Feb 222010
 

Bassai Dai

Bassai Dai translates as "To storm a fortress" and is practiced in many styles of karate. There are many variations of the original Passai, which was the original name for Bassai.

It is believed that there were two versions of Passai practiced on Okinawa.

Karate master, Sokon Matsumrua brought one Passai kata to Okinawa, from China and the other was taught to Okan Oyadomari on Okinawa, by a Chinese martial artist, who resided there.

The one we are referring to here, is the shotokan Bassai Dai, which many believe came from the Okan Oyadomari lineage.

When a karateka moves from 4th kyu to 3rd kyu, Bassai dai is usually the first kata taught. Many shotokan karateka use Bassai dai to test for all their brown belt examinations and indeed, the coveted black belt test.

Bassai dai can be explained by watching an experienced karateka execute the first move. A very strong move, driving forward off the left leg, with a knee attack and strike.

This karate kata also has some fast double block combinations. After the first move, there is a pause, then a 180 degree turn, with a double uchi uke. Two uchi uke blocks, first one with the left arm, second with the right arm, body is in the hanmi or side on position for the first block and shomen or square for the second.

Bassai dai is great for practicing fast turns and changes in direction. One combination in particular, greatly improves the dynamic hip rotation.

1.From the left tate shuto shizentai (left edge of the hand in natural stance), punch chokuzuki followed by a right arm uchi uke. Keep the body and hips sill and square, as you bend the right punching arm in preparation for the uchi uke.

2. You should be standing in natural stance with the right arm bent across the chest. Now, as you block, pivot strongly, 90 degrees to the left, into a very small front stance. To do this fast, the hips must be rotated strongly, this is a great exercise for working on dynamic hip rotation.

There are karate moves in Bassai Dai, that are not seen in any other shotokan karate kata. Yamazuki (U punch), the three consecutive low punches in kibadachi, the two sweeping blocks in a long front stance after the yamazuki. The slow grab and fumikomi (stamping kick), and the slow pull up, with both hands cupped, then rolling into two fists above the head.

Of all the shotokan karate kata, Bassai dai is probably the one that sums up shotokan karate!

Linden has been training and teaching karate for over 30 years and loves to share his knowledge and experiences from the karate dojo. Download a free bassai dai shotokan pdf and supplement your karate training with these free online videos, karate lessons for beginners.


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    Jan 132010
     

    [I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/AlCase9.jpg]Wham bam! Iron Mike Tyson, back in the day, was knocking them down faster than they could stand up. Twelve of his first nineteen fights ended in the first round, and always with the opposing fighter laying face down like a drunk that had been massaged by a tractor!

    No other fighter was knocking people out like Iron Mike, also known as Kid Dynamite, and there were a lot of strong fighters out there. So there had to be something that Mike was doing that nobody else was doing. There simply had to be a secret behind his incredible, dynamite filled, slobber knocking punches!

    The secret actually comes in two parts. The first part of the secret is that he was shorter than everybody, therefore he was automatically ducking under the incoming fist, and rising up with his own. This meant that he had to use his legs, he was perfectly situated, so the push of his legs was part of his punch.

    Because he was coming up from under, he learned how to push with his legs and use his hips so they assisted the angle of his punch. He just happened to be the proper size that enabled him to arc his punch at exactly the right angle, to pop that chin at exactly the right spot. Every opponent fought him in similar fashion, he defended the same way, and he didn’t start losing until opposing fighters analyzed him correctly and actually boxed!

    The other part of the secret has to do with the way he was living his life. He was winning fights as long as Cus DAmato was training him, because Cus DAmato was keeping him in hand, caring about him as an individual, working with him as a person. When Cus died, however, everything changed for Iron Mike Tyson.

    After Cus died Tyson came under the influence of nefarious individuals such as Don King. His marriage went sour, and he eventually began taking prescribed psychiatric medications. The mental edge that had carried him so far went away, and other fighters were no longer coming in in exactly the right manner to be taken apart by him.

    So the secret of Mike Tysons unbelievable knock out punch had to do with taking advantage of his height to use his legs and come up under his opponent. It also hinged upon the discipline in his lifestyle which was enforced through the friendship of a man who cared about him as a person. And everything changed when fighters figured him out and he no longer had a trainer who could help him solve the issue.

