History of Tang Soo Do

Tang Soo Do is derived from the Tang dynasty of China. Soo means hand, and Do means way of life, or art. Tang Soo Do is primarily a China influenced martial art and literal interpretation is The Way of the China Hand. Tang Soo Do implies self defense by a means of the hand and feet without the use of artificial weapons.

Brief History

Tang Soo Do like all martial arts or developed over a very long period of time. The ancestral art can be traced back to ancient China. There are almost as many theories about the beginning of the various martial arts as there are martial arts.

It appears clear that most martial arts stem from the era in which they were developed and were dependent upon the knowledge, skills, and need of the kingdom of which they developed. Speaking from the modernistic approach, we can identify Tang Soo Do as being developed in Korea. There were many Masters of the Chinese based art. Korea was occupied by the Japanese from 1909 to 1945. After the restriction was lifted, several martial arts schools emerged as follows:

  • Moo Duk Kwan
  • Chi Do Kwan
  • Chung Do Kwan
  • Song Moo Kwan
  • Chang Moo Kwan
  • Yun Moo Kwan
  • Hwang Kee
  • Kwai Byung, Yun
  • Duk Sung, Son
  • Byung Jik, No
  • Nam Suk, Lee
  • Sang Sup, Chun

The man who developed Tang Soo Do as we know it was Grand Master Hwang Kee. He developed the first three forms known as the Kee Choo Hung forms, and derived the balance of the forms from a book by Mr. Idos called the Pyong Ahn forms. The Pyong Ahn forms are used by several styles of martial artists and in each style the techniques used within the Pyong Ahn forms is based upon the martial art utilizing the form. [THIS ISN’T ACCURATE.]

In 1969 Grand Master Jae Joon Kim, a former student of Grand Master Hwang Kee in Korea, established the first Tang Soo Do Federation in the United States. Under his guidance and leadership, Grand Master Jae Joon Kim established a global organization known as the World Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation with students in 33 different countries and federation schools in the United States, Mexico, Canada, Chile, Panama, United Kingdom, Greece, Italy, South Africa, Malaysia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, as well as Korea.

Grand Master Sam Frazier received his first six Dan promotions from Grand Master Jae Joon Kim. He later established United States Tang Soo Do, Inc. in 1996 and thereafter became partners with Grand Master Bonnie Welch. to continue the traditions and training of Tang Soo Do. After nearly twenty years of partnership, Grand Master Bonnie Welch took sole ownership of USTSD.