Tang Soo Do - A Brief History

Tang Soo Do is the name of the Korean martial art founded by Grandmaster Hwang Kee in 1945. In Korea the indigenous arts of self-defense, Soo Bahk Ki and Tae Kyun, were combined with other fighting principles from Northern and Southern Chinese Kung Fu and moral guidelines such as the philosophy of Do (Tao), No Ja (Lao Tzu) and Kong Ja (Confucius) by Founder Hwang Kee, into what is now known as Tang Soo Do. When developing the martial art Hwang Kee drew heavily on the Muye Dobo Tongji, ancient text published in 1790 that translates as The Comprehensive Illustrated Manual of the Martial Arts of Ancient Korea.

Hwang Kee created the Moo Duk Kwan on November 9, 1945. Hwang Kee was first inspired to study the Martial arts in 1921 when he was about seven years old. At a traditional Festival called "Dan O" he was visiting a nearby village, where they had archery, wrestling and many other festivities. As Kee was enjoying the festival, a group of seven or eight men had a dispute with another man. Suddenly the group of men attacked the lone man, who began evading and counter attacking with his feet, and standing in a doorway as to fight one man at a time, eventually defeating the group of men. This ability to defend oneself against several attackers so impressed Hwang Kee that at that moment he knew he wanted to learn the martial arts.

For several years Hwang Kee studied and researched many sources. At the age of 22 some claim he was recognized as a Master. In May 1935 Hwang Kee began working for the Korean railroad company which allowed him to travel. In May 1936 he met a Chinese Kung Fu master named Yang, Kuk Jin. Kee trained with Yang until 1946. At that time China was experiencing a communist revolution. The training consisted of Seh Bop (postures), Bo Bop (steps), Ryun Bop (conditioning) and Hyung (Forms) with their applications. November 9, 1945 Hwang Kee founded the Moo Duk Kwan. The basic ideal of the Moo Duk Kwan is the development of its participants. Strong individuals in Spirit and Body make strong communities, strong communities make strong nations, Strong and peaceful nations make a strong and peaceful world. In 1957, Kee made a discovery of Soo Bahk, a true Korean martial art, from Muye Dobo Tongji. Kee developed the Soo Bahk system to be studied through the Moo Duk Kwan. He chose the name Soo Bahk Do, a derivative of Soo Bahk Ki, hand striking technique, and Soo Bahk Hee, hand striking dance, which were detailed in the Muye Dobo Tongji. In 1960, the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association was incorporated and officially registered with the Korean government as the traditional Korean martial art.