Korean Karate Academy

Established 1968

                                   Brief History of Tang Soo Do

The origination of Tang Soo Do coincides in time and place with the origin of mankind.  The history of the Martial Arts is regard in the same light as the history of mankind.  Accordingly, the Martial Arts have a very long history, so we mnust divide it into its principle segments.

The first we call the Age of Instinctive Movement dating from the origin of mankind up to 20,000 years ago.  The second period we call the age of Conscious Movement, dated from 20,000 years to 7,000 years ago.  The third period is called the Age of Early Systematic Movement.  It is dated from 7,000 years to 2,700 years ago.  The fourth period dates from 2,700 years ago to present.  This brings us to the Age of Scientific Systematic Movement from the present to the future.

There is no historical record of the Martial Arts before 2,700 years ago, so itis impossible to discuss the origin in detail up to that time.

The Age of Systematic Movement from 2,700 years ago until present will be our real subject and the real history of the martial arts.

While searching for the origin of the Martial Arts, we find variations recorded historically in Greece, India, and China.  In ancient Greece, Ppangurajio was popular.  This had developed into the wrestling and boxing of present.  There is no evidence to show the existence of the Martial Arts in India yet.  In China, progress has continued from the beginning of the Age of Systematic Movement, down through the present.

The Martial Art of Tang Soo do is relatively modern.  Its basics, however, the Korean Art of Soo Bahk Do, dates back many centureis.  Soo Bahk Do means, "hand -striking way".

In Korea, the art was developed from the Chang Samn Bong School through Man-Chu, just north of Korea.  we are able to find traces to exist at the time of the three Kingdoms, but have no single book concerning this.

After this, we do find one written work.  there was a man named Lee Ui Moon, who excelled at Soo Bahk Ki when the 18th King of Kourye, Ui John, ruled.  King Ui John adopted Lee Ui Moon as his bodyguard.  Judging from this, it is historically true that the Martail Arts centered as military arts from ancient times.

Thus, we can show, historically, that Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) is Korea's native traditional Martial Art.  we can see Soo Bahk do (attack with hand technique)  developed continually after this.

There was Tae Kkyan, that mostly practiced attack and protect with foot technique, about 700 years ago at the end of the Rhee Dynasty.  Tae Kkyan was different from the present Tae Kwon Do.  It was not recorded with the history of the Martial Arts because it resembled street fighting and lacked the mental discipline of a true art.

Korea was forced to stop the practive of Tang Soo Do during the Japanese occupation, but began again with the Korean liberation from Japan on August 15, 1945.

At this time, Mr. Hwang Kee established Tang Soo Do of Moo Duk Kwan as a continuation of Korean's native traditional martial Art.  Now, Tang Soo Do has spread and developed as a special skill throughout the world, and will continue to grow in the future.

Translated literally, Tang Soo Do means, "China Hand Way", Tang taken from the Tang Dynasty when the Art flourished, Soo meaning hand and Do translated as the way or path one takes.  It is more than just that, it is the scientific use of the body in methods of self defense, a body that gained the ultimate use of its faculties through intensice physical and mental training.

In old China, there were originally two major schools of the Martial Arts, the nothern school or Chang Sam Bong School, and the southern school or Soo Rim Temple School.  At that time, the north and south were divided by the Yangtze River.  The northern school consisted mainly of larger and stronger people who studied passice, defensice motion with strong blocks and counters.  A good example of this is the Nai Ahn Chi forms.  The people of the southern school, on the other hand, being small in structure and not as strong, developed light, speedy, aggressive motions.  A good example of this is the form Bassai.  As time progressed into the Tang Dynasty about 1500 years ago, the two major schools of China merged together to form a more perfect and well rounded Martial Art.  Thus, we see the beginning of Tang Soo Do as we know it today.

The man who developed Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, Grand Mster Hwang Kee, is a Martial Arts prodigy, having mstered Tae Kyun (another Korean system not related to Tae Kwon Do) and Soo Bahk Do at tht age of 22.  At that time, 1936, he traveled to northern Chinga and studied under Master Yang Kuk Jin for three years.  He encountered a Chinese variation of martial artistry called the Tang Method and developed what was to be know as Tang Soo Do.  Tang Soo Do is a composite style, being 60 percent Soo Bahk Do, 30 percent Nothern Chinese and 10 percent southern Chinese.  Our kicking techniques, for which Tang Soo Do is unsurpassed, are based on Soo Bahk.  Soo Bahk was first developed during the Silla Dynasty (618-935 A.D.), but enjoyed its flowering during the Koryo Dynasty (935-1392 A.D.).

Tang Soo do is both a hard and soft style, deriving its hardness in part from Soo Bahk and its soft flowing movements from the northern Chinese systems.

Tang Soo Do is not a sport.  Its purpose is to develop every aspect of the self in order to create a mature personality who totally integrates his intellect, body, emotions, and spirit.  This total integration helps to create a person who is free from inner conflict and who can deal with the outside world.

In Korea, Yin and Yang stand for perfection and strength.  The Yang is indicated by the color red and stands for height of perfection and strength.  The Yin, being slightly less in perfection, is indicated by the color blue.

Originally, in the study of Tang Soo Do, there were no Giecho forms.  Grand Master Hwang Kee developed these three forms because through experience, he found the Pyung Ahn Forms too difficult for the beginner.  Also, in the early study of Tang Soo Do, Pyung Ahn forms one through five were taught as one form.  This one form was broken up into five different parts to simplify the study of the Art.  One must keep in mind that when our Grand Master studied the Art of Tang Soo Do, there was no classroom as we know it today.  Master Hwang Kee lived with his instructor in the mountains, trained all day every day, and was his only student.  Pyung Ahn one and tow were originally reveresed, but the master found one to be the easier of the two forms, so they began to teach this form first.

In Korean, there were originally five styles.  All of these styles, except Tang Soo Do, came from Shotokan Karate in Japan.  Tang Soo Do came directly from China through Man Chu, now called Manchuria.  Karate also spread into parts of Russia and from southern China, spread to Okinawa and from Okinawa, Japan discovered Karate.  Japan has only been studying Karate since the turn of the century.


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