sensible is to strike a hard target with a softer weapon-the palm
heel, for example. Conversely, Taekkyon teaches that an attack to
the fleshy mid-section is more effective if the striker uses
a hard weapon such as the knee or elbow. Lee Yong-bok explains that,
unlike most other fighting styles which advocate performing a linear
technique and then finishing it, Taekkyon teaches students
to continue techniques past their potential point of impact.
In a violent encounter, Taekkyon strategy teaches that a person
should stand directly in front of his attacker and move with a rhythmic
motion that allows a quick, evasive slip to either side. In contrast
to the linear movements in Taekwondo and other Korean arts, the
Taekkyon student's body constantly moves forward and backward, to
the left and to the right. Lee Yong-bok describes this strategy
as the first skill of Taekkyon: staying away from the attacker's
According to this logic, evasion is superior to blocking
as long as an opponent's attack fails to make contact,
his power does not matter.
Taekkyon fighters move with
a rhythm which beginning students sometimes learn while traditional
Korean drums and bamboo flutes keep time. This rhythmical motion
into and out of attack range further differentiates the style from
all others. Similar movements have been found in the "tal chum",
the centuries-old Korean mask dance. Herein lies another of Taekkyon's
differences: During this continuous body motion, the arms constantly
move up and down, out and back, and from side to side, confusing
the opponent as to exact target locations. When combined with nimble
footwork in four directions and occasional evasive jumping, a Taekkyon
stylist becomes more difficult to hit.
have proved so effective that the style does not even include among
its hand strikes a traditional jab or reverse punch. The kicks are
so legendary that, for hundreds of years the name of the art was
synonymous with foot-fighting. However, the kicks bear little resemblance
to the typical spinning and jumping maneuvers glorified in tournaments
and film. Instead, Taekkyon leg techniques are simple and direct,
focusing on linear moves but including limited usage of circular
and spinning kicks. Taekkyon has traditionally emphasized stepping
and stamping techniques directed at the opponent's lower legs and
In contrast to the intensity of Taekkyon when it
existed only for combat, modern practice limits the damage that
may be inflicted upon fellow students.
Lee explains the traditional
rules of friendly Taekkyon competition, probably developed within
the past 100 years, as follows:Custom (greeting and bowing) comes
first. Pressure-point attacks are not allowed. Light to medium contact
is allowed. Leg-grabbing and take downs are allowed. Kicking above
the neck is allowed. Trapping with the hands is allowed. Jumping
and kicking with both legs is allowed. Knocking out one leg with
a kick is allowed.
Under the system Shin Han-seung systematized,
Taekkyon training progresses through three steps. The first is "honja ikhigi",
or training by oneself in basic movements and techniques. The second
is called "maju megigi", or practice of more difficult and realistic
techniques with a partner. The third is "gyeon
jugi", or sparring. It teaches
what can only be learned in simulated combat when the defender does
not know his opponent's actions or reactions.
it seems obvious that Taekkyon is the only plausible candidate for
the descendant of ancient "subak". Its verifiable history of at least 150
years, during which its name was used in historical records, far
exceeds that of any other Korean martial art. It is the only Korean
fighting system that cannot be easily connected to modern Japanese
and Chinese martial arts, and its skills and techniques greatly
differ from those of other modern Korean styles. The evidence presented
above persuaded the Korean Cultural Property Preservation Bureau
that Taekkyon was a unique and historical martial art. Unfortunately,
it is doubtful the arguments will ever convince masters or students
of competing Korean styles that Taekkyon is Korea's oldest fighting
Origin of Taekkyon
histories of the various Korean martial arts differ
from those of other countries. Certain individuals claimed to have
been the sole creators of most Japanese, Chinese and Okinawan styles.
Koreans do not teach that their arts had a purposeful, directed
creation, but rather a gradual evolution. And so it is with Taekkyon.
One of the few current experts in the skills and history of Taekkyon
is Lee Yong-bok of Pusan, Korea. According to him, the fighting
arts have evolved alongside mankind ever since he has had to coexist
with other men. Human nature itself made this necessary. One person
alone cannot take responsibility.
