Sunday, August 03, 2008

Colin Wee on Traditional TKD

A very nice interview of Colin Wee at Traditional Taekwondo Technique Workshop, one of my must-read blog buddies. Of note to me, he discusses the origins and recent history of TKD.

From what has been told to me by A-KaTo GM Keith Yates, A-KaTo’s Taekwondo was brought over from Korea in 1955 via the auspices of Tang Soo Do practitioner GM Jhoon Rhee. Note and compare this time period with the military martial arts demonstration for South Korean President Syngman Rhee in 1952, historically significant for Taekwondo as President Rhee who would then ask for all troops to be trained in that martial art, and the subsequent accepting of Taekwondo as the official name of that style in 1955. GM Jhoon Rhee’s early Taekwondo export, still used by A-KaTo, continued to be practiced in the Southwest USA separate from the Taekwondo further refined by the ITF and WTF organisations.

So where global Taekwondo embarked on rapid fire expansion, A-KaTo black belts continued early Taekwondo’s close ties with Karate, often cross training with Karate instructors and practicing Shotokan forms for their black belt gradings. In fact, you would be hard pressed to tell apart an A-KaTo Taekwondo practitioner from a Karate-ka, all of whom are clothed in traditional fold-over white Karate gis and whom practice ‘Taekwondo’ basics in a manner that Funakoshi Sensei, Father of Modern Karate, would be proud of.

This is of particular interest to me, as I trained in TKD for a number of years, and actively taught it until the mid-90's. Whereas I have mostly eschewed that particular style in recent years, preferring what are now called "reality-based" systems and ideas, Colin, a contemporary of mine (based on the interview's references to Bruce Lee) has stayed with it, developing and teaching.

Of particular interest is his mention of GM Jhoon Rhee, whom I have met. I came of age in the Washington, DC area, and for many years would see his TV commercials and hear the familiar closing words, "Nobody bothers me!" An honorable man, and a great ambassador for the best values and traditions of our community.

Check out the interview for more about Colin!

H/T: Pat Parker at Mokuren Dojo

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1 comment:

gates belts said...

i really love his blog its on my must-reads too! he recently wrote a post called Answering the Question of How the Martial Arts Builds Confidence. :

IN answer to a question at The mentality behind martial arts

Firstly, you tear down all false sense of confidence. Then you push the poor bastard past all pre-conceived notions of his abilities. Then you throw hell at him, and then some. The bloke eats all of this up and starts to show gains in skill level. Teach him good principles. Show him wisdom. Teach him discipline. Show him how to survive, to thrive. Share with him your lineage. Entrust him to be the guardian of the syllabus. Teach him how to nurture beginners in the path. Then groom him as your successor.

i think he writes wonderfully and honestly which is the number one reason i read his blog, dont you agree?

Great post!
Harrold Gates-Belts