    The lesson here is that when you train in the martial arts, be it boxing or whatever, you must assess your body truthfully, and learn how to avoid its weaknesses and exploit its strengths, not an easy thing to do, but rather requiring an honest and truthful approach to oneself. The second thing you must do is live your life the right way, staying away from people who say they love you, but who act otherwise, this is seen easily if you look at how they treat people in their past. Anybody who utilizes these two principles, being accurate in your assessment of your body and living a good lifestyle, has a chance to develop the hardest punch in the world.

    Al Case has researched martial arts, and the science of striking, for over 40+ years. A writer for the magazines, he is offering a free ebook on the martial arts. You can also visit Punch Em Out if you want a 100 page book which has the secrets of the hardest punch in the world!

    Dec 052009
     

    [I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/AlCase11.jpg]It is commonly held that Gichin Funakoshi brought karate to the modern world. Well, he could be considered to have done so, except that something happened a century ago, that presents a different version of karate history. We’ve got to give Funakoshi credit for what he did, but was his karate the true art?

    I know what I write here is not going to be what a lot of people want to hear, there will be a few people who are going to argue and oppose me. However, the history that I am about to relay did occur, it is the real story. That said, please know that I do respect Gichin Funakoshi, one cannot underestimate his importance.

    In the early’00s of Japan, people, same as people all over, loved the human cockfight. It wasn’t uncommon for people to watch contests between different arts and artists. Certain of these fighters even offered cash prizes to the audience, step up if you think you can beat me.

    One night a Russian strongman issued a challenge to the Japanese audience. One can imagine the sneering challenge, and the surprise when a frumpy, old Okinawan stepped up to the ring and prepared to fight. The year was’21, and the turning point for karate was about to occur.

    Motobu Chōki was in his fifties when he climbed through the ropes. He had studied Karate with all the masters on Okinawa, and he had, when he was young and impetuous, perfected his art in the violent red light districts of his island home. This history, and a daily regimen of mercilessly bashing the makiwara, served him in good stead.

    One punch later, a punch almost too fast to be seen, Motobu climbed out of the ring, the Russian strongman lay sprawled and snoozing the fist snooze. Reporters went wild, wrote their stories, and submitted them to the editors. Editors went wild, and, since they didn’t have any photos of Motobu, but they did have a picture of a guy doing karate, they popped in the wrong picture.

    Gichin Funakoshi, a nondescript teacher from Okinawa, was held up as the guy who did the violent knock out performed by Motobu Choki. And Motobu, though he did teach karate and was responsible for spreading the art, because the media did such a bang up job of investigating, received virtually no credit. And Funakoshi is became famous and shared Karate with the world, yet, it wouldn’t have happened if Motobu hadn’t had the one punch one kill ability.

    Now, you have to ask yourself who has the real karate, a school teacher who benefited from the wrong picture, or a rough cob who got the job done. No, Funakoshi’s karate is not bad, and generations of karateka have contributed to the art. However, there is still that one blot, a hundred years ago, provided by a man whoknew one punch one kill, which argues the concept of who had the True Art.

    Al Case has delved into classical Karate for 4O+ years. He has written hundreds of articles for the magazines, and had his own column in Inside Karate. He is the originator of Matrixing Technology, and you can argue with him, pr perhsp pick up a free ebook, at Monster Martial Arts

    Dec 012009
     

    [I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/AlCase14.jpg]I know, the question is a bit bogus, as one should be comparing arts such as Karate and Aikido merely so as to make them compliment each other. Thus, with that statement made, let us discuss how the fist should wiggle into the glove. No pow and bam, just an honest, up front viewpoint for your edification and enlightenment.

    Karate is supposed to be a linear martial arts, and Aikido is supposed to be designed for the purity of the circle. Yet, if one looks at Karate one will see that perfection of linearity is loose, at best. If Karate could actually adhere to the linear concept, considering how the bones, joints, muscles and so on fit together, the body would probably explode, or, at least fall apart from stress.

    And, on the other hand, if Aikido tried to adhere to the perfect circle, except in the most theoretical of classes, the art would not work. And, to be honest, aikido is not your best art for down and dirty combat. While Aikido is pure and wonderful, and can evolve the practitioner to high levels, one should use a martial art like Karate to enter the fight, then apply aikido.

