Seo family in the Royal Court

Discussion in 'Kuk Sool' started by jamesdevice, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. jamesdevice

    jamesdevice Jötunn

    This forum has seen much argument in the past over the "truth" of the claims that the Seo / Suh family were hereditary trainers to the Korean Royal Court

    Interestingly a report in "Current Biology" reports on a Seo family who for several generations WERE employed in a martial capacity in the Royal Court.
    The report is at
    but the key information is in a supplemental document at

    In there it is stated:
    "To exclude genetic factors that could have affected the lifespan, we compared the lifespan of eunuchs with multiple Yan-ban families including the Mok, Shin, and Seo families. The Seo family members were mostly martial officers (muban). The Mok and Shin families were mostly civil administrators (munban) with high ranks like Jwa-Eui-Jung (prime minister, Jung 1 pum) and Yi-Jo-Pan-Seo (minister of public administration, Jung 2 pum) [S2, S3]. Only the Yang-Ban class owned genealogy records, and the lifespan of non-eunuch families was obtained from their genealogy records. The raw data for the Mok and Shin families were provided by Ki-Soon Lee (Hongik University) and the raw data for the Seo family was obtained from Han (1992)"

    The reference for which the Seo data was obtained was listed as
    Han,Y.K. (1992). Childbirth and longevity of a family in late Chosun Dynasty. 韓國史學論叢. 532.

    If someone can find that I think you'll have proof of Martial Seos in the Royal Court in the years 1547-1844
    Doesn't prove its the same family, but it backs up the claims
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  2. SsangKall

    SsangKall Valued Member

    well the eunuchs lived 20 years longer than the seos, and that is all i really got from that article.

    what is the seo family's old character for their name? does it match? for instance, there are at least 2 different types of 'yang' family names i know of.

    next, if that checks out, we have to follow the movement of that particular clan. the gyeongbeokgung(royal palace) of the joseon dynasty was in seoul, and the seo family(in seok, in hyeok, pharmacy seo, in seon, and in joo) is from daegu... not too close... but it is a possibility.
  3. jamesdevice

    jamesdevice Jötunn

    I don't know enough about the matter to really comment further. My intent was to give a possible pointer to those who know more and may be able to follow the trail from that cited document
  4. Obewan

    Obewan "Hillbilly Jedi"

  5. jamesdevice

    jamesdevice Jötunn

    So that wiki article is consistent, and even indicates that the Seo clan was persecuted by the Japanese - which could explain the gaps in the grandfathers history. However, it is uncited so nothing to prove its accuracy.
    I wonder if there was more to the theory that he joined the resistance in China than we imagined?

    The big question at the moment, is, does anyone have access to that book/journal "韓國史學論叢" - the 1992 edition?
    Google translates that as "University Journal of Korean History" - but I'm sure someone has a more precise wording
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  6. Obewan

    Obewan "Hillbilly Jedi"

    Also I've heard Kuk Sa Nim mention ancient books in his possession. Could be the genealogy records of the Seo Clan? That is only speculation on my part. I have seen video of him studying what looked to be large books and making additions to them. They could be Martial arts text as well IDK.
  7. JTMS

    JTMS Valued Member

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  8. VegasMichelle

    VegasMichelle Valued Member

    It should shock no one that the Seo/Suh you believe is the one giving you rank.

    I'd be interested to know what the other 7 siblings had to say (some have passed, RIP) on the matter before jumping to conclusions and blindly believing your own GM.

    EDIT #1:

    This response makes no sense because JTMS decided to erase his posts. I recall this is his modus erase posts when people don't immediately agree with him. As for the true relationship between the Suh/Seo family and the royal court...well, why are we just believing IHS or ISS on the matter? If people are truly interested, why aren't other family members of that generation asked questions? What about all the sisters in the family? What about the half-siblings? Cousins?
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  9. JTMS

    JTMS Valued Member

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  10. JTMS

    JTMS Valued Member

    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  11. JTMS

    JTMS Valued Member

    Deleted my responses on this subject. It is a waste of time to debate such matters with those that are already convinced that their opinion is fact. Back to training and running my schools! :)
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  12. jamesdevice

    jamesdevice Jötunn

    this wasn't supposed to start a peeing contest on the lines of "my master is more truthful than yours" - which someone appears to have wanted to try to do.
    All that I was trying to get at is the truth of the often stated historical military position at court of the Seo ancestors. Not the "it must be true because my master says so" mantra.
    Now this does open up an interesting thought:
    If we accept that the Seo clan WERE heireditary martial artists, is IHS referring to his direct line of descent when he says traditions have been handed down? Or is he talking of a tradition handed down through the whole of the Seo clan, as a kind of elite warrior tribe? That would seem to make the greater sense to me.
    Comments please
    (useful ones only please Mr Murphy - deleting a batch of posts after making them is not helpful, makes the forum hard to read, and takes up valuble space on the server)
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  13. JTMS

