Chang Moo Kwan: The Source

Questions and Answers

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This section is dedicated to answering questions from our web site visitors.  Please feel free to submit any questions through our "Guest Book" page.

Date:                  

5/28/2010

   

Name: 

Kyle

               

From:

Manhattan Beach, California, USA

                                   

Question:

What is the highest level in Chang Moo Kwan as far a ranking?

         

Answer:    

There are many different ranking systems; however in Traditional Chang Moo Kwan, there are 9 degree on black belt which a person can achieve while  LIVING.  1st though 4th degrees are instructors levels.  5th - 8th are Master levels.     The 8th can be designated as a Grandmaster if they head their own studio.  After 5th degree a teaching in Chang Moo Kwan an instructor can be called "Master."  The designation of Grandmaster is reserved for 9th degree black belts in Chang Moo Kwan. There is a 10 degree.  This rank is reserved for only a Grandmaster upon their death.  The designation for 10th degree is bestowed upon the deceased Grandmaster by his top practicing student.  When supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee passed away in August 2000, Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman honored his teacher Supreme Grandmaster Lee Nam Suk to the rank of 10th degree.  1st degree through 7th degree black belt are attainable through an exam. The 8th, 9th, and 10th are honorable degrees.


Just a note on the lower belts.  This is where every system seems to have a rainbow of color levels.  Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee approved five solid colors with stripes, generally adding up to ten belts to black.  White, Yellow, Blue, Red and Black.  You will note they are primary colors.  Each one is symbolic: White, the color of a clean slate like a blank sheet of paper or canvass.  Metaphorically, the student is completely open and impressionable to what they must learn.  Yellow, is symbolic of gold, and gold is always hard to come  by.  Gold must be painstakingly pounded from stone or laboriously paned from the silt of a stream.  Yellow belt levels are where traditionally we see the highest attrition of students.  It is the level of struggle and basics and repetition.  Like the earth which gold comes from, the yellow belt beginning is the foundation of all which is to come.  Blue is the color of the sky.  The sky surrounds the earth where gold is found, and it completely encompasses the earth.  Blue---the sky--also far enough above the earth so a person training must reach or extend themselves completely.  Red is the color of the sun, generally at sunrise and sunset at the beginning and the end of an endless cycle.  A student must reach beyond the sky to reach the sun.  During this stage students will perfect their basics.  Finally, the black belt is symbolic of the universe.  It is all encompassing and endless, as is a true martial artists training.  It is said to be the color you get when you mix all the colors together.

Answered by Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman

Date:                  

5/30/2010

   

Name: 

Phillip

 

From:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

                                                 

Question:

Cool site.  I practice ITF Tae Kwon Do.  I have never heard of Chang Moo Kwan.  Can you tell me what you practice?

       

Answer:

Wow, that is a very complicated question.  I am going to refer you to our photo galleries contained above to get a general idea.  Chang Moo Kwan; moreover, is practiced world-wide with many complex variables.  I believe Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee not only acknowledged this but later celebrated it.  I know this because Supreme Grandmaster Lee went to many promotion test and tournament, and judged.  Supreme Grandmaster Lee was able to see beyond the differences, consequently evaluating a person on their mastery of the fundamental: Balance, breathing, gaze, poise, to name a few.  

 

That being said when Master George Fullerton and I asked Supreme Grandmaster Lee to teach us, our specific request was to learn from Supreme Grandmaster what "he wanted the future generations to know about his art."  Soon after we were into it, we realized we were learning the forms, basics and techniques Grandmaster Lee developed long before Chang Moo Kwan was Chang Moo Kwan.  These were the forms he developed from reading Gichin Funokoshi's textbook, "Karate Jutsu" which he found discarded during the Japanese occupation of Korea.  It seemed his forms, one and three step techniques, sparring techniques all reinforced traditional form.  It was by no means easy.  Supreme Grandmaster Lee work Master Fullerton and I into the floorboards until we got it right.  His fighting techniques were very direct, like his overall approach towards self defense and form...minimalistic, effective.  Thanks for you question.

Answered by Grandmaster Jon Wiedenman 

Date:

6/12/2010

 

Name:

Vinh

 

From:

San Pedro, California, USA

 

Questions:

Does Tae Kwon Do have a connection with temple Kung Fu?

 

Answer:

The simple answer is yes.  Tae Kwon Do's history can be traced to the Shaolin temple but not directly. 

Here is the complex answer: What we call Kung-fu here in the U.S. is a rather generic term for Chinese martial arts much as we use the term karate.  Many people claim to teach authentic Kung-fu fighting techniques but the truth is most teach a modified version of a mixture of fighting techniques. A Buddhist monk named Ta-Mo came to China from India in 527 A.D.  He developed a series of exercises for the monk's he found at the Shaolin temple when he arrived there from India.  These exercises were based on Yoga and would loosely become what we call forms or kata.  Eventually these techniques were developed into what is thought to be the first systemized fighting system, at least the first in Asia. Over the following centuries the Shaolin temple was destroyed several times and different warring factions took control of it.  Monks fleeing for safety spread their techniques and philosophies among the people that offered them refuge.  Here is where the connection to Tae Kwon Do comes in.  In the 1700's "Tode" Sakugawa traveled to China to learn what we now call Kempo, an off shoot of Kung-fu.  He became the first known documented martial arts master in Okinawa.  In Okinawa Master Sakugawa would eventually train Matsumura "Bushi" Sokon often called "Matsumura the Warrior".  Master Matsumura would eventually train Master Itosu Anko.  Master Itosu Anko had two students which he called his protege: Toyama Kanken and Funakoshi Gichin.  These two masters would eventually train directly or indirectly all but one of the founders of the five original kwans in Korea.  As far as Chang Moo Kwan goes, Toyama Kanken would teach  Byung-In Yoon his art which he called Shudokan.  Master Yoon would become the founder of Chang Moo Kwan.  During the Japanese occupation of Korea, Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee studied a book written by Funakoshi Gichin describing the art of Shotokan.  This is the way Tae Kwon Do is related to Kung-fu.

 

Simply put, It's a little like saying that a Corvette Z28 is directly related to a Ford model A.  They both have the same basic components, the both came off an assembly line, both are automobiles but one is a highly modified version of the original and bears little resemblance to the original.

Answered by Chang Moo Kwan Historian Darrell Cook.