Quality vs. Authenticity

Discussion in 'Kuk Sool' started by AirNick, Feb 25, 2009.

  1. AirNick

    AirNick Valued Member

    OK so in light of the current trend of questioning the authenticity of KSW by certain parties (and then refusal to answer anyones questions), I offer this question:

    How important is it to you guys of KSW's authenticity? What is more inspiring to an average student off the street? The art has genuine roots and goes back the furthest or the practioners of said art have genuine talent and can display these so-called 'swill' techniques?

    Technical ability has to be important when wanting to preserve something and pass it on to future generations. Let's face it, students are the future and who is going to join an art where the instructors are more interested in debating who came first than actually becoming good at their respective art?

    Is the KSW syllabus authentic? I don't know. What I do know is that it is extremely enjoyable, broad, rewarding to practice and that is surely what most people are into? It also has some EXTREMELY talented masters and instructors within and we constantly strive to have just one iota of their talent and dedication.

    This isn't a direct call out to you know who but I will use him as an example as he has been so happy to bash any video's of KSW. One video he bashed was a display of a sword form, now would you rather learn that or this:

    Oh, and you want to talk about authenticity...I don't see much in that as you aren't going to trouble many people with those techniques Bruce..............FWIW
  2. MadMonk108

    MadMonk108 JKD/Kali Instructor

    Quality is subjective. If it fulfills your definition & you're not misrepresenting it, then all's well. The key is that later part, the misrepresentation.

    Of course, how the discussion is broached is a completely different issue.
  3. kswflip

    kswflip Valued Member

    cool thread
    i am very happy with the kuk sool won style and its syllabus im not sure how authentic it is but there are some fantastic masters/instructors and students out there.

    and just to add to the sword thing i would rather learn ksw sword techniques and forms
  4. Studude67

    Studude67 The hungry fighter

    sorry but...lol at that video
  5. ksnsimon

    ksnsimon Valued Member

    Forms/Hyung/Kata are primarily practiced to condition the body for combat therefore a Form must have aspects which improve ones components of fitness these components include:

    Flexibility - range of movement at joint/muscle
    Speed - ability to move a limb quickly
    Strength - ability to exert force against resistance
    Endurance - development of bodies energy systems so it can participate for longer.
    Body Composition - changing the somatype of body to suit activity for martial arts this would be mesomorph/ectomorph qualities
    Power - combination of speed and strength.

    Whether the form is a weapon form or an empty handed form.

    I believe that every form in kuk sool covers these apects some may cover a particular aspect more than others.

    The form displayed in the link however displays no speed on the cuts or power and even accuracy is to be debated.

    I rarely post on this site or read it however i felt i should input that people should practice more and study more rather than argue. The above link is an example of this.
  6. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Sorry, Nick..... but you are misrepresenting the arguement.

    The core to the objections I broached had to do with how the material was represented.

    Histories by both SUH In Hyuk and SEO In Sun suggest that their material proceeds from "traditional" Korean MA. Other than using the statements of either of these gentleman how are such claims and suggestions validated?

    BTW: I think it is disengenuous to title a thread "quality vs authenticity" and then immediately discuss what is "enjoyable" or will attract people "off the street". There is no doubt that authentic Korean martial traditions are tedious, boring and lack the visual appeal of a lot of modern reconstructions. But, now we are into matters of marketing, are we not?

    Best Wishes,

  7. AirNick

    AirNick Valued Member

    Is that not the authenticity argument?

    Not really, I'm merely trying to determine what people have more interest in.
  8. MadMonk108

    MadMonk108 JKD/Kali Instructor

    Would the fact that more people are interested in the former all of the sudden negate the validity of those interested in the latter, Nick?

    The questions about historicity & authenticity are valid. They deserve answers.

    That doesn't mean the people asking the question need to be *******s, or act as if everyone has to live according to their standard.
  9. AirNick

    AirNick Valued Member

    I don't think it should at all no. Don't get me wrong, I am extremely interested in the history surrounding my art and would love to know all the answers. I just don't think that the fact that it is dubious and unknown should be the constant go-to viewpoint on an art that offers so much.

