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Chapter 11: Taekwondo development


It was only relatively recently that martial arts evolved from a tool to train warriors for combat, into a method of spiritual and physical education, and then into the sport of sparring. These changes began with the transformation of Japanese Kendo from a method of large-scale battlefield warfare into a method of safe personal combat between two people. Judo underwent a similar process in which it evolved from combat techniques into a sport.

To accomplish this transformation, both had to develop a way for two people to test their skills against each other safely. This was accomplished by making modifications to the fighting techniques and training methods and introducing sparring techniques. Japanese karate also evolved from a lethal combat art into a sport for use by the general public by using these methods. This stress on the sporting aspects of karate influenced the developers of taekwondo, which was based upon Japanese karate.

Early 1900s

For much of the early 1900s, a variety of martial art styles existed throughout Korea. These styles varied from one another according to the amount of influence each master had absorbed from the numerous Chinese and Japanese styles they had studied and the extent to which the native subak/taekkyeon had been modified over the years.

Taekkyeon had very little influence on early taekwondo. Until the 1960s, taekwondo was essentially shotokan karate. As stated before, by the time of the Japanese occupation, Koreans had lost interest in the martial arts. There were few native martial artists left, and since they were forced to teach in secret during the Japanese occupation, they had to restrict the number of students they could accept. At the same time, many Koreans went to Japan for an education and returned with some knowledge of either judo or shotokan karate. Thus, by the end of the occupation, only a small number of Koreans were familiar with Korean martial arts, while the Japanese arts were diffused throughout the populace. This was especially true for those of the upper classes who had a Japanese education.

After the Japanese occupation ended in 1945, exiled Koreans returned to Korea bringing with them martial arts they had studied in other countries. Korean martial arts were influenced by the quick, straight-line movements that characterize the various Japanese martial arts. Hand techniques from China, Japan, and Okinawa were combined with taekkyeon’s foot techniques to form new Korean martial arts styles. Korean people began regaining the thought of self-reliance and traditional folk games resumed their popularity.

Hapkido is a Korean martial art that developed independently of taekwondo. It is still popular in Korea and around the world, but it has not gained the worldwide popularity of taekwondo. Hapkido stresses spinning (to throw off opponents and gain stability and power) and joining (using the opponent's power against the opponent).

Martial arts in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK; North Korea) probably disappeared after the communists took control in the 1950s. Private instruction in the martial arts would tend to support resistance to the state, and like the Japanese before them, the communists did not allow such resistance.

As the native arts and Japanese arts gained popularity in Korea, several kwans (schools) that taught Japanese influenced martial arts sprang up in Korea.

1945: Chung-do-kwan

The first kwan to teach a native Korean style of martial art the "Chung-do-kwan" (gym of the blue wave, meaning a youngster's spirit and vitality) was opened, in the Yong Chun district of Seoul, by Lee Won Kuk.

In 1926, at the age of 19, Lee Won Kuk moved to Japan where he attended high school and Chuo University law school. He joined Japan's Karate-do headquarters, Song Do Kwan (shotokan) where he studied with the father of karate, Gichin Funakoshi, and Ro Byung Jick, the founder of Song-moo-kwan.

Lee returned to Korea in 1944, and in September he began teaching tang-soo-do in the Yong Shin school hall in Seoul. During the period of Japanese occupation, it was virtually impossible for a Korean national to open a school of martial arts in their homeland. Due to Lee's close relationship with Japan's Joseon Governor General Abe, Lee was allowed to open his school of karate. The school was called Chung-do-kwan. His friendship with the Japanese led to widespread rumors and deep distrust of Lee that he was a Japanese sympathizer.

Upon Korean independence in 1945, Lee stood trial for his Japanese affiliations, which caused him to close the doors to his school temporarily. He was acquitted and became very proactive in his stance about Korean independence and formed a tight alliance with the Korean National Police and helped them rid Seoul of gangsters. Lee Won Kuk was a precise person with the strong body of a martial artist and glaringly sharp eyes that made his expression very strict. When the Chung Do Kwan was reopened at Gyun Ji Dong, Si Chun Gyo Dang, Jong Ro Gu, Seoul, in April of 1946, it became referred to as the National Police Headquarters dojang. Anyone with a black belt was given "an honorary badge."

