View Full Version : TKD/Shotokan connection?

Don Gwinn
20th July 2002, 07:03
I study WTF Tae Kwon Do (Boo! Hiss! I know.)

I've been looking into the history of the art, and I've been told by a source who's usually right that it can be traced to Gen. Choi's study of Shotokan karate--that in the convocation to create a national "Tae Kwon Do" for Korea, Choi advocated mostly techniques and forms he learned in Shotokan and that his suggestions were adopted for the most part.

If anyone can point me to a good source, preferably primary, which supports this view, I'd appreciate it. I haven't found one yet, but TKD is so fragmented and its internal politics so weird that it's hard to know what or who to believe.

Martin H
20th July 2002, 10:12
Your source is completely right.
Altough TKD today is very different from Shotokan karate, it is certanly there you will find its roots.

A very good page on TKD history (that dont buy into the "2000 year old" myth) is:
it is then continued on:

Joseph Svinth
21st July 2002, 01:09
For truly primary, you'll need Korean, except when following Kim Un Yong. Then there is a lot in English.

Burdick is indeed a good source. If you don't like his online version (you can't trust the Internet, etc.), then see Burdick's original article (in Journal of Asian Martial Arts) and his latest published iteration (in Tom Green's "Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia").

For additional online secondary sources, see:

* http://www.advanced-taekwondo.net/state_of_taekwondo.htm
* http://www.bstkd.com/CAPENER.1.HTM
* http://www.bstkd.com/ROUGHHISTORY.HTM

Gen. Choi claimed shodan in Shotokan while attending high school in Japan and a nidan in college, also in Shotokan. There is some debate in Korean circles whether this is true. Lee Won Kuk, though, was definitely ranked 2-3 dan from Funakoshi. Ro Byung Jik also earned shodan under Funakoshi.

Shotokan is not the only influence; also look to the Shudokan style of Kanken Toyama. Yun Byung In is an example of a Shudokan practitioner; his grade from Toyama was 4-dan. Meanwhile, Yun Kwei Byung (1922-2000) began his karate study in high school under Shito-ryu founder Mabuni Kenwa. However, when he went to Nihon University, he trained under Toyama.

The modern mythology surrounding TKD appears to date to the early 1970s, when the Korean government gave former KCIA director Kim Un Yong the mission of getting TKD into the Olympics, and the Olympics for Seoul.

21st July 2002, 04:42

I study Chi Do Kwan Korean Karate. Chi Do Kwan (or as some are staring to prove to me: Ji Do Kwan) was one of the original kwans that merged to form TKD. There is a lot of mis-information and controversy concerning the Korean kwans and their merger in the national art of TKD.

Remember, Japan had occupied Korea from 1910 and after 1945, nationalistic trends took over everything Korean, including the martial arts. One thing I have discovered in my own research is that it all traces back to Japan, as Mr. Svinth adroitly points out.

Only recently, has this connection been proved and widely circulated. However, the reason it is of importance is that modern olympic TKD is far removed for those of us who study the old Kwan arts. This includes Chi DO Kwan, Muk Duk Kwan and other of the original kwan arts. It used to be that the kwan arts were called the 'old style of TKD' in the states, and the olympic style TKD was the new. We do what some have also called 'Shotokan Lite'.

One of the reasons I am on this board is the Japanese connection to the kwan arts and also because our school also teaches select Judo techniques and some of the techniques from the harder forms of Aikido (Yoshikan and Tomiki).

I have invested 16 years of study in our school of Korean Karate and Self-Defense and I realize what we do is effective, I just try to research how it got that way.

So, research, weed out the wheat from the chaff, don't believe everything you read and when someone tells you something, ask where they got their data. Take it with a pound of salt if they just parrot thats what my instructor/school/organization says. Seek and ye shall find, so take those responding to your post and heed the free advice.

Good Luck!

Tom Militello
"It all a circle anyway isn't it?"

21st July 2002, 22:30
I studied Ji Do Kwan (Tae Kwon Do]for a couple of years back in the 70's under S. Henry Cho in NY. At that time it was almost identical to Shotokan from what I remember (kata included].

With a few minor adjustments I was able to switch to a Shotokan school without a problem.

Any of S. Henry Cho's books would be worth checking out.


22nd July 2002, 12:53
Originally posted by Tommy_P
I studied Ji Do Kwan (Tae Kwon Do]for a couple of years back in the 70's under S. Henry Cho in NY. At that time it was almost identical to Shotokan from what I remember (kata included].
Any of S. Henry Cho's books would be worth checking out.

YAMANTAKA : I studied Moo Duk Kwan from '69 onwards and I remember clearly that we practiced japanese Shotokan Kata (Heian, Tekki and others), besides the korean hyung.
Also, in General Choi's first book on Taekwondo (TAEKWONDO, the Art of Self.Defense), it is clearly stated that Taekwondo is the style of Karate practiced in Korea and the techniques are almost similar to japanese karate.
I guess the so-called "Taekwondo history" is the best impinged hoax in MA history...:cool: