WHAT IS TANG SOO DO?
The very first evidence of this ancient form of Korean martial arts appeared during the Three Kingdom era (57 BC-935 AD) as Hwa Rang Do. Since then, 2,000 years have passed. The indigenous martial arts quietly developed through generations of the Korean people. During some eras, it flourished and other times it diminished, according to the political, economic or cultural environment. The art was known by various names throughout the eras as Hwa Rang Do, Moo Sul, Kyuck Too Ki, Soo Bahk Ki, Soo Byuck Ki, Taek Kyun etc. respectively. Following 1945 Korean independence, the Korean martial arts were again merged and flourished throughout the entire Korean Peninsula. Many organizations were founded with various names such as Soo Bahk Do, Tang Soo Do, Tae Soo Do and so on.
At the beginning of the modern era of the Korean martial arts, Tang Soo Do was the most popular term for these arts, however, at that time, the Korean political leader was concerned about establishing Korean value based on Korean nationalism. The political leaders recognized the popularity of Korean martial arts around the world but were opposed to the use of the name Tang Soo Do for the art, as it sounded like a Chinese martial art, because the first word "Tang" could be interpreted as representing the Chinese Tang Dynasty (617-907 AD). In 1964, a government sponsored small group created a new name for the Korean martial arts: Tae Kwon Do.
The World Tang Soo Do Association still respects the original term, Tang Soo Do, and intends to preserve its heritage and value as a traditional way or path. Unfortunately, many Tae Kwon Do instructors did not maintain the traditional values of the true martial arts. Instead, they converted to a sport as they have progressed to the internationally recognized sports arenas such as the Olympic games.
This was considered to be a great political achievement, to bring strength and prominence to the Korean government in International politics. True Martial Arts lovers had no place within these Tae Kwon Do dojangs to continue to pursue traditional martial arts because they abandoned many valuable aspects of true Martial Arts to become a simple competitive sport. We, as World Tang Soo Do practitioners are striving to maintain traditional values of respect, discipline, self control, self improvement, etiquette and ultimately live a healthy and harmonious life, physically and mentally.
Tang Soo Do = Way of the China Hand
Tang Soo Do, (pronounced “tong sue doe”) is a traditional Korean Martial Art and is primarily a system of empty-handed self-defense dating back about 2,000 years. This style or system was originally used as a way for the common people to protect themselves from the sword of the Samurai.
The “Tang” represents the Chinese influence on the development of modern Tang Soo Do. Grandmaster Hwang Kee, who founded the Moo Duk Kwan, giving Tang Soo Do its current form, spent many years in China, as Korea was occupied by Japan, and Koreans were forbidden from practicing their own traditional martial arts. Many Koreans escaped the Japanese occupation, and worked and trained in China until the end of the 2nd World War ended the occupation. Grandmaster Hwang Kee was among that number.
The word “soo” is translated “hand” or “open-hand.” There are many techniques for striking that involve using open-hands. And “open-handed” also carries with it the implication of being un-armed. While there are certain weapons that some students learn how to use, and there are many techniques designed to defend against weapons, the art of Tang Soo Do is the art of un-armed, “open-handed” self-defense.
Finally, the word “do” is related to the Chinese word “tao” or “dao,” and means “way” or “path.” So Tang Soo Do, contrary to the understanding of many non-practitioners, is not a sport or a hobby. It is a way of life, a path to follow. As such, it carries with it not only techniques for striking and blocking and kicking, but a philosophy for living, mental aspects to be cultivated, respect to be given and earned and more.
PURPOSE OF TANG SOO DO TRAINING
In today's hectic society, there is no doubt that we need self-defense skills. Equally important are physical fitness and methods for the release of daily stress---No matter whether you are seeking self-defense, better health, physical fitness or discipline, our Tang Soo Do can meet your needs. However, Tang Soo Do has its own unique character which differentiates it from any other form of martial arts or martial sports. Tang Soo Do not only teaches physical techniques but also trains us to practice "DO" way of life through the practice of the five virtues; "IN" -humanity, "UI"-righteousness, "YIE"-etiquette, "JI"-wisdom and "SHIN"-trust. When we reach the ultimate level of "DO", we can live in perfect harmony with the laws of nature.