Lee retired in 1951 due to age and Duk-Sung Son took over the kwan. Many Korean martial art schools closed during the Korean War, including Chung Do Kwan but it reopened in 1953. After the Korean War, the kwan had less than 200 members. The primary instructors were Yoo Ung Jun and Son Duk Sung with promotion tests given every six months. Chung Do Kwan would become one of the largest and most important of the kwans. By this point, Lee rarely visited the school which was being run by Son and the instructors he either trained or respected.

Son was the instructor who issued General Choi his 4th Dan certificate. Son later canceled this certificate and revoked Choi's honorary kwajang (grandmaster) status when General Choi sent him a 6th Dan certificate and insisted that Son sign it. Son also expelled Nam, Tae Hi who, with Choi, later founded the Oh Do Kwan.

The first seventeen black belts of Chung Do Kwan were: Yoo, Ung Jun; Son, Duk Sung; Uhm, Woon Kyu; Hyun, Jong Myun; Min, Woon Sik; Han, In Sook; Jung, Young Taek; Kang, Suh Chong; Baek, Joon Ki; Nam, Tae Hi; Ko, Jae Chun; Kwak, Kuen Sik; Kim, Suk Kyu; Han, Cha Kyo; Jo; Sung Il; Lee, Sa Man; and Rhee, Jhoon Goo (who later became the father of American taekwondo).

Over time, from Inchon the center of the Chung Do Kwan's annex kwans, several kwans were developed which had roots in Chung Do Kwan, such as Kuk Mu Kwan, founded by Kang, Suh Chong; Jung Do Kwan, founded by Lee, Yong Woo; Chung Ryong Kwan, founded by Ko, Jae Chun; and Oh Do Kwan, founded by Choi, Hong Hi and Nam, Tae Hi. The Chung Do Kwan's first Kwan Jang was Lee Won Kuk, the second was Son Duk Sung, and the third was Uhm Woon Kyu. When Son Duk Sung became the Kwan Jang of the Chung Do Kwan, Uhm Woon Kyu, Hyun Jong Myun, and Nam Tae Hi had conflicts with regard to the issue of who should receive the nomination from Lee Won Kuk and become the next Kwan Jang.

1945: Moo-duk-kwan

The "Moo-duk-kwan" (military virtue training hall) was founded on November 9, 1945, by Hwang Kee (aka. Ki-Chang Hang). Moo Duk Kwan's customs were the strongest among the first five big Kwans. There are two distinct schools of moo-duk-kwan which evolved from a single source in modern Korean: tang-soo-do (way of the Chinese hand or knife hand) (the Japanese character used to depict this term is the same one used in karate) and moo-duk-kwan, a division of taekwondo.

Kee was an expatriate of Korea during much of its Japanese occupation. He said he initially studied the Korean arts of Soo-bak-do and Taekkyon in his homeland before leaving Korea in 1936 to immigrate to China and work for the Southern Manchuria Railroad. In early interviews, Kee states that he studied numerous systems of Chinese martial arts while living in China. He said that "At that time, in China, the instruction was not publicized like it is now. Most instructors introduced techniques to only a few people. Only people who would not misuse the knowledge they were allowed to study." Later he said that he also studied a system of karate while in China, though none of this has ever been substantiated. This has lead to a debate as to where he actually came upon his advanced knowledge of the martial arts. Nevertheless, he helped modern Korean martial arts gain worldwide acceptance.