    The way to look at it is like this, distance collapses in a fight. The circle being made by stepping and circling the arm, and the lever of the extend arm is too long and unwieldy. However, Karate creates a perfect method to work your way to the inside of the fight, where you will find a shorter lever.

    Instead of stepping in and tying a three foot arm circle to a wrist twist, try a hard middle block, slide in and turn the waist. As you turn the waist, bring the arms up to a short position and catch the elbow, shove your shoulder in and go with the flow. Go ahead, try this technical adaptation with a friend, even gaze at a little youtube to get the idea of the arts involved, and you are going to find an instant blend of karate, even the hardest of karate, like Kyukoshinkai, with even the purest of Aikido, even the soft taught by Morihei Uyeshiba.

    Now, the above technique being attempted, the big weakness of Karate is that it is limited, in most modern classes, to destruction. It has been altered to fit the tournament, gloves are used for more violence, and freestyle is given over to fighting for fighting sake. But, maybe you have heard me say it before, while there is an art to destruction, the true art is in control.

    Thus, a study of Aikido, tempered by the things I have written here, will enable you to confront the fiercest violence, and alter that violence into the simplest of workable techniques. You kick, you punch, then you simply embrace your opponent and go with the flow.

    A last word about all this, don’t mistake the throws of Aikido for the throws of judo or jujitsu. While techniques of the ju variety are quick and workable, we want to move from hard to soft complete, and a certain amount of hard is still needed to make most ju techniques work. That all said, I wish you the best with your new art, whether you call it…karido…aikate…your choice.

    Al Case has dissected Karate and Aikido, and other arts, for 40 years. A writer for the magazines, with his own column, since’81, Al is the originator of Matrixing. You can learn more about combining arts, and Matrixing, by getting his free ebook at Monster Martial Arts.

    Nov 292009
     

    [I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/AlCase9.jpg]The problem with freestyle is that it has changed into the simple act of fighting. Sounds contradictory, I know, but I began learning martial arts back in the middle of the last century, and I have seen a different face of freestyle. This was a freestyle that was actually more effective, easier to learn, and made students evolve into better human beings.

    Now, I have nothing against mixed martial arts, or UFC, or learning ground and pound and all the other types of freestyle. Truth, I think some of this stuff would have been awfully useful back when I was first learning the arts. That said, consider the following objections that I have.

    Controlled freestyle in the martial arts effectively died when people started wearing protective gear. Sure, we occasionally wore wraps and things back then, but the purpose was to protect injuries that had already occurred. The breaking point, however, was when school owners began making money selling pads and gloves, they pandered to mothers fears, and this halted little Johnny from learning about the true control possible through the martial arts.

    Bruce Lee really smacked the martial arts hard by introducing bouncing. He watched Mohammad Ali fighting, saw how floating worked, and realized that bouncing disrupted timing, and thus he changed the world of freestyle. Unfortunately, the effect was also that people stopped learning how to gauge timing, and this stopped students from observing a whole fact of life, for time, as you may not have known, is what keeps this universe going.

    With a loss of reality and a degradation of the sense of timing eating at the innards of martial artists, a loss of control was quick to follow. I remember seeing a fellow who had not had but a few lessons in the martial arts taken to a tournament and encouraged to fight, not to get a point, but to beat people. He fought, there were injuries, and control went out the window. And control, control through timing and of reality, is the course of the true martial arts path.

    The final straw behind the death of freestyle had to do with lack of respect. I was taught to bow when I entered the school, and to bow when I got on the mat, and to bow to my classmates and partners, and to bow to the instructor, and it all showed respect. Now there is a bully boy attitude of we’re tough and the hell with the other school, and this derails the art of freestyle, and the art of human compassion.

    I know there will be those who disagree, and, let’s face it, my criticisms must be tempered by the real gains of the new arts, of the mixed martial arts and the ultimate fighting championships. There are things to be learned in the new arts, and, I am not opposed to many of the new training methods. When I see people fighting to hurt one another, showing no control and total lack of respect, I am on the other side, the old side, the side that shows compassion for their fellow man.

