Tang Soo Do
Monday, Wednesday, & Friday from
5:15 – 6:15 pm (beginners and youth).
6:30 – 8:00 pm (adults, youth, & advanced)
Tuesday & Thursday
5:15 – 6:15 pm (beginners and youth)
COST: $80.00 per month (discounts for multiple family members)
**Each Friday from 6:30 – 8:00 is OPEN SPARRING night. Students from other schools are welcome join us as a guest for a $5 sparring fee**
During the Japanese occupation (1910–1945), Hwang Kee left Korea and ventured into Manchuria. There he came into contact with an art similar to T’ai chi ch’uan. Hwang Kee eventually incorporated the flowing and graceful motions of the Chinese system with the linear, strong movements of Karate Do and the diverse kicking of taekkyeon. This blend resulted into what is currently known as Soo Bahk Do.
Around the time of the liberation of Korea in 1945, five martial arts schools called the kwans were formed by men who were primarily trained in some form of karate, but also had exposure to taekkyeon and kungfu. The five prominent kwans (and respective founders) were: Chung Do Kwan (Lee Won Kuk), Jidokwan (Chun Sang Sup), Chang Moo Kwan (Lee Nam Suk and Kim Soon Bae), Moo Duk Kwan (Hwang Kee), and Song Moo Kwan (Ro Byung Jik). These schools taught what most Americans know as “Korean Karate.” However, there were some philosophical differences in technique application and more of an emphasis on kicking in the Tang Soo Do Jido/Chung Do/Chang Moo/Moo Duk/Song Moo Kwan systems.
Around 1953, shortly after the Korean War, four more annex kwans formed. These 2nd-generation kwans and their principle founders were: Oh Do Kwan (Choi Hong Hi and Nam Tae Hi), Han Moo Kwan (Lee Kyo Yoon), Kang Duk Won (Park Chul Hee and Hong Jong Pyo) and Jung Do Kwan (Lee Young Woo). In 1955, these arts, at that time called various names by the different schools, were ordered to unify, by South Korea’s President Syngman Rhee. A governmental body selected a naming committee’s submission of “Taekwondo” as the name. Both Son Duk Sung and Choi Hong Hi claim to have submitted the name.
In 1959, the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) was formed in an attempt to unify the dozens of the kwans as one standardized system of Taekwondo. The first international tour of Taekwondo, by General Choi Hong Hi and Nam Tae Hi (founders of the Oh Do Kwan) and 19 black belts, was held in 1959. In 1960, Jhoon Rhee was teaching what he called Korean Karate (or Tang Soo Do) in Texas, USA. After receiving the ROK Army Field Manual (which contained martial arts training curriculum under the new name of Taekwondo) from General Choi, Rhee began using the name Taekwondo. There are still a multitude of contemporary Taekwondo schools in the United States that teach what is known as “Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan”. This nomenclature reflects this government-ordered kwan merger. Modern Taekwondo schools with the Moo Duk Kwan lineage often practice the early Tang Soo Do curriculum, a curriculum that was more closely associated with Karate-Do Shotokan.
Despite this unification effort, the kwans continued to teach their individual styles. For instance, Hwang Kee and a large constituent of the Moo Duk Kwan continued to develop a version of Tang Soo Do that eventually became what is now known as “Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan”. This modified version of Tang Soo Do incorporates more fluid “soft” movements reminiscent of certain traditional Chinese martial arts and kicking techniques rooted in Korean taekkyeon. Other modern Tang Soo Do systems teach what is essentially Korean Karate in an early organized form. The World Tang Soo Do Association and the International Tang Soo Do Federation, for instance, teach systems of Tang Soo Do that existed before the Taekwondo “merger” and before the development of modern Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan. These versions of Tang Soo Do are heavily influenced by Korean culture and also appear related to Okinawan Karate as initially taught in Japan by Funakoshi Gichin. As mentioned above, the term “Tang Soo Do/Dangsudo” was initially a Korean pronunciation of “The Way of The Chinese Hand”. In Japan, 唐手道 was pronounced “karate-do” (“The Way of The Chinese Hand”). These characters initially reflected historical origins of the arts. However, the term “Tang Soo Do” (mostly in the United States and Europe) has evolved to currently describe a form of Karate that is distinctly Korean, but is different than both Taekwondo and Soo Bahk Do.
To restore national identity after the protracted occupation of Korea by Japanese forces, the Korean government ordered a single organization be created. On September 16, 1961, most kwans agreed to unify under the name ‘Korea Tae Soo Do Association’. The name was changed back to the “Korea Taekwondo Association” when General Choi became its president in August 1965.
Tang Soo Do continues to expand and flourish under numerous federations and organizations that, for various reasons, separated from the Moo Duk Kwan. It can be argued that Tang Soo Do is one of the most widely practiced martial arts in the United States, although Moo Duk Kwan as founded by Hwang Kee is the only martial arts organization that systematically enumerates its dan members sequentially, and has done so since its founding in Seoul in 1945. Due to political in-fighting and splintering, Tang Soo Do has seen several members break off from their origin, though the Moo Duk Kwan as founded by Hwang Kee continues to represent Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) worldwide, and is headed by Hwang Kee’s son, Hyun Chul Hwang. The Amateur Athletic Union Taekwondo recognizes Tang Soo Do ranks, permits Tang Soo Do hyeong in competition and also hosts non-Olympic style point-sparring to accommodate the various traditional Korean stylists.
Chuck Norris, the famous actor, popularized Tang Soo Do in the United States, and evolved the martial art Chun Kuk Do from it.