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Hapkido and Tang Soo Do - Taekwondo's Allies

Photo By: jahofker / Flickr In discussing Korean Martial Arts' history, Taekwondo will be always at the top of everyone's mind since it is being practiced by many people globally. In addition, it has also become an Olympic event since 2000, and many of its practitioners aspire to make it to the global event one day through this martial art. Yet, Taekwondo has some noteworthy allies in the forms of Tang Soo Do and Hapkido. Tang Soo Do It is the Korean pronunciation of the Hanja "Tang shou dao" (The Way of the Tang Hand). In the late 1930s. Hwang Kee has mastered Subak and Taekkyeon, Korea's native martial arts. However, the year also saw Japan's occupation of Korea, which lead to the prohibition of the practice of native martial arts. The said prohibition was Japan's effort to control Korea's population, and violation of this act led to imprisonment. To escape the ire of the Japanese invaders, Kee packed his bags and went to China where he was to live for the next two decades. At that time, it was difficult for any martial artist to locate a master who was ready to accept a student. Yet, the said struggle did not affect Kee as he became acquainted with Master Yang. Kee who learned northern style Yang kung-fu under the master's guidance. Tang Soo Do's forms (hyung) are an array of moves that demonstrate a defensive or aggressive action for every movement based on an offender attacking and the one demonstrating the form reacting to the attack. The forms are mostly memorized and demonstrated at either a promotion test or a tournament. The majority of Tang Soo Do schools include nine forms that the student must study to clinch the midnight blue belt: 1.) Kee Cho forms: kee cho il bu, kee cho ee bu, and kee cho sam bu. The fundamental forms. 2.) Pyung Ahn forms: pyung ahn cho dan, pyung ahn ee dan, pyung ahn sam dan, pyung ahn sa dan, pyong ahn oh dan. Forms which are based on Okinawan and Japanese karate. 3.) Bassai - a form of karate known as Passai/Bassai Dai, created by Sokon Matsumura. Kee mentioned that he learned these forms by studying Okinawan karate books, while most scholars agree that Gichin Funakoshi's Rentan Goshin Toudi-Jutsu was Kee's constant companion. Chuck Norris, a martial artist who gained fame as Bruce Lee's opponent in "The Way of the Dragon," is among the art's celebrated exponents. In fact, Norris established Chun Kuk Do (The Universal Way) in 1990, an art that evolved from Tang Soo Do and mixed elements from various fighting styles. Joining the list of the art's famous personalities are Cynthia Rothrock, Michael Jai White, and Steve McQueen. Hapkido This is a Korean martial art that has its characters written in the same manner as Aikido's Chinese characters. Its name could either mean "the way of coordinating energy," "the way of coordinated power," or "the way of harmony". Through its distinct characteristics of joint locks, throws, and powerful kicking techniques, Hapkido separates itself from Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do by emphasizing on deflecting an opponent's attacks. Though Chou Yong-sul is frequently recognized for establishing the art, it is best to say that the art's rise to prominence was made possible by a small group of Korean nationals. Among the members of this small group was Ji Han-Jae. Han-Jae, one of Hapkido's recognized luminaries, is often acknowledged for his physical repertoire, technical contributions, promotional efforts, and political ties as head Hapkido instructor, elements that propelled the art's popularity in Korea and in the whole world. He is also noteworthy for his appearances in "Lady Kung-Fu" which featured Angela Mao, who practiced Hapkido to prepare for her roles, and in Bruce Lee's "Game of Death." His teaching methods include the incorporation of traditional Korean kicking and punching techniques into the system.

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