The History of Pyung Ahn

 

 

History is important. Seeing the way forward is that bit easier when you have a grasp of what went before and the events which brought us to our present position.

In 1978 the founder of the Moo Duk Kwan GrandMaster Hwang Kee published the English version of Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) volume 1. On page 372 he states “originally the (Pyong Ahn) was called ‘Jae Nam’. Approximately 100 years ago an Okinawan Master Mr Idos (Itosu) reorganised the Jae Nam form into a form closely resembling the present Pyong Ahn forms …”

So the next question is how the Pyung Ahn forms arrived in Korea and became integral to the Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan style.

Several Korean martial artists did train in Japan such as Won Kuk Lee and may have brought back their understanding of the Pyung Ahn back to their homeland.

But first a little of GrandMaster Hwang Kee’s personal history.

 

As a young boy he had witnessed “Tae Kyun” a form of foot fighting and began to practise by himself. In 1936 he began training with a Chinese Master Yang. The training included forms and combat applications. He returned to Korea in 1937 and started work at Chosun railway in 1939.

There was a library at the railway … “This was his first encounter with Okinawan Karate and he found that he was able to study the art through books at that time. Later, this knowledge influenced the Moo Duk Kwan system when Tang Soo Do was adopted during the early part of the Moo Duk Kwan history. Although Pyung Ahn hyungs , Passai hyungs and Kong Sang Kun hyungs, etc, were practised a little differently from the original Okinawan karate (unique use of the application of offensive and defensive hip in all movements and hip extension and thrust on kicking techniques as well as its interpretation), these hyungs were influenced by the Kwan Jang Nim’s study of the books on Okinawan karate” History of the Moo Duk Kwan 1995 page 16.

On the following page I set out a comparison of techniques between Master Funakoshi and GrandMaster Hwang Kee to illustrate the differences in interpretation.

We can see clearly how the programme of modification was taking place.

The majority of applications from GrandMaster Hwang Kee’s 1978 book are shown as blocks while the applications shown by Master Funakoshi are clearly from a different era.

Furthermore, in the 3 rd edition of Karate do Kyohan translated into English there is no application described for the 4 th and 5 th sequences in the fifth form. In the 1935 edition I can recognise them both as throws.

I can see this gradual change from “old school” techniques to the modern interpretation in other books which I have from this time which show vital point strikes and anatomical detail in the 1 st editions yet later copies exclude them.

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Summary of Differences in Pyung Ahn Forms Interpretation

   

Funakoshi

Hwang Kee

1 st Form

(S1)

Hammerfist strike

Uppercut strike

 

(S4)

Front kick to break elbow

Front kick to midsection

       

2 nd Form

(S3)

The knifehand and high block is a wrist grab and elbow break

 
 

(S5)

Middle knifehand

Low knifehand

       

3 rd Form

(S1)

It is interesting to note that the applications are identical for the opening movements. The attacker simultaneously punches with one hand and kicks with the opposite leg as the defender double blocks.

 

(S4)

High knee lift, stamp and break opponents thigh then attack solar plexus with elbow

Kick block

       

4 th Form

(S1)

Grasp wrist, pull inward onto attack to philtrum or neck

Double block

 

(S2)

Hammerfist philtrum and side kick testicles pull and elbow

Hammerfist block side kick & elbow

 

(S3)

Grab, twist and kick to elbow

Block & kick

 

(S4)

Crossing action to break a two handed attack

Hold aggressor by Lapels

 

(S5)

This application of pulling the head down onto the rising knee is identical

       

5 th Form

(S1)

Same

 
 

(S2)

Double arm high defence

High stick attack, parry and grab, knee and punch

 

(S3)

Kick chest pull & elbow

Kick block & elbow

 

(S4)

None

Jump over felled opponent and block

 

(S5)

None

 
       

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