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Thread: Chang Hon Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Default Chang Hon Tae Kwon Do and Shotokan

    These are just some rambling thoughts feel free to disagree.
    first the influence of Shotokan on Chang Hon Tae Kwon Do is undeniable. Compare Won-hyo with what is in Japan called Heinan Nidan.
    (Okinawan Pinan Shodan).
    But it isn't just cut and paste.
    Emphasis comes to mind. Besides more acrobatics kicks you have Toi-Gye with six Yama Uke in a row.
    When I saw someone drop to the ground and round house kick in a high level Tae Kwon Do Tul I thought well that is unique. Then I saw someone doing Unsu and I realized just because it is not in Karate Kyohan doesn't mean Shotokan doesn't have it.
    A couple things I think might not be in Shotokan are the straight out to the side shuto at the end of Do San and the stepping feet together, not across to attack the other direction. Occurs a lot but end of Won Hyo is a good example so even if Shotokan does this the emphasis is stronger in Chang Hon TKD.
    Interested in your thoughts,
    Len McCoy

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
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    I came up in the Chang Hon lineage, which was Gen. Choi Hong Hi's "Koreanization" of Shotokan karate. He was a nidan in Shotokan, and as so many Koreans did under the Japanese occupation of Japan (1910-1945), he had adapted what he knew into something he could present as a Korean martial art.

    The mythology of ancient Korean arts (e.g. Tae Kyon) was woven into the "Origins Story" of Taekwon-Do in an attempt to break away from Japan's influence, but technically, nothing was changed in the physical art. The Chang Hon Hyung are virtually identical to the Heian/Pinan kata, and even the names of the techniques, and of some of the kata are transliterations from the Japanese (e.g."Bassai Dai").

    But while the formal art of TKD followed the Japanese model, Korean practitioners were trying to break away from that connection and create something that was uniquely theirs. Some drew from the drawings and diagrams of Tae Kyon from ancient documents, to reverse-engineer their perceptions of Tae Kyon into TKD; others combined their skills from other Japanese arts, such as jujutsu, aikido and kendo, to branch off into other systems (Kuk Sool Won, Hapkido and the like).

    TKD became more acrobatic and with a far greater variety of kicks. In free-form execution, it grew farther away in appearance from Shotokan karate. but the forms remained identical to karate, and a weird paradox developed. I remember asking my teacher, a former student of Gen. Choi, why the way we practiced TKD outside of the forms was so different from the way we moved in the forms. I don't recall his answer, but it was vague -- which is probably why I don't remember. Even when the WTF developed its new poomse to separate its physical identity from the ITF, their forms were no more like contemporary TKD movement than the ITF Chang Hon Hyung. Go figure.
    Cady Goldfield

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