Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Korean Arts In The 1960's

As part of our tribute to Korean arts, here's a good example of how far WTF and Olympic Tae Kwon Do has strayed from the roots of Korean fighting systems. The video (begins with a short slide show) is somewhat of a tribute to Joo Bang Lee, who resurected the art of Hwarang Do, the Korean version of the Samurai. Lots of knives and heavy contact.
One of my training partners had an opportunity to train with some Hwarang Do guys years back, and it was an interesting story: In the 1960's, an American Army officer stationed in Korea saved the life of a young Korean boy. The boys father was extremely grateful, and just so happened to be a fantastic martial artist. To repay the favor for saving his son, he offered to teach the American soldier's son everything he could about his fighting system. The American boy grew to become an incredibly skilled martial artist himself.
Fast foward to the Dojang where my friend was training in Tae Kwon Do. My friend earned the respect of the American officer's now-grown son, who dropped into the TKD school occasionally. My friend was invited to train with him and his buddies in Hwarang Do, at their private studio, located in a big double garage at one of their houses. The perimeter floor of the garage was lined with broken boards, cinder blocks and rocks. He told me this small group had trained together for years, and they blew his mind. They were doing blindfolded sword cuts, knocking apples off each other's head. He said they tended to be head-hunters in their sparring but basicly beat the crap out of each other. He was fortunate to have trained with them for a short while, and then lost touch when he had to move to a different location. What he saw really impressed him, and was representive of the way Korean systems used to train before the era of the McDojo.


uchi deshi said...

Always good to hear from you! You don't need to ask permission to refer to any story! Although I think jujitsu is very effective, I agree that it may be a mistake to rely on it in a situation involving multiple attackers!

Hand2Hand said...

Shouldn't that word be "McDojang" when applied to Korean arts?

Otherwise, you're right. That's one hellacious video.

Sa Bum Nim Pieschala said...

I knew you were cool.

Here's a cliff notes of a good one.

I saw at a post tournament "master's party" in Rockford. I'll assume you know what that means but there is no such thing is a half empty bottle of Soujou or shortage of singing.

Long story short, a guy claiming to be of the NY mob. Who said "Hey shut up you gooks."

"Mind your business boy."

"I don't think you know who I am." Then pulls, I think it was a .38 or .357 but a revolver.

Master -_-_- gets up puts the gun to his forehead, "Shoot."

The mafia guy blinks, Master -_-_- b-slaps him and knocks the gun away and says, "Girl when you say something you better mean it now leave."

You can guess what happened next. I was driving Master **** home so we left. I was the white boy driver :).

But these old timers are Korean war vets. They have a different view on life. And they are national heros, they'll do it and be back in Korea before you can say Bulgogi.

True story albeit shortened.

People need to understand history.

Dojo Rat said...

Uchi Deshi:
Your Boris story with links to your site are coming up!
H2H: You are right, It should have been McDojang...
C.C.P.: Oh boy do I know about driving the drunk master around...to strip bars where the bikers wonder what a young white guy is doing with an old Korean guy... Ha, ha...
--"Before you can say Bolgogi"--Ha!

Rick said...

I remember back when "Korean Karate" practitioners were considered the tough guys on the block.

JoseFreitas said...

Pretty cool. It's funny how much the striking hand aspects of Hwarang resembled the "palm" systems of Long Fist styles, such as Mei Hua, or Cha Quan before it became wushu, with lots of sweeping, arcing strikes, with the arm very loose and relaxed. Liked it a lot.