Kee formalized his system of self-defense on his birthday, November 9, 1945, when he started teaching moo-duk-kwan as the "Transportation by Rail Committee Tang Soo Do Bu" at the railroad system at Yong San Station, Seoul as a traffic service. Since Kee claimed that he learned kuk-sool when he worked for the Southern Manchuria Railroad in 1935 and since Kee's first students were railway employees, moo-duk-kwan was called the "railroad dojang.” The moo-duk-kwan used the trains to open a school in different railroad stations' storage rooms and spread its power. When someone said moo-duk-kwan, one would think about the railroad. The school flourished for many years. Then, due to the Korean War, the school was closed on June 25, 1950. When it reopened, Kee changed the name to moo-duk-kwan.

In 1955, the Moo Duk Kwan Central Gymnasium was opened near Seoul Station in Joong Gu's Dong Ja Dong, Seoul. In the same year, 9 more annex schools were opened and it held the friendly China-Korea International Tangsoodo Championships.

Hwang claimed Gogen Yamaguchi, the founder of Japanese goju-ryu, as a personal friend. In 1939, Yamaguchi, nicknamed "the cat," was in Manchuria as a Japanese intelligence officer stationed near the Russian border and Hwang's travels took him near the border. From an examination of his later writings, hwang certainly seems to have been much more influenced by Japanese karate-do than by Chinese kuo-shu. The basic pumsae (forms) of tang-soo-do are nearly identical to the kata (forms) of shotokan karate. They include the three kijo pumsae (based on the three taikyokyu kata), the five pyong-ann pumsae (based upon the five heian kata), and "basahee" (bassai). On the other hand, the advanced pumsae are named after Chinese styles, including t'aigukkwon ("great absolute fist" (taijiquan) and jangkwon ("long fist").

In 1953, tang-soo-do moo-duk-kwan began to evolve. It changed its official title to the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association. By 1955, this organization had ten gymnasiums with its central headquarters near Seoul Station in the Jong Gu section of Dong Ja Dong. During this same year, the Moo Duk Kwan Central Gymnasium was opened near Seoul Station in Seoul and it held the China-Korea International Tang Soo Do Championships.

At a tournament that Hwang sponsored on Sept. 18, 1958, between the teams of the national railway in honor of the sixtieth anniversary of the railway, the Seoul Railway team took first place, which helped popularize Tang-soo-do. In 1960, the Korea Tang Soo Do Association changed its name to a Korean traditional name, Korea Soo Bahk Do Association. Kee refused to unify with the KTA, wishing to maintain control over his organization. In March 1965, two advanced students of Kee: Im, Young Tek, and Hong, Chong Soo broke away from their master, formed their own branch of moo-duk-kwan, and merged with the Korea Tang Soo Do Association. Many advanced instructors of the art followed their lead, which accounts for why there are two distinct systems bearing the title moo duk kwan. Although the two moo-duk-kwans are relatively similar in style and structure, and many Korean masters draw their lineage from Kee. The two moo-duk-kwans possess differing forms and a somewhat differing focus upon self-defense.

Tang-soo-do does not use the traditional Korean black belt in its ranking system. Kee believed that persons who wear a black belt believe that they are masters. Since the martial arts are a continual learning process, he felt that no one can ever truly become a master. Therefore, tang-soo-do dans wear a dark blue belt.

When the moo-duk-kwan had rank testings the chung-do-kwan's Lee Won Kuk and Song Moo Kwan's Ro Byung Jik visited and built a good friendship, but regarding dan certificates and promotions, they had disagreements with Hwang Kee.

The first moo-duk-kwan dan holders were Kim Woon Chang, Hong Chong Soo, Choi Hui Suk, Yoo Kwa Young, Nam Sam Hyun, Kim In Suk, Lee Bok Sung, Hwang Jin Tae, Won Yong Bup, Chung Chang Young, and Lee Kang Ik.

1946: Yun-moo-kwan

One of the five original schools of martial arts that were established on the newly liberated Korean peninsula after World War II. The yun-moo-kwan, which later became the ji-do-kwan (wisdom way school)," was founded by Chun, Sang Sup in Seoul on May 3, 1946.

Chun began his martial arts training in judo while in high school. He then relocated to Japan to attend, Dong Yang Chuck Sik College where he was exposed to judo and shotokan karate and is believed to have earned a black belt. Upon returning to Korea, Chun secretly taught shotokan karate to private students, beginning about 1940. Since this was outlawed by the Japanese occupying forces, his teaching was not formally recorded until he established his training method at the end of World War II.

In 1931, Lee, Kyung Suk, a Korean national who taught Japanese Judo, established the Joseon Yun Moo Kwan school in Seoul. After World War II, Lee, having heard about Chun's teaching, asked Chun to set up a course of kwon-bop (Japanese karate) at his school. This program was named, joseon-yun-moo-kwan-kwon-bup-bu. Chun enlisted the help of Yoon, Byung to help teach. Yoon was a 4th Dan in the Okinawan based system of shudokan karate, which was established by Sensei Toyama, Kanken. Yoon taught at the school for about a year before breaking away and forming his own organization, chang-moo-kwan. Chun then took over full time teaching responsibilities.

During the Korean War, Chun Sang Sup was kidnapped to North Korea and vanished, and was presumed dead. Joseon-yun-moo-kwan-kwon-bup-bu teaching passed to the hands of Yoon, Kwe Byung who renamed the school, ji-do-kwan, "wisdom way school."

Yoon was against unifying the various Korean schools of martial arts under the banner of taekwondo. Like Kee, Hwang, the founder of Tang-soo-do Moo-duk-kwan, he wanted ji do kwan to remain free from organizational control. This did not sit well with the other members of Ji-do-kwan and Lee, Chong Woo was elected the new president of Ji-do-kwan.

Lee forged the ji-do-kwan into one of the leading schools of martial arts in modern Korea. Ji-do-kwan differed from other schools mainly on kyorugi (sparring). Its students were noted for their consecutive wins at South Korean sparring competitions. When taekwondo tournaments first became active in the 1960's and 1970's, the ji-do-kwan distinguished itself. In addition, Lee has held several pivotal positions with the Korea Taekwondo Association and the World Taekwondo Federation throughout the years.

Ji-do-kwan pays tribute to its shotokan (song-do-kwan in Korean) and judo influence in its emblem, which depicts two circles. If the upper circle is removed, the central circle of the shotokan emblem is revealed. The outer ring depicts the pattern of the Kodokan judo emblem.

The first ten black belts of ji-do-kwan were: Bae, Young Ki; Lee, Chong Woo; Kim, Bok Nam; Park, Hyun Jung; Lee, Soo Jin; Jung, Jin Young; Lee, Kyo Yoon; Lee, Byung Ro; Hong, Chang Jin; and Park, Young Kuen.

1946: Ji-do-kwan

Founded by Chun Sang Sup, on May 3, 1946, as the  Choson Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu.

When Chun was a teenager, he learned Judo and karate while studying abroad in Japan. After WWII, he opened the Choson Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu at the former judo school, Choson Yun Moo Kwan, in Seoul where he taught Judo and karate and he began to recruit new members. He had a slender figure and looked ordinary, but was an intellect and always wore suits.

The Choson Yun Moo Kwan was in Seoul, but major development and structural growth were spread from Chun Ju, Cholla Buk Do as a center. Chun opened another school in Kunsan, Cholla Buk Do in May 1947 and spread his school's reputation from Jun Joo to Kunsan, I Ri, Nam Won, Jung Uep and further. However, during the Korean War Chun was kidnapped to North Korea, the Choson Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bu was abolished, and it was renamed Ji Do Kwan (Wisdom Way School).

