Advanced Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan Korean Terminology
For pronunciation please click the megaphone. Pronunciation is computer generated courtesy of Google Translate which uses a conversational tone which is not ideal for a Martial Arts environment. For comparison try using Google Translate to pronounce some English.
Send feedback / typos/ comments to webmaster at devitakarate. Also, be sure to check the references section at the bottom of this page as well as the notes sections linked in the table. A pdf of this page is available here. Tae Kwon Do info is here.
There are (at least) three different official systems for writing Korean words using western characters (Romanization): The system of the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST), developed around 2000; the McCune-Reischauer system developed in the 1930s; and the Yale system developed in the 1940s and used in linguistics. On the internet there are many home-grown transliterations of Korean and most don’t match any of the official systems. (see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanization_of_Korean)
Romanization is an imperfect guide to pronunciation, since Korean contains many allophones which are pronounced somewhat between the corresponding English letters, or require an aspirated pronunciation. For example in “바로baro,” meaning “as you were,” the “b” is pronounced midway between a “b” and a “p”, making it a “soft b” or an “un-aspirated p” – “pa without an exhale” – and the “r” is pronounced partly as an “l” – i.e. like an “r” but with the tongue up and forward like an “el.” To native English speakers “바로/baro” might sound like “baro” or “balo” or “paro” or ”palo,” where it’s actually not quite any of these.
These words sound the same and are written the same in Hangul but have different meanings and origins. If their meaning is not clear from context, the Hanja is often used for clarification.
Do (도) may mean “path” or “way” from the Chinese Dào (道); or it may mean “knife / sword” from the Chinese Dāo (刀). These two words are pronounced in Chinese with different intonation, but they are pronounced the same in Korean. This list is not exhaustive and Do (도) can be any of these: 倒 刂 到 匋 叨 咷 啕 嘟 図 圖 圗 堵 塗 壔 導 屠 島 嶋 度 弢 徒 忉 悼 慆 挑 掉 掏 搗 搯 擣 桃 棹 檮 櫂 洮 涂 淘 渡 滔 濤 燾 盜 睹 祷 禱 稌 稲 稻 綢 纛 菟 萄 覩 賭 跳 蹈 逃 途 都 酴 鍍 闍 陶 鞀 鞱 韜 饕 鼗 都
Kwan or Gwan (권) can be: “school” from the Chinese guǎn (馆); or “official” from the Chinese guān (官); or “spear” (as in “to pass through or pierce”) from the Chinese guàn (貫).
Gi or Ki (기) can mean: “Flag” (Chinese: Qí 旗) as in Gug-gi; “Technique” (Jì 技) as in Su-gi; “Device” (Qì 器) as in Mugi (Mu=martial, gi=device); “Spirit/Energy/force” (Qì 氣) as in Chi or Young-gi (brave spirit (勇氣) = courage). Gi can also be a nominalizer – see below.
Jang or Jhang (장) can mean: “leader/head of” (Zhǎng 長) as in Kwan Jhang Nim; “long” (also 長) as in Jang Cap Kwon; “palm” (Zhǎng 掌) as in Jang Kwan; “meeting place” (Chǎng 場) as in Do Jang.
Hwa (sometime Hua) (화) can mean “flower” (Huā 花); “fire” (Huǒ 火); “Magnificent” (Huá 華); or “gentle” (Hé 和);
Gi (기) can be used as “nominalizer” – adding “기” to a verb turns it into a noun. For example: Mag-gi (막기) turns the verb Mag-da (막다) which means “to shield” or “to defend” or “to protect” into “a block.” See: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%EB%A7%89%EB%8B%A4
Techniques are referred to variously as “Bup / Beob” (Hangul: 법 / Hanja: 法) meaning “method”; Gi (Hangul: 기 / Hanja: 技) as in “Su gi” meaning technology or technique; or sometimes “Sik/Sig” (Hangeul: 식 / Hanja: 式) meaning type or style.
Tae Kwo Do info:
Much of this terminology does not apply to Tae Kwon Do practitioners. Tae Kwon Do is a result of the unification of various Korean martial arts systems. This unification started in the late 1950s and resulted in many changes, including the “Korean-ization” of the terminology. Many “Sino-Korean” terms were dropped in favor of native Korean equivalents. For example Pumsae (품새) is used in place of Hyung (형/形), jileugi (지르기) in place of gong-gyeog (공격/攻擊), etc. See the references section for some Tae Kwon Do terminology collections.