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Topic: "Muyedobotongji"

Question: Do you know why the Korean book Muyedobotongji has some similarity to the Japanese book Bubiji?

Jon

Answer:

We assume that your use of the term Japanese Bubiji is actually a reference to the Bubishi held in such high regard by many Okinawan karate practitioners. If we look at the actual Muyedobotongji we find that it was a four volume set commissioned by King Jeongjo and compiled by Yi Deak MU and Bak Je Ga in the year 1790. A fifth volume was a translation of Chinese to old Korean. The king felt that the Korean military arts had deteriorated due to the devastating toll sustained by the Japanese invasion of its territory (commencing with Hideyoshi's campaign of 1592) as well as incursions by the Qing (China). The purpose of this set was to evaluate the military arts not only in existence in Korea but those in use by its Chinese and Japanese rivals. The objective was to improve their own skills and also to learn to deal with adversaries. Unlike the Okinawan Bubishi, the vast majority of these texts deal with armed martial arts, and unlike others texts, even have techniques from horseback. It should be noted that contrary to the claims of some, the Muyedobotongji does not mention any Japanese or Korean unarmed styles -- only Chinese styles and their history in it's section on Kwonbop (the Korean pronunciation of Chinese Chaun Fa). The pictures in both the Bubishi of Okinawa as well as the Muyedobotongji are not identical although both texts contain a study of Chinese empty hand methods. It is also likely that the Korean scholars assembling this work had access to the older massive Chinese work Wu Pei Shi (240 volumes) published around 1621. Wu Pei shi is coincidently pronounced Bu bi shi in Japanese, though this should not be confused with the Okinawan Bubishi, although it too may have influenced that much smaller and incomplete work.


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