The Ji-do-kwan was opened and operated by Yoon Kwe Byung and Lee Chong Woo until 1967. However, during the process of unification with the Korea Taesoodo Association, Yoon and Lee had conflicts. With Lee Chong Woo (Ji Do Kwan) as the leader, Lee Nam Suk (Chang Moo Kwan), Uhm Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan), Hyun Jong Myun (Chung Do Kwan/Oh Do Kwan), and others planned to unify, but Yoon Kwe Byung and Hwang Kee (Moo Duk Kwan) declined. Some Ji Do Kwan graduates were Bae Young Ki, Lee Chong Woo, Kim Bok Nam, Park Hyun Jung, Lee Soo Jin, (ung Jin Young, Lee Kyo Yoon, Lee Byung Ro, Hong Chang Jin, and Park Young Kuen. When taekwondo tournaments became active from the beginning of the 1960's to the 1970's, the Ji Do Kwan distinguished itself due to its kyorugi (sparring). Some major representatives were Lee Seung Wan, Cho Jum Sun, Hwang Dae Jin, and Choi Young Ryul. Ji Do Kwan's representing annex was the Han Moo Kwan, but Lee Kyo Yoon said the Han Moo Kwan root is not Ji Do Kwan, but rather the Choson Yun Moo Kwan. This shows the debate of the origins of the school. Ji Do Kwan's first Kwan Jang was Chun Sang Sup, the second was Yoon Kwe Byung, and the third was Lee Chong Woo.

1946: Chang-moo-kwan

Yoon Byung In, who taught moo-do with Chun Sang Sup in the Choson Yun Moo Kwan, founded the chang-moo-kwan (development of martial arts training hall) in 1946 at the YMCA in Jong Ro, Seoul. The  Chang-moo-kwan was represented by a symbol of two dragons.

Yoon spent his childhood in Manchuria and learned Jooanpa, a Chinese martial art (more commonly known as, Chuan-fa). In the 1940's just before Independence Day, he went to Japan to study abroad. While there, Yoon claims he studied karate under the direction of Kanken Toyama, founder of Shudokan karate, earned a 5th Dan, and was team captain at Nihon University.

After Korea's independence, he returned to Korea became the physical education instructor at Kyung Sung Agricultural School and started teaching Moo-do with Chun Sang Sup in the Choson Yun Moo Kwan on September 1, 1946. Later in 1946, he opened the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu in nearby Jong Ro, Seoul, teaching what he called Kwon-bop (fist method). Yoon had a good relationship with Choson Yun Moo Kwan's Chun Sang Sup and once Chun and Yoon were called brothers because they trained so much together. Chun Sang Sup's younger brother Chun Il Sup said: "YMCA Kwon Bup Bu's Yoon Byung In and Lee Nam Suk trained with the Choson Yun Moo Kwan in the beginning, so I can say the Yun Moo Kwan and the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu were brother Kwans." Yoon Byung In was basically a traditional Moo-do man. His body was small, his behavior was blunt, and he did not know how to wear his clothes and shoes fashionably. He wore a pair of oversized US Army boots. His left little finger had been cut off, so he wore a pair of special white gloves, even in the summer. He taught his martial art (Ju An Pa Kwon Bup) to his students according to their body sizes, so the students could learn martial arts that suited their body specialty.

Before the Korean War, on June 24, 1949, the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu held a Yun Moo Demonstration. Park Chul Hee demonstrated the "Jak Do Kwon", Park Ki Tae demonstrated "Bong Kwon" and Chung Do Kwan's Son Duk Sung, Uhm Woon Kyu and Lee Yong Woo demonstrated "Chan Jo." YMCA Kwon-bup-bu practice sessions started at 4:30 PM. In the beginning, more than 500 members were recruited, but after three months, only 180 members were remaining because of the severity of the training. Yoon may have had some training in Chinese Quan-fa ("fist method"), which he taught under its Korean name of kwon-bop, but it is more likely that he taught the Japanese style of Shudokan karate. The reason for this possible deception is that many of the members of the Korean YMCA had been members of the independence movement during the occupation, and they certainly would have insisted that no foreign art be taught at the gym. On Mar. 5, 1947, a second club was opened at in the Ministry of Communications office, and taught by Nam-Suk Lee.

When Yoon was listed as missing during the Korean War and later declared legally dead, Nam-Suk Lee gained control of the kwan. Yoon's surviving instructors built a central dojang in Seoul on Oct. 5, 1953, with Lee, Nam Suk elected as its second president and, from 1961 forward, he held several pivotal positions in the Korea Taekwondo Association, including vice president. Lee passed away in Southern California in late 2000.

