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.
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.
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.
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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