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#428338 - 07/15/10 01:57 PM Is it really karate?
Joe1 Offline

Registered: 07/15/10
Posts: 3
All of the karate martial arts buildings in my area teach Tang Soo Do. Is this really karate or just a korean martial art?
They can because they think they can.

#428339 - 07/15/10 02:36 PM Re: Is it really karate? [Re: Joe1]
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5844
Loc: USA

Depends on how you define "karate" and just how picky you are with the defination.

In a VERY general nutshell-

Back in the day a whole lot of koreans studied under any number of Japanese and Okinawan teachers in Japan and Okinawa and in Korea itself.
Many of these folks taught whatever form of "karate" they learned as "karate" of whatever form they learned it.
Many kept up relations with the various schools in Japan etc for years.

Over the years they picked Korean names for what they did (looonnngggg and nasty history of Japanese invasion/occupation of korea by japan motivated this process along)

They also made changes, added stuff, subtracted stuff---just like pretty nearly EVERYONE did and does----people that trained with Funakoshi made remarks about how HE might have changed stuff.

(actually---you read enough and it looks like pretty nearly everyone that learned MA made "some changes" even if it was just to add stuff to the cirrulculem.)

Anyway---without knowing exactly what is being taught it kinda hard to give you a good answer.

As a general note I would be more worried about the quality of the teaching and what kind of people they turn out than if they have some kind of right to use the term "katate." Heck they might just be using it so people can get a quick general idea of what it is they do......maybe.
I did battle with ignorance today.......and ignorance won. Huey.

#428340 - 07/15/10 03:51 PM Re: Is it really karate? [Re: cxt]
JMWcorwin Offline

Registered: 07/13/07
Posts: 731
Loc: SoCal, USA
As a footnote to what cxt wrote, he's right in that it may just be a marketing issue. Most people walking down your average street in America would have no idea whether Tang Soo Do, Hapkido, Mu Duk Kwan, Hwarang Do, Kook Sul, etc. are martial arts schools or some sort of Asian restaurant unless somebody in the know explained it to them. So, many of the styles of MA from Korea, and other countries sometimes, that have names that are less common than Tae Kwon Do or Kung Fu or Karate, will add "Karate" to their sign as an attempt to make it clear to the passers-by what the business actually is.

Ex: Joe's Hapkido Karate. Now, Hapkido is from Korea and Karate would be from Okinawa or Japan. But, your average Joe doesn't know what Hapkido is. But, any soccer mom in America knows right away what Karate is. So we attach the "Karate" to the end of it even though it's technically incorrect and a conflict in terms. (and, due to those political issues cxt mentioned, this is more likely to be done by an American teaching a Korean style than a Korean or Japanese born Master.)

I agree that it would probably be impossible to find an art that is still done today EXACTLY the way it was done when first created. First, as a MA Master grows, he finds new techniques or new ways to do them, or cuts some out due to ineffectiveness, etc. Then, under any given Master, you'll have instructors who will all teach the style slightly different becuase they have a differnt point of view. So, their students will look more like them than the origianl Master. And this continues on into infinity. Every instructor teaches what is most important to him. And every good instructor, I would say every good MAist, should grow, adapt, improve and adjust his techniques over time and improve them. If they're not doing that, they're falling off into obscurity. MHO of course.

~ This has already been discussed on other threads, but if you want to continue on this it might need it's own thread. I didn't mean to hijack the OP's thread. wink
There are no PERFECT techniques, only perfect execution for the situation at hand. ~Corwin

#428363 - 07/17/10 12:58 AM Re: Is it really karate? [Re: JMWcorwin]
IExcalibui2 Offline

Registered: 05/20/06
Posts: 961
Loc: New York City
true, just look at O-Sensei and how many different ways he taught Aikido during his lifetime. He focused on different things as he got older. Bruce Lee too.
"you're going to work till you wish you were dead and then keep going.." -Sgt Slaughter


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