The early Chang-moo-kwan black belts were: Lee, Nam Suk; Kim, Sun Gu; Hong, Jung Pyo; Park, Chul Hee; Park, Ki Tae; Kim, Ju Gap; Song, Suk Joo; Lee, Joo Ho; and Kim, Soon Bae.

The second Kwan Jang was Lee Nam Suk. The third Kwan, Jang Kim Soon Bae, had conflicts with Hong Jung Pyo and Park Chul Hee, which led to Hong and Park leaving the Chang Moo Kwan and opening their own school, the Kang Duk Won, in nearby Shinsuldong, Seoul, in 1956.

1946: Chi-do-kwan

Founded by Pyang, Yon Kue (aka. Yun-Gae Byang, or Yun-Kwei Byong).

1946: Song-moo-kwan

The Song-moo-kwan (pine tree training hall or the ever youthful house of martial arts training) was founded by Ro Byung Jik in Kae Song. Its power and customs were the weakest among the first big five Kwans.

Beginning in 1936, Ro studied Shotokan karate in Japan under Shotokan founder, Gichin Funakoshi, along with Chung-do-kwan founder, Lee, Won Kuk. Song-moo-kwan was founded in Kae Song City, Kyung Ki Providence, Korea by Ro, Byung Jik on March 11, 1944 when Ro returned to Korea and taught youngsters karate as a hobby at an archery place, the Kwan Duk Jung in Kaesong, which was quickly forced to close due to the repressive political conditions.

On May 2, 1946, Ro reopened his school in Dong Hung Dong, Kae Sung City. On June 25, 1950, Song Moo Kwan, again closed its doors due to the onset of the Korean war, as did most of the other kwans. On September 20, 1953, the school was reestablished in Ah Hyung Dong, Mapo Gu, Seoul. Ro Byung Jik selected his school's name, Song-moo -kwan, since 'Song' meant pine tree, which meant green and a long life. Also, Song was one of the Koryo capital city name, Song Do. Song was also borrowed from the Song Do Kwan (Shotokan) when he learned karate under Funakoshi while studying abroad. Ro's practice sessions started one hour earlier with warm-up exercises consisting of lifting weights and practicing on the Kwon Go (makiwara). He was known as a powerful puncher and kicker from his students. Ro had students punch the Kwon Go at least 100 times and then he started the real practice. If students received the 4th guep or higher, he let them spar. Like any other dojang, he was known to let his students practice in cold weather during winter, and in the hot weather during summer. Ro Kwan Jang's student, Lee Young Sup, 2nd Kwan Jang, reflects: "Every six months, there was testing for promotion. Mainly one-step sparring, three-step sparring, free-sparring, and forms were used to decide promotions. However, free sparring was for 4th guep and higher, and 1st Dan required breaking a board. If these rules were broken, the Kwan Jang was very upset."

The first Song-moo-kwan black belts were: Lee, Hwa Soon; Lee, Young Sup; Kim, Hong Bin; Han, Sang Min; Song, Tae Hak; Lee, Hwi Jin; Jo, Kyu Chang; Hong, Young Chang; and Kang, Won Sik.

The first Kwan Jang was Ro Byung Jick, the second was Lee Young Sup, and the third was Kang Won Sik.

1953: Oh-do-kwan

Founded by General Choi Hong Hi at the 3rd Army Yong Dae Ri base. Oh-do-kwan original members that were mostly former members of the Chung Do Kwan; they were Nam Tae Hi, Han Cha Kyo, Woo Jong Rim, Ko Jae Chun, Kim Suk Kyu, Kwak Kuen Suk, and others. Hyun Jong Myun was an instructor. After Hyun Jong Myun taught for more than 10 years, he became the Kwan Jang. There is a rumor that this relates to Choi, who became the Chung-do-kwan's Honorary Kwan Jang. Hyun Jong Myun was the second Kwan Jang of the O-do-kwan, Kwak Byung Oh (Jak Ko) was the third and Baek Joon Ki was the third.