    So, let me toss a question into the air, what can you do to create the old attitude of restraint, control and respect? Will tossing away the gloves and pads enable people to take responsibility for the reality of what they are doing, and get rid of harmful attitudes? And, doing what i have prescribed here, can you still make the art work?

    Al Case has taught martial arts for 40 years. A writer for the mags, with his own column, Al is the originator of Matrixing and Neutronics. He is giving away a free ebook about Matrixing at Monster Martial Arts.

    Nov 182009
     

    [I:http://mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/AlCase12.jpg]When you learn real martial arts fighting, there are certain truths about how to survive. One of the truths is that the human mental apparatus doesn’t usually work well when it is getting bashed, and survival mode kicks in. Fighters who survive by the amount of adrenaline kicked in would have you believe that this is the point of it all, but it is not, it is the worst thing that could happen.

    As a species we don’t have claws, or smells, or quills, or jaws, or any particular physical attribute that would help us survive, except that beasty we call a mind. It is the mind that solves problems, it is the mind that helps us adapt to any situation. It is this thing called a mind that we must learn how to control if we are to reach our full potential as humans in the fighting mode.

    One must control fighting distances, by controlling distances we have choice as to what weapon we can use. The way to do this is to attach a string from your belt to his, and practice moving so that the string stays stretched but never breaks. Now, practice moving in this manner, and within a short time your body will move in concert with the other persons body because it likes the fact of harmony.

    Second, we must control the harmony of the leg movements. The best leg positioning is when the legs match, which is to say his right leg is forward and so is yours, the second best position is when they oppose, which is to say his right leg is forward, and your left leg is forward. The way to train yourself to always have matching stance is merely to walk with the string, and practice matching your stance to his.

    We must control how the arms move, again, in a matching or opposing sense. No string needed for this particular exercise, but you do have to be aware of distance, you have to match the movement of your partners arms as he closes distance. The way to do this is merely to control the set up of the stances and to practice matching arm motions.

    We must analyze movement and positioning and discover what techniques work best for matching and for opposing. Yes, you want to have a matching stance, but whatever happens, you should be able to train yourself to work from within the situation. The trick is in a basic matrixing principle, to realize that whether you are in a matching or opposing mode, your arm will be either inside or outside of his, and you must find that technique that your positioning can grow into.

    We must make everything work as if it was designed to work in unison. This would appear difficult, except that if you have worked on the individual exercises I have described here, then the whole thing comes together easy squeezy. The body, you see, even while it is being put upon, likes to work as a well oiled and harmonious unit.

    Control the distances of a fight, control the arrangement of stance through positioning, control arms by understanding whether they are inside or outside, this is simple stuff, but entirely overlooked by todays MMA fighters. But if you do understand what I have said in this article, however then you will rise to the front of the pack, for you are putting awareness and the ability to think into reality. Whether you study Uechi or Krav Maga, kenpo or tae kwon do, Aikido or Arnis, the truths in this article, the hint of matrix martial arts that I have shared, will make you a better fighter…an immensely and fantastically better fighter!

    Al Case has studied martial arts for 40 years. A writer for the magazines since’81, he is the originator of Matrixing Technology. If you want to learn how to fight like a thinking maniac visit Al at http://blindingsteel.com. If you already know how to fight, take advantage of his free ebook at Monster Martial Arts.

    Oct 272009
     

    [I:http://www.mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/AlCase9.jpg]I know there will be people who will disagree with me, but I was there forty years ago, and I know the truth. The truth is that the karate fighters of forty years ago, students of Shotokan and Wado Ryu and Uechi Ryu, and especially Kyokushinkai, could have taken todays mixed martial arts fighters apart quickly and easily. There are quite a few reasons for this, and I will go over just one of the main ones in this article.

    Before I tread where fans don’t know about…let me say that yesterdays culture was drug free, full of physical cultists, and we had our share of martial maniacs. We did things that todays martial artists would not dare to do. All of the things that were done were done with fanaticism and dedication far beyond that shown by todays UFC fighters.

    One of the most important things was that we didn’t stop our training and do something else just because we might get tired. Cross training was something you did for fun, go hiking with the fellows, or something like that. No, if we were going to have the toughest strikes we would just stay in the dojo and pound the fist against the makiwara, and know that when training got tiring was when the fists got tougher.

