Five RVTKD students traveled to the Chosun Tae Kwon Do Academy in Warwick, New York last Sunday for a four-hour seminar on the topic of traditional Tae Kwon Do forms. All participants learned three forms from the Pyung An sequence, an old set of forms derived from the Okinawan Pinan/Heian series.The Pyung An forms are a little more than sixty years older than our Pal Gwe poomsae, and students who know them and/or the Chang Han Hyung (ITF style TKD forms) recognized familiar patterns that were incorporated in these more recently created sequences. Dan level students reviewed Original Koryo, an historical antecedent for the Koryo form our black belts all know well. Between the two workout sessions, GM Cook delivered a presentation on the history and purpose of poomsae training.
The instructors for the half-day seminar were Grandmaster Doug Cook (Chil Dan), the founder and head instructor of Chosun Academy and Grandmaster Pablo Alejandro (Pal Dan), a guest instructor. Both are senior students of the late Richard Chun, the legendary figure in the Moo Duk Kwan style of Tae Kwon Do and of US TKD in general.
Almost 60 students participated in the seminar, mostly at the Dan level, but with a few bold Geup ranks (our own Dylan Mawdsley among them!) in a space about 1/2 the size of our dojang in Florence. It’s an exciting experience to train with such a large group of advanced practitioners, and our students enjoyed the occasion. Grandmaster Cook was very complimentary toward our group, expressing admiration for both the technical competence and strong spirit and character of all the RVTKD students present.
There will be more field trip opportunities coming in the months ahead. These will usually be by invitation only, and the path to inclusion is simple: come to class regularly and excel in the skills that will be developed during a particular type of special training. If this type of traditional forms training appeals to you—or if similar trips that focus on sparring, martial arts history and culture, or other related topics are interests of yours—please let an instructor know, so you can be given the tools you’ll need to make the most of such an outing.
Photos by Patty Cook and various students of Chosun Taekwondo Academy