The following was excerpted from the Grandmaster’s book “The History of the Moo Duk Kwan” – 1995
Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee
November 9, 1914 – July 14, 2002
Grandmaster Hwang Kee
Born November 9, 1914
Jang Dan, Kyong Ki, Korea
Died July 14, 2002 (age 87)
“Tradition is the natural way to achieve harmony with nature.” This statement summarizes the philosophy of Tang Soo Do and reflects the personal outlook of its founder Hwang Keel At. Hwang devoted a lifetime to the development and perfection of his art.
He started his martial arts by training from books, in the mountains around Jangdan, Korea, and by age 21 had already gained a reputation for expertise in the Korean arts of Soo Bahk Do and Tee Kyun. During the Japanese occupation, these are were forbidden so Hwang left for Manchuria to study Chinese martial arts.
Returning to Korea in 1945, Hwang began to teach a combination of Chinese arts and Soo Bahk Do which is now called Tang Soo Do meaning “way of the Chinese hand”.
Hwang never lost sight of his purpose in training to better oneself spiritually, mentally, and physically. Therefore Tang Soo Do is presented as a discipline rather than as a fighting system. Tang Soo Do teaches it is wrong to use this art in street fighting or to start fights.
Although Tang So Doo offers tournaments and competitions it should not be made into a sport like judo. Hwang believed that Tang Soo Do would lose its capacity for creating personal happiness and helping the development of society.
When the Korean military tried to bring all martial arts under the art of Tae Kwon Do, Hwang fought the system in spite of harassment and intimidation by the military and won his case.
Hwang did not preach a blind adherence to tradition. He changed the color of the traditional black belt in Tang Soo Do to midnight blue because he believed, “The black belt (is taken to mean that) you are the ultimate and you’ve reached the highest level of the art. Therefore, you can’t go any higher. You can still learn and grow when you are a blue belt.”
Today, Tang Soo Do is practiced in several continents with standardized forms, specialized training techniques, ranking systems, and a reasonably consistent level of instruction.
Tang Soo Do History
B.C. Ancient Korean martial Arts progressed that was influenced by the country of China
37-935 A.D. – Three Kingdon Eras. Soo Bahk practiced by Swa Rang warriors of the Shillia Kingdom
1392-1910 – Yi Dynasty – Other forms of martial arts develop alone with Soo Bahk
1909-1945 – Japanese occupation of the Korea and Korean martial arts outlawed but training continues secretly
1945 – Korean independence. Hwang Kee establishes Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan
1950’s – Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan spreads worldwide
1961 – Korean government attempts to unify all martial art schools into a single organization (Tae Soo Do) Hwang Kee keeps Tang Soo Do separate
1965 – The name Tang Soo Do changed to Tae Kwon Do
1960’s – Various Tang Soo Do organizations form throughout the world
1994 – Grandmaster Roger Haines establishes National Tang Soo Do Federation