[Tang Soo Do] What are the differences?

Discussion in 'Other Styles' started by Saltador, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. Saltador

    Saltador Valued Member

    I have studied Karate and have read in certain places that Tang Soo Do incorporates a lot of Karate movements. Did I misread this or is it true? In any event what sets Tang Soo Do apart from Tae Kwon Do for example?
  2. Yossarian

    Yossarian Valued Member

    Tang Soo Do is an Korean interpretation of Japanese Karate. It has pretty much the same forms and basics found in Shotokan/Wado etc but uses kicks a lot more. That is a generalisation, there is a lot of variation between different schools and organisations but I would say it is more like Karate than TKD.
  3. Saltador

    Saltador Valued Member

    I see. Are there any distinctive moves that distinguish TSD from Karate?
  4. Theforgotten

    Theforgotten Drifting Aimlessly

    I would say that the kicks distinguish TSD from Karate (and by Karate, I am assuming that you mean Shotokan, as that is the most common style of Karate, and there is great variation between different Karate styles). The blocks are done slightly different, and the vertical fist is also used at times. There is also no Ikken Hisatsu in TSD. This is very general, but I hope that it helps.
  5. Kwan Jang

    Kwan Jang Valued Member

    Tang Soo Do is actually the Korean words for karate-do. However, this was a common way of marketing in the early kwan era so that people would know what it was. (I teach MMA in my school. yet to the general public, we're a "karate school".) TSD was the term used by many of the early kwans that joined the TKD umbrella, but mostly is now associated with Moo Duk Kwan and it's many splinter groups. GM Hwang Kee claimed a solid background in the Chinese martial arts and at least one of the hyung is obviously from a Tai Chi Chuan origin. He also made claims towards a background from taekyeon and subak as indigenous Korean systems though there is quite a bit of debate towards these claims (esp. in light of more recent research into what native KMA's really were and were not).

    Regardless of selling points to market to Korean nationalism, it's pretty much agreed that KJN Kee did borrow heavily from Funakoshi's Shotokan for forms and it's alleged by many in the Chung Do Kwan that Kee did train there for a time. During that period, CDK was basicaly teaching an unaltered form of Shotokan iirc. Whether it was just to fill in the blanks on the katas or the actual base of his training is a matter of debate for some who have far more time on their hands than I do.

    I think it's fair to say that most of TSD began with a strong Shotokan base, though GM Kee did have a Chinese influence as well. Also, regardless of where the roots began, TSD, TKD and Karate have all evolved since their early days and have grown and gone their own ways. OTOH, it could be argued that all MA systems when viewed in their entirety contain virtually the same principles and many of the same techniques. Just the syntax that they are taught in and what areas of training are more strongly emphasized are the main real differences.
    Well, I'd better get out after opening THAT can of worms.
  6. maunakumu

    maunakumu New Member

    TSD ranges from being nearly identical to Shotokan to nearly identical to Tae Kwon Do. Usually, the schools claiming to be more "traditional" are the ones that hold on to the Shotokan more. It's interesting because Koreans have this love hate relationship with the Japanese in TSD in that regard. All sorts of stories get invented to say things are NOT Japanese and are Traditional even though it really LOOKS Japanese.
  7. Theforgotten

    Theforgotten Drifting Aimlessly

    That's so true, and not just in TSD. My Korean friends, who are mostly immigrants, scoff at anything Japanese and display outright hostility towards anything Japanese...Then they sing the praises of the Japanese, and talk about how Japanese are really related to them and that they are proud to be brothers and sisters, etc. Weird, indeed.

    As far as the stories, I hate to say it, but it is laughably and painfully obvious that some things are Japanese even though a bunch of nationalist spin and bogus history has been added to it. It irritates me at times because I feel that my intelligence is being insulted when one Korean thing is an exact copy of something Japanese but yet I am told that it is 110 percent Korean, is over 2000 years old, and has no Japanese influence whatsoever (even though it is beyond obvious that it is an import). I have no problem with one country borrowing something from another country, as EVERY country has done that and still does that to this day. My problem is when someone looks me in the eye and lies to me about it while selling a completely bogus story to make themselves and/or their nation look bigger and badder. No nation has a monopoly on the arts, but I really hate liars.
  8. EternalRage

    EternalRage Valued Member

    In terms of origins, "tang soo do", like "kong soo do", was a common label for the systems being taught out of Korean schools immediately post occupation in 1945. At the time, the Koreans had been heavily integrated (rather forcibly) into Japanese culture, so by the end of the 36 year occupation, they tended only to recognize that which was Japanese.

