In Korea the indigenous arts of self defense (Soo Bahk Ki and Tae Kyun) were combined with other fighting principles (Northern and Southern Chinese Kung Fu) and moral guidelines such as the philosophy of Do (Tao), No Ja (Lao Tzu) and Kong Ja (Confucius) by Founder Hwang Kee, into what is now known as Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) Moo Duk Kwan. When developing this martial art, Hwang Kee drew heavily on the Muye Dobo Tongji, an ancient text published in 1790 that translates as The Comprehensive Illustrated Manual of the Martial Arts of Ancient Korea.
Hwang Kee created the Moo Duk Kwan on November 9, 1945. Hwang Kee was first inspired to study Martial Arts in 1921 when he was about seven years old. At a traditional Festival called “Dan O” he was visiting a nearby village, where they had archery, wrestling and many other festivities. As Kee was enjoying the festival, a group of seven or eight men had a dispute with another man. Suddenly the group of men attacked the lone man, who began evading and counter attacking with his feet, and standing in a doorway as to fight one man at a time, eventually defeating the group of men. This ability to defend himself against several attackers impressed Hwang Kee in such a way that at that moment he knew he wanted to learn Martial Arts.

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

World Moo Duk Kwan Korean Soo Bahk Do

Unfortunately, soon after, Korea experienced a political crisis that stalled the growth of the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association, Moo Duk Kwan, and ushered in a period of 30 years of difficulty for the organization. Around 1964, an effort was made toward unification of the Moo Duk Kwan, then the largest organization of any system of martial art in Korea, and Tae Kwon Do. Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee decided against unification, when he realized the criteria was unfair to the Moo Duk Kwan, and basically a political movement to absorb the art in Tae Kwon Do. Having failed, the political pressure on the organization and art suffered. Although it was recognized by the government, Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan was not publicly accepted certification for reference purposes of employment. The instructors had difficulty processing their passport when they had to travel abroad to teach the art, and Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan was banned from attending any international venue. Soon after, the government issued an order to revoke the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association. The Kwan Jang Nim took the case to the Supreme Court in 1966 and won, thus ensuring the future of the organization.

The political pressure continued until 1979, making it difficult for Kwan Jang Nim to travel outside of Korea. However, he continued to promote the art without rest. Surprisingly, even during this period of adversity, Moo Duk Kwan branches were established in the United States, Greece, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Malaysia, Brunei and Australia.

World Moo Duk Kwan – Soo Bahk Do

Argentina – Australia – Belgium – France – Greece – The United Kingdom – Switzerland – Germany – Iceland – Chile – Brunei – United States – Mexico – Puerto Rico – Colombia – Uruguay – Malasya – Philipines – Korea – Italy – New Zeland.