History of Tae Kwon Do

Posted by: MattJ

History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 10:39 PM

Originally posted by Shug. Thank me later!

Hello, obviously I'm new, but I thought I'd make my first contribution with a little history topic. The History of TKD is somewhat confused do to Korean nationality, so I thought I might post a little on some of TKD (or at least its different school's) roots.
Informal(1) History of Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do

by R.E. Dohrenwend, PhD

This brief history is dedicated to Master Jonathan C. Henkel, 6th Dan, Chung Do Kwan.


The purpose of this history is to attempt to trace the roots of the style of Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do. To do this properly, it is necessary to show how modern Tae Kwon Do developed, and to indicate how that development took place. As the martial arts were often developed, transmitted, and practiced in secret, precise historical conclusions are impossible. The historical sequence described here is no better than probable, especially for events before 1800. Unfortunately, however, even relatively recent events in the Korean Martial Arts have been clouded by deliberate efforts to rewrite history for nationalistic or promotional purposes.

Tae Kwon Do is the youngest of all the Oriental martial arts. Its history begins with the opening of the Chung Do Kwan dojang in Soeul in 1944. At that time, Tae Kwon Do was predominantly Okinawan /Japanese (2) Karate with minor contributions from Chinese Chuan Fa. The original kwans taught Okinawan/Japanese kata, wore gis; and the art taught was Karate with an increasingly Korean flavor. At this point, little if anything had been contributed by the Korean martial art of Tae Kyon, which had all but vanished during the Yi dynasty and the subsequent Japanese occupation. Most of the Korean instructors had been students (3) at Japanese universities or soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army, and had learned their martial arts in Japan, returning to Korea as shodan or nidan black belts (4) .

More and more kwans were founded during the late 40’s and early 50’s, and what they taught was called “Korean Karate.” The name, “Tae Kwon Do” may have been suggested as early as 1955 at a meeting which was a first effort at unifying the kwans. From 1960 to 1970, under the direction of the Korean government, at that time General Park’s dictatorship, (5) Tae Kwon Do was unified under two international governing bodies, the ITF and later the WTF, originally the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association. This period ends with the official dissolution of the kwans in Korea, and is marked by the replacement of the ancient kata with brand new poomse and the creation of administrative centralization. This period also saw the beginning of the divergence of Tae Kwon Do from a martial art to a martial art based sport.

Between 1975 and today, there has been increased consolidation and centralization of authority. The sport aspect has received increasing emphasis to the point where training is now generally dominated by preparation for tournament competition sparring. Tae Kwon Do has become an Olympic sport, and Tae Kwon Do is no longer officially considered a martial art in Korea, but rather a martial sport. WTF Tae Kwon Do black belts are no longer registered with the Ki-Do Hae (6) , but rather at their own headquarters at the Kukkiwon.

Early History

The Chinese boxing styles which predated the introduction of Buddhism to China, are quite likely Taoist in philosophical orientation, and the roots for the modern Tai Chi, Pa Kua and Hsing-i Chinese styles. It is possible that not only these styles, but the attitudes characterizing ideal martial artists originated with the yu-hsia of the Period of the Warring States (403-221 BC) (7). This means that there are two major branches of the Chinese unarmed martial arts, one (generally Taoist in philosophy) (8) , older than the other. This is important, as the evidence suggests that an unarmed fighting system may have been practiced in northern Koguryo as early as ca. 37 BC. Sculptures and pictures of the Koguryo dynasty (109BC-668AD) show postures that could represent early kinds of empty hand fighting. However, as this evidence is equally compelling as proof for Chinese origins (9) , it is more likely that the ancient roots for the roots for Korean martial arts lie not in Korea but in China and that the early unarmed martial arts of Koguryo Korea may in fact simply be these early Taoist forms of Chinese boxing, as spread by the yu-hsia. (10)

In general, it would seem that most Asian martial arts per se in China, Korea, Okinawa, and Japan, derive from a combination of indigenous, relatively primitive (11) , techniques with the more highly organized Buddhist fighting arts as these were spread from India by missionaries. It is quite possible that these Buddhist martial arts owe much of their early development to an ancient Greek martial art, the Pankration (various spellings) (12) , which was the very first eclectic martial art for which we have firm documentation. This art became an Olympic event in 648 BC, a date which antedates any archeological sources in Korea. The art included boxing, kicking, sweeping, grappling, joint locks, and choking. The Pyrrhic Dance, a Greek martial dance which could be performed armed or unarmed, similar to modern kata or poomse, existed at the same time and was possibly used as a teaching tool for the techniques of the Pankration (13) .

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Member posted 03-04-2005 11:04 AM
Posted by: MattJ

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 11:07 PM

Originally posted by Shug. Thank me later!

The idea that this Greek art is one of the major sources of all Asian unarmed martial arts today is not at all far-fetched. Alexander the Great was a Pankration enthusiast, and the Pankration, foremost among other Greek martial sports, went into Asia as far as India with Alexander’s armies of conquest. Alexander was the greatest general of his time and one of the greatest generals of all time. He and his armies enjoyed enormous prestige everywhere in the ancient world. Instruction in the favored martial art of that army would be highly valued by any soldier or warrior of the period.
There is an historical gap between the time of Alexander and the era where we find an elite caste of warriors in India, the Ksatreya, who practiced the martial art Vajramukti, which included nata forms similar to kata. The nata forms can only be documented by the time of the Gupta dynasty in India (4th to 7th century AD), and at this time they were closely connected to Buddhism. Although indigenous martial practices undoubtedly existed throughout Asia at this time, it is possible that the addition of Buddhist mental exercises to clearly formulated Greek techniques gave rise to Vajramukti (Chinese: Chuan Fa; Japanese: Kempo). This Indian martial art accompanied the missionaries who spread Buddhism from India into China (1AD to 600AD). It was probably a very gradual process, but legend has attributed the introduction of these techniques to a single Indian Buddhist monk, Bodhidharma. This monk supposedly combined Indian techniques with an existing style of Chinese boxing, formalized this combination, and taught it to the Buddhist community at the Shaolin temple in Honan as a means of spiritual meditation as well as effective self-defense.

Chuan Fa or, incorrectly, Kung Fu spread from the Shaolin temples all over China during the Chinese Tang dynasty (618-907), and it eventually separated into several distinct styles or schools. At this period, there was a great deal of military, political, and economic exchange between China and Korea, and it is likely that the techniques of Chuan Fa were adopted in Korea to become Subak. During the Silla dynasty (668-935), which unified Korea, the southern part of the peninsula was introduced to Subak, and Chinese combat forms (Hsing) or kata were used to train Korean warriors. The subsequent Koryo Dynasty (935-1392), saw a standardization of schools of empty hand combat under the names of Subak and Kwonpup (Chuan fa if the characters are read in Chinese). Korea was not always defined by its present political boundaries, and large areas of Manchuria passed back and forth from Chinese to Korean control allowing for an appreciable interchange of martial ideas and techniques among wariors and soldiers. Traveling scholars and monks would also have helped spread these ideas and techniques.

It is possible that Subak and the Chinese combat forms were used as a part of the training of the Hwarang. The Hwrang (14) (572-935 AD) (15) have a legendary relationship to Korean martial arts. These legends are as compelling in Korean as the legends of the King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table in English, and the Hwarang’s existence seems to be better documented (16) . But in spite of the legends, however suggestive, there is no historical justification for the common assumption that the Hwarang are related to any modern Korean martial art in the same way as the Samurai of Japan (17) . Available sources do not support such a conclusion.

These very limited sources do suggest that the Hwrang were both more and less than the Japanese Bushi or Samurai. First, they were not warriors. They bear no relationship to orders of European knighthood. They may have become and commanded warriors after having been Hwarang, but as Hwrang, they were not warriors. The Hwrang were not a part of the Silla army. Unlike the Samurai, they were not a particular social class, and they were not hereditary. They did not emphasize the unarmed martial arts, but rather trained in archery and fencing, with particular emphasis on archery. They did not follow Hwrang as a Do, for they left the Hwrang as they became older. They have some resemblance to the Japanese Yamabushi in their preference for training in mountains and wilderness. But they were not monks, and they did not remain in the mountains.

This is what they were not. What were they? The Hwrang were always the youth; they were always young, and this is important. Their training or education focused heavily on philosophy, the Chinese classics, and on religion. Their religious training seems to have been Buddhism heavily influenced by Taoism or indigenous animism, but the main goal of their training was Confucian in intent. They were a group of elite young men under training for positions of high authority and leadership in Korea during the second half of the Silla dynasty. The purpose of Hwrang training was to prepare the very best young men in the Silla Kingdom to occupy such positions in an honorable, restrained, responsible, dignified, and courageous manner. In brief, the Hwrang were students in a very demanding preparatory course. This training succeeded so well that the Hwrang have been an example of the best in Korea for over 1000 years. However, the historical Hwrang appear to have no direct connection with Tae Kwon Do or with the other martial arts of modern Korea (18) .

Subak continued as the Korean unarmed martial art until the end of the Koryo or beginning of the Yi Dynasty (1393-1910) when it subsequently divided into Tae Kyon (a striking art) and Yu Sul ( a grappling art - {chin na, yu sul and jujutsu are written the same way in Chinese}). Yu Sul appears to have died out, leaving Tae Kyon as the only surviving aspect of Subak. (The name Tae Kyon is not recorded until the 18th century at the earliest, so any earlier Korean fighting art is still correctly called Subak. The term "Tae Kyon" {in Korean Taek Gyeon} is not linguistically related to the term Tae Kwon Do.)

The latter half of the Yi Dynasty was characterized by Neo-Confucianism, which brought the martial arts into disfavor, and Tae Kyon nearly died out. In 1759 (1790<img src=icon_smile_quest ion.gif border=0 align=middle> ), King Chongjo ordered Gen. Lee Duck Moo to compile an illustrated official text of all martial arts, the Muye Dobo Tongj, which contained one chapter dealing with empty handed martial arts, identified as Kwonpup (Chuan Fa). But during the 18th-19th and early 20th centuries no organized martial arts instruction was available, and Tae Kyon was studied in secret, largely within certain families.

