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Oerjan Nilsen
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Taekwondo poomsae vs Karate Kata

Hi everyone. Do you know if anybody has ever done an objective study/comparison on Poomsae vs Kata? Being a "Taekwondo geek" myself I would find it most interesting if you know of an objective study or comparison between the two, or perhaps we could start analysing one form at a time and see how they compare to Karate Kata?  Anyone else interested?

Black Tiger
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I would but I only have Naihanchi, Bassai (practiced Tang Soo Do Way) and Niseishi in my style which are tradtional Japanese kata. I also have Chil Sung Ee Ro Hyung and WTF Koryo Poomsae as well as my Jissen based kata which are a modern Combat based  forms.

I find that most of the forms do blend into each other, but for some reason Korean forms especial TKD forms seem to be only used for passing gradings, not for real application.

Th0mas
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Speaking as someone who doesn't practice TKD, I was under the impression that the majority of TKD forms are based on the shotokan or proto-shotokan ones?

If that is correct, these kata were adapted to make them suite  the kick-heavy Korean style rather than as a new record of combat applications or principles. Given Shotokan's early history in Japan I would suggest your study  would result in a rather depressing comparison of form over function...

...apologies if I am way off the mark, I know that there is quite a lot of politics and propoganda associated with the History of TKD and I do not speak with any authority on the subject. But as I am someone who spends their life repacing the foot in my mouth with my other foot,  I will post and be damned anyway :-)

Nate
Nate's picture

Ah, a subject dear to my heart! I believe that the Chan Hon series was indeed based on Shotokan , but I've heard people say that the founder of Taekwon-do was more intersted in setting his art apart than bunkai. 

On the hopeful side, one fourth dan WTF TKDist said that his grandmaster has shown some impressive bunkai. I did not get a demonstration. 

I believe the the step up/side kick/knifehand combo in Hwarang could be a same side nikkyo-esque wristlock against a same side grab, a low side kick, then a knifehand to the throat. 

The nikkyo sends him to his knees, the hands pull him into the side kick, and the hikite/knifehand strike to the throat finishes the combo.

This could teach the following principles: wristlocks can be used to set up strikes. (Mr. Abernethy has said this principle explicitly, but I learned this bunkai from a video.) The opponent's reaction to the lock is predictable, which allows us to follow up with a "big move", the side kick. As our hands should always be doing something (another thing I've heard from Mr. Abernethy), the hands pull him into our side kick. The last principle is the hikite (spelled right or not; I mean the "pulling hand"). The hikite pulls him into the final knifehand, but it can be used elswhere as well. I might add that the backstance reminds me of a certain tripping technique I've seen in mantis kung fu-your foot blocks him from moving his foot to catch himself. But that last one is speculation-the rest I'm fairly comfortable with.

I'm sorry I could not contribute more. All I know is that some moves are almost exactly the same-a low block is a low block, and whether it's in Chon ji or Heian nidan, it probably has a similar application.

Finlay
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General Choi was a second degree in Shotkan karate when he developed TKD, sometime he left a pattern very close to the original, but  what he often did was break the kata up and put them back together again in a different way. if you want ITF patterns you can see little set movements from a number of different kata in there.

He didnlt really think too much about application, or at least if he did he didn't really put much of it in his book

mlynn
mlynn's picture

Th0mas wrote:

Speaking as someone who doesn't practice TKD, I was under the impression that the majority of TKD forms are based on the shotokan or proto-shotokan ones?

I believe you are correct here, the orignal ITF forms are based on Shotokan forms, although they have sequences of moves that were lifted from the Japanese forms and rearranged to form new patterns.  Gen Choi also added in mpre advanced kicking techniques (like the elevated jump side kick in Chug-Mu) (or the rear leg roundhouse, rear leg round house set down knife hand block and turn and rear leg round house from Hwa Rang) so that TKD would be set apart from karate.

Th0mas wrote:

If that is correct, these kata were adapted to make them suite  the kick-heavy Korean style rather than as a new record of combat applications or principles. Given Shotokan's early history in Japan I would suggest your study  would result in a rather depressing comparison of form over function...

I disagree with you here.  While I have practiced the Chan Hon patterns for nearly 30 years it has been only the past 15 or so that I have really been investigating more about the applications of the forms.  While it can be hard to learn the applications and it takes work, I don't find trying to apply applications to the Korean forms any more frustrating than trying to apply them to the Japanese forms.  Taken as a whole I learned the Japanese forms when I studied WaDo ryu and I didn't learn applications there either, so I didn't find those forms any more meaningful than the TKD forms from my original style.

mlynn
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Finlay wrote:

General Choi was a second degree in Shotkan karate when he developed TKD, sometime he left a pattern very close to the original, but  what he often did was break the kata up and put them back together again in a different way. if you want ITF patterns you can see little set movements from a number of different kata in there.

He didnlt really think too much about application, or at least if he did he didn't really put much of it in his book

But to be honest if you look at how karate was being taught back then in the 30-40s when Choi was studying Shotokan, I don't think applications were really being taught in the university dojos.  From the accounts that I have read it appears the emphasis was on sparring and applying karate in a combative nature.  Combative against oneself, through basics, hard work outs, fighting through injury sustained while training etc. etc. and combative by fighting all comers to the classes in sparring.