    JTMS Valued Member

    Really Vegas? My "motus operandi"??? Bwaahahaha! I don't recall ever deleting any posts here in the past. My previous posts are all here on MAP and you are free to take a look.:)
  14. Obewan

    Obewan "Hillbilly Jedi"

    Ok, first of all, who are you and what did you do with the real jamesdevice? :D

    Whats interesting to me is that this is the first I've ever seen actual evidence that supports the claims out side of the organization. Thank you for that. Knowing a bit about Korean culture that doesn't surprise me. The do as I say mentality, and obey your elders without question dictates that there is no need to prove anything to us.

    That said, to answer your question, again with speculation, I would say a little bit of both. The lineage of the military of the entire clan would support the statement that I've heard of the 16 generations of martial artists, and Seo Myung Deok as a Royal Court instructor is the direct lineage.
  15. JTMS

    JTMS Valued Member

    Hi James,
    I in no way viewed your OP as a "peeing contest starter". I just saw Vegas' reference to my "blindly believing my GM" to be hilarious and a bit to far all at the same time. I provided a direct quote in the previous posts from a private conversation with my teacher. After making the post I realized that his words were ment for me and not for an online forum. I am not here annonomously as you and others are, so my words should be chosen wisely. I do NOT as a habit delete my own posts, but forgive me if I take a bit of license by deleting reactionary posts directed toward Vegas at 4 am. Lol! I am a martial arts professional (that's how I earn my living) and to rant on a forum at an anonymous person does not do my teacher, the 14 schools that I oversee and represent, or my students any good. I do understand that my deletions might make the thread a bit harder to follow, but I feel that you are perhaps bright enough to muddle through.;)
    I do hope that this response didn't "use up to much server space"! Lmao!!
  16. Little Robin

    Little Robin Valued Member


    Ah and learn. I've learned never to post when that tired, or after a glass (or two...) of anything fermented, and especially not to feed the trolls.

    Interesting thread though. Now any confirmations of Joo Bang Lee a 58th generation Hwarang Warrior? ;-)
  17. jamesdevice

    jamesdevice Jötunn

    another little nugget

    this discusses the Korean habit of keeping family histories / trees or "Jokbo"

    This is the interesting part:
    "It is said that Korea's Jokbo used China's Seo clan records as a model"
    Was the Seo clan originally Chinese?
    Are these the books held by IHS?
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
  18. VegasMichelle

    VegasMichelle Valued Member

    Oh stop with the hilarity! The old "I am not here anonymously" to the veiled "I am a professional who oversees many schools so I am like a Grand Master" routine in a public internet forum! :rolleyes:

    Why don't we just stick to the topic?

    The genealogy of a particular Korean clan by modern standards gets muddle by increasing orders of magnitude because 1) maternal blood lines were often not recorded, 2) some children were not raised by their biological parents, 3) Fidelity issues and the issue of half-siblings and 4) PEOPLE LIE!

    With all that said, I am like Obewan...that amongst many fabrications, there may be a kernel of truth hidden somewhere. But I take a slightly harsher stance in that unless I see some mitochondrial DNA analysis, there is only speculation.
  19. Frodocious

    Frodocious She who MUST be obeyed! Moderator Supporter

    Just a reminder to keep things polite and civil in here please.
  20. jamesdevice

    jamesdevice Jötunn

    I hoped this may shed some light on things

    its an in-depth study of the Korean martial families, how they originated and the way the court system worked to perpetuate the family tradition
    But despite naming other major families, no reference to Seo/Suh

    As for what VM says about the genuineness of the genealogy, fine, but the same could have been said (more justifiably in fact) about the Caesars - but, despite the adoptions their family tradition continued
    In some environments an adoptee, or even a cuckoo in the nest is as much a "full" member of the family as a legitimate descendent.

    But, all we're (or at least I) am trying to do is find whether there is anything which may reasonably put some flesh onto the often scorned alleged ancestral history.
    As was said above - the link in my first post appears to be the first external evidence to suggest there may be some truth. But yes, a lot more evidence would be required to prove the case, but thats a long long way off - if ever. In the meantime its interesting to speculate

    But just a technical point - if we wanted to prove a historical family martial tradition surely we'd be looking at male line of descent? In which case the thing to test would be the Y-chromosome DNA, not the mitochondrial DNA. As far as I'm aware the Koreans never evolved into a matrilineal society of Amazons. Agreed, checking for Y-DNA would get confused in the event of adoptions, have to start somewhere. And as I said before, someone adopted may well become a full family member
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012

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