Nam had registered at the Chung Do Kwan right after Independence Day. After he learned Tang Soo Do from Lee Won Kuk, he taught Tang Soo Do at the Military Signal School in 1947. A handsome man with excellent administrative skills and he had great Tang Soo Do skills. When he met General Choi in Chejudo, it changed his life.

Nam Tae Hi made a big contribution to the Oh Do Kwan. After ROK President Rhee Syng Man sponsored General Choi, the Oh Do Kwan grew rapidly. Choi wanted to teach Tang Soo Do to everyone in the military. After the Vietnam War broke out in the early 1960's, General Choi began sending military taekwondo instructors to Vietnam in December 1962.

Oh-do-kwan only approved Chung-do-Kwan dan ranks, so dan ranks from other kwans were not approved; they were called "Civilian Dan rank." New recruits with taekwondo dan rank from other kwans had to pass a test to receive dan rank in the military. This caused complications between the Oh Do Kwan and other kwans, led to discrimination against civilian dojangs, and spread the Oh Do Kwan's reputation. After Choi Hong Hi founded the International Taekwondo Federation, he deviated from the KTA, which weakened the Oh Do Kwan.

1953: Kang-duk-kwan

The second incarnation of Chang-moo-kwan, Kang-duk-kwan was founded after the Korean War by Hong Jong Pyo and Park Chul Hee, who had practiced martial arts at the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu.

The Kang-duk-kwan (house of teaching generosity) was founded in the Shin Sul Dong district of Seoul after YMCA Kwon Bup Bu's founder, Yoon Byung In, was kidnapped to North Korea. Hong Jong Pyo and Park Chul Hee had conflicts with Lee Nam Suk and Kim Soon Bae in the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu, so they left and formed Kang-duk-kwan. Park Chul Hee, the second Kang Duk Won Kwan Jang, said: "After the Korean War when the members were scattered the Chang-moo-mwan and Kang-duk-kwan came out of the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu's root."

The first Kang-duk-kwan black belts were: Lee, Kum Hong (later he was World Taekwondo Federation General Secretary); Kim, Yong Chae (later was 5th President of the Korea Taekwondo Association); Lee, Jung Hoo; Lee, Kang Hwi; Han, Jung Il; Kim, Pyung Soo; Ji, Seung Won; and Im, Bok Jin. Later the Kang Duk Won constantly moved from Chang Sin Dong to Chung Jin Dong, then to Suh Dae Moon Gu, then to Seoul Gymnasium, then to Suh Dae Moon Gu Lottery, and other places. When Lee Kum Hong became the third Kwan Jang, the Kang Duk Won moved to In Sa Dong and settled there.

1954: Jung-do-kwan

Founded by Lee Yong Woo in Suh Dae Moon Gu, Seoul. The jung-do-kwan had no conflicts with the chung-do-kwan, which made it unique amongst branch kwans. The school's motto was "I am an honorable man without shame." Lee Yong Woo discusses the naming of his school said "I wanted to open a dojang, but just couldn't think of any good names. At that time, my training buddy, Uhm Woon Kyu in the Chung Do Kwan suggested to take out the dot from Chung character and name my school the Jung Do Kwan. This was a very good idea I thought. The meaning of Jung Do, 'Stepping the right way', was the identical meaning of a martial artist's spirit, so I've decided to name my school the Jung Do Kwan."

Word of Lee Yong Woo's unique training program that was distinctive from other schools attracted many students. To meet the increasing number of students, Lee Yong Woo taught five different classes, which finished late at night. The Jung Do Kwan opened additional schools in Masan, Wool San, Chang Won, Mok Po, and Kim Je, spreading its power. The Jung Do Kwan's first students were Jang Yong Gap, Kim Jae Ki, Kim Ki Dong, Oh Bu Woong, Joo Ki Moon, and Park Tae Hyun. Later, following in their footsteps were Park Kyung Sun, Shim Myung Gu, (Kim Myung Hwan, Kim Hak Kuen, Chun Young Kuen, Chun Sun Yong, and Lee Jong Oh.