    Toughening the fists, contrary to todays scared cat run to the doctor for a bruise types, was done with relentless dedication. We would hit soft, but continually, taking the time to massage the fist and flicking it to keep it from turning hard and inflexible. Eventually the fist, without becoming injured, would become so hard and tough that the famous one strike punch was a reality.

    Heck, you see some vague hints of this type of conditioning today. You see people who can break thick stacks of bricks, boards, and what have you. These people have touched upon the true power that fanatic, dedicated training can result in.

    The only MMA fighter in recent years who showed any touch of the degree of mental toughness required for true Karate, a fellow name of Luke, was shown pounding upon boulders with his hammerfist. In the ring, he showed a doggedness and determination above his fellow competitors. More important, he showed a fist that overcame any lack of ability and threatened to do some very real damage, if he had just concentrated his training in that direction for any year or so.

    Have you heard of Mas Oyama, or other martial artists of his time? They would stand under freezing waterfalls in the dead of winter, commanding their bodies to an enduring toughness quite unknown to todays fighters. In Mas Oyamas case, he disabled or outright killed around fifty bulls, and I haven’t heard of any MMA fighters killing any bulls lately.

    You think that big, high school wrestler bully type is tough? If you train with the dedication and fanaticism of the old time fighters found in martial arts such as Wado, or Isshin, or Uechi, or Shotokan, then you would know that todays grappler is nothing compared to stepping into a ring with a live and snorting old bull. And the only way to deal with those old bulls was to snap the horns off their boney heads, or just kill them dead.

    Al Case has studied martial arts for 4O+ years, written dozens of articles for the magazines, and written the ultimate book on having The Most Powerful Punch in the Universe! Visit him at Monster Martial Arts.

    Oct 112009
     

    [I:http://www.mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/AlCase8.jpg]Luke, Feel the Force. Close Your Eyes, Luke. May the Force be with you.

    Wow, something really neat, like an invisible ocean that surrounds you. And everything in the universe was built out of this ocean stuff! And, heck, if you train at the Jedi Academy…you can control the Force!

    Well, now that we?ve completed the introduction to basic Martial Arts, we can get down to the reality. Chi, or Ki, is an invisible ocean of subtle energy from which everything in the universe is made. And, oh yeah, you can learn to do what you want with it.

    The difference, of course, between the movie and the reality is that one you get fat over popcorn with, and the other one takes hard work. And, of course, the movie stuff never seems to come true.

    But, what the heck! You got to spend a sawbuck, and then rent it for a fiver, and then see it on cable for a buck, then, finally, see it for free, uh, with a few dozen advertisements to break it up and editing so you don?t see the good stuff, and so on! The question, however, is when are you going to start doing the work and make that stuff you see in the movie come true?

    So, they have these things called instructional courses that you can get on DVDs. To get into a field of study, such as Kenpo or Krav Maga or Ninjitsu or, the list goes on, and a DVD will cost you about as much as a movie. The difference, of course, is that you are paying for the movie every time you want to get nothing done for a few hours, and once you have the martial arts DVD there is no more cost, it?s like the difference between renting a car and owning a car.

    Now comes the fun part of this whole thing, you actually get to accomplish something and get somewhere. You are no longer weighting down a couch and stuffing yourself with endless amounts of popcorn, you are now able to hone your body into a sleek exotic car that runs good, drives the chicks (guys, if you?re a girl) wild, and that good conditioning is going to last you long into your lifetime. Slowly, a chunk of time here or a few minutes there, you copy the DVD, go along with the instructions, and, zingo bingo, you feel the changes.

    Good health starts to permeate the ocean of your body, infecting your hearing and vision, and you can work longer, harder, and more efficiently. Discipline takes over you, making you able to conquer new tasks, tasks which you previously thought daunting and difficult. And, here is the fun part, the world starts changing to match the new you…new friends, more money, the ability to make enough money to go to the best restaurants, maybe a real play, maybe a huge sporting event…and now the Force is with you.

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    Oct 092009
     

    There is this thing called The True Art, or The Perfect Art, or The Way. Oddly, though most every martial artist refers to it, there has never been a real definition for it. Until now.