But not really in studying the bunkai of the katas.  So I blieve that Choi probably only knew a superficial level of understanding of the katas, how to perfrom them but not really what they could mean.

mlynn
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Since Nate posted an application

I like this one that I actually got from one of Iain's videos that I apply to the firt pattern Chon-Gi.   The application for the 180 deg. turn and down block

Person is shaking their fist at you.

Step towards their backside with your R foot while parrying their hand with your left.  Reach up and grab their collar/shoulder/hair (whatever you can use for a handle) and step back with the right foot as you pull them downward to the ground.

I use this to demonstrate and teach my students how they need to have proper foot work (when turning) because if their stance is to narrow as they turn (their end foot position) then the technique doesn't work as well as when they have their feet in the proper position.   This is a real simple takedown for the students to learn.

I also like the knife block and shift into a forward stance with an upward reverse elbow strike combination/application found in Joong-Gun

Nate
Nate's picture

I would like an opinion on this: Taekwon do style "Choon dan sudo maki" (double knifehand block) vs Shuto uke, the Japanese version. My dojang practiced it both ways-one starting with the rear hand in front (as in shuto uke), the other with the rear hand behind, as seen in most dojang. The pinan shodan applications on this site are very impressive, but I can't think of anything specific for the Korean version. I've heard people postulate that it's often used as a throw, but can we be more specific? Which throw? Which hyung? Anybody?

Kamsahameda

Oerjan Nilsen
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Hi Nate. The Karate vs Taekwondo version of the double knife hand block is a little tricky. In Bill Burgars book 5 years one kata he gives an application for both the "modern" style wich you call the japanese version and what he calls Shotokans old school/old way of doing the same block. The shotokan old way of doing the block is done like we do in Taekwondo today with both hands starting from behind the performer or at least first part of the block consists of moving both hands behind the performer before doing the actual block. I have been shown and taught the application for the taekwondo style as a hip throw (you grab your opponent with both hands and then turn 180 degrees bending at your waist slightly and throw him with the blocking motion.)

My application (is the same as the one presented by Burgar) is a defence against a wild swing/hook punch. You block the punching arm with both hands (panic block) and take control of the arm with the arm ending up infront of the solar plexus and strike the neck with the other knife hand. Another application is that you move your opponents guard or obstucting limb with both hands before striking the neck with the other. When the opponent is moved to close range the application is clearer and easier to visualise than if you are thinking of the opponent at "sparring range".

The deegre of chambering varies from oganisation to oganisation and instructor to instructor. In modern kukki style it is not chambered as much as in "traditional" style. I think that the more you chamber on this block the more "stylized" and removed from reality it gets. Unless you do use it as a throw then I can see how the "extra" chambering helps. Personally I have been taught to chamber from straight arms behind me before doing the actual block to almost without no chamber at all.

As a side note you can see both methods of blocking in old shotokan kata videos on youtube. In Kata with two knife hand blocks done after one another the first one is done "Taekwondo style" and the second one is done modern japanese style. Look for the black and white kata videos (E.g Heian Kata).

Hope this helps? Please let me know if I do not make the applications clear. I could try to film them or something:) 

Best regards from Oerjan.

StuartA
StuartA's picture

Finlay wrote:
General Choi was a second degree in Shotkan karate when he developed TKD, sometime he left a pattern very close to the original, but  what he often did was break the kata up and put them back together again in a different way. if you want ITF patterns you can see little set movements from a number of different kata in there.

This is true, but he also slightly changed the moves on many occassions, which makes the original bunkai null and void for many combos that seem similar (sadly).

Quote:
He didnlt really think too much about application, or at least if he did he didn't really put much of it in his book

No he didnt, but TBH, nor did the Karate guys at that time. He was a victim of circumstance, rather than ignoring the fact IMO.

Stuart

Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture

I saw this on another Forum a few of us are on and thought it was quite relevant to the topic of the thread

Th0mas
Th0mas's picture

Nate wrote:

I would like an opinion on this: Taekwon do style "Choon dan sudo maki" (double knifehand block) vs Shuto uke, the Japanese version. My dojang practiced it both ways-one starting with the rear hand in front (as in shuto uke), the other with the rear hand behind, as seen in most dojang. The pinan shodan applications on this site are very impressive, but I can't think of anything specific for the Korean version. I've heard people postulate that it's often used as a throw, but can we be more specific? Which throw? Which hyung? Anybody?

Kamsahameda

Just to add to what Oerjan Nilsen suggested...

The form of a particular motion is usually shown as a snap shot at the end of the technique, and often the "traditional" interpretation of the application is heavily influenced by that. This is a mistake and when coupled with a mis-understanding of the range at which violent assaults occur, can lead to some very questionably application interpretations.

In the case of double knifehand block there are two key movements; the preparation movement with both hands raised  and then the strike/block motion. For both these key movements you are seeing the extremes of the motion (or follow through); up by the head and then extended forward respectively. Where as infact the appliction is in the transition to the extreme position. As an example:

  • First key movement: Outward flinch response to a wild swing to your head. 
  • Second key movement: followed by an arm control and strike to your opponents neck.

This is one potential application (which is essentially the same as one of Iain's interpretations from Karate's Shuto uke). So the form may look noticeably different but the application may still be the same..