It was more than 5,000 years ago
when humans started migrating to the Korean peninsula from the adjacent
parts of China. Quite some time after that, a distinct fighting
art slowly began to develop. It was called "maen
son mu yea" or empty-hand
martial art. Whether it was brought in from China by immigrants
or actually started in Korea is not certain. But over time, maen
son mu yea must have diverged from any possible connection it might
have had with another art, making it the first distinctly Korean
earliest verifiable evidence yet found is a painting in a
from the Goguryo dynasty (fifth and sixth centuries A.D.). On the
wall near the dead member of the royal family is a scene depicting
Taekkyon self-defense techniques.
One man is attacking with
a front kick as his opponent traps his leg with one arm and strikes
his chest with the other. Further evidence suggests Taekkyon was
taught to public servants, whether they agreed or not. And while
it could be argued that the differences between the styles are too
slight to allow exact determination of Taekkyon from a mere stone
carving or wall painting, historians tend to support Taekkyon in
A Joseon dynasty scholar named Shin
Chae-ho devoted a great deal of his life to the history of Taekkyon.
Among his conclusions was that this was the martial art of the nobility
during the Goguryo period for reasons of both personal defense and
physical well-being. The Hwarang warriors of the Silla dynasty were
famous throughout Korea. Over the centuries, their martial art came
to be known as hwarang-do, at least in the West. But Shin contended
that these young warriors were really trained in Taekkyon, and it
was only after their amazingly successful exploits became legend
that their art's name was altered in their honor. Another of his
claims, sure to be disputed by followers of other arts, is that
the ancient art of Taekkyon was, in fact, the inspiration for some
styles in neighboring Japan and China. Specifically, judo's locks
and throws and drunkard-style kung fu's hand techniques are identical
to Taekkyon movements, he wrote.
Written records from the
countries of the region all lend support to the historical importance
of Taekkyon. Chinese books state that the "Han" people
(in Korean, "Han guk" means the Korean nation) were strong,
brave and skilled in the martial arts. It also says their art was
likely to have influenced those in China. Ancient Korean history
texts tell how all styles flourished during the Koguryo period,
even to the point where the king was practicing Taekkyon. Other
documents verify this. And finally, old writings from China, Japan
and Korea give accounts of a type of martial arts competition held
in the Baekje region of Korea. They noted the remarkable similarities
of the styles of the three countries, pointing to the great influence
that Taekkyon had had.
But as all things in life do, Taekkyon
reached its peak. The king and his court were practicing it. Soldiers
drilled daily in the deadly aspects of it. And even the common man
enjoyed it for its defensive techniques mixed with dance-like rhythms.
But with the advance of technology came the introduction of firearms.
No longer would hand-to-hand combat be so essential a factor in
warfare. And so began the stagnation and eventual decline of Taekkyon.
The military abandoned it first, and then the royalty. Only
commoners continued, until Taekkyon came to be called the martial
art for the average man. And for quite some time after that, things
remained as such.
Perhaps the darkest period in Korean
history was from 1910 to 1945, when Japanese forces occupied the
entire nation. All forms of art and culture, including Taekkyon,
were suppressed in the hopes of destroying the people's strong nationalistic
spirit. Historical accounts tell how a sword-wielding Japanese soldier
was attacked and killed by a Korean man. The victor was armed only
with Taekkyon. Subsequently, the Japanese military outlawed all
practice and teaching of it, partly out of revenge and partly out
of fear. So, as with so many other martial arts in the world, Taekkyon
went underground. It was secretly and diligently practiced, improved
and handed down to a select few individuals. As the number of students
at times fell to zero, the art balanced on the verge of extinction.
Present-day Taekkyon owes its existence to one man named Song
Duk-ki. Throughout the entire period of occupation, he persevered
for the sake of the preservation of his art. He most often practiced
alone in his home under cover of night. His only hope was to find
a suitable person to whom he could pass his skills. Finally he was
able to recruit a single student as dedicated as himself--Shin Han-seung.
For many years, these two were the only people in the world with
any detailed knowledge of Taekkyon.
It was not until 1968 that the public
was exposed to Taekkyon.
It took that long for Song and Shin
to completely organize and systematize the art and their teaching
method, and to prepare the facilities necessary for instruction.
It was also in that year that a kind of martial arts "feud"
erupted between the followers
of Taekwondo and Taekyon, which
in a way helped with the publicity drive. Both tried for approval
as Intangible Cultural Assets, and both claimed to be the only traditional
martial art of Korea. Taekkyon declared that it was the original
creation, while opponents insisted that Taekkyon was merely a subset
of Taekwondo. In the end, an impartial board ruled that the
two arts were, in fact, different, but neither one was proclaimed
a cultural asset.