    I don't think there is any sudden upsurge of people interested in quality anyway?
  10. Lumberjack

    Lumberjack Valued Member

    I for one have never expected or thought KSW practices to be exactly, movement for movement, what was practiced in the ancient past. Bruce, I suspect you would have trouble proving the sword movements you are doing in the video are the exactly the same as practiced in Korea's distant past.

    It's my belief that many of the practices and movements are close to, or "in the spirit of" what was done in Korea's history. More importantly (to me) is that the practices of KSW build ability and skill as proven by its higher level practitioners.

    Take jang ssang gum hyung (double long sword form) for example. We know this was a method used in Korea's past as in evidence by the MYDTJ. Is it movement for movement the same as was historically practiced? Not likely. Are the techniques and movements contained authentic in terms of building skill and ability? Definately yes.

    There is no doubt that In Hyuk Suh was, is a phenomenal martial artist. I also believe he has done a great amount of research regarding martial arts of Korea. I also think he did put things together based on his research and his own martial art knowledge. This does not make those techniques/forms swill or garbage.
  11. KIWEST

    KIWEST Revalued Mapper

    Nice thread Nick!
    As for my fivepennies worth....Authenticity is impossible to prove. Any evidence whether verbal, or written can be subject to doubt. As I have said before..take two people present at the same meeting and they will come away with different views of what was said and done. Its not that anyone is lying or misrepresenting the truth..they just remember it differently. So to that extent surely, it cannot matter whether your martial art is "authentic" or not. If it matters that much then you have a problem because you will never be able to prove it beyond doubt.
    What matters most has to be the art itself and whether it is enjoyable or effective. I won't be tempted into commenting on the video, though I understand airnick's reasons for wanting to "share that with us"!
    Neither can I or would I comment on another styles effectiveness or quality unless I had experienced it. All I can say, is that in my experience, up to this point, KSW offers everything that I have ever wanted in a martial art. If someone else gets the same satisfaction form their chosen style, then that's great! What else could we all ask for?
    PS. Anyone care to define "authenticity" as far as a martial art is concerned?
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  12. MadMonk108

    MadMonk108 JKD/Kali Instructor

    "What more could we all ask for?"

    A date with Parminder Nagra plz.
  13. seo727

    seo727 Valued Member

    Quality, meaning sound techniques, effective execution of those techniques and effective teaching of those techniques should be the primary driver of any martial art. The authenticity is important in the sense that the martial art that one practices links back to something bigger than just the individual or the direct teacher you are learning from. Just my opinion.

    Bruce, I watched the video airnick posted. I see what you're trying to do and recongize the sword work you've put in. I would however, recommend some more practice on the sword work to ensure sharper cuts, more solid end positions of the sword and more precise angles and also flow a little better between stances. I think after some more work, you could be able to make the link between what you're doing and the Kuk Sool Jung Gum movements as the latter is a bit more advanced in nature.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  14. Out-to-Lunch

    Out-to-Lunch Valued Member

    I'm curious to what everyone here defines as a Korean Martial Tradition...Is it ONLY material present in the MYDBTJ? or also other things? What must be present for the material in question to be a legitimate Korean Art?

    When does material transported form somewhere else, become a fully rooted translplanted tradition, worthy of no longer being called by its "parent" names?

    For instance, Chinese Gung Fu to Okinawan Te, Okinawan Te to Japanese Karate etc.

    I'll keep my thoughts for now...
  15. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Always good to know I can entertain as well as inform. So, since you report having been entertained, do you mind if I inform you now? Lets start with some names.

    SUH, Ching Hac
    Kim Yong Dal
    Ho, Ik Yong
    Chung, Tae Min
    Lee, Chung Ku
    Do, Ho Mun
    Kang Nak-won
    Pak Chong-kyu
    Kim Yong-bae
    and about 100 others.

