhae to describe the study of forms by taking them appart, or it can be used on its own (i.e Poomsae Il Jang Hae Sul)
Oyo is a JMA term for the actual application of (a) technique(s) from the forms that are a result of researching them with "bunkai" (for Korean terms look above). The Kukkiwon Textbook uses a very good term (in my own opinion) for practical applications and that is "Eungjoong Dongjak" (응용동작). Eungjoong (응용) means practical or application or applied and Dongjak (동작) means technique or movement. Eungjoong (응용) could probably be used alone without Dongjak (동작) though. The way Kukkiwon Textbook uses it is general application of Taegeuk Il Jang is "Taegeuk Il Jang Eungjoong. If you want to be more specific within a Poomsae for instance Taegeuk Il Jang you refer to the moves number (i.e 1-2 eungjoong dongjak when we allready know wich poomsae we are discussing it is low block in short front stance and midle section punch in short front stance).

I will have part two of this ready as soon as I can. Please leave a comment if this stuff was interesting and let me know what you think:-)


1 comment:

  1. Hi! A very interesting post! I liked it very much! I am a BIG fan of martial arts, still I am not sure what type(s) are the best for self-defense. I am still searching (...)! Of course I don't mean here BOX or wrestling, but those "soft" but "dangerous" :)

    I have noticed for a long time ago (if taking for ex: my short judo course) that within the practice of any certain martial art (type) there are the mentioning some (Asian)terms! And I have asked my self is this necessary to show respect towards (...) or simply there aren't same terms in our native language(s) to help in the fighting-learning process!

    BTW, You know what?! I would like to come with such idea, but of course it will be up to you to decide to agree to it or not! At the moment, I am working at a German publishing company who is eager to publish for FREE interesting and useful content-blogs such like yours! I think all these pieces of advice/experiences are worthy to become the CONTENT of a BOOK!
    So, if you are interested in my idea, please let me know by a message at my work email: a.doyle@bloggingbooks.de

    Again: nice post!