The years following that were rather
uneventful. Limited public instruction was resumed, but it met mostly
with apathy and rejection from the martial arts community. Few seemed
interested in an art that had been dormant for such a long time
while other styles had spread throughout the world. In 1983, Taekkyon
got an unexpected boost from the Korean government. Finally, after
many years of continuing negotiations, tae kyon officially became
Intangible Cultural Asset No. 76. Additionally this qualified the
two masters for government aid for the purpose of educating the
public about the art. Many hoped it would lead to a rebirth of this
dying martial art. But so far, Taekkyon is still nearly lost in
obscurity, somehow evading the spotlight and likely to continue
to do so.
3. History of Taekkyon
should be noted that many Korean writers use the terms "subak"
and "taekkyon" somewhat interchangeably when describing martial
arts prior to the Yi dynasty. In reality, subak is the correct term
for this period because the name taekkyon was not recorded until
the 18th or 19th century. Over the centuries, subak has been called
"subak ki" and "subyeok ta", and taekkyon has been known as "takkkyeon",
"gak sul" and
"bigak sul". Further illustrating the way some Koreans imprecisely
apply one style name to other martial arts is Hwarang Kee's use
of the term subak ki to describe the martial arts of historical
Korea, Japan, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, India
and China. His English-language book uses the term tang soo do because
that appellation is more popular in the West. In this article, the
term subak will be used until historical records specifically name
Researchers generally believe subak
was first practiced in Korea in the northern regions of the Goguryo
dynasty (37 B.C. - A.D. 668). The territory, extending hundreds
of miles north of the Yalu River, now forms part of Chinese Manchuria.
Early in the 20th century, Shin Chae-ho (1880-1936), a Korean scholar
exiled to China, wrote that Goguryo people practiced subak, swordsmanship,
spear fighting and horse riding.
In 1935 archaeologists
discovered proof of ancient martial arts in several burial mounds
near the town of Jian in China's Jilin province. It is now believed
the tombs were erected by Goguryo-dynasty Koreans between 3 and
427. The oldest physical evidence of martial arts in Korea is painted
on the walls of three of them: Gak Jeo Chong, Sam Shil Chong and
Mu Yong Chong. Richard Chun wrote that the murals indicate that
people of the Goguryo dynasty practiced subak as a martial art.
"Evidence of the practice of taekkyon [subak] has been found
in paintings on the ceiling of the Mu Yong Chong, a royal tomb from
the Koguryo dynasty". Choi Hong-hi, the father of modern taekwondo
and a noted scholar of Korean martial arts, wrote that the mural
in Gak Jeo Tomb was painted during the reign of the 10th king of
Goguryo and showed subak sparring.
Despite depictions in
tomb art and occasional mentions in government records, scholars
have been unable to determine exactly which techniques or fighting
methods composed subak. Records of the Goguryo dynasty, most of
which were not written until the Yi dynasty (1393-1910), suffer
from a lack of detail. Tomb paintings show generic poses and primitive
techniques not easily identified as part of any modern martial art.
The evidence indicates that empty-hand fighting arts were practiced
in Goguryo, but we cannot know for certain what they were or how
closely they are related to modern styles.
Silla and United Silla Dynasties
History tells that the Silla kingdom
(57 B.C. - A.D. 668), located in the southern portion of the Korean
peninsula, received its first taste of northern subak from a battalion
of soldiers and advisors sent by Goguryo. After Silla appealed for
help against the continual harassment by the Japanese pirates, King
Gwanggaeto, the 19th in the line of Goguryo monarchs, sent a force
of 50,000 soldiers into neighboring Silla to help the smaller kingdom
drive out the pirates. It is at this time that taekkyon [subak]
is thought to have been introduced to Silla's warrior class.
The citizens of Silla developed a great affinity for subak and refined
the skills into a more effective military art. It was embraced by
the military and widely taught throughout the kingdom. These taekkyon-trained
warriors became known as the hwarang. They adopted taekkyon [subak]
as part of their basic training regimen. The Hwarang ... were encouraged
to travel throughout the peninsula in order to learn about the regions
and people. These traveling warriors were responsible for the spread
of taekkyon [subak] throughout Korea during the United Silla dynasty,
which lasted from A.D. 668 to A.D. 935.