    Know any of these gentlemen?

    These gentlemen share three things.
    1.)They are all recognized swordmasters and teachers from Korea.
    2.)They were all instrumental in organizing Korean swordwork after the Second World War; the TAE HAN KUM SA Association, predecessor to the TAEHAN KUMDOHOE (The Korea Kumdo Association) on May 20, 1948.
    3.)They all started with the same SSANG SOO DO material that you saw in the YAHOO Video clip. Yes, as with most beginning material this GEOM BEOP seems less than elegant. But, when I speak of something being "authentic" or something being "traditional" this is what I am talking about. Each and every person I have named can trace their practice back well before the KSW was a glimmer in some father's eye.

    And while we are on the matter of being entertained, you may be interested to know that not a few people of my acquaintance are routinely bemused to watch some young man slap a YEDO around like a pair of NUNCHUKA and call it a sword form.

    Lastly, I would probably err on the side of caution before characterizing the film clips on YAHOO Video. Those clips are published for the information and edification of a pretty refined group of people and not necessarily to impress folks who don't know what they are looking at. Having seen what passes for KSW swordwork, I'm not sure I fear criticism of traditional Korean sword from anyone in that community. As always, however, YMMV.

    Best Wishes,

  16. MadMonk108

    MadMonk108 JKD/Kali Instructor

    What's a nunchuka?
  17. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    For my own purposes, "tradition" and "authenticity" indicate that whatever is being practiced can be traced back to material approved and accepted for use by the Korean military.

    Since we cannot know what was accepted and approved prior to the YUAN Dyn of the invading Mongols most of these traditions begin with the early years of the Choson Dyn. Some people begin with 1393 and the founding of the Three Armies by King Taejo. Others prefer to identify 1507 when King Jungjong made all private armies (aka: "house armies") members of the SAMKUNBU ("Three Armies"). Yet, still others prefer to limit their dating to the three best known military classics: , MUYE JEBO (1610) MU YE SHINBO (1749)and the MUYE TOBO TONG JI (1795) Needless to say there are a host of documents that contributed to an understanding of Korean martial traditions and for your conveinece a dated list of these publications can be found on pgs 21-26 in Dr. KIM Sang H. translation of the MYTBTJ.

    As an additional note, it should be remembered that the nature of attitudes in and about the military (see: Palais pgs 391-577) bear little resemblance to the typical fodder served-up by modern organizations touting themselves as "traditional". I have read more than my share of "histories" about what constitutes Korean "traditions" and can report that what passes for an informed POV is sorely lacking in a basic understanding of Korean history and cultural dynamics during the Choson Period.

    Apologies in advance if I burst anybody's bubbles.

    Best Wishes,

  18. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    Sorry: allow me to translate into Americanese


    I defer to the culture that can't decide whether a group of sea-going cephalopod mollusks are "octapuses" or "octa-pi". :evil:

    Best Wishes,

  19. trailblazer

    trailblazer Valued Member

    What's this supposed to mean?

    The only thing you have to fear is a heart attack. I know you've put on some weight since that video. You've got to start taking better care of your fitness. It's nothing a good cardio regime, solid practice with a sweat, and watching what you feed yourself, won't take care of.

    Best Wishes,
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009
  20. Bruce W Sims

    Bruce W Sims Banned Banned

    How very interesting, Trailblazer.......

    All that good background information and you had to tease out the very last sentence and bend it a bit. Fine so be it.


    I have seen what people in the KSW call "swordwork" and I don't have to worry about getting any valid criticisms from them about what I do and why.

    BTW: If you have to sharpen your sword to make it do its job, you just made my point.

    As far as my health goes, for a 58 y/o who is on the mat 6 days out of 7, both giving and taking technique with kids half my age, I'm not real worried about what the future holds. I have seen what passes for a lot of MA teachers and I'm not real impressed. Don't believe everything you hear.

    Best Wishes,

    Last edited: Feb 25, 2009

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