Thursday, 14 May 2015

Basic Taekwondo Theory for Gup Graders (coloured belts) Part 1

Usually I write about stuff that are aimed for black belts or people nearing black belt ranks. I write for people like me who have practised for many years and who wants a little more than what you usually find in textbooks. This post is NOT one of the usual ones. This time of year many people are preparing to grade for a new belt and a part of that grading should in my opinion be a theory test. If not between the coloured belts than at least it should be a part for the grading from 1st gup to 1st dan
. With that in mind I thought many would benifit from a post that shares basic Taekwondo theory (body parts, the different heights, vital points, examples of techniques to attack those points, the tenets and laws of Taekwondo, what Taekwondo means, how to write Taekwondo in Korean plus the different "Gwe", their Korean name and a shorthand answer of their symbolic nature. If you are reading this keep in mind that I am a Kukki Taekwondo practisioner, I follow the Kukkiwon standard and I practise the KTA forms (Taegeuk and Black belt forms). So if you are ITF or belong to a different independent Dojang your words and theory might differ from mine.

I can not promise that I will get all that down in this one post but I will start writing and see how much time I get, and if I cant finish I will write (a) follow up post(s). So with that lengthy introduction out of the way lets just dive straight in:

What does the word Taekwondo mean? 

The word Taekwondo consists of three words: Tae, Kwon and Do. The Hanja for "Tae" (Old Korean writing based on Chinese written language) can be translated as foot, foot technique, trample or smash something with the foot. "Kwon" has the same meaning but this time refering to hand or perhaps more accurate the fist. So smash something with your fist. This character shows up in many Chinese martial arts names as well as a common name for Chinese Martial Arts: Quan Fa, Chuan Fa and Kwon Bub (all the same name but different readings) meaning the law of the fist. "Do" means "Art" or "The Way". Taken together as a whole you can say that Taekwondo means the way of kicking and punching.

The above translation is a simplified one for sure. The name Taekwondo has deeper connotations than merely describing the art as a way of kicking and punching. It also describes how it is a holistic training system for your whole body and mind. Look at the illustration below:

In the above artwork by yours truly you will see what I mean about the name referring to the whole body and mind training. "Tae" refers to the lower part of the body, "Kwon" refers to the upper body, and "Do" refers to your mind.

How to write Taekwondo in Korean?

This is another quite typical question for a theory test and it is a real tough one if you are not familiar with Hangul (Korean writing). Many say that Taekwondo consists of three characters and that is correct if you are talking about Taekwondo written in Hanja (Chinese writing) but we are usually referring to Taekwondo written in Hangul and while there are three syllabuses there are many more signs or characters/letters than three. Just "Tae" itself consists of two letters, Kwon consists of 4 letters and Do consists of two letters which makes the total number of letters to be 8. So how does Taekwondo look like in Hangul? Here is the whole word: 태권도 . Writing it in Korean is as simple as drawing those letters. Tae is easy because it looks like a big "E" and an "H", Do is also easy because it is almost a square (just missing the last side) and almost like a + sign. The middle part "Kwon" was the one I struggled with. Below are the letters in seperation, and together so you can practise drawing each one and put them together:

ㅌ ㅐ "태" ㄱ ㅜ ㅓ ㄴ "권" ㄷ ㅗ "도" 


What Korean terms do we have for the different heights of the body? 

Body Parts in Korean

  • Face - Eulgeul - 얼굴
  • Neck - Mok - 목
  • Shoulder - Ôcke - 어깨
  • Arm - Pal - 팔
  • Elbow - Palkup - 팔굽 
  • Hand - Son - 손
  • Fist - Jumeok - 주먹
  • Trunk (upper body) - Momtong - 몸통
  • Body - Mom - 몸
  • Leg - Dari - 다리
  • Knee - Mooreup - 무릎
  • Ankle - Balmok - 발목
  • Foot - Bal - 발

Counting in Korean

Source of the excellent table below is:

Quote from that page:

"There are two sets of numbers in Korean: the native Korean system and the Sino-Korean system. The native numbers are used for numbers of items (1-99) and age, while the Sino-Korean system is based on Chinese numbers and are used for dates, money, addresses, phone numbers, and numbers above 100.
Western (Arabic) numerals are used for most situations, but the Hanja numerals are sometimes used for prices."

The ones we as Taekwondoin usually use is the "Native Korean" for counting repetitions, and sometimes we use the Sino-Korean when referring to the Taegeuk and Palgwe forms for instance. I have come accross the ordinal numbers while living in Korea, but for Taekwondoin we can get by with the Sino-Korean and Native Korean numbers:-) 

NumeralHanjaSino-KoreanNative KoreanOrdinal
0零/〇공 (gong)
영 (yeong)
제로 (jero)
영째 (yeongjae)
제로째 (jerojae)
1일 (il)하나 (hana)첫째 (cheotjae)
2이 (i)둘 (dul)두째 (dujae)
3삼 (sam)셋 (set)세째 (sejae)
4사 (sa)넷 (net)네째 (nejae)
5오 (o)다섯 (daseot)다섯째 (daseotjae)
6육 (yuk)여섯 (yeoseot)여섯째 (yeoseotjae)
7칠 (chil)일곱 (ilgop)일곱째 (ilgopjae)
8팔 (pal)여덟 (yeodeol)여덟째 (yeodeoljae)
9구 (gu)아홉 (ahop)아홉째 (ahopjae)
10십 (ship)열 (yeol)열째 (yeoljae)
11十一십일 (shipil)열하나 (yeolhana)열한째 (yeolhanjae)
12十二십이 (shipi)열둘 (yeoldul)열두째 (yeoldujae)
13十三십삼 (shipsam)열셋 (yeolset)열세째 (yeolsejae)
14十四십사 (shipsa)열넷 (yeolnet)열네째 (yeolnejae)
15十五십오 (shipo)열다섯 (yeoldaseot)열다섯째 (yeoldaseotjae)
16十六십육 (shipnyuk)열여섯 (yeolyeoseot)열여섯째 (yeolyeoseotjae)
17十七십칠 (shipchil)열일곱 (yeolilgop)열일곱째 (yeolilgopjae)
18十八십팔 (ship-pal)열여덟 (yeolyeodeol)열여덟째 (yeolyeodeoljae)
19十九십구 (shipgu)열아홉 (yeolahop)열아홉째 (yeolahopjae)
20二十이십 (eeship)스물 (seumul)스무째 (seumujae)
30三十삼십 (samship)서른 (seoreun)서른째 (seoreunjae)
40四十사십 (saship)마흔 (maheun)마흔째 (maheunjae)
50五十오십 (oship)쉰 (swin)쉰째 (swinjae)
60六十육십 (yukship)예순 (yesun)예순째 (yesunjae)
70七十칠십 (chilship)일흔 (ilheun)일흔째 (ilheunjae)
80八十팔십 (palship)여든 (yeodeun)여든째 (yeodeunjae)
90九十구십 (guship)아흔 (aheun)아흔째 (aheunjae)
100백 (baek)온 (on)온째 (onjae)
백째 (baekjae)

I will post a follow up post at a later date with the different "Gwe", their symbolic meaning, vital points etc. This should be a good starting point for people studying for a theory test though :-) Good luck and happy studying:-)

Click here to go directly to part 2

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1 comment:

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