The Hwarang (Flowering
Knights) were a group of aristocratic teenage boys selected for
their physical beauty and bodily strength. Han described their existence
as a "survival of the youth bands of tribal times ... dedicated
... to preparing to serve the state in war". When the Hwarang
were not engaged in ritual song and dance, they drilled in the arts
of war, primarily swordsmanship, archery and spear-fighting. Secondary
training included empty-hand striking and grappling techniques.
The eventual unification of the three kingdoms--Silla, Baekje and
Goguryo--into the United Silla kingdom attests to the warriors'
No records specifically describe the martial arts
of the Hwarang fighters. They probably called their empty-hand striking
and grappling skills subak, just as Koreans had for the past several
hundred years. It is uncertain if they had a special term to denote
their weapons techniques. Lee Yong-bok points out that it is ridiculous
to believe that the Hwarang relied mainly upon empty-hand martial
arts in battle, as many Korean masters argue. Empty-hand skills
would certainly have been but a minor adjunct to their military
training and battlefield survival. Therefore, we cannot say subak
was the martial art of the Hwarang; it was merely one portion of
their combat repertoire.
The Hwarang's greatest contribution
to the fighting arts was more spiritual that martial. Before their
existence, Korean fighting skills lacked a philosophical dimension.
The Hwarang warriors' dedication to Mireuk Buddha (Sanskrit: Maitreya),
the Buddha of the Future, caused this to change. Han wrote: "Quite
often Buddhist monks were instructors of the Hwarang. The monk Won
Gwang, in fact, was the author of the famous Sesok
Ogye, or Five Tenets". Composed
around 602, they constituted the Way of the Hwarang:
¡æServe one's king with loyalty.
¡æLook after one's parents with
¡æTreat one's peers with trust.
¡æWithstand enemy attacks with
life with discrimination.
The Five Tenets spiritually strengthened the knights and, by augmenting
their fighting skills with Buddhist philosophy and moral precepts,
transformed them into true martial arts. Some argue that only then
did subak and the various weapons systems cease to be merely methods
for destroying enemies and become true martial arts with philosophical
value and an attitude of charity and compassion. Choi Hong-hi agrees:
"It appears that the warriors of Hwarang added a new dimension
to [subak] by ... infusing the principles of the Hwarang-do. The
new mental concept ... elevated foot fighting to an art".
Another often-cited example of Korean martial arts during the
Silla dynasty is the GumGang Yuksa Buddhist images. In a chapter
about Korean fighting arts, authors Draeger and Smith wrote, "The
statues of Gumgang Gwon at the entrance to the Sokkul-am ... show
typical fighting postures". Likewise, Choi Hong-hi wrote, "The
statue of Gumkang Yuksa, a famous warrior, [stands] in Sukulam,
a stone cave built in the age of Silla. Notice the similarities
in form between the Gumgang Yuksa and present day taekwondo".
Even Hwang Kee printed in the English version of his textbook a
caption under a photo of Gumgang Yuksa reading "Statue of a
General from the Shin Ra [Silla] Dynasty practicing subak ki".
In reality, the Gumgang Yuksa statues have no relationship
to martial arts. Archaeologists have discovered the relatively common
images across Buddhist Asia, from India to China to Korea. They
actually portray Buddhist guardian deities, called Vajradhara in
Sanskrit. Lee Yong-bok wrote, "The In Wang statues [Gumgang
Yuksa] are from China and India; they are not evidence of Korean
martial arts." Lee explained that both guardians originally
held a spear in their hands, but when the images were transplanted
to Korea, artists did not replicate the weapons. The resulting clenched
hands resemble closed fists, thus appearing as empty-hand martial
arts poses. Had the spears been reproduced, supporters might not
be so insistent. Even if die-hard proponents insist the carvings
are actual martial poses, their documented presence in China and
India would indicate that Silla-dynasty fighting arts had originated
in one of those countries, not in Korea.