The Modern Period

Karate in Okinawa, known as Tote before the 20th century, was not recorded in Okinawa before the 18th century. Almost all modern Karate is firmly based on Chinese boxing techniques which were introduced to Okinawa in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mainly from the Fuchou area in Fukien Province (19) . An earlier art, known simply as Te, is known and certainly has influenced the development of Karate, but not to same extent as Chuan Fa. The founding masters of Gojo Ryu and Uechi Ryu learned their arts in China, as did the founder of the older Shorin Ryu, (Shorin is the Okinawan pronunciation of Shaolin). Karate was, if not a secret art, at least closely restricted to the more well-to-do class, and often kept within families. It was not taught to the general public, and it was not a peasant art.

In 1882 the Dan/kyu system was adopted for Judo by Master Kano in Japan. This was the first belt ranking system in any of the martial arts. In 1921, the Japanese emperor attended an exhibition of Karate in Okinawa. He was very impressed, and the following year Funakoshi Gichin, an Okinawan master, introduced Karate to Japan. His style underwent several changes, adapting to the centuries of Japanese martial tradition, and became Shotokan Karate (20) . Other Japanese styles are also recent introductions from Okinawa.

In 1910, Japan occupied Korea, and as a part of an effort to promote Japanese nationalism in Korea, the remnants of the native Korean martial arts were suppressed. Very few people practiced these arts during the period of the Japanese occupation. Tae Kyon went underground after 1920 (21) , and the limited training available was conducted in secret. Known 20th century Tae Kyon lineage is very limited; and it is certain that at least some knowledge was lost. There were only 3 main Tae Kyon schools known for this period: the Gurigae dojang (22) , the Chongno dojang, and the Wangshimni dojang. After 1945, Tae Kyon was again taught openly, but as a very separate tradition with virtually no relation to Tae Kwon Do.

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Member posted 03-04-2005 11:10 AM
Posted by: MattJ

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 11:10 PM

Originally posted by Shug. Thank me later!

During the Japanese occupation, many Korean boys were taken to Japan for education and training, which sometimes included intensive training in the Japanese martial arts. (Masutatsu Oyama Sensei (Choi Yong-i) was Korean, Grand Master Lee (Yi) Won-Kuk trained in Shotokan under Funakoshi Sensei, and General Choi Hong Hi, founder of ITF, was a first (23) Dan in Japanese Karate.) Other Koreans went to China as students or were stationed in Japanese occupied Manchuria as soldiers where some of them were exposed to Chinese martial arts.
“The modern Karate of Korea, with very little influence from Tae Kyon, ...was imported directly from China and also from Okinawa through Japan.” (24)

“The main differences among Tang Su Do, Karate, and Kung Fu (sic) were in how pressure points were used and attacked.” (25)

Tracing instructional lineages of the founders of the kwans back beyond 1945 inevitably leads to Japanese styles of karate. Modern Tae Kwon Do was largely created by young men who had received their original training in Japan or China before 1945, but most never reached the higher levels of their arts. As they continued their training after Korean independence, no longer under the supervision of their former sensei or sifu, they started from a basis of incompletely transmitted knowledge to go in a different direction to develop a new art.

You must also remember that at the period of W.W.II, there was a tremendous amount of prejudice against foreigners in Japan, and this definitely applied to Koreans. It still does. Given the instructional traditions in the Japanese martial arts, this fact alone would have acted to keep most Korean students from receiving full instruction in these arts. This may have been a very healthy thing, allowing Korean instructors to evolve their art in new directions.

With the end of Japanese occupation, many of these young men returned to Korea, and the result was an influx of new techniques from China and Japan which led to rapid growth in the Korean (26) martial arts. With the exception of Tang Su Do, which is simply Japanese Karate as taught in Korea (27) and has retained the same kata as Shotokan, Korean black belts developed hybridized styles by combining techniques from Karate and modern Chuan Fa with indigenous Korean techniques: either their own inventions, or what could be recovered from limited experience with, or the popular idea of, Tae Kyon (28) . These styles became the kwans, the basis for the development of Tae Su Do (29) (early name for Tae Kwon Do) which became the most rapidly growing martial sport in the world. The first national association, the Kong Su Do Association was formed in 1945 (1951, 1953?), headed by Cho Ryon Chi. (Kong Su Do is a Korean pronunciation of the Chinese characters for Karate Do.)
Chung Do Kwan the first 1944/45 Won Kook Yi
Mu Duk Kwan 1945 Hwang Kee
Yun Mu Kwan 1945 Sup Jun Sang
Chi Do Kwan 1946 Yon Kue Pyang
Ji Do Kwan 1953/54 Gae Byang Yun
Sang Mu Kwan 1953/54 Byung Chik Ro
O Do Kwan (31) strictly military 1954 Choi Hong Hi & Nam Tae Hi

By 1950, there were 17 styles of Korean Karate. During the early 1950’s, the period of the Korean War, most Karate was taught within the military, and civilian instructors and schools were very scarce. In 1953, the ROK 29th Division stationed on Che Jo Island was made responsible for martial arts training in the ROK army. In 1961, the Korean government ordered the various styles to organize, and in the same year, (one source puts it in 1965 (32) ), the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association was formed with General Choi as its first president. The Korean government decided at that time that only the 5 top styles would be sanctioned as official TKD. The first style to be chosen was Chung Do Kwan.

Although the term Tae Kwon Do is of very recent origin, there is still some confusion as to when it was first used and by whom. Grand Master Yeon Hee Park says that at a meeting of Korean martial arts masters in April 11, 1955, (one source (33) says that this was a meeting of Chung Do Kwan instructors)it was agreed to unify the Kwans under name of Tae Su Do. This was the year that the Kong Su Do Association broke up. However, Grand Master Choi says he suggested the name, Tae Kwon Do, and it was adopted at that meeting. Grand Master Park says that the name was changed to Tae Kwon Do in 1957 . On September 14, 1961 the Korean TKD Association was formed. However, Grand Master Kim says that this was when the Korean Tae Su Do Association was given official membership in the Korean National Sports Association (KNSA), and that the name Tae Kwon Do was not fully accepted by all Koreans until August, 1965. In any case, it is evident that the name, Tae Kwon Do, is of very recent origin. It would also seem that the name was devised within the Chung Do Kwan.

Admission to the KNSA brings us to the most unsettling aspect of training in Tae Kwon Do today, the emphasis which is placed on sporting competition. There can be no doubt whatever about the deliberate intent on the part of the WTF and ITF Korean Masters to convert Tae Kwon Do into a pure sport. Tae Kwon Do sparring is now an Olympic sport. When practiced as a sport, Tae Kwon Do techniques are strictly limited in application for safety reasons. Dr. Un Yong Kim, the president of the WTF has said:

“Our focus is to develop Tae Kwon Do as a universal sport...Martial art tradition, as you know, comes from a very closed, narrow door (34) .” and later, “ Tae Kwon Do is gaining recognition as a well-developed world sport...The Olympics is a large umbrella. To be sheltered under it means a great elevation in status...We must continue to develop Tae Kwon Do into a sport. To remain as a martial art would be a simple matter. All that needs to be done is to do what people did in the old days when just a handful of people remained as hermits, developing and learning the arts...I am a plain sports leader...the martial arts and other forms of arts are usually practiced within small fields among people who have common interests...We are working hard to achieve the glory of attaining the world sports status...I will not bore you with the trivia of martial arts...Tae Kwon Do came a long way as a sport in a short time. We have accomplished the mammoth tasks of researching its history, re-defining the tradition, unifying the rules, and at the same time promoting it to the rest of the world.” (35)

The ITF founder and president is not only determined to have a sport, he is equally determined to gain fame as the originator of Tae Kwon Do. His comments reveal an ego problem unbecoming to a martial arts master.

“ It would be hopeless to try to merge Karate with Tae Kwon Do...Tae Kwon Do was largely born on April 11, 1955...If I didn’t know anything about Karate, I wouldn’t have invented techniques that are better than Karate...I invented a new martial art...My goal was to make Tae Kwon Do an international sport...I hope that Tae Kwon Do becomes an Olympic event...I invented the martial art of Tae Kwon Do...There is now no Tae Kwon Do in my home country of South Korea...There is no real Tae Kwon Do in South Korea...” (36)

The fate of Judo is a cautionary tale for Tae Kwon Do. Like Tae Kwon Do today, Judo was once (1950’s and 1960’s) the most popular martial art in the world. After it became an Olympic sport, and Judo training became more and more concentrated on sporting competition, Judo lost that popularity, and today it can be difficult to find a Judo dojo, even in a major city. This is often cited as a reason to suspect that sporting success may cause a martial art to lose its effectiveness as a martial art. When victory in a sporting contest becomes the major criterion for excellence in a martial art, then only the young, strong, and gifted will be able to excel in that art, and they will often leave the art when they pass their peak of competitive prowess.

“ The Japanese have devoted themselves to the study of Judo for competition. They have gone to extraordinary lengths to develop winning contestants and fine champions. I, on the other hand, have never trained for competition in my life. All I have ever done is trained in judo as a way of life, exactly as Dr. Kano taught. While the Japanese were devising competitive strategies, I was in the dojo practising basics and kata. I defeated the Japanese because I know judo better than the Japanese. The secret is to train every day in the basics. This will make you unbeatable.” Anton Gessink-World Judo Champion.

There is great pressure for Tae Kwon Do to evolve more generally into a sport with decreasing emphasis on basics, poomse training, and combat effectiveness.

“I am concerned that basic training is often neglected. There should be more emphasis on basic skills: balance, focus, strength training, conditioning of striking surfaces, stance. There is a lack of preparation, seriousness and committment. ..Many do not have hand training, knife- hand training, three-step sparring, or one-step sparring. ...there is an over emphasis on kicking techniques in most schools. This is another sign of immaturity.” (37)

Posted by: MattJ

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 11:12 PM

Originally posted by Shug. Thank me later!