1954: Han-moo-kwan

The Han-moo-kwan was founded by Lee Kyo Yoon in August 1954. Lee Kyo Yoon became a leader of the new schools in the mid-1950s. He opened a school in the backyard of Kang Moon High School in Seoul, which led to the founding of the Han-moo-kwan. Lee denies that the Han Moo Kwan was a split from the Ji Do Kwan. After the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan's Chun Sang Sup was kidnapped to North Korea during the Korean War, everything was in chaos, so Lee Chong Woo opened the Ji Do Kwan, and Lee Kyo Yoon himself opened the Han Moo Kwan. Therefore, Lee says that Han Moo Kwan's root is not Ji Do Kwan, but rather from the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan. Lee Kyo Yoon says, "In November 1950, I came back to Seoul and taught Tang Soo Do (taekwondo). But the Choson Yun Moo Kwan's Lee Jae Hwang said the building I was using was a Yudo place, so he insisted that I leave. After thinking for a long time, I went to visit Vice President Lee Sang Mook of the Korean Amateur Sports Gymnasium (Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan, Han Che for short) and he allowed me to start a taekwondo club and teach."

Back then, the Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan taught boxing, Judo, wrestling, weightlifting and fencing as a universal gym. With the permission of Lee Sang Mook, Lee Kyo Yoon taught taekwondo (Tangsoodo) temporarily and secured 200 members. However, conflicts with Lee Chong Woo became amplified and with Lee Sang Mook's suggestion, he temporarily stopped teaching taekwondo. Then he went to Chang Sin Dong of Jong Ro Gu, Seoul at the backyard of Kang Moon High School to open his own school. This led to the founding of the Han Moo Kwan. The period of the Chang Sin Dong was a hardship. He called his tent with a straw mat for a floor, a dojang. Despite this hard life, his school reputation grew and finally in 1969, he could open his central dojang in Wang Sip Ni, Seoul.

Kwasns struggle for control

Although each of these kwans claimed to teach traditional taekkyon, each emphasized a different aspect of subak/taekkyon and various names emerged for each fighting style. Styles became known by such names as subak-do, kwon-bop, kong-soo-do, tae-soo-do, and dang-soo-do.

A rivalry existed between the kwans for control of the Korean martial arts. Dissension between the kwans prevented the formation of a central regulating board for many years. However, during those years, martial arts gained a strong foothold within the newly formed Korean Armed Forces (1945), with taekkyon becoming a regular part of military training. The new Korean Army adopted the chung-do-kwan as its training school, mainly because of the kwan's tough, disciplined training, its stability, and the great expertise of its instructors. The Korean Yudo Association was formed in September 1945, and, in early 1946, taekkyon masters began teaching troops stationed in Kwang-ju.

In July 1946, grandmasters Won Kuk Lee (Chung-do-kwan), Byung Jick Noh (Song-moo-kwan), Sang Sup Chun (Yun-moo-kwan), and Byung In Yoon (YMCA kwon) met to discuss Korean martial arts and possible unification. Grandmaster Hwang Kee (Moo-duk-kwan) was not present. Since his two previous efforts at opening a dojang had failed, he had joined the Chung-do-kwan as a white belt. He stayed there for six months before reopening his Moo-duk-kwan in early 1947. Nothing definitive came from the meeting.

In 1946-1947, Choi Hong Hi, now a first lieutenant in the Korean Army's Second Infantry Regiment, taught martial arts to both Koreans and Americans stationed at Tae-jon. He continued to rise rapidly through the military ranks, and, in 1948, Major Choi Hong Hi became the martial arts instructor for the American Military Police School in Seoul. In late 1948, Choi was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and, in 1949, to full colonel. Also in 1949, he visited the Fort Riley Ground General School in Kansas, where he gave a public demonstration of Korean karate.

With the beginning of the Korean War, when North Korea attacked across the 38th parallel into South Korea, interest in Korean martial arts increased.

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