"The Birth of Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do"

After World War II, in 1945, Korean peninsula recovered their independence, its post-occupational emigres returned, bringing with them the newly improved form of martial arts. They brought two, various names indicative of particular emphasis in Tang Soo Do, such as Kwon Bop, Hwa Soo Do, Kong Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do. Grand Master Hwang Kee, expert of traditional Soo Bahk Ki had accomplished his technical maturity while in China from 1936 to 1945. He encountered the Chinese variation of this art form which was called the Tang method, by combining some of the Chinese Tang methods with those he was already well versed in - Soo Bahk Ki. (Tang method - While Grand Master Hwang Kee stayed in China, his Soo Bahk Ki was influenced by Chinese style which was called Tang dynasty fighting techniques in China at that time). Grand Master Hwang Kee devised a system of fighting which he brought back to his homeland at the end of Word War II and he named it Tang Soo Do, in honour of the Chinese art. This is the first time the word Tang Soo Do was used officially. Tang Soo Do which is one of the best martial arts in the world was sometimes misinterpreted as a part of Japanese karate by some theorists. The above background will prove that this concept is in error. Someone may say Korean Tang Soo Do or Tae Kwon Do came from Japan because the same type of hyungs or katas are trained in these arts. So some masters try to make new hyungs such as Chun Ju, Tan Kunts. As we all know the traditional forms - Hyung are universal, Japan, Korea, China - all these countries have the same hyungs. The mood of movements, rhythms, principals, emphasis, etc may vary in each style, but it is never owned by one style or country. Pyung Ahn Cho Dan, Bassai, Naihanchi Cho Dan, Jindo, Unsyoo, Kongsang Koon, for example, all were taught by Japanese, Chinese and Korean respectively.


The hyungs' names may be called differently by each country or system, for example hyung Naihanchi is called in Japan Tekki, in Korea Chulki or Naihanchi, in China Naihanchi.


Grand master Hwang Kee organised Moo Duk Kwan at first in Korea on November 9th 1945. This day is Moo Duk Kwan's birthday. The officially registered organisations' name is Dae Han Soo Bahk Do Assn. Literally Dae Han means Korea. Soo Bahk Do means historical Korean fighting art, which Grand Master Hwang Kee mastered and it is his most favourite word among all the historical names. This Soo Bahk Do Assn was known as Tang Soo Do Assn even today. At that time, most people knew this martial art's name to be Tang Soo Do. Even crying children would stop their crying when their parents would say - the Tang Soo Do man will get you. This was used as a last resort to make them stop crying. Tang Soo Do is not only our proud Associations' name, but it was a legendary, secret, and frightening word to most Korean people.


In time, Soo Bahk Do absorbed the more effective and finer aspects of the other existing martial arts, such as Tack Kyun Bop, Yu Sul, Kung Fu, Japanese Karate, and emerged as Tang Soo Do. Today's Tang Soo Do is recognised as the most effective of the martial arts and when used correctly for defensive purposes is unrivalled by any other forms. From 1945 to this day, Tang Soo Do has spread all over the world.


According to the associations records, 32 countries are teaching Tang Soo Do. Also, the Association has produced 18,000 black belt members ranking to the eighth dan. The major countries where Tang Soo Do is being taught are Korea, United States, England, Greece, Thailand, Malaysia, Formosa, even Japan. (Tae Kwon Do branches were not counted in this statistic). The Association estimates over 200,000 Tang Soo Do students are under the Tang Soo Do Association.

The creation of Tae Kwon Do as the new name of the Korean Martial Arts.

Throughout the Korean war (1950-1953), the martial art was tested in actual combat across the valleys of the Korean peninsula. During the war, Korean military leaders, politicians and martial arts promoters were very surprised to learn that from battle to battle, overall victories were won by Tang Soo Do trained soldiers. Due to the nature of the Communist guerrilla tactics as well as the lack of armoury supplies, the soldiers were forced in hand to hand combat, with one man against ten. This being a usual circumstance, not a rarity. This so pleased the military leaders and the President of the Republic of Korea, Syngman Rhee, that he realised how valuable Tang Soo Do skill was in battle and ordered that all soldiers must train in Tang Soo Do as well as drill.


Not only was combat skill emphasised but mental conditioning as well. The code of Tang Soo Do - loyalty to the country, never retreat in battle, in killing choose with sense and honour; these traditional mental principals were commendable and valuable at that time.


In 1955, a research group was formed to study the martial art and give it a new name. The group was comprised of archaeologists, historians, masters of the martial arts and scholars. They suggested the name Tae Kwon Do which derived from Tack Kyun and means; Tae, to kick or strike with the feet, Kwon refers to punching with the hand or fist or knuckles, Do means way or method of life and philosophy. However, the new name did not appeal to the conservative Tang Soo Do practitioners at that time. Because of the flourishing popularity there were many sectors of the martial arts in Korea and all sectors called their own names, that is a leading name Tang Soo Do and Kong Soo Do, Hwa Soo Do, Tack Kyun, Kwon Bop and so on.


President Rhee, in profound respect for the art after witnessing a demonstration while inspecting the front line troops agreed to a new name Tae Kwon Do. Thereafter, people started to use the name Tae Kwon Do. The new movement to unite all Korean martial arts sectors created a new organisation, The Tae Kwon Do Association. This art is still recognised by the people as Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do, but a more dignified and classic name of this art is Tang Soo Do. While Tang Soo Do remains the pure style of the original art that is currently the most popular in the Korean peninsula, there are different styles of open hand fighting, each style influenced by the master instructor of the school. Techniques and training procedures differ slightly from school to school. Consequently each sector has developed and improved their techniques over the years. Some schools have even deteriorated through improper adherence, discipline and training. Therefore, there was a necessity of unification to climinate the above un-recommendable by-products and to set standards. In 1964 the first organisation called Dae Han Tae Soo Do Assn, (not Tae Kwon Do Assn), was formed by a very few sector leaders. In 1965 the above Dae Han Tae Soo Do Assn was joined with the Korean amateur athletic union, with a new name, Dae Han Tae Kwon Do Assn.

The separation of Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Association.
The Tae Kwon Do association is a newly formed organisation sponsored by the Korean government and it's military leaders. Major objectives of the new organisation was the unification of the various styles under the single governing body and to set uniform standards for training procedures, systems, terminology and especially control of black belt promotion, as well as joint improvement programs. All sectors such as Han Moo Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan, Kang Duk Won, Chung Moo Kwan, Kang Moo Kwan, Kuk Moo Kwan, Chung Do Kwan, Song Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan, and a part of Chi Do Kwan, except two major sectors joined the organisation. The two major sectors were the entire Moo Duk Kwan and a part of Chi Do Kwan led by Master Yun. Moo Duk Kwan's students were estimated at more than half of the entire sectors population at that time due to a longer history and a well known reputation. The founder of Moo Duk Kwan, Grand Master Hwang Kee, dissented the idea due to his conservative and philosophical version of this martial arts field. In spite of his wishes, a number of his pupils joined the Tae Kwon Do organisation and were called Tae Kwon Do Moo Kuk Kwan. Grand Master Hwang Kee insists Moo Duk Kwan will remain pure as it was and will be protected from any political influence. He believes Kwan means martial arts family which share their blood and maintains a family-like relationship, TANG SOO !!.

"Every day above ground is a good day"