    So most of the early kwan founders had developed their systems from the Shotokan they learned at Japanese universities. Hwang Kee, founder of the Moo Duk Kwan (which till this day pretty much monopolizes the term "tang soo do", so when you say TSD, you probably mean TSD MDK), learned Northern Chuan Fa while working on the railroads in Manchuria. He supposedly learned Tae Kyun from watching a master, and also learned the hyung out of an Okinawan karate book, and may have trained at the Chung Do Kwan under his friend Won Kuk Lee. The hyungs seem to form the backbone of the system - from which soo gi, hoshinsul, and il soo sik are all derived.

    TKD on the other hand, was formed as a conglomeration of early kwans in the mid 1950s. I suppose since most of those kwans were based on Shotokan karate, that TKD would resemble that in some form or another. If you look at the early Pal Gwes, they are Shotokan-esque. But to look for massive differences between TKD and TSD in their early days might be difficult, as they both drew on pinan/heian forms for their basic techniques.

    In more recent times, of course the two are widely different. And to compare TKD and TSD is even more difficult as you have many branches of TSD (differences basically stemming from when each organization broke off from the original Moo Duk Kwan) and also you have different TKD camps (ITF, WTF, ATA - all with differences of their own).

    In a nutshell I suppose, TKD (esp Olympic) has veered more towards their own brand of competition, changing their system as need be. TSD on the other hand tends to remain somewhat closer to their original incarnation.
  9. maunakumu

    maunakumu New Member

    One thing that I found interesting, in the process of writing my book, is how freely and openly the kwan founders brought Shotokan to Korea. It wasn't until the nationalistic regimes of the 50s started to "Koreanize" the arts that we found really strong anti-Japanese sentiment.

    I found some interesting sources regarding to HK's training. At the time of the founding of the MDK, Hwang Kee had no training in Tae Kyun, 1.5 years of training in a Chinese Martial Art, 1.5 years of training with the Chung Do Kwan. Won Kuk Lee and Byung Jik Ro would actually go to the MDK's early testing to watch.

    The main reason the MDK dominated the usage of the term TSD was because his school was associated with the railroad. This allowed it to spread throughout Korea faster then his competitors. Basically, anywhere there was a train station, there was a branch of the MDK. The MDK was known as the Railroad Dojang.

    In regards to the Hyung, gicho, illsooshik, hosinshul and deh ryun. There is a complete disconnect between all curricular elements. It doesn't flow together in a way that each one bolsters each other and I think this stems directly from the paucity of HK's training as well as the misconceptions that were generally passed on in karate.

    This is another subject that I tackle hard in the book I wrote.

    In the early days, TKD didn't exist. Everyone was practicing Shotokan. Early videos of kata in both arts match almost exactly. Then, Shotokan and TSD began to diverge from the art that Funakoshi Sensei taught. Shotokan changed into something that looked more Japanese and TSD become something more Korean. Eventually, the ROK government nationalized the martial art and kicked out anyone who didn't want to play.

    I would say that TSD is more similar to Shotokan then TKD, however, in general terms, TKD still shares the same basic karate structure. The same basic curricular organization hasn't gone anywhere.
  10. Theforgotten

    Theforgotten Drifting Aimlessly

    I find this very interesting, too. It seemed that originally, it was more of an attitude of "lets work with what we've got, regardless of origin", then the attitude eventually shifted to "Koreanize everything and get rid of the Japanese influence".

    This is true. I find it fascinating how these arts have diverged from what Funakoshi was teaching and became their own unique animals altogether. Having practiced Shotokan for years, I really like the little quirks in the forms that separate TSD from Shotokan, and I like the variations on the basic techniques. It's like, you can see the relation between the two, but you can also see each style's unique individuality.

    I agree wholeheartedly. I think that all three of them share a common technical structure, but they build on that structure in different ways. Looking at this structure, the three arts are identical. I like to think of it as, the three styles, while different, belong to the same family, and the basic structure is the common bloodline that they share, apart from the history, of course.
  11. EternalRage

    EternalRage Valued Member

    No joke.

    I did both MDK TKD as well as Tang Soo Do Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan in the original MDK Federation, got chodans in both.

    In regards to the Okinawan derived portions of the system, there is definitely a disconnect. Probably stems from learning the form sequences from a book and then trying to extrapolate the bunkai rather than learning it together from an instructor.

    DJN Hwang Kee also did something similar later on, when he translated and created forms using the Muye Dobo Dong Ji - the Chil Sung, Yuk Ro, and Hwa Sun hyung. There are ill soo sik derived from those as well.

    I have seen that some instructors really try and fill the gaps, attempting to really make the ill soo sik a stepping stone to dae ryun and really trying to get some good hosinsul sequences from the original forms, but it is not standardized as far as I can tell.

    Not sure where all the kick happiness came from - the usual BS spread around in KMAs is that koreans wanted to preserve their hands so they started kicking mostly. That old bit of dung is about as insipid as northern chuan fa kicking developing as a result of kicking mounted soldiers off horses :bang:
  12. Theforgotten

    Theforgotten Drifting Aimlessly

    Try saying that three times fast :)!

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