The Poomse
Kata are central to Karate to the point where it is often said that “kata are Karate”, and this is the justification for a special section on poomse in this history of Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do. The original kwans taught kata which were taken directly from Japanese and Okinawan styles (Shorin and Shorei (38) ), that is kata which originated in either Okinawa or China. Becuse of the Japanese occupation of Korea, and the Chinese invasion in 1951, Japanese and Chinese associations were distasteful to the Koreans. For the correct development of Korean martial arts, it was considered necessary to distance these arts as much as possible from the Japanese and Chinese arts. This would not be possible while still practicing the kata of those arts. This attitude, while understandable, has been deplored by some Korean masters:

“ When this shift has completely stripped Tae Kwon Do of any traditional forms, where is the art in this martial art? Since any form not created in Korea has been cast out of Tae Kwon Do and replacement”Korean” forms thrown together to replace them, where is the tradition to preserve? How much wisdom can be gleaned from these new forms? They are the fast food of modern martial arts-quick, fast, simple, lacking in nourishment, prone to cause indigestion...I consider myself fortunate to have learned what I have from my instructors. I honor them by preserving ancient Karate and Chuan fa forms they taught me, and continue to hand them down to my own students. Leaving Korea in 1968 meant that I escaped the tremendous pressure to throw away everything that I learned, join the ITF or WTF, teach only new made-up forms with Korean labels, and teach how to win trophies in tournaments.” (39)

The hyung currently in use by the International Tae Kwon Do Federation, (ITF) were the Chang Hon poomse developed by Hong Hi Choi before 1965, and they are still taught. The Palgwe series and the Taeguek series are very recent poomse which were originally introduced and adopted by the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association on Jan. 30, 1967. Grand Master Hae Man Park (Chung Do Kwan) was one of the creators of the Taegeuk Poomse, and creator of the 6 Kibon drills (40) . These are the basic colored belt poomse for the WTF, and they are still in development, undergoing frequent minor adjustments. One TKD school uses an independent series of poomse, the Chung Bong series, which were developed by one man in 1974. (41)

“ At the founding of the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association (KTA) the founding members agreed to favor none of the forms of the participating schools, but to create an entirely new series of forms in the interest of overall Tae Kwon Do and to ensure agreement among the different schools. A team of Korean Grandmasters was made responsible for carrying out this project. This committee created the Palgwe- Taegeuk- and the remaining nine black belt poomse, but only a short time later, the Palgwe forms were discarded.” (42)

The Taegeuk poomse were designed especially for colored belt training in Tae Kwon Do. However, as many of the Korean masters, especially the older generation, have been trained in Japanese, Okinawan, or Chinese styles, it is hardly possible that this training could have had no influence on their development of the new Korean poomse. Indeed, the Japanese influence is often obvious. The poomse for the third dan grading examination, Taebek, is a very beautiful form when correctly performed, but about 40% of the techniques in Taebek come from two separate Pinan (Heian) kata (nidan and sandan). These borrowed sequences within Taebek are a perfect example of the immense unacknowledged debt which WTF TKD owes to Karate.

The many poomse created by the modern Korean masters since the beginnings of Tae Kwon Do in 1945 are extremely valuable for Tae Kwon Do training. They are very new, however, and not entirely satisfactory. Small changes continue to appear in them. Unlike changes in the older kata which often are a result of a lack of knowledge concerning the application of a specific technique, these changes in Korean poomse are a deliberate attempt to make the poomse deeper and to improve the effectiveness of the techniques presented. A good recent example of this trend is the introduction of the 6th kibon exercise in the spring of 1997. In Tae Kwon Do, we are in the presence of the creation of a vital martial tradition, with the poomse which will carry that tradition into the future still in the process of development today. This is a very exciting time to be training in Tae Kwon Do. But, there are hazards to be faced.

There is an increasing possibility that poomse practice will become more shallow, and that their development will be retarded. This tendency will exist for several reasons (poomse are not for competition; poomse techniques are highly dangerous when correctly applied; poomse practice is more directed to the perfection of the practitioner’s character than to sporting applications, etc.). This has created a dangerous potential for the devaluation of poomse, as the relation of the Taegeuk poomse to the rest of the training becomes more and more tenuous.

Although the Taegeuk poomse have a higher percentage of kicking techniques than Japanese/Okinawan kata, Clark (43) makes the point that “the proportion of kicks in training for sport free sparring is still not reflected in the poomse, which at this time retain many of the more practical combative techniques of the older martial arts, (emphasis mine)”. He concludes that the modern Korean style of TKD has been changing forms to reflect sporting emphasis and a Korean predilection for kicking techniques.

It may be expected that the poomse will continue to change to reflect the increasing emphasis on the sporting aspect of Tae Kwon Do, and the emphasis that training in modern Tae Kwon Do places on kicking. Almost all of a TKD training session is normally spent on various aspects of kicking drill, and training for excellence in sporting competition is focused on the artificial conventions of Tae Kwon Do full contact sparring to the neglect of poomse and a reduction of their importance. In many dojangs we find that, unlike karate, poomse are rarely central to training in Tae Kwon Do. Indeed, some highly competitive black belts don’t know any poomse! (44)

Chung Do Kwan

Early in the 20th century, Won Kook Yi (Lee), a Tae Kyon (sic) student, traveled throughout the Orient, returning to Korea in 1940. In 1941, he added techniques from other styles to Tae Kyon, and developed "Tae Su Do Chung Do Kwan". He retired in 1945, but before doing so, he named his successor as head of Chung Do Kwan, Grand Master Uoon Kyu Um. Great Grand Master Yi is presently (1996) in retirement in the United States. The Chung Do Kwan style was taught in secret in 1944, and in 1945, the Chung Do Kwan, the first Kwan to openly teach a native Korean Martial Art opened in Yung Chun, Soeul. In 1954, General Choi Hong Hi became “director” (Kwan Jang Nim) of Chung Do Kwan, then the largest civilian kwan in Korea (45) and held that position for several years (46) .

A different version of these events appeared in a recent issue of Tae Kwon do Times (47) which adds some details, but contradicts other seemingly reliable sources. According to this version, Grandmaster Lee opened his school with the tacit approval of the Japanese authorities on September 14, 1944. Grand Master Lee trained students until 1950, when he had to leave Korea for Japan for “political” reasons. Duk Sung Son then became Kwan Jang Nim of Chung Do Kwan. “A few years later” Duk Sung Son left Korea for the United States, and only then did Uoon Kyu Um become Kwan Jang Nim. Uoon Kyu Um is mentioned among the original students of Grand Master Lee and so is Jhoon Rhee but, in this version, there is no mention at all of General Choi Hong Hi. The omission is incorrect and was made for political reasons.

Finally, yet another version emerged in a 1997 interview with Grand Master Lee (Yi, Yee) which also appeared in TKD Times. (48) Born April 13, 1907, Grand Master Lee states that he was instructed in Tang Su Do (Shotokan Karate) when he attended a university in Japan in the 1920’s. He identifies his instructor as “Sensei Hunagoshi, founder of GojuRhu Karate”. He has to mean Funakoshi Sensei, founder of Shotokan Karate, not Miyagi Sensei, founder of Goju Ryu. He taught Tang Su Do for the first time in Korea at Yung Shin School Gynasium in Sa De Mun, Ok Chun Dong district in Soeul. During the confused period following the defeat of Japan in 1945, Tang Su Do was associated with gang violence, so the government refused to allow any public facilities to teach Tang Su Do. Grand Master Lee was forced to move and “ this was the time when I established Chung Do Kwan at Tae Go temple (Tae Go Sa) in Sorul.” He was then forced to move to Kwan Yung Kwan in Soeul. Later he moved his dojang to No. 80 Kyun Ji Dong district in Soeul.

After Grand Master Lee conducted a very successful demonstration at the YMCA Gym in Soeul, Tang Su Do again received government favor, but unfortunately, this involved pressure to support one political party. Korea’s first President Syng Man Rhee requested that all Chung Do Kwan members apply for membership in the Korean Republican Party. Grand Master Lee rejected the offer, and he was arrested and accused by the government of being the leader of a group of assassins. Eventually released in 1950, he and his wife fled to Japan as political refugees. He served as Tae Kwon Do instructor to the US military for a period in the 60’s. Grand Master Lee emigrated to USA in 1976. In the interview, he states: “ I am the founder of modern Tae Kwon Do in Korea.”

The major students named by Grand Master Lee in this interview were:
Un Kyu Um (Kukkiwon VP)
Choi Hung Hi ( Founder of ITF)
Jae Chung Ko (Jae Chun Ko)
Chong Myung Hung(Hyun)
Chung Ki Paek (Wan Ki Paek)
Chong Lim Woo
Pong Seok Kim
Sang Hung Lee
Seok Kyu Kim
Jun Yoo Eung (Introduced TKD to North Korea)

In 1966, the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF) was formed by General Choi. In 1967, the President of South Korea declared Tae Kwon Do a national sport. In 1973, twenty countries formed the World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) and made the Kukkiwon, a large building constructed by the Korean government for Tae Kwon Do study, administration, and competition, their headquarters. In 1974, the ITF had moved from Korea to establish its headquarters in Toronto. In 1975, The WTF issued an announcement which dissolved all the kwans, and issued each with a number in order to unite Tae Kwon Do as one world sport. Supposedly, Chung Do Kwan officially died in Korea on that date. In fact, dan certificates are still being issued from Korea under the Chung Do Kwan name.
Posted by: MattJ

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 11:14 PM

Originally posted by Shug. Thank me later!

Chung Do Kwan in the United States
In 1967, Grand Master Edward B. Sell, (then a 4th Dan), founded the first Chung Do Kwan school, " The Academy" in the United States in Trenton, MI. He also founded the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association of America in that year. This association subsequently became the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association of America and Canada, and in 1975 (1977<img src=icon_smile_quest ion.gif border=0 align=middle> ), the name was changed to the United States Chung Do Kwan Association (USCDKA). Note that there is also a Chung Do Kwan International, Inc., headed by a Grand Master Sung Jae Park. (49)

Grand Master Sell was trained in Korea while in the USAF attached to the 6314th Air Police Squadron at Osan Air Base, Pyon Teak Kun. His instructors while training to first dan were Mr. Myong Kil Kim and Mr. Tae Sung Yi, 3rd Dans. He was promoted to second Dan in 1963, and promoted to 8th Dan March, 1987.

In the first two USCDKA association manuals, forms are referred to as "kata", and Tag'kuk Il Chong is the same as the first Taikyoku drill in Shotokan Karate. In 1979, the Palgwe forms were taught by the USCDKA, but by 1987, these had been replaced by the Taeguek forms. In book three, Grand Master Sell introduces the Korean terms “hyung” and “poomse” for forms along with “kata”, and by 1987 the Japanese/Okinawan term "kata" has disappeared, to be replaced by the word “poomse. This gradual removal of Japanese/Okinawan terms and influence from Tae Kwon Do is an understandable effort to emphasize the nature of Tae Kwon Do as a Korean martial art, and to obtain Korean validation for the American association and its instructors.

United Chung Do Kwan Association

To a certain extent, the United Chung Do Kwan Association (UCDKA) owes its existence to Master Jonathan C. Henkel, (then 1st Dan, currently 6th Dan), who was assigned to South Dakota State University (SDSU) ROTC after returning from Korea, where he had been promoted to first Dan on December 9, 1973 at the Kukkiwon in Soeul, Korea. At SDSU, Master Henkel started Master Jeffrey Holsing in his TKD training under the auspices of the USCDKA.

The UCDKA was first conceived in Alabama. Under the leadership of Master Jeffrey Holsing, the UCDKA formally broke away from Grand Master E.B. Sells’ USCDKA in the early summer of 1989. The first organizational meeting of the UCDKA was held in Brookings, SD on June 4, 1989 (50) . For the next 14 months, the masters and senior black belts held a series of 19 organizational meetings which established the UCDKA. Although there have been some changes since the autumn of 1990, by that date, the UCDKA had essentially completed its organization. The nucleus for this new association of martial artists was largely provided by the Chung Do Kwan black belts from South Dakota, with another center of UCDKA activity in the Southeast which contributed much to the early development of the association. Grand Master Cha Sok Park, 8th Dan, agreed to arrange the validation of UCDKA Dan ranks at the Kukkiwon in Korea. At Grand Master Park’s recommendation, the association adopted Grand Master Daeshik Kim’s books as the authority for UCDKA poomse.

Much of the organization, traditions and structure of the organization were very similar to that of USCDKA, as both are Chung Do Kwan, and the original UCDKA Masters had all trained with Grand Master Sell. Among the things which were taken from the USCDKA were the patch placement on the dobak, the student’s name in Korean and English, the design of the instructor patch, and the gup colors up through brown belt.

In April of 1996, the chairman of the Board of Directors of UCDKA was asked to resign his position. The chairmanship was held by several different masters in rapid succession, but by the beginning of 1997 most of the active clubs had withdrawn from the UCDKA, which then virtually ceased to exist.

American Chung Do Kwan Ltd.

The dojangs which had withdrawn from UCDKA came together during the early months of 1997 to form a new association, the American Chung Do Kwan Ltd (ACDKL), under Masters J. Bice and J. Henkel. This association consists of the majority of dojangs which had formerly belonged to the UCDKA, and still follows most of the formal practices of that association. A new constitution has been adopted by the ACDKL, and has significantly changed association structure and organization.

In Conclusion

The idea behind writing this history was to correct some of the common errors which have crept into the instructional materials associated with Tae Kwon Do, and to present the students of American Chung Do Kwan with as accurate a history of their art and style as the sources allow. The history of Chung Do Kwan is something we can all be proud of. It is certainly no disgrace to train in a dynamic fighting style created by an exceptional Korean martial artist which can trace its roots back through Okinawan Karate to ancient China. Chung Do Kwan lacks ancient roots only within Korea, and this is of no importance at all. Young growth is the most vigorous, and it is within Korea that Chung Do Kwan has developed into the style in which we train today.

The above history is both incomplete and often incorrect. All suggestions for additions and corrections are always very welcome, and may be sent to the author in care of Husky Tae Kwon Do. However, to be usable, such suggestions must be supported by published references and/or attributable to the person supplying them.

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Posted by: MattJ

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 11:16 PM

originally posted by Shug. Thank me later!

Bannon, D. 1994. Pak Yon: How a Dutchman in 17th Century Korea Changed Martial Arts History. Dojang. Summer. 1994.pp60-62

Bannon, D. 1996. Who Were the Hwrang? Dojang. Winter1996. pp 59-63.

Bishop, Mark. 1989. Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. A & C Black. London. 192pp

Burdick, D. 1997. People & Events in Taekwondo’s Formative Years. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. (6):1 pp 30-49

Cho, S,H. 1968. Korean Karate: Free Fighting Techniques. Tuttle, Rutland. VT. 249pp

Choi Hong Hi. 1965. Taekwon-Do: The Art of Self-Defense. Daeha Publication Co. Soeul. 304p

Clark, R. 1995. Korean Forms. Tae Kwon Do Times. 16(4) pp42-48

Cocoran, J. and E. Farkas w/ S. Sobel. 1993. The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia. Pro-Action Publishing. Los Angeles. 437p

Draeger, D. & R.W. Smith. 1980. Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts. Kodansha. Tokyo. 207p.

Draeger, D. 1972. Classical Bujutsu. Weatherhill. Tokyo. 109p.

Draeger, D. 1972. Classical Budo Weatherhill. Tokyo. 127p.

Dukes, T. ( Shifu Nagaboshi Tomio) 1994. The Bodhisattava Warriors. Weiser. York Beach, ME. 527p

Ferguson, R. 1994. Is Tae Kwon Do Really a Korean Art? TKD Times. (15):2 pp 50-55, 82

Haines, B.A. 1968. Karate's History and Traditions. Charles E. Tuttle Co. Rutland, VT. 192 p.

Haines, B.A. 1995 (revised edition). Karate's History and Traditions. Charles E. Tuttle Co. Rutland, VT. 192 p.

Hallander, J. 1993. The Truth Behind Martial Arts in Korea Today. TKD Times. (13):5 pp 50-53.

Hargrove, F. 1986. The 100 Year History of Shorin-Ryu Karate. Privately Published. 220p.

Hassell, R. G. 1991. Shotokan Karate: Its History and Evolution. Focus. Publications. St. Louis, MO. 150p.

Higaonna, Morio. 1995. The History of Karate: Okinawan Goju-Ryu. Dragon Books, 226 pp

Johnson, N. 1994. Xen Shaolin Karate. Tuttle. Rutland 240p

Kim, D. 1991. Tae Kwon Do. V. 1. NANAM Pub. Seoul. 210p.

Kim, D. 1991. Tae Kwon Do. V. 2. NANAM Pub. Seoul. 224p.

Kim, D. & A Bäck. 1989. Martial Meditation. ICMAEP. Akron, OH. 372p

Kim, R. 1974. The Weaponless Warriors. Ohara. Sta. Clarita. CA

Lee, J. 1995. The History of Tae Kwon Do. TKD Times (15):5 pp50-58

Lee, Kang Seok. 1997. Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee: Founder of Chung Do Kwan. Tae Kwon Do Times. 17 (3) pp 44- 51

Lindsey, R.L. 1995. Solving the White Crane Mystery: The Heritage of the Okinawan Systems. Dojo. Fall 1995. pp14-19

Liu, James J.Y. 1967. The Chinese Knight-Errant. University of Chicao. Chicago. 242p

McCarthy, P. 1987. Classical Kata of Okinawan Karate. Ohara. Santa Clarita, CA. 255p.

Pieter, W. 1994. Notes on the Historical Development of Korean Martial Sports- An Addendum to Young’s History & Developmemnt of Tae Kyon. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. (3):1 pp82-89.

Poliakoff, M.B. 1987. Combat Sports in the Ancient World. Yale University Press. New Haven. 202p.

Ratti, O. & A. Westbrook. 1973. Secrets of the Samurai. Charles E. Tuttle. Rutland, VT. 483p.

Reid, H. & M. Croucher. 1983. The Way of the Warrior. Overlook Press. Woodstock. NY 240p.

Rodine, Tim. 1996. From Generation to Generation to Puerto Rico. Tae Kwon Do Times. (16) 10 p 26

E.B. Sell 1973. Revised edition. v. #1 Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan for the Beginner. Korean Tae Kwon Do Association of America/Canada. 62p

_______ 1973. v. #1 Tae Kwon Do Chung Do Kwan for the Beginner and Advanced Student. Korean Tae Kwon Do Association of America/Canada. 92p

E.B. Sell & B.J. Sell. 1979. Forces of Tae Kwon Do, U.S. Chung Do Kwan Association. 240p.

_______1987 revised 7th edition. Forces of Tae Kwon Do. U.S. Chung Do Kwan Association. 273p.

Young, Robert W.1993. The History and Development of Tae Kyon. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. v.2 n.2. pp44-69.



(1) A truly authoritative history would have to be firmly based on years of research using the best available sources in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese. As the author does not possess these linguistic skills, the present history must be considered informal and subject to change as more and/or better information becomes available.

(2) Main influence would appear to be Shotokan as taught in the Japanese university clubs in the 1930’s.

(3) Dussault, J. and S. Dussault. 1993. Patriarch of the Chang Moo Kwan. Inside Tae Kwon Do. 2(5) pp42-49 - In this article, the founding of the Chang Moo Kwan is attributed to Yun Pyung-in, who had to be a young man at this time as he was a college student in Japan during the “40’s”. He had studied both Chuan Fa and Shudokan Karate (promoted 4th Dan by Toyama Kanken, which may make him the highest ranking Korean karate-ka to return to Korea in 1945.) before opening a Kwonpup club at a high school in Seoul in September, 1946.

(4) These ranks were much more difficult to attain in the Japan of that era than they are today, and consequently may reflect a deeper understanding of the arts studied.

(5) Rees, D. 1988. A Short History of Modern Korea. Hippocrene. New York. 196p

(6) Hallander, J. 1993. The Truth Behind Martial Arts in Korean Today. TKD Times. 13(5) pp50-53

(7) Liu, James J.Y. 1967. The Chinese Knight-Errant. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. 242p

(8) Taoism also appeared during this period, and its teachings have many similarities to the attitudes of the yu-hsia , or Chinese knight errants.

(9) Ibid.

(10) See Burdick, D. 1997. Taekwondo’s Formative Years for a discussion of the Chinese derivation of Korea’s early martial arts.

(11) Some of the early Chinese styles may have been very sophisticated.

(12) Mu Tau as taught by J. Arvantis is thought to be the only modern descendant of the Pankration, but schools proporting to teach this art have existed in Europe up to modern times.
(13) Poliakoff, M.B. 1987.

(14) Bannon, D. 1996. Who Were the Hwrang? Dojang. Winter1996. pp 59-63.

(15) It is curious that this period corresponds very closely to that of the Chinese T’ang Dynasty

(16) See footnote 1

(17) Pieter, W. 1994. (3):1 pp82-89.

(18) The reader is alerted to the fact that there is indeed a powerful modern Korean martial art, Hwarangdo, which claims a lineage going back to the classical Hwarangdo. The late Michael D. Echanis was the most famous American student of this art. For an overview of the martial legends of Hwarangdo, the reader is referred to the web site www.hwarangdo.com/hrd1.htm.

(19) Unlike Tae Kwon Do, Karate’s early history has been relatively well documented. The reader is referred to: Higaonna, Morio. 1995. The History of Karate: Okinawan Goju-Ryu. Dragon Books, 226 pp and Bishop, Mark. 1989. Okinawan Karate: Teachers, Styles and Secret Techniques. A & C Black. London. 192pp

(20) The history of Shotokan Karate is also fairly documented. The reader is referred to Harry Cook’s new book on the history of Shotokan due to be published this fall.

(21) Burdick, Op. Cit.

(22) The ‘Do’ suffix for a martial art originated in Japan

(23) He may have been a second Dan - sources disagree.

(24) Cho, S,H. 1968.

(25) Lee, Kang Seok. 1997. Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee: Founder of Chung Do Kwan. Tae Kwon Do Times. 17 (3) pp 44- 51

(26) Korea refers here to the Republic of Korea (ROK) or South Korea. Although it is very difficult to obtain any good information concerning the martial arts within North Korea, there is reason to believe that the private practice of the martial arts were considered subversive by the Communist regime in North Korea, and these arts have not survived there. It is known that General Choi has attempted to introduce Tae Kwon Do there.

(27) Note here that the Chinese ideographs used for Tang Su Do and for Karate Do (before 1930) are identical.

(28) I am unaware of any early Tae Kwon Do master with an instructional lineage in Tae Kyon. It would appear that Tae Kyon and Tae Kwon Do are entirely separate with little technical relationship between them.

(29) Burdick, Op Cit.

(30) Sources differ as to dates and names

(31) Associated with Chung Do Kwan - Burdick Op. Cit.

(32) Burdick, Op. Cit. says that the Korean Tae Su Do Association was formed only changing the name to Tae Kwon Do in 1965

(33) Clark, R. 1995.

(34) Interview with Dr. Un Yong Kim. 1986. TKD Times March 1986. pp30-42

(35) Interview with Dr. Un Yong Kim. 1994. TKD Times March 1994. pp36-37;80-81

(36) Interview with General Choi, Hong Hi 1986. TKD Times March 1986. pp30-42

(37) Lee, Kang Seok. 1997.Op Cit.

(38) Ibid

(39) Guest Editorial- 1996. MasterKim Soo. Nationalism Means Closed Arts. TKD Times. January, 1996

(40) Pers comm. from Master J.C. Henkel, who was told directly by Grand Master Hae Man Park

(41) Song Moo Kwan - Jay Hong in Robert Frankovich. 1994.

(42) Konstantin, Gil und Kim Chul-Hwan. 1994. Taekwondo Perfekt 1: Die Formenschule bis zum Blaugurt. Falken-Verlag. Niedernhausen. 175pp(pp16-17): Bei der Gründung der Koreanischen Taekwondo Verbandes (KTA)kamen die Gründungsmitgleider dennoch Überein, keinen der Formen aus den neun beteiligten richtungen zubevorzugen, sondern im Interesse eines gemeinsamen Taekwondo und um den andern Poomse-Richtungen entgegenzukommen ganz neue Formen zu kreieren. Ein Team koreanischer Großmeister wurde mit der Ausführung dieses Projekt beauftragt. Dieses Gremium schuf die Palgwe-, Taegük-, und die restlichen neun Meister-Poomse, wobei die Palgwe-Poomse schon kurze Zeit später wieder verworfen wurden.”

(43) Ibid

(44) Pers. comm. Master Darby Holsing

(45) Choi Hong Hi. 1963.

(46) Pers. comm. Senior Master Ron Rose; Burdick, Op. Cit. says only “late in 1954”

(47) Rodine, Tim. 1996. From Generation to Generation to Puerto Rico. Tae Kwon Do Times. (16) 10 p 26

(48) Lee, Kang Seok. 1997. Op. Cit.

(49) Ibid.

(50) I owe a debt of gratitude to Master Darby Holsing for the loan of the minutes of all these early meetings.

I found this on another board I frequent, and as is apparant, I am not the auther. Still, I thought it would be an interesting contribution.

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Posted by: MattJ

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 11:19 PM

originally posted by Shug. Thank me later!

Also, a little about the Hwarang.... I know I'm going to get lynched for this, but I really thought this was interesting to add.
here is the link it came from btw; http://www.geocities.com/neue_strassenbahn/hwarang.html

Nowadays Hwarang [] is respected by the Korean as a symbol of Korean spirit. They say:

Silla developed its Hwarang (Flower of Youth Corps), a voluntary military organization. The Hwarang members were trained as a group in the arts of war, literary taste and community life, partly through pilgrimages. The educational objectives were:
loyalty to the monarch
filial piety to parents
amicability among friends
no retreat in war
aversion to unnecessary killing
These objectives were postulated by the famous monk Won-gwang, who consolidated Buddhist-Confucian virtues in the education of Silla youths. This movement became popular and the corps contributed to the strength of the Silla Kingdom.
Korea.net: History: The Three Kingdoms
Koreans believe it blindly, but it is no more than a fiction. Hwarang was not a training group of warriors, and the five disciplines they mentioned above, Sesok-ogye [], had nothing to do with Hwarang.

Hwarang [] stands for "Flower Boy(s)." (Korea.net's translation is misleading.) It sounds sissy and fairy not only in English but also for people using Chinese characters. Why they were qualified as "flowery," although the Korean believe it was a group of elite warriors? It seems much more natural for a warrior to be qualified as "fierce" or "tough." Furthermore, when we liken men to flowers, we use another hwa (83EF) instead of hwa (82B1). Hwa (82B1) is usually used for women. So the name of Hwarang is closely associated with gay.

There are scarce historical data about Hwarang. No text written during Silla era survives. Main resources are three books: Samguk Sagi (1145), Haedong Goseungjeon (1215), and Samguk Yusa (1284). I recommend you to read these books in the original. (English translations are often inaccurate) You will be surprised how rarely Hwarang is mentioned.

Samguk Sagi, the oldest history book in Korea, consists of six parts: Silla Bon-gi (Annals of Silla), Goguryeo Bon-gi (Annals of Goguryeo), Baekje Bon-gi (Annals of Baekje), chronological table, Japji (miscellaneous records), and Yeoljeon (biographies). There is only an episode of Hwarang in Silla Bon-gi. It describes the origin of Hwarang briefly. The first term referred to Hwarang is "Wonhwa," and Hwarang was not male at first. The first members of Wonhwa were two women: Nammo and Junjeong. During the years of King Jinheung's reign, they were chosen by the king and soon had about 300 followers. But when Junjeong killed Nammo out of jealousy, Wonhwa was abolished.

Hereupon Samguk Sagi says that the king mustered young boys who looked good, made them wear makeup and decorated beautifully, and called them Hwarang. They were given freedom. Among them excellent persons were chosen and recommended to the court.

Samguk Yusa run the same story and it is more interesting. It says that after abolishing Wonhwa, the king ordered virtuous and superior boys from aristocratic families to be chosen and freshly made them Hwanang (not Hwarang). (*) Hwanang [] stands for "Flower Girl(s)," although they were boys. What this means?

Samguk Sagi quotes Hwarang Segi by Kim Daemun, which says, "Bright ministers and loyal subjects are brought up here, and good generals and brave soldiers are born therefrom." It is clear that Hwarang in itself was not a warrior group. Although some Hwarang members later became good generals and brave soldiers, it is doubtful that they belonged to Hwarang when they rendered distinguished service.

When you read Yeoljeon (biographies) of Samguk Sagi, you will find it describe several Silla people joined Hwarang groups when young. But many of them had nothing to do with military affairs. Furthermore the relationship between each of them and the Hwarang groups is unclear. Although Samguk Sagi mentioned each of them became a Hwarang in youth, it tells nothing more. What did he do when he was a Hwarang? Till when was he a Hwarang member?

Hwarang is often mentioned in connection with Buddhism, which was severely suppressed during the Yi period. This was partly because the author of Samuguk Yusa was a Buddhist monk. Samguk Sagi and Samguk Yusa refer to Sesok-ogye [], which Koreans believe was the set of Hwarang's five disciplines during Silla. Ogye [], the five precepts, are the minimal set of moral restrictions to be observed by Buddhist householder-practitioners. (*) Sesok-ogye was just a variant of Ogye. And according to Samguk Yusa, the famous Buddhist monk Won-gwang taught Sesok-ogye to Kwisan and Chuhang, who later joined the army and won martial glory, but nothing says that they were Hwarang members. (*) Sesok-ogye had nothing to do with Hwarang. "It was a set of norms for every day life of common people," said Prof. Shin Bok Ryong. (*)

Although Koreans do not want to refer to or just do not know it, Hwarang still existed after the collapse of Silla. According to Hunmong Jahoe (1527), the learner's dictionary of Chinese characters by Joe Sejin, Hwarang meant a male shaman during the Yi dynasty. At that time Hwarang were bottom in rank and disrespected.

Because of an inferiority complex toward Japan, South Korea needed something equal to Japanese samurai after the independence from Japan. So Koreans transformed mysterious Hwarang into brave warrior groups in the world of their imaginations. It was a convenient fiction for Koreans because Hwarang were prior to Japanese samurai. Some of them began to believe unquestioningly that samurai was influenced by Silla's Hwarang without foundation. Yes. By doing this they could beat hatred Japanese.

Related Links
'Hwarang=Taekwondo' Needs Reinterpretation (English) - Global Taekwondo Network
Prof. Shin Bok Ryong's Column (Korean) - Donga Ilbo
Samguk Yusa (Traditional Chinese) - Chinese Buddhist Canon Series
Haedong Goseungjeon (Traditional Chinese) - Chinese Buddhist Canon Series
Posted by: MattJ

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 11:22 PM

and now a little about Moo Duk Kwan/Tang Soo Do;
The rising of the Taenam

Born November 9, 1914 in Jang Dan- Kyong Ki province, where the DMZ now resides, Hwang, Kee held true to his original name, Taenam, which meant "starboy", as he rose to the heights of being one of the most famous martial arts instructors and innovators still alive.

Grandmaster Hwang, Kee's first exposure to martial arts took place in the month of May in 1921 during the Dan-O festival, which is the national May festival. He came upon a fight that pursued between a single man and eight other opponents. The eight young men attempted to beat the single defender who avoided and counter attacked with various kicks. The young would-be attackers fell one by one. The crowd dispersed with some saying, "That was taekkyon." While others said, "That was ship pal ki." Hwang, Kee was so impressed by this that he followed the man from a distance and discovered where he lived.

It was several days later that Hwang, Kee went back to the man's house. There he sat on a hill and observed the man and a partner practicing foot and hand techniques. He recognized it as the same techniques that the man used during his confrontation with the young men. He often revisited that sight and watched and imitated the moves that he saw performed by the man. One day Hwang, Kee wanted to receive formal lessons from the man, so he went to the house and asked. Much to his disappointment, the man refused to teach him due to Hwang, Kee's young age. This did discourage him, however he continued to visit the same spot and practice, by himself, what he saw the man doing. This had a great influence on Hwang, Kee to devote himself later to the art that is now known as Soo Bahk Do Moo Do Kwan.

The Manchurian Connection

In May of 1935, Hwang, Kee traveled to China where he worked for the Manchurian railroad. During the past 20 years, Hwang, Kee practiced and trained himself in the martial arts whenever the opportunity arrived; however he never had any formal training. It was in 1936 that Hwang, Kee had his first formal martial arts lesson from a local well renowned martial artist, Master Yang, Kuk Jin. Due to his work schedule at the railroad, Hwang, Kee would practice every other day.

Master Yang trained Hwang, Kee in the arts of Seh Bop (method of postures), Bo Bop (method of steps) and Ryun Bop (method of conditioning). He also trained him in "Dham Toi Sip E Ro" and "Tae Kuk Kwon," which were disciplines of form and its combat applications. Hwang, Kee remained a diligent and dedicated student to Master Yang until August of 1937 in which he had to go back to Korea for personal reasons. He returned to China in 1941 to visit and practice with Master Yang, but this would be for the last time, as China became a communist country and all communications between Master Yang and Hwang, Kee had come to an end.

Birth of the Moo Duk Kwan Forms

In 1939, Grandmaster Hwang, Kee began working for the Choson Railway Bureau. It was during this time that he was able to visit the library and read books on Okinawin Karate. It was through this study that he developed the forms for Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan. Pyung Ahn Hyungs, Bassai Hyungs, and Kong Sang Kun Hyungs may be practiced a little differently from the original Okinawin Pinan forms, but their origins stem from the influence of the Okinawin Karate books that Grandmaster Hwang, Kee studied.

Bringing It Together

It was November 9, 1945 when Grandmaster Hwang, Kee brought together his experiences in the martial arts. With his personal practice of Taekyon combined with the chuan'fa he learned from Master Yang and adding in the forms that he learned from the books, he founded the Moo Duk Kwan. Moo; Martial, Military, Prevent inner/outer conflict, Duk; Virtue, Ethics, Discipline, Kwan; Style, School, Institute, Moo Duk Kwan; "Style to teach Moo and Duk through training in the martial arts.

In 1957 he discovered a book call the Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji. This was to be a great discovery for him. This book was a historical document of Korean's martial arts. It was published 300 years ago and is the only known Korean martial art book from that era. Within that book he discovered the traditional Soo Bahk Ki (Hand Striking Technique) and Soo Bahk Hee (Hand Striking Dance). Hwang, Kee created the name Soo Bahk Do from both Soo Bahk Ki and Soo Bahk Hee. He combined both names through his belief that Soo Bahk should teach Moo Do (Martial Way) Philosophy of stopping inner and outer conflict.

"and now you know the rest of the story"

Since that time of developing the Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, there have been many significant changes in the Korean martial arts. One particularly was the formation of Taekwondo. The younger generation of students felt that it was wiser to go with the other kwans in the forming the new art. With the formation of Taekwondo, came a split in the Moo Duk Kwan family due to political pressures from the government. This is why there exists a Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan as well as Taekwondo, Moo Duk Kwan. On July 13, 2002 Dojunim Hwang Ki passed away in his home in Korea. His son Master H.C. Hwang ascends to Kwan Jhang Nim of the Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan

Recommended Reading:

The History of Moo Duk Kwan by Hwang Kee

Soo Bahk Do Vol. 1 by Hwang Kee

[This message has been edited by Shug (edited 03-05-2005).]

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Post Extras:
Posted by: MattJ

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/07/05 11:25 PM

Originally posted by Shug. Thank me later!

a little more about Chang Moo Kwan;
During the Japanese colonial rule of Korea from 1909 until 1945, many aspects of Korean Cultural practices were aggressively suppressed. Martial arts practice was expressly forbidden by strict Japanese policy. Young and courageous Lee Nam Suk was forced to practice and develop what would later be named Chang Moo Kwan by tirelessly and secretly studying a discarded Chinese translation of Gichun Funakoshi''s classic text on Okinawan Shotokan karate. Under the tutelage of Kanken Toyama, Byung In Yoon developed his skills in Japanese Shudokan to the level of 4th dan while living in Japan and attending Nihon University. Having been raised in Manchuria, Yoon was already proficient in Chuan Fa. Following the end of World War II, these two masters formed what was to become Chang Moo Kwan.

Byung In Yoon and Lee Nam Suk decided to combine their resources at the YMCA in Seoul Korea. Grandmaster Byung In Yoon was recognized as the first Grandmaster, and Nam Suk Lee appointed as head instructor. Political and military conflicts erupted and the Korean War ripped the country in two lasting from June 25th, 1950 to June 27, 1953. In South Korea martial arts trained commandos were dispatched against the enemy, but casualties were high, and one such casualty was Byung In Yoon. He was declared missing and presumed dead. Nam Suk Lee took over Master Yoon's school. Chang Moo Kwan was considered the leading self-defense method in post war Korea.

Through the 1950's and 1960's Grandmaster Lee traveled worldwide in an effort to promote both martial arts good will and Chang Moo Kwan. During this time he was an influential member in several important Korean martial art associations including the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association and the World Tae Kwon Do Federation. He was in demand worldwide to attend organizational meetings, tournaments, and promotional tests.

In 1998 Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee was urged to come out of retirement by Grandmaster Jon R. Wiedenman and Master George F. Fullerton. After almost a 30-year hiatus from teaching, the 73-year-old Grandmaster was "actively engaged" in teaching classes again! Almost every Monday evening he instructed Traditional Chang Moo Kwan at a San Pedro, California YMCA class. Privately, Grandmaster taught Grandmaster Jon R. Wiedenman every Wednesday. In these classes he clearly and meticulously outlined what he desired the future to know about his art, Chang Moo Kwan. Grandmaster Lee expressed concern that his teachings and traditional Chang Moo Kwan maybe lost to the world and future. Grandmaster Wiedenman was granted the privilege of acting as custodian of Traditional Chang Moo Kwan as Supreme Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee desired it to be taught.

Last 30's Studies Gichun Funakoshi's Text on Okinawan Shotokan and teaches develops Chang Moo Kwan in Japanese Occupied Korea

September 1, 1946 Appointed the 1st instructor of Chang Moo Kwan

May 1,1947 Established Taekwondo department in the Ministry of Communications and served as the 1st instructor.

October 5, 1953 Appointed the 2nd President and instructor of Chang Moo Kwan

August 1961 Appointed General Director of The Korea Taekwondo Association

January 1962 Resigned from above post

January 1967 Appointed General Director of the Korea Taekwondo Association

January 1969 Appointed Vice President of the Korea Taekwondo Association

January 1971 Re-appointed to the above post

January 1973 Appointed Vice Chairman, Council of Techniques, K.T.A.

July 1973 Appointed Chairman, Council of Techniques, K.T.A.

July 1973 Appointed Executive Council member of the World Taekwondo Federation

August 12 to
October 9, 1973 Traveled to U.S.A., Canada, Guatemala, West Germany and Italy In a series of inspections tour of Taekwondo

October 31 to
November 30,1973 Traveled to U.S.A. and Canada for the same purpose

July 28 to
August 29, 1974 Visited the Republic of China for the same purpose

August 29 to
October 1, 1975 Visited U.S.A., Guatemala, Curacao for the same purpose

April 30 to
May 27, 1975 Visited U.S.A., Guatemala, Panama, Curacao, Venezuela for the same purpose

March 1976 President of Central Headquarters, Taekwondo Chang Moo Kwan, Chairman, Council of Techniques, K.T.A. and the treasurer of the World Taekwondo Ferderation

1980's to
Late 1990's Semi retired to San Pedro Southern California to be closer to his family. Made occasional appearances at promotional tests and tournaments

1998 In San Pedro California - comes out of retirement to teach Chang Moo Kwan Masters Jon R. Wiedenman and George Fullerton the essence of Traditional Chang Moo Kwan
1998 to

April 2000 Adopts the San Pedro YMCA as his official Dojang and begins instructing formal group classes on Mondays and teaches Master Wiedenman privately on Wednesdays

April 2000 Discusses future aspirations for Chang Moo Kwan with Master Wiedenman. New Chang Moo Kwan logo and axiom developed. Last black belt forms taught

May 2000 Grandmaster has a stroke after stomach surgery

August 2000 Grandmaster Nam Suk Lee passes away in Torrance, California at age 75 and is interned at Rose Hill cemetery in Whittier, California. Grandmaster Wiedenman designates his teacher and Supreme Grandmaster and a 10th Dan Black Belt

August 2000 to
Present Grandmaster Jon R. Wiedenman steps up to the position of Grandmaster and begins to fulfill his obligation and to Supreme Grandmaster Lee in perpetuating Chang Moo Kwan as his teacher instructed
Posted by: trevek

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 03/11/06 04:39 PM

The article looks great, but wouldn't have been better put in the articles of FA.com? It's a bit hard to read here.

Anyway, tremendous work. Well done!

My first question would be about the pancration. If this is possibly a basis for many Asian arts, then why are forms of foot fighting rather rare in Europe?
Posted by: tkdwarrior

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 03/13/06 12:23 PM

excellent job on the history. You really put time into your research. Thanks, I enjoyed reading the post.
Posted by: shaokhan79

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 03/29/06 05:53 PM

regarding the hwoarang...

perhaps back in the days, the flower thing was not associated with gay imagery... different times, different culture.

i'm korean and i always considered the hwoarang as a school of thought for young males which was to breed nationalism/patriotism in times of war...

tho some textbooks for school children might over play their martial role, their influence in the unification of kroea back in the 3 kingsdom days cannot be ignored.

one of the most famous general (kim yu shin) was a hwoarang
in his youth. he was a silla general and contributed greatly in the unification.

their is also a famous tale of a hwoarang youth doing almost a suicidal charge against the baekje army, was captured, released (due to his young age) and charged again then to be killed. apparently this sacrifice gave inspiration/motivation/courage and silla army won that battle.

i sensed a bias against the history of hwoarang so i felt i needed to add some things. tho i grew up in korea until in the early 1980's (prime target age and time for propaganda), i personnaly was unaware of the hwoarang martials > samurai image.

i can tell you about other crap that i heard against communists (north korea, USSR, china) and vs japan tho... now i know better

hopefully, the current education system is less biased...
Posted by: Dobbersky

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 04/04/06 08:10 AM


Does anyone have the lineage between Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do as I Trained in Tang Soo Do Mu Duk Kwan and the information I read placed direct lineage from Tang Soo Do to Tae kwon Do, I've not seen the Hyungs of Tae Kwon Do are they not disimilar to the Tang Soo Do Hyungs. I had to give up Tang Soo Do as Grading/monthly prices were going too high and turn Japanese Karate/Jujitsu, this is a shame as I would have been 3rd Red to be taking my Midnight Blue/Black belt in the fall

with all respect

Posted by: TeK9

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 04/12/06 02:35 AM

I'ved been holding off, but the truth is I CREATED TAEKWONDO, yep I said it, it was me. I TEK created TKD. It's a cross between karate and an Ancient Mayan game. The mayans used to bunt a ball around in a court yard using their ligs,knees and feet and chest. You could not used your hands. The object was to get the ball into a ring loop, it was almost as if playing basketball, by the way I created that too, based off this sport.

Many of you can see the influence, as I said in this ancient mayan game, you could not use your hands, which explains much of the low if any gaurd being used durring TKD sparring. The game was played using the legs,m which explains the many kicks in the TKD arsenal, and as I said he chest was allowed, so you could bump the ball of the chest which helps when passing it to friends, similar to soccer. This can be seen in TKD sparring when the opponents get within close range and they do all that chest bumping. Although the game was played for life and death. The loser losing their lives, perferably their heads, and the winner recieving nothing.

I aded the pretty V-neck uniforms later on, and I basically wanted to keep the sport full contact, so I added some light sparring gear, cuz I'm not compassionateless you know.

OKay so now you all know, TKD is a blend of karate (not saying which one) and an ancient mayan sport, which looks very similar to subak, but those korean guys totally copied us, cuz we trying to set up an international league, and some folks got ahold of the rule book and totally jacked us. but oh well, i hear they didn;t get it completely cuz it was banend or something.

I know people wil read this because I posted it, I bet some of you wil get pissy with me and ask me for proof of this. But I tell you, its all true.

Posted by: Mike_L

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 06/09/06 03:10 PM

I saw him.
Posted by: Mike_L

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 06/09/06 03:13 PM

They are two diffrent Martial arts. Tang soo do was first called Tang soo do, then the Korean government wanted to rename all Korean Martial arts Taekwondo. The founders/students of Tang soo do, and many other Korean Martial arts opposed this, so some of which actually sued the Korean government for the right to call it Tang soo do, and the rest is as they say history.
Posted by: Isshinryukid4life

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 06/20/06 07:21 AM


They are two diffrent Martial arts. Tang soo do was first called Tang soo do, then the Korean government wanted to rename all Korean Martial arts Taekwondo. The founders/students of Tang soo do, and many other Korean Martial arts opposed this, so some of which actually sued the Korean government for the right to call it Tang soo do, and the rest is as they say history.

Nope!Tae su du was the name of what we know as tkd of today.
Posted by: Mike_L

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 06/23/06 03:41 PM

No, that was Tae soo do by the way. I was not saying Tang soo do was part of Taekwondo, the original plan of Choi, and the Korean government was to unite all Korean martial arts under the banner name Tae kwon do. This was unrealistic, and in the end did not turn out that way. Tang soo do was never a part of Taekwondo, but it like many other Korean martial arts at that time was going to be called Taekwondo. Many opposed this, and it never really happened.
Posted by: Isshinryukid4life

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 07/03/06 02:43 AM

Alright,then,In what year did the korean gov want to name it korean karate/tae su do?
You've better think about this one,B/c they did'nt call it tkd until later on,& I doubt anyone at that time sued the korean gov,As there was a dictatorship at the time;in other words it was'nt a democracy.
Posted by: Mike_L

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 07/11/06 03:33 PM

1945, Korean Kong soo do federation, 1955 banner name Tae kwon do is coined by general Choi. Tae "to kick or strike with the foot" kwon "to punch or strike with the foot" do "art or way" roughly translated "the art of kicking and punching", or "the way of foot and fist", among other ways. It was general Choi's vision to unite the many Korean Kwans (styles) under the banner name Tae kwon do, (also with Japanese Shotokan Karate-do). It was not until after south Korea became a democracy, that the law suits began, originally many schools kept the original names of their kwans. However the name TKD was being used to describe anything form Tang soo do to subak, purely for publicity reasons. After a while TKD had developed into it's own unique martial art, with its own patterns, sparring types, self defense, and applications. The WTF and ITF were founded, and time went on. Tang soo do and Taekwondo remained sepreate.

Now if you would kindly STFU!!
Posted by: TeK9

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 07/13/06 04:38 AM

It is my opinion that there are two types of martial arts in korean. One being taekwondo/tang soo do and the other being hapkido. Hapkido ocourse is almost exactly like daito ryu aikijutsu. Many of the masters of the original kwans had knowledge of the same martial art, so no matter wat they called their scholl or art, they were all still teaching the same art. Ofcourse every master add's in their own bit of flavor, but generally all the striking arts were the same. Tang Soo Do has the same exact techniques as taekwondo go figure... To me having been a practitioner of both and havin seen students from both "styles" I would say the ony differences is the way the techniques are executed. This ofcourse is probably the major difference between the ITF and WTF "styles" of taekwondo. Although now it is widely accepted that the WTF "style" is now geared towards sports; moving away from it's practical self defense applications and focussing on competative sparring. However, there are still schools affiliated with the WTF who are not sports orientative at all and still practice TKD purely for self defense purposes.
Posted by: ITFunity

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 07/15/06 10:55 AM

Very good information!

Would it be possible to have this e-mailed to me at:


Also, there were originally 2 KTAs. General Choi was vice president, then president. That group fell apart. It was not till 1965 that he (Mr. Choi) was elected as president of what is now considered the real KTA.
The ITF moved from Seoul, Korea to Toronto, Canada in 1972, not 1974. Later on, in 1985 it again moved to Vienna, Austria, a neutral country, that would allow greater access to the communist & socialists nations of the world. It was General Choi's dream to spread & teach TKD to everyone, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, creed, nationality or politics. He was very successful.
Posted by: Katana83

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 12/18/06 04:03 AM


The article looks great, but wouldn't have been better put in the articles of FA.com? It's a bit hard to read here.

Anyway, tremendous work. Well done!

My first question would be about the pancration. If this is possibly a basis for many Asian arts, then why are forms of foot fighting rather rare in Europe?

I think that you bring up a good point. If the asian martial arts do come from greece, then wouldn't eastern and western martial arts be nearly identical? I guess that what started out in greece went east and merged with the culture and indigenous fighting styles to form entirely new systems. Whatever remained in the west evolved and fused with both hellenistic/gothic styles and cultural influences being brought in from various other cultures such as the middle eastern styles/cultures and also formed entirely new systems. Perhaps this could be a reason that eastern and western styles are so different. However, history is not exact when it comes to these matters. Just as a case is being made for asian martial arts having an origin in pankration/pancratium, there is also a case being made that what the greeks and romans used actually came from africa/egypt. There are hieroglyphics that depict boxing, wrestling, and even fencing styles that predate their european practice by many centuries. They are eerily similar to what is considered european/western martial arts, and the west, like every other culture, absorbed many aspects of foreign cultures. The truth is that it is all shrouded in mystery and perhaps even lost in the sands of time. One thing that we can be certain of is that all of these styles and cultures, both east and west, are not as unique and mutually exclusive as they are made out to be. Everybody borrowed something from everybody, so nobody can really lay claim to having a monopoly on the martial arts, both old and new.
Posted by: trevek

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 12/21/06 03:56 PM

I've often wondered whether the weather and climate has any influence on fighting systems. I also think the style of warfare in medieval Europe might have influenced the lack of leg techniques in anything other than wrestling.

With regards to an earlier question about Hwa rang, perhaps the term "flowering youth" is more appropriate, as in 'blossoming', suggesting vitality.
Posted by: scottt

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 12/26/06 08:32 PM


... Tang Soo Do has the same exact techniques as taekwondo ...

Yes, I have also found this interesting. When my grandmaster was young and growing up in Korea he studied martial arts, but Taekwondo did not exist at that time. He has been teaching tkd since coming to Canada many years ago, but the fact is that he really learned something else first. In his case the main thing was also Tang Soo Do, and from what little I have seen of that art, there are a lot of similarities in philosophy and technique between it and what I have been taught.

Interestingly, since Japan was influential (understatement), my understanding is that he also practiced Japanese arts just because politics forced him to.
Posted by: practica

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 03/26/07 07:37 PM

Funnily enough they do still exist. Even boxing was known for kicking at one point.

Believe it or not, the Brits (though it seems mostly the English) practiced a sport called 'shin kicking' (http://www.daeschner.com/shin_trivia.html) and it's still done in Gloucestershire.

Savate is a French kicking art and also relied on stout shoes.

Devonshire Wrestling - very similar to Cornish except Devonshire wrestlers have an unpleasant habit of using nasty low-line kicks while in the clinch. I live in Devon, so I'm going to do some digging on this.

Zipota - Basque foot fighting; very similar to savate but with more emphasis on jumping kicks

Chausson - French foot fighting, predecessor of savate although still practiced in its original form in Marseille (Chausson Marseilles)

Libera Boxing (Italy) used fists, elbows, legs, knees, head and even back and thighs were used in some techniques to attack anemy. Also they wear light boots pointed on the top, so kicks could couse death.


The article looks great, but wouldn't have been better put in the articles of FA.com? It's a bit hard to read here.

Anyway, tremendous work. Well done!

My first question would be about the pancration. If this is possibly a basis for many Asian arts, then why are forms of foot fighting rather rare in Europe?

Posted by: trevek

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 04/08/07 02:55 PM

some nice suggestions. However, it's worth considering that savate is probably based on things sailors picked up from Asia.

Purring (shinkicking) was practised in north countries too. By all accounts they used heavy clogs.

Devonshire wrestling died out in 1920's I believe (unless they've tried to revive it). They also used to wear clogs. In the Cornish vs Devonshire matches the Devonshire wrestler was only allowed to wear one clog. I have a 19th Century article about Cornish wresling where they berate the 'ungentlemanly' kicking of the Devonshire men and say football would never catch on in Cornwall cos they dislike kicking!
Posted by: MarkhamTaekwondo

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 04/10/07 10:37 AM

If you want to better understand the origins of a Martial Art, the answer lies in Lanuage, and if you trace back a countries lanugage, then you will have a better idea of the origins of a specific Art.
I believe that all Martial Arts are directly related to the time line of Mans Evoluton, and Transmigration from one place to another. If you go back 40 years, there would be taekwondo, go back 90 years and there isnt, only Japanese based styles, go back 150 years and only Taekyon styles, but like any Nation, or Dynasty, you had to have a army and the skills of the troops were taught to them be someone else. What I'm trying to say is that Taekwondo like everything else in life gets passed down from person to person, sometimes that information gets lost due to peoples becoming isolated, or people getting completely wiped out (genocide) by another Tribe or army. If you go back far enough in time, you could say that the origins of Taekwondo are in fact African, if you believe that modern man are all descendants from there and simply migrated outwards. If a caveman teaches his son to hit things or other caveman with a dinosaur bone, couldnt that be classifiead as a form of Martial Arts. That skill is being passed down, from Master to Student. Martial Arts. like most things in life has to be learned from someone else, and if someone teaches that martial art to others, then te next generatin of Masters will change it to some degree. We can even see this in the way Present Day Masters Teach. Most Masters slightly change they're style of a Martial Arts depending on outside influences, or simply their own beliefs might change. When a young Master teaches, he may focus on speed, but as he ages he might decide that power is more important. Therefore that same Master has change his own Art slightly.
Posted by: 1964tkd

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 06/11/07 04:28 PM

Taekwon-Do and Tae Kwon Do, in my opinion are two different animals. Back in 1961, the KTA( Korea Tae Soo Do Assosiation)voted on the name Tae Soo Do to unite the different Kwans. On the other hand Gen. Choi wanted unity under one style, Taekwon-Do. The Kwans didn't want to change what they were teaching and only wanted to unite the Kwans. Even in the late 1960's there was talk between the KTA and ITF until Dr. Kim became President of the KTA. Then cooperation stopped and Gen. Choi left Korea in 1972.
Posted by: ElitMartial

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 06/12/07 07:37 AM

I heard Tae Kwon Do is from Karate and Taekyon, General Choi mix them both up and form a new martial art called Tae Kwon Do
Posted by: EarlWeiss

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 06/13/07 05:18 PM

General Choi writes in his book that having one man or country lay claim to inventing martial arts techniques is like having one man or country lay claim to inventing the wheel or discovering fire. General Choi had a martial arts background and was, after a performance of mostly Chung Do Kwan practitioners at a military demonstration for the Korean president given the task of training the troops. At the time there were only 28 divisions in the army. He formed the 29th and used it to assemble top martial arts talent forming the Oh Do Kwan, Gym of my way, or the gym for all of us, so any Kwan member could participate and not feel as though they joined a rival. General Choi realized that just as others had done before him (Funakoshi, Kano etc.), teaching on a large scale required a unified system,.Using the assembled talent he formulated the system and in order to further unify and solidify the art came up with a name for that system Originaly Tae Kwon Do to ease pronunciation, later Taekwon-Do to show the unity of the physical aspects linked to the "DO".
Posted by: ITFunity

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 08/22/07 04:30 PM

Readers of this index & especially this thread will be interested to know that a documentary about the history of TKD has been in the making for several years now. Finally the filmaker sent out an e-mail announcing the set up of their website, which is:

Posted by: flynch

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 09/04/07 03:45 PM

Yes a punch is a punch and a kick is a kick to claim that one invented these basic techniques is well...interesting at best.

Very interesting site with some familiar names. Much infomation and view points to reveiw.
Posted by: michaelboik

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 03/27/08 10:10 AM


Readers of this index & especially this thread will be interested to know that a documentary about the history of TKD has been in the making for several years now. Finally the filmaker sent out an e-mail announcing the set up of their website, which is:


Has there been any new reports on the documentary?
Posted by: Huhmasta

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 04/02/08 11:23 PM

I had no idea greek martial arts had any influence over asian martial arts. Wow.
Posted by: ITFunity

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 04/03/08 12:04 AM



Readers of this index & especially this thread will be interested to know that a documentary about the history of TKD has been in the making for several years now. Finally the filmaker sent out an e-mail announcing the set up of their website, which is:

Has there been any new reports on the documentary?

From my understanding, another film on the NK Team tour of the USA is taking precident, as it is more timely, given world events. However, the history film will still be made, it is just on hold, even though it is almost done, as far as most of the field work goes.
Posted by: The_Master

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/05/08 05:48 AM

wow, that's long! sorry i don't have the time to read all of it, u did a terrific job.
Posted by: KickingAngel16

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 07/30/08 07:25 AM

Wow! Great job and thanks.
Posted by: Saidar

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 05/09/09 04:39 AM

Nice job man!
Posted by: KarateNorth

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 09/06/09 02:07 AM

One TKD school uses an independent series of poomse, the Chung Bong series, which were developed by one man in 1974. (41) -mattJ

The, "One TKD school", is actually quite a few, mostly found in the Midwest where the developer first moved directly from Korea.
The developer is Jay Hyon.
Chung Bong forms actually developed 1966. Perhaps first performed in Korea in 1974, though not confirmed.

Many students of grand master Hyon opened their own schools and are still preforming and continuing to teach these forms.

These can be seen here in video and pdf format as demonstrated by Karate North (under Master Tom Sullivan):

Posted by: MadPanda

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 07/16/10 04:01 PM

Wow...that was much longer than I expected haha. I finished reading the introduction, very interesting so far. Thank you for sharing!
Posted by: KarateNorth

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 08/02/10 06:44 PM

Chung Bong forms 1-7

Karate North: http://www.karatenorth.com/?page=videos
youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/ChungBongForms
Posted by: kristinapetrico

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 10/27/10 09:06 PM

Hapkido ocourse is almost exactly like daito ryu aikijutsu. Many of the masters of the original kwans had knowledge of the same martial art, so no matter wat they called their scholl or art, they were all still teaching the same art.
Posted by: ITFunity

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 12/13/10 12:23 PM

Very good article on the history of TKD:

It is found on the home page of this forum & it is only part 1. Can't wait for the additional part(s)!
Posted by: ITFunity

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 01/23/11 09:16 PM

Originally Posted By: ITFunity
Very good article on the history of TKD:

It is found on the home page of this forum & it is only part 1. Can't wait for the additional part(s)!

I also really liked his part 2 which is now on the homepage of this forum
Posted by: kickbutt

Re: History of Tae Kwon Do - 09/07/18 06:28 AM

An interesting thread. Thank you for those who took the time to research and contribute.