    After all, if there is a definition for the concept of perfection of art, it will make it that much easier to attain. It is always much easier to find something if you know where it is, or, in the specific of this case, what it is. Thus, the intent of this article is to provide a definition, and hope that it will speed up your progress to The True Art.

    One of the first definitive things I ever hard concerning attaining The True Art was that it can?t be heard. I found this interesting, because while it provided proper instruction in the case of developing an Aikido shoulder roll, it didn?t necessarily hold true in the case of spirit shout, or Kiai. However, I eventually realized that placing the foot firmly without causing excessive sound provided for a purer transmission of energy from and to the ground, and thus was somewhat true, and I was on The Way.

    Another thing I heard was that The True Art cannot be felt. For years I struggled with this, working my way through such concepts as the most gained for the least effort (Economy of Motion–Wing Chun). Finally I realized that the concept in the Tao–Do nothing until nothing is left undone–did have some veracity in it.

    A tough concept for me to get was that The True Art could not be seen. This was a killer, and summed up by one person I met through the oblique statement that energy is invisible. But, with enough practice, you do start to move in a different time frame than other citizens of the universe, the practice of the martial arts does establish a different universe that does coincide, yet be superior to, the universe in which we all live.

    Finally, there is my personal method for encouraging people on this subject of defining The Path of The True Art. I advise students that The True Art is like a wobbling wheel, the less wobble, the more True it is. Thus, through the marriage of physics and our bodies, real time physics can be applied to the measurement and analysis of our motions.

    Now, thus far, we have a definition that can?t be felt, heard, or seen, but can, after a fashion, be measured. Combine that with the definition of chi (it is everything and everywhere, but it cannot be seen), or even the definition of God (that which cannot be named), and we have something that is real in the abstract, and which can be measured. And in this delineation we have a definition of The True Art.

    In the end, having measured the worth of our art and having sought to perfect our art, we achieve The True Art. The question is how long is it going to take to achieve this noble goal? The measuring methods laid down by our ancestors often seem mysterious, and so tend to obfuscate as much as enlighten. However, through a study of the religion of physics we can understand the mysticism, and thus our path can, indeed, be a speedy path.

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    Oct 052009
     

    [I:http://www.mymartialartsblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/AlCase5.jpg]Yoon Bying In wanted to study kung fu more than anything he had ever wanted, yet the kung fu master in his town refused to teach Koreans. Time after time Yoon had been caught peeking in windows at the classes, and he had been chased away by the master. Then Yoon was struck by a fantastic idea.

    During class he snuck up and arranged the shoes of the students in a neat line on the front porch. He then retreated and watched for the master of kung fu to step out of the school and find them. The kung fu master was pleased at this display of respect, and he wondered what polite citizen had done such a polite thing.

    Yoon continued doing this day after day, and, eventually, the kung fu master found out who it was. In this way Yoon became accepted, and the only Korean so accepted to study kung fu in this town. He threw himself into his studies and proved bright and strong in many ways.

    Yoon grew older and went to college. He like to practice his kung fu on a tree, and he pounded on the tree so mercilessly that the tree eventually began to bend over. One day a fellow student came running up to him.

    We are both Korean, and you must come to my assistance. Those Japanese martial arts students are trying to get me. At that moment a band of the Japanese martial arts practitioners came across the campus.

    Yoon stepped forth and told the students that the martial arts should be studied for peaceful purposes. Immediately, the students challenged him and tried to beat him up. Using his kung fu Yoon moved skillfully and blocked the strikes and managed to avoid combat without hurting anybody.

    The instructor who taught these students heard of Yoon, and, upon meeting Yoon, became friends with him. Eventually, Yoon went to study Karate in Japan with Toyama Kanken, who had studied with the fabulous Ankoh Itosu. Toyama was so impressed he traded martial arts knowledge with Yoon, and made him an advanced instructor in the Shudokan, which Yoon taught upon his return to Korea.

    Yoon contributed greatly to Karate, causing the founding of the Kang Duk Won and contributing to the fund of knowledge which became Tae Kwon Do. Eventually he was swept up by the Korean war, where he became a prisoner of war and was forced to work in a cement factory. It is rumored that he never returned home, yet his contributions will always be embedded in the DNA of Karate.

    About the Author: