is there a difference in theory for tkd patterns and karate kata ?

Discussion in 'Taekwondo Patterns' started by michael mckenna, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. michael mckenna

    michael mckenna Active Member

    now i dont know much about karate but is karate kata used for the same thing as tkd patterns ? i remember reading that bowlie stated that the kata was used as a way of recording techniques. i dont know if this is true or not i dont know much about karate. but i doubt thats what the patterns in tkd is for as they are for balance, timing, bodyweight shifting, muscle memory ect.. if the theory that kata was used to record techniques is true then did general choi ,GM park jung tae, GM nam tae hi and the others create the patterns of tkd so they would be used for the things i listed. i know there is a science behind forms anyway. so as i said is there a difference of theory between kata and tkd patterns
  2. Oerjan

    Oerjan Active Member

    Now thats a huge topic to discuss!

    There are many Things to consider here. One is the "Taekwondo Identity crisis".
    1. You have Chang Hon derived Schools using the Chang Hon patterns calling themselves Taekwondo (and rightly so)
    2. You have Kukkiwon derived Schools using the KTA developed forms (Palgwe, Taegeuk and Judanja Poomsae) also calling themselves Taekwondo and rightly so
    3. You have independent Dojang keeping the old Kwan teachings also calling themselves Taekwondo and rightly so (these using a mix With the above forms and or the earlier imported forms, Pyung ahn = Pinan, Chulgi/Naebojin, Kima = Tekki/ Naifanchi, Kongsookoon = Koshukun etc etc).
    In Group 3 at least those using the imported forms the question is a little redundant as we are literally talking about the same forms as those in Karate... In fact Hyung is the Korean pronounciation of Kata.. How it is taught on the other hand and how the forms are used in training/teaching is up to the instructor.

    In Group 1 you can look to General Choi Hong Hi`s writings. He made the forms (With help but he had the final say on all of them) so the function of his forms are readily available in his writings. I only have his 1965 book so I will not comment further than this as I am quite sure there are many members here who knows Choi Hong Hi`s material a lot better than I do.

    In Group 2 on the other hand Kukkiwon Textbook describes the Poomsae`s usage in a way that also seems to align With what some belive is the function of "Kata". Here are the different stages of Kukkiwon Poomsae Practise:

    (Quote from Kukkiwon Textbook page 306 Training of Poomsae)
    1)Pattern. The first step of training Poomsae is to learn the pattern. Concentration of spirit, eyes, angles of movement must be emphasized in addition to the accuracy of actions.
    2)Significance. In the next step, the emphasis must be laid on the balance, strength and weakness, low or high speed, respiration and Poomsae line. The significance of movements, connection of pooms and the complete Poomsae must be learned correctly.
    3)Practical use. One must adapt what he has learned to his practical use, finding out the practicability.
    4)Self style. One must evaluate his findings about the effectiveness of what he has learned, comparing with his or her bodily structure, speed, strength, impulsive power, point of emphasis in training etc., and modorate the techniques into his own style.
    5)Completion. One achieves a synthetic accomplishment of Poomsae training bye mastering the art of taekwondo techniques including taekwondo spirit (end quote).

    The last Three Points are often completly ignored these days, and many do as you say :
    So again we see that while the Kukkiwon forms can be used in a very "old School way" (a mnemonic devise and training pradigm for self defense techniques) its normal usage is what You describe.
  3. michael mckenna

    michael mckenna Active Member

    very well thought out answer thank you
  4. Raymond

    Raymond Active Member

    The forms I were taught by an non affiliated instructor are very short (typically 16 or so steps) and seem to be abbreviated versions of certain Palgwe and Taekeuk forms. And then some parts of them look like other forms I've seen in karate videos, but that may just be due to the similarity in TKD and Karate forms as a whole. However to have a better understanding of the more widely practiced TKD I have several books so I may independently study the typical WTF and ITF forms.
  5. michael mckenna

    michael mckenna Active Member

    interesting can you share a video of these patterns your describing ?
  6. Raymond

    Raymond Active Member

    I don't have any but I can message you steps of them. For the class I help with I typed them out for the kids to practice at home (we only get 1 hour a week class time with them).
  7. Master Fahy

    Master Fahy Active Member

    Yes, poomse/forms is another way of recording the techniques as well as all the other things that have been mentioned previously. Master Fahy
  8. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    In the original days, as stated in many books and videos, karate kata were the way they did sparring as there were no partner drills or free sparring as you see in many arts such as TKD. All the other comments I enjoy reading as it gives me more of an idea of what TKD can be about.
  9. GreywulfTKD

    GreywulfTKD Member

    I've read a lot of karate history. A lot. One Steps and other partner drills have been around a loooooong time. All the classical Karate kata are solo, so I fail to see how this was a way to practice sparring in the "original days." Perhaps I need clarification on what you really mean? Did I miss something?
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  10. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

  11. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    I think pretty easy. In the original days of karate (aka Funakoshi Gichen as there was no "classical" karate because he named it from Okinawa/China (tang) hand to empty hand) did not have any step sparring as you so aptly repeated in your post, but the kata were sparring (call it shadow sparring (hint: TKD students and boxers do it all the time)). Original karate was always lone practice until the multiple student/commercial dojo came into being.
  12. canadiankyosa

    canadiankyosa Active Member

    Would I be close in saying the meaning for the physical aspects of TKD are the same as they are in karate and, my study, kuk sool hapkido (Kong Shin Bup): balance. focus, proper execution of technique, environmental awareness, co-ordination, footwork?
  13. Blue_Knight

    Blue_Knight Active Member

    There are some similarities and matching usefulness, but they are not used in the same way.

    I have trained in and hold Black Belt degrees in Karate, and other Japanese systems (such as Judo and Aikido) that also have “Kata.” The Judo and Aikido Kata are typically peformed with a partner, but follow a set pattern of movements with no resistance.

    The Karate Kata originally served three main purposes. One was to provide a teaching system to convey information to students that was easily able to be replicated. Second, it gave the students a method of solo practice when they trained alone (just as today). Third, the Kata were a bit of a disguise to mask the full potential of training.

    In some ways, the disguise kept those who observed or spied on experts in training from fully understanding the context and application of the skills being practiced. It also presented the training in more of an “art” or “dance” performance rather than a deadly Martial Art so that government officials and other ruling authorities would not feel so threatened by the training they observed.

    This was common practice during feudal times in China (which is where the Martial Artists of Okinawa likely adopted this philosophy). Many Chinese Martial Artists also performed as actors on stage for entertainment of the ruling classes. Through story telling and choreographed fight scenes (stage combat) they reenacted events in Chinese history. This enabled them to practice their Martial Art fighting skills for hours each day right in front of those who would have otherwise forbid combat training. The Kata was one way to practice secretly right out in the open without appearing to be much of a threat.

    Conversely, as the modern Taekwondo curriculum was in its early developmental stages between 1944 to 1973 (Chung Do Kwan foundation, through many Kwans to KTA, to ITF, to Kukkiwon foundation), the concept of Karate Kata as a teaching tool was borrowed and implemented. However, as much as the Taekwondo founders trained in Karate and other systems, the methodology and technical attributes of “hidden” application did not apply any more, and did not fit with Taekwondo’s curriculum and philosophy of teaching. There have always been multiple variations of how the movements in Taekwondo Poomsae can be applied in real life, and they are taught openly to students, but it is not viewed as a “hidden” or disguised secret within the forms.

    Taekwondo Poomsae are exactly what they appear to be - - simply because the training tool that the Korean Masters redesigned for the purpose of the Korean Martial Art of kicking and hand strikes was different than that of Karate. The Koreans wanted to utilize this unique training method as a teaching tool, and conditioning exercise for the mind and body of the student practicing Taekwondo - - not Karate. To try and compare the two, or find secret hidden meanings in the movements is futile, because that is not what they are for in our art. The "hidden" things that Karate students do in their Kata - we don't, because our techniques and tactics are vastly different in key aspects.

    If we want to teach a student how to grasp body parts, break joints, or throw down an opponent, we simply do that in class, one-steps, and hoshinsul. We can show them where segments of their form can be applied to real-life fights as excerpts of skills to be rearranged and pieced together at will for practical application, but it is not hidden. We can show them where movements of the form can be altered, and a different throw or grappling technique CAN be inserted, but there is nothing secret or mysterious about that.

    Just like the old skills of Ninjutsu were relevant in their time, yet much of it has no purpose today in the same way it was utilized prior to modern technology. Other aspects of the philosophy and skills of the Ninja remain relevant and are currently taught in elite military training world wide. The philosphy of Ninjutsu was to be several steps ahead of your enemy in terms of tactics and to be on the cutting edge of technology. Ninjas of today would not be doing the exact same thing they did centuries ago.

    Some aspects of Karate Kata do not apply to modern Taekwondo skills and philosophy (and I personally don’t believe the still apply to Karate except as retaining tradition). Also, it is not because today’s Taekwondo Masters are ignorant or naive and don’t understand the “hidden” meanings of Karate Kata - - it is just that our art takes a different approach that we find to be very direct and highly effective. We are not doing Karate techniques wrong - - we are doing Taekwondo techniques correctly and they work just as good! ;)

    Blue Knight
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  14. GreywulfTKD

    GreywulfTKD Member

    So you meant to say kata = one steps. I see what you mean; like the two man kata of jujitsu. just because they were called something different than they are now, doesn't mean they are different. See the source below. I don't know if it's accurate to what Gichin actually called these exersizes, but the title says "Kihon Kumite" ("basic sparring"). Karateka usually consider ippon kumite ("one step sparring") as a stepping stone to jiyu kumite ("free sparring").

    From what I've read, Funakoshi did not change the pronunciation. He changed the kanji to mean "empty hand" while maintaining the already used term "karate." Much like the term "Taekwondo," some Okinawans had not opted to describe their art with the term Karate, but the pronunciation still existed. Karate is a blanket term. Just because a school/style doesn't call itself karate doesn't mean it isn't karate. Some styles call what they do "kempo" instead, yet they do the same kata and execute their movements almost the same as schools that call themselves "karate." Before someone starts a semantic war about who used karate when, Gichin himself seemed to believe that karate was something he inherited, something that was practiced by his teachers, not something he originated. Whether "karate" or "kempo" or "di" or "te" or something else was used to describe it is inconsequential. It is all considered karate, and it all predates Gichin Funakoshi.

    The kata that Funakoshi used were classical kata that he renamed and sometimes reworked. By classical, I mean very old kata that had been practiced by many karateka for many, many years. The Heian were known as the Pinan in Okinawa, and were devised by Anku Itosu, one of Funakoshi's teachers. Perhaps those were not classical yet in Gichin's time, but I think they are considered as so now. But Tekki is the slightly reworked Funakoshi version of the kata Naihanchi/Naifanchin. That is certainly the most classic of all Karate kata barring only Sanchin. It is thought that his kata Hangetsu is a version of the old and popular karate kata seisan. The Shotokan kata Meikyo is the renamed version of the old Tomari-te kata Rohai. Shotokan also has Kusanku, renamed as Kanku Dai. Kusanku is a very old kata that goes back to the 1760s, long before Funakoshi was born, and it is believed by some that Anku Itosu developed the Pinan based upon Kusanku.

    Schools/study clubs existed long before commercial dojo. The idea that Karate was practiced solo (I guess because the Japs would punish you or something) is a sensationalized version of the story. Shuri-te and Tomari-te were practiced among nobles, either student and teacher, or in small groups. Funakoshi himself traveled to study karate with a family. Karate was not "always solo practice." Anko Itosu is the one who introduced karate as a standardized public physical education program to the public schools in 1904. Funakoshi did not have a lot of students until 1910 or later, and did not go to Japan to introduce karate there until 1922.

    kihon kumite source:

    Yes, that's right. How we execute some techniques can be different, but TKD owes much of its mechanical and aesthetic development to karate. Other influences include northern Chinese kung fu, and possibly taekkyon, though TKD has never looked much like taekkyon.
  15. GreywulfTKD

    GreywulfTKD Member

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