Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE, Police Krav Maga, SPEAR
|Posted: Sat Nov 05, 2022 9:25 pm Post subject: Original Kwan History: Moo Duk Kwan
|This is my first posting in what I aim to be 9 (or 10, depending on how I end up counting these out) articles on the 9 original Kwans that birthed the modern Korean Martial Arts. I've always been intrigued by the history of the Kwans, but only ever caught snippets here and there about this one or that one; I could never find anything all in one place. So, this is my attempt to put it all in one place. I plan to keep it all compiled in a folder once I have it finished, but will post individual articles on each of the Kwans here in the Korean Style section of KF, for your viewing pleasure! I hope everyone finds them enjoyable, and I hope it can strike up some conversation amongst the Korean stylists, as well as anyone else with thoughts and input.
What I mainly want to look into is what the founders of each Kwan studied themselves prior to opening their Kwan, and how it may have influenced what their style would have looked like, and speculate on what may have been lost by the unification of the Kwans after the Korean War.
Caveat Emptor here: I did my best in looking things up and trying to get good dates and a timeline for each Kwan. I MAY BE WRONG AT TIMES! If you think I am, please, please, PLEASE comment and let me know what I may have missed, what needs cleaned up, etc. And I thank you in advance!
With all that said, here's my first submission on the Moo Duk Kwan:
Moo Duk Kwan: "School of Martial Virtue" and also known as "The Railroad Dojang." The Moo Duk Kwan is one of the 5 Original Kwans founded after WWII but before the Korean War.
Founded November 9, 1945 by Hwang Kee in the Yong San Railway station in Seoul, Korea, hence itís nickname as ďThe Railroad Dojang.Ē Moo Duk Kwan is known for itís Taoist philosophy and the use of a midnