Tangsoodo Background > Martial Arts Introduction

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Martial Arts Introduction

Tangsoodo Background

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF KOREAN MARTIAL ARTS

Koreans have lived in the country we now know as Korea for approximately 5000 years as a monoracial society. The arts indigenous to the region were far more than simple physical training or a set of fighting skills. Through Nae Gong (mental training) a lot of focus was put on developing one's spirit so as to help the nation's spirit.

 

There were constant battles over territory (three provinces which now make up the Manchu region in China) between Kogureo (Korea) and China. Obviously the development of a wide array of martial skills was inevitable to protect the people and the nation itself. For well over a thousand years the nations of Koguryeo, Baekje, Shilla, and then Koryeo, Chosun saw the slow systemization and development of martial disciplines. These arts were unique in that they were strongly immersed in internal power and the spiritual energies known as Ki (In Chinese, Chi). The development of high levels of energy later was expressed as Do. Centuries later in contemporary Korea, the neoclassical martial art of Tang Soo Do was created. This became Hwa Soo Do, which in turn became Soo Bahk Do. These lead to the development of the modern sport we know as Tae Kwon Do. So in reality, Tang Soo Do is a rebirth of 1000 years of spiritual history and is one of Korea's eternal cultural symbols.

 

HISTORY OF TANG SOO DO

GM Hwang Kee studied traditional martial arts in Manchuria (original Koguryo) of China as he was employed by the Manchu Railway Company at that time. After independence in 1945, he returned to his homeland and, along with others of like mind, began to teach Tang Soo Do or Kong Soo Do. As there were various arts using the same name, additional titles were added. These became known as "Kwan's". There were five Kwan's in total. These Kwans were established by the Masters who trained in various places (mainly Northeast Asia) during Japanese ruling era. However, martial arts of "one strike one kill" mentality were difficult to distribute to the public, and in 1960, it was transformed into Taekwondo, a sport that was possible to have a competition and easy to distribute to the public. In the process, GM Hwang Kee, the founder of Moo Duk Kwan, argued that martial arts cannot be transformed into sports, and continued to distribute the art under the names of Tang Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do until he died in 2002. After his death, his students and overseas Korean Masters joined to establish the World Tang Soo Do General Federation in 2003, keeping its tradition. Currently, we are doing our best by holding four overseas seminars a year and one domestic event every 4 year to spread the 5,000-year-old Korean spirit by embracing more than 1,500 members in 50 countries.

 





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