|Taekwondo never made use|
of the Pulling hand because they never
learned practical applications from Karate?
What is this I am seeing?
(Picture from a Tae Kwon Do book)
Ramble alert; You have been warned! (This is not a serious article but a long rant instead)
Lately I was accused of being a revisionist (someone who alter or warps history to his own needs/views) when it comes to Taekwondo and especially so in my view that perhaps the founders and the originators of KTA poomsae knew more than we give them credit for. My study of history is
something I have done to make sense of a system that sometimes simply does not makes sense in a purely kick block punch paradigm and history no matter how you look at it tells us flat out that Taekwondo was never meant to be only kick block punch when looking at its arsenal.
Besides the regular techniques that has remained in mainstream teachings, vital points (where to hit), special striking tools (wrist, forearm, finger strikes, etc), grappling (crude yet effective stand up grappling+ throws and takedowns) and even defenses when you are on the ground or kneeling position + other awkward positions such as sitting on a chair etc was and is still included for those
|Gichin Funakoshi demonstrating low block|
used as a straight armbar. In the book
he also says that this is an Application
to Tekki Shodan Kata! (Picture on the left)
Another point I want to get accross in this post is that while I believe that the originators of KTA forms knew more than we give them credit for today I usually (I mean to do it anyway) start by saying "I believe they knew more than we give them credit for" or some similar statement. I try to avoid stating my beliefs as pure FACTS as the fact is that we do not really know. Those who say this makes me revisionist make statements that forms were not meant to teach self defense or that practical applications do not exist because (insert something something here) state their beliefs as pure facts not to be mistaken as beliefs. When confronted by conflicting data such as their view that all Taekwondo comes from Gichin Funakoshi and he knew no applications and you show them his
|If the founders learned this|
could this not be recorded
in for example Koryo Poomsae?
The ones who say they were ignorant base their clame because you do not see it in the mainstream today. This is pardon my French a pisspoor argument! You do not see finger strikes or knife hand strikes, elbow strikes or knee strikes in mainstream Taekwondo yet they are in ALL the textbooks. This argument is so poor I will not adress it any more.
A better argument that they also lay forth is that the mainstream texts do not show anything else than block kick punch applications when it relates forms to fighting. This is somewhat true but not in all cases and I have showed Kukkiwon Application to a double block that in fact was a joint lock against a hold and not as typically seen a block against two persons at the same time. This argument holds more water but it does not in any way really degrade the fact that maybe just maybe the originators of the forms had more in mind but did not openly share it (which
|Grip strength is important when you|
start using the pulling hand in a
practical way. This is not a picture
from a Karate book but it is from a
Taekwondo book! Tae Kwon Do
by Choi Hong Hi!
Gichin Funakoshi did not know Applications? Yes he did he shows it in his writings and especially those written in the timeperiod the Koreans trained with him. He did not teach them? Well he put it in his textbooks for all to see did he not? The Koreans learned a watered down version of the martial art that the Japanese studdied? No, they studdied under the okinawan founders along with the Japanese students. Shotokan lacks applications so Taekwondo can not have any either? Taekwondo was built upon 3 styles of Karate + chinese martial arts + Korean native fighting techniques, experience and martial arts. I can go on and on and on. Both sides have arguments but one side (those who believe that they knew more than we give them credit for) openly state it is a belief based on the forms themselves, history and culture while those who belive that they knew nothing state their opinions as facts.
I think it is time that both sides took a nice cup of Korean green tea, sit down and just chill a little. The argument should not be that Taekwondo lacks practical applications because the Ho Sin Sul part of Taekwondo has that covered. Neither should anyone argue that the Ho Sin Sul techniques were
|Korean Master demonstrating a technique|
often labelled block as a strike? Note the
use of the pulling hand!
(Secrets of Korean Karate Tae Kwon DO
by Henry Cho)
It was believed that Funakoshi knew no applications. Today we have translations of his works which quite frankly proves this "fact" to be wrong! It was believed that Shotokan lacked all the old school training methods, yet today we have photos and even video showing these in use. It was believed that Funakoshi did not know weapons. Yet he was the first weapons teacher of Taira Shinken the perhaps most famoust Kobudo expert in the 1950s onward (Kobudo is okinawan weapon arts). Also we have pictures of Funakoshi practising Sai and Bo. This goes on and on. I am ready to reevaluate my beliefs if new evidence is presented that definitly supports the other side. If the notes of the creation of the Taegeuk forms were discovered, translated and published and these notes said only kick block punch then so be it. It will not stop me from still trying to link my self defense techniques back to my forms for pedagogic reasons but it would stop my belief in that the originators of the forms knew more than we give them credit for. Untill then I will still be a part of the minority who "belive" in the system they practise and their pioneers.
In the end I want to share a thought: If you belive the KTA forms are so worthless and so lacking in application why would you still train, study and teach them? Why not ditch them completly and either import forms that you know include applications, make your own or simply remove forms alltogether?
(Image Sources: Pictures in this post is from Karate Do Kyohan 1935 by Gichin Funakoshi, Tae Kwon Do the Korean art of self defense by Choi Hong Hi 1965 and Secrets of Korean Karate Tae Kwon Do by Sihak Henry Cho 1968.)
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