Bridging the Gap: Exploring the Connection Between Taekwondo and Karate

‘When Taekwondo Strikes’ Movie is about a Korean Taekwondo master who enlists the aid of martial artists to help protect a church from a crew of Japanese fighters. Hero ‘Lee Chung Tun’ is played by real life GM Jhoon Rhee who brought my lineage to Southwest USA in 1956.

The martial arts world has witnessed a long-standing rivalry between Taekwondo and Karate practitioners. Both disciplines have their unique characteristics and cultural significance. However, beneath the surface of rivalry lies a rich history and shared principles that bind these two martial arts together. In this article, we delve into the historical tensions between Taekwondo and Karate, explore their similarities, and shed light on the significance of a Taekwondo practitioner authoring a book on Karate.

Historical Tensions:
The historical tensions between Taekwondo and Karate practitioners can be traced back to the evolution and cultural contexts of these martial arts. Taekwondo, with its roots in classical Karate, has become deeply ingrained in Korean culture and is considered a significant practice in Korea. On the other hand, modern Karate reflects the cultural characteristics and interests of Japan. These associations with cultural heritage and the evolution of the martial arts have sometimes led to a sense of rivalry and competition between the two styles.

Exploring Similarities:
Despite the perceived differences, Taekwondo and Karate share a common lineage and underlying principles. Both styles emphasize discipline, respect, and the development of physical and mental strength. They incorporate variously similar techniques, including strikes, kicks, blocks, and forms (kata). By examining the historical connections and shared techniques, practitioners can discover the threads that bind Taekwondo and Karate together.

There are less differences that you might believe. Author Colin Wee poses with GM Kelly Cox from Marudo Ryu Karate. Both of these instructors find great similarities in their practice despite having lineages that come from different geographical regions.

A Taekwondo Practitioner’s Karate Book:
In a fascinating and significant development, this Taekwondo practitioner has recently authored a Karate book titled ‘Breaking Through: The Secrets of Bassai Dai Kata.’ This remarkable achievement has garnered attention within the martial arts community for its in-depth exploration of a central form practiced across various styles in both the Karate and Taekwondo communities. The author’s ability to delve into the heart of this form, facilitated by his training in Traditional Taekwondo, is a testament to their similarities and his open-mindedness in seeking a deeper understanding of martial arts.

At the prestigious AKATO Annual Seminar 2023 in Dallas, Texas. Seminar leaders Master Colin Wee, Master Vivica LaMarche, and GM Mike Bonstaff pose and represent Traditional Taekwondo Applications, Okinawan Training, and Sport Karate respectively.

Beyond Superficial Differences:
By delving into the source material and history of Taekwondo and Karate, the author of ‘Breaking Through’ has uncovered the profound essence that transcends superficial differences between the two disciplines. This book serves as a bridge, connecting practitioners from both styles and providing valuable insights into the shared heritage and underlying principles that bind them (See Bassai: Transforming Disadvantage into Advantage in Martial Arts and Life). Through this comprehensive exploration, practitioners are encouraged to break free from siloed approaches, access their analytical framework, and gain a holistic perspective that goes beyond the boundaries of any specific martial art, enriching their overall martial arts journey.

The Value of Martial Arts:
While Taekwondo and Karate have their unique characteristics and applications, there is great value to be found in any training hall which offers combative sport, self-defense training, and traditional martial arts. Each approach serves different purposes and caters to the goals and aspirations of practitioners. Combative sport offers a platform for competition, physical fitness, and honing skills, while self-defense training equips individuals with practical techniques for real-life situations. Traditional martial arts provide a pathway for personal growth, discipline, and connecting with cultural heritage. The key lies in being clear about what one aims to achieve and aligning the chosen martial art accordingly.

The long-standing rivalry between Taekwondo and Karate practitioners has shaped their relationship throughout history. However, the 21st century presents an opportune time to shift our focus towards supporting individuals, elevating our understanding of the human condition which created this cultural practice, and celebrating the rich historical tapestry of each martial art. The publication of ‘Breaking Through: The Secrets of Bassai Dai Kata’ serves as a reminder that by embracing diversity and understanding the underlying principles, practitioners can unlock a deeper understanding of martial arts, finding profound value that extends far beyond superficial differences. Let us embrace this new era and celebrate the vibrant and interconnected nature of the martial arts community.

Our Cover Artwork Shines on Totally Taekwondo Magazine

Totally Taekwondo Magazine Cover

We are overjoyed to share a momentous achievement with our readers – the captivating cover artwork from Colin Wee’s book, “Breaking Through: The Secrets of Bassai Dai Kata,” has been chosen to grace the cover of Totally Taekwondo Magazine in the May 2023 Issue 171 edition (see TotallyTKD on FB).

Totally Taekwondo Magazine Cover
Our artwork featured in Totally Taekwondo Magazine

The Honored Cover Feature:
Being chosen as the cover artwork for Totally Taekwondo Magazine is a prestigious honor. The cover artwork shows a current day practitioner performing a modern technique, with a backdrop of Shuri castle emerging from the mists of time. We are grateful to Totally Taekwondo for the opportunity to showcase Traditional Taekwondo training as we know it, and for helping us to introduce “Breaking Through” to a wider audience.

