Moo Duk Kwan


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Moo Duk Kwan

Moo Duk Kwan is the trademarked name of a martial art organization founded by Hwang Kee in Korea in 1945. Licensed Moo Duk Kwan schools teach Soo Bahk Do, formerly Tang Soo Do (and earlier ‘Hwa Soo Do’). ‘Moo Duk Kwan’ translates as “School of Martial Virtue”.

As a child, Hwang Kee witnessed a man using Taekyon to defend himself against a large group. The experience later inspired him to develop his own martial art.Although the Korea Taekkyon Associate disputes Hwang’s story, Hwang says that the man refused to teach him, leaving him to devise his own system based on what he had seen. Traveling between Manchuria and Korea during World War II, Hwang later successfully appealed to Chinese martial arts teacher Yang Kuk Jin for training, fusing together Chinese and Korean martial arts into a form he initially called Hwa Soo Do (“the Way of the Flowering Hand”), altering to Hwa Soo (Tang Soo) Do after the November 9, 1945 opening of a training hall proved unsuccessful. The new name led to greater success.

Hwang Kee further expanded his Moo Duk Kwan school of martial arts after in 1957 he was introduced to the Muye Dobo Tongji by a librarian at the Korean National University in Seoul. It referenced the martial arts system of Subak, a bare hands and feet technique. Hwang Kee changed the name of his martial art system to “Soo Bakh Do” on June 30, 1960.

By 1960, tang soo do was being practiced by almost 75% of all martial artists in Korea, but the art did face challenges particularly in expanding beyond Korea, including attempted mergers into Taekwondo. However, in spite of these challenges it eventually spread worldwide, with close to 300,000 practitioners.