D2's Tang Soo Do©

History of Tang Soo Do


The exact origins of Tang Soo Do, as well as all other martial arts, is obscure, although there are a number of historical theories. The most traditional view is that martial arts did not originate in any one country, but evolved in all parts of the globe as a method of self-defense that was needed by primitive people.

Development in Early Years

The ancestral art of Korean Tang Soo Do can be traced back to the period when Korea was divided into three kingdoms:
Koguryo was founded in 37 BC in northern Korea. The Silla Dynasty was founded in 57 BC in the southeast peninsula. The third kingdom, Paekche was founded in 18 BC.

Finally, after a long series of wars, the Silla Dynasty united the three kingdoms in 668 AD. During this period, the primitive martial arts were very popular as a method of self-defense in warfare. This is evidence in the many mural paintings, ruins, and remains, which depict Tang Soo Do in those days.

Among the three kingdoms, the Silla Dynasty was most famous for its development of martial arts. A corps composed of a group of young aristocrats who were called "Hwa Rang Dan" was the major force behind the development of the art. These warriors were instrumental in unifying the Korean peninsula under the new Silla Dynasty (668 AD - 935 AD). Many of the early leaders of that dynasty were originally members of the Hwa Rang Dan. Most Korean martial arts trace their spiritual and technical heritage to this group. In fact, the names of some martial arts such as Hwa Rang Do or Hwa Soo Do, still reflect this origination.

Medieval Development

The united Silla Kingdom was ultimately overthrown by a warlord, Wang Kun, in 918 AD. The new kingdom, "Koryo", lasted for 475 years (918 AD - 1392 AD). In 1392, the Yi Dynasty successes the Koryo kingdom. The Yi Dynasty remained intact for 500 years. During the 1000 year period of the Koryo Kingdom and the Yi Dynasty, what we today know as Tang Soo Do was increasingly popular with the military. More importantly however, the art also became very popular with the general public. During this period, Tang Soo Do was referred to as Kwon Bop, Tae Kyun, Soo Bahk, Tang Soo and others.

The first complete martial arts book was written at this time. This most important book is called "Mooyae Dobo Tangji". It was written in 1790 and contained illustrations that substantiated the theory that Tang Soo Do (formally called "Soo Bahk Ki") had quickly developed into a very sophisticated art of combat techniques.

Modern History

The occupation of Korea by the Japanese military regime took place from 1909 to 1945. During this period, practicing and teaching of any martial arts was restricted in Korea.

After World War II in 1945, this restriction was lifted. Several martial arts training schools were soon erected.

School Founder

Modern Tang Soo Do is heavily indebted to Grand Master Hwang Kee who founded the Moo Duk Kwan on 9th November 1945

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