Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Who am I? Taekwondo`s identity crisis.. Part One

I really think that we can all agree that the current Taekwondo comunity is suffering from an acute identity crisis that really should be adressed by the governing bodies. With all the ITF`s out there, the independent Dojangs, the "WTF Taekwondo" and the Kukki Taekwondo out there we can not even agree wether Taekwondo is a Sport or a Martial Art anymore. We can not agree what the history of Taekwondo is, some saying it is a 2000 year old Korean Martial Art, some saying it was invented by one man in the 1950s and then "stolen" by many others, some saying it was relabeled Karate and that is just the history, lets not get started with the purpose...

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Traditional Taekwondo??

 In this post I would like to delve a little into "tradition" and how we can call Taekwondo traditional.

I practise "Kukki Taekwondo", and the "Kukki" Taekwondo does as its name implies follow the "Kukkiwon syllabus" as outlined in the Kukkiwon Textbook (I am trying to see if anyone will react to my overly use of Kukki and Kukkiwon in one paragraph:p ). Actually I do not usually tell people that I practise "Kukki" Taekwondo when asked about what I do on my free time, I usually refer to it as "Traditional Taekwondo". This is to differntiate "my Taekwondo" from what they might have seen in the Olympics. I too practise the Olympic sparring as it is a great workout, maybe the best way to develop kicking skills against an opponent and it is plain fun to do, but it is just a very small part of my overall system as I define as "Traditional Taekwondo".

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Japanese or Korean terminology in Taekwondo?

It`s been a while, but recently I read the term "Taekwondoka" on an internet forum discussing Taekwondo. The person who wrote that used it instead of "Taekwondo student/ exponent/ practisioner" etc. The "ka" ending in Taekwondoka is a Japanese term that is used in Japanese Martial Arts. Examples: Judoka, Karateka, Kendoka etc. Having spendt a lot of time in Korea (one of my stays was for a whole year) seeing this "mishmashing" of different foreign languages is like being in the classroom where someone with long fingernails starts scratching them along a blackboard. I realize that for people who have not been to Korea or have much interest in foreign cultures and languages it might be nothing to worry about, but I still wonder why people choose to put a Japanese word ending onto a Korean name for its Martial Art.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

What is the point of Basic Forms (Kihon Kata/ Gibon Poomsae/ Hyung/ Tul)

I have seen the question in the headline so many times on different discussion forums over the years
Image source: Tae Kwon Do 1965
By Choi Hong Hi
that I think it warrants its own post on this blog. The question in a nutshell is two fold:
  1.  What is the point of the basic forms if the time spendt on those could be used in teaching the more advanced ones? (The viewpoint of purely form not function)
  2. If the basic forms were developed only for movement education and not applications should we only teach/ practise the advanced forms so we learn both movement and application? (The viewpoint that the basic forms does not have applications)