Lessons on Terminology and History

with Dan Bernardo, Sabom


As soon as I tell people I train in Korean Karate they immediately respond with, "Oh, Taekwondo?"

So you can imagine how often I have to explain the difference between Dangsoodo and Taekwondo.

This past week an interesting topic was brought up that certainly needs more study on my part, but I had to share.  It's the difference between the three phrases...

"Il Kyuk Pil Sal"  -  "Il Kwon Pil Sal"  -  "Il Kyuk Pil Sung"

"일격 필살"  -  "일권필살"  -  "일격필승"     

"Ichigeki-Hissatsu"  -  "Ikken Hissatsu"  -  "Ichigeki Hissho"

"一撃必殺"   -  "一拳必殺"  -  "一撃必勝"


It's easy to see that these come from Japanese influence, where Ichigeki-Hissatsu is the oldest phrase, meaning "One Blow, Certain Death" which has been translated as "One Attack to Kill".  This term originally comes from Koryu Kenjutsu (old school swordfighting).  Another term Ikken Hissatsu which can be translated as "One Punch, Certain Death".  These two pretty much mean the same thing, and the latter is seen more often now, especially in Shotokan.

In Dangsoodo we use the first, Il Kyuk Pil Sal.  This is an inherent philosophy in our entire art.  From Hyung, to Il Soo Sik, to Kyok Pa, and even Dae Ryeon... and it goes beyond defeating the enemy with one technique.

Because, we all know that killing someone with one blow isn't all that feasible.  I mean, it's possible, but not probable BUT I'M SUPERMAN!.  So should we be taking this philosophy literally?  Well, sort of... you see it's a frame of mind.  We all know that the longer the fight lasts, the chances of you winning decrease.  So it's very important that your anticipation, your preparation, and your mindset is ready to get things done FAST!

But the last one is more modern, and as far as I am aware, a Taekwondo development.  Il Kyuk Pil Sung mean "One Blow, Victory".  This invokes the competitive nature of Taekwondo.  It isn't about killing anymore, it's about winning, victory, sport.

I do see many Taekwondo schools still using the older phrase, but more and more I'm seeing the modernized version for the seemingly less "barbaric" version.  But this really is a huge difference.  And one that can be seen easily by watching the fundamental aspects of sport Taekwondo.  It's a sport, and that paradigm is antithetical to Dangsoodo.


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