A Sneak Peek into the Magazine Article:
We also provide an exclusive glimpse into the article inside titled “Breaking Through: The Writing of a Martial Arts Book,” which accompanies our cover artwork within the magazine’s pages. We highlight key sections and insights, offering readers a taste of the transformative ideas explored in the article.

Gratitude and Collaboration:
We extend our sincere appreciation to Master Stuart Anslow, the editor of Totally Taekwondo Magazine, for recognizing the significance of Colin Wee’s book and showcasing its cover artwork. We acknowledge the collaborative effort between our team and the magazine, celebrating the fusion of art and martial arts that has led to this exceptional milestone.

The inclusion of our cover artwork on Totally Taekwondo Magazine’s front cover is a celebration of martial arts excellence. It serves as an invitation for readers to embark on a transformative journey through the pages of “Breaking Through: The Secrets of Bassai Dai Kata.” We encourage you to watch our exclusive video snippet, explore the remarkable cover artwork, and dive into the profound insights awaiting you within the magazine’s article.

Download the article Breaking Through: The Writing of a Martial Arts Book.

From Dojo to Manuscript: Crafting a Martial Arts Book

Breaking Through: The Journey of Writing a Martial Arts Book

Introduction: In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, martial arts enthusiast Colin Wee took on the ambitious task of writing a martial arts applications book. Little did he know the amount of work and dedication it would require. In this article, we will delve into Colin’s experience and the challenges he faced while writing his recently published book, Breaking Through: The Secrets of Bassai Dai Kata.

The Motivation to Write: Colin’s decision to write a martial arts book stemmed from multiple sources of inspiration. Seeking approval from his teachers and seniors, along with the persistent requests from friends over the years, motivated him to share his valuable knowledge with others on the same martial arts path. Reflecting on his previous manuscript, which didn’t turn out as intended, Colin discovered that even perceived failures can lay the foundation for future success.

The Development of the JDK Method: Colin’s collaboration with his students led to the development of the Joong Do Kwan (JDK) Method, a unique training methodology for dynamic martial arts situations using fixed pattern sets. This method became the core of his book, showcasing how traditional training can be applied effectively in real-world scenarios.

The Challenges Faced: Writing a martial arts book proved to be a demanding undertaking. Colin recounts the extensive timeline of the project, including the year spent writing the manuscript, two years of submitting, rewriting, and editing, as well as the need for commissioned cover artwork and multiple photo shoots. Despite the hurdles, Colin’s determination remained unwavering.

The Unique Perspective: Breaking Through: The Secrets of Bassai Dai Kata stands out from traditional martial arts books. It challenges the belief of guaranteed success in martial arts techniques and introduces the possibility of failure, emphasizing the importance of adaptation and workarounds. By inviting non-compliance from opponents, the JDK Method trains practitioners to expect and respond to dynamic situations effectively.

The Collaborative Process: Colin sought the expertise of Master Mike Swope to help refine his manuscript. Mike’s valuable insights and recommendations pushed Colin to reframe his story, allowing readers to experience his journey alongside the exploration of kata-based training. The editing process, which extended even after the manuscript was submitted, ensured the accuracy, flow, and clarity of the content.

The Impactful Seminars: To coincide with the book launch, Colin organized seminars in Dallas, Texas, where he aimed to present high-level concepts to participants. The seminars mirrored the content of Breaking Through, encouraging attendees to make connections with their own training and gain combative insights while exploring traditional forms.

The Road Trip and Meeting Fellow Practitioners: Colin’s road trip to Dallas with Master Mike Swope turned out to be an incredible adventure. Joined by two fellow black belts, Jeff Palm and Will Just, they shared their passion for martial arts and had the opportunity to train and bond with like-minded individuals. The experience was a testament to the positive impact martial arts can have on personal growth and connection.

The Gratitude and Fulfillment: Completing Breaking Through and sharing it with the martial arts community brought an overwhelming sense of fulfillment to Colin. The positive reception from seminar attendees and the opportunity to express gratitude to his teachers and supporters filled him with gratitude. Holding the finished book in his hands symbolized the culmination of 40 years of training and a deep sense of appreciation.

Conclusion: Colin’s journey of writing Breaking Through: The Secrets of Bassai Dai Kata is a testament to the unwavering dedication and immense passion needed to craft a martial arts book. It vividly portrays the initial inspiration, the obstacles confronted, and the ultimate sense of accomplishment that comes from sharing knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. Through his book, Colin not only reveals the profound transformative impact of martial arts but also emphasizes the significance of imparting wisdom to those treading a similar path. Breaking Through stands as an invaluable resource, providing practitioners with invaluable guidance to enhance their comprehension and practical application of traditional martial arts principles.

See related: Our Cover Artwork Shines on Totally Taekwondo Magazine