As the United Silla dynasty gave way to the Goryo
dynasty (935-1392), subak continued to fare well among members of
the Korean military. Numerous historical records in the Goryo Sa
(History of Goryo) briefly mention subak while describing official
court functions and military training. Another historical text reported
that, during the 12th century, a man named Eui Mu was skilled in
subak and loved by the 16th king of Goryo. Because of his martial
arts ability, Eui Mu was promoted to general.
wrote that another book recorded that King Chung Hye (r. 1339-1344)
watched a subak performance as part of military celebration. The
soldiers so impressed the king that he sought out the most-skilled
instructors and began to practice the art. Shortly thereafter, popular
empty-hand fighting competitions pitted five-soldier teams against
each other. The event, called "o-byeong subak-hi," helped
make subak better known among spectating government officials.
Subak's popularity did not last long, however, for the next
king, Chung Mok (r. 1344-1348), outlawed its practice by civilians.
He was motivated by frequent incidents in which onlookers wagered
outrageous prizes, including money, houses, even wives. Chung Mok
set the penalty for betting on subak matches at 100 strikes across
the buttocks with a wooden paddle. Recipients of the beatings often
died of infection.
Goryo-dynasty soldiers practiced subak
as a compulsory supplement to weapons training. For this reason,
it is not surprising that the focus of the art shifted toward quick
and lethal attack methods. The military organized national competitions
to motivate troops to develop their combat skills and fitness levels,
and to evaluate them for promotion.
Researchers have discovered
no specific records of any other martial arts in the early part
of the Goryo dynasty, so we can assume that subak still included
all its original kicks, punches, joint locks, throws and pressure-point
strikes. Even though evidence indicates the art spawned the grappling
sport of ssirum as early as the Goguryo dynasty, subak training
in the Goryo dynasty still consisted of striking and grappling.
Yet during the later part of the Goryo dynasty, or possibly
during the early years of the Yi dynasty, masters specializing in
different aspects of subak went their separate ways. Park wrote,
"Subak as an art became fragmented and diffused throughout
the country, and its practice continued to decline until only incomplete
remnants remained". Sources indicate that yu sul, a soft art
ultimately derived from the Chinese art of sho buo (subak), became
popular in the 12th century, then went extinct early in the 19th
century. In 1945 historian An Ja-san wrote a text titled Chosun
Mu Sa Yeong Ung Jeon, in which he detailed the lives and exploits
of military heroes of the Chosun (Yi) dynasty. Choi Hong-hi wrote
that An's book stated, "The yu sul school was known under the
name of subak ki .
Sometime after yu sul separated, the
subset of remaining subak skills, which contained mostly striking
techniques, became known as taekkyon. At times, pronunciation of
the same two Chinese characters varied to "taekkyon,"
but both meant "push shoulder". Hwang succinctly described
the origin of the kicking art: "Taekkyon developed from ancient
tang soo do [subak]" . Contrary to some historical accounts
of the development of the Korean martial arts, subak/taekkyon was
never called tang soo, kong soo or taekwon. Those arts actually
developed independently and quite recently, and were based mostly
upon the Japanese interpretation of Okinawan karate.
Scholars cannot pinpoint the exact date on which
the Yi-dynasty (1392-1910) text titled Man Mul Bo (a.k.a. Je Mul
Bo) was written, nor can they verify that Yi Seong-ji, the suspected
author, was actually responsible for those four volumes of Chosun-dynasty
lore. However, they have examined in detail the work's contents
(history, law, medical learning, etc.) and found a short entry under
taekkyon. It may have been the first time the fighting art's name
was rendered in Hangul, the phonetic script created in 1446 by King
Sejong. Before that, the name had always been written in Chinese
As the Yi dynasty progressed, specific references
to taekkyon began to occur more frequently. Historical documents
tell how the third king of the dynasty (r. 1401-1408) recruited
experts in taekkyon, ssirum wrestling and archery to help organize
the army. The 32nd volume of Tae Jong Shil Lok recorded that, beginning
in 1410, the court organized several military parades which featured
taekkyon demonstrations. Centuries later, such a performance might
have inspired Kim Hong-do, a popular 18th-century Korean folk artist,
to create his royal palace grounds painting of a crowd of aristocrats
observing a taekkyon sparring match.
A better-known Korean
folk painting dating from the later Yi dynasty again shows taekkyon
and even refers to it by name. Its title is Dae Kwae Do, or competition
painting, and it now hangs in the Seoul National University museum.
Painter Hye-san Yu-suk, who lived from 1827 to 1873, is thought
to have created the work around 1846. Dae Kwae Do depicts two men
sparring and two others grappling, while a group of "yang ban,"
or aristocrats, looks on. The painting's legend specifically names
the arts as taekkyon and ssirum wrestling.
The Joseon Wang
Jo Shil Lok, a historical book detailing the lives of Yi-dynasty
kings, often mentions taekkyon. It describes how, in the middle
and later parts of the dynasty, soldiers' examinations included
spear fighting, archery and taekkyon, and how front-line soldiers
were sometimes selected from among winners of taekkyon fighting
One of the world's oldest martial arts instructional
manuals was reportedly authored around 1759 by a Korean named Cheok
Gye-gwang. Titled Mu Yea Do Bo Tong Ji, it describes and illustrates
in exacting detail every fighting skill Cheok could research. Although
one chapter focuses on empty-hand fighting, most of the book discusses
weapons techniques, including broadsword, saber, spear, halberd,
trident and others too obscure to name.
Nearly all modern
Korean arts claim Mu Yea Do Bo Tong Ji as proof of the historicity
of their styles. Yet many researchers point out that most of the
weapons discussed are distinctly Chinese, and that even the empty-hand
techniques resemble the Chinese way of fighting. In his book, Song
Duk-ki called Cheok Gye-gwang a Chinese national and discredited
citation of Cheok's work as proof of Korean martial arts (1983,
p. 18). Song's assertion gains support from a Chinese book which
says, "Qi Ji Guang [Chinese pronunciation of Cheok Gye-gwang],
a well-known general, compiled a book dealing with 16 different
styles of bare-hand exercises and another 40 of spear- and cudgel-play,
each with detailed explanations and illustrations". Both the
Korean and the Chinese works feature nearly identical drawings and
were written using Chinese characters, but neither mentions subak
or taekkyon. Instead, empty-hand skills are called "Gwon bop,"
pronounced "chuan fa" in Chinese. For these reasons, Mu
Yea Do Bo Tong Ji, whether an original Korean work or an early example
of plagiarism, cannot be reliably cited as historical evidence for
subak/taekkyon or any other style.
Decline of taekkyon
The introduction of firearms in Korea initially suppressed martial
arts practice as guns replaced swords, bows and spears both in military
training camps and on the battlefield. Officers could see little
need for their men to practice seemingly antiquated empty-hand fighting
skills when more advanced weaponry was becoming available. But later,
when guns could not be produced in sufficient quantities and never
became available to the masses, taekkyon enjoyed a slight resurgence
Much more devastating was the pressure exerted
against martial arts when Neo-Confucianism, a resurgence of the
social guidelines and values taught by the Chinese sage Confucius,
grew during the latter half of the Yi dynasty. Just as taekkyon
was beginning to find increasing popularity among the general population,
Neo-Confucianism brought about a drastic decline in all martial
arts practice outside the military. As the phrase "favoring
the arts and despising arms" came into vogue, scholasticism
and civil service received official support, while physical and
combative activities were disdained.
In an account in Joseon
Sang Go Sa, Shin Chae-ho confirmed that taekkyon, once famed throughout
the Goryo dynasty, nearly died out during the Yi dynasty. In Joseon
Mu Sa Yeong Ung Jeon, An Ja-san also intimated that taekkyon was
waning. In spite of these pressures, the art did not succumb. Park
wrote that taekkyon, facing Neo-Confucianism's effect on the government
and military, was able to survive only because of its popularity
among the general public. A large number of practitioners spread
across the peninsula ensured the art's survival, if only in remote
locations. In his writings about the later Yi dynasty, Shin noted
that archery and taekkyon contests were still held in some locations
to test the skill and strength of soldiers.
Hwang Kee speculates
that another reason for the art's near downfall may have been that
taekkyon acquired a less-than-honorable reputation. He says that,
after returning from Manchuria in 1939, he heard stories from elderly
Koreans telling how young people learned taekkyon for criminal purposes
and often formed street gangs. He wrote that taekkyon was looked
down upon because it did not teach discipline, and that it contained
only non-specific offensive and defensive techniques called "gong
bang bop." It is difficult to determine exactly how much of
Hwang's account is fact and how much is merely an attempt to promote
his own subak do/tang soo do style by discrediting taekkyon in the
public eye. Although taekkyon's criminal connection remains a possibility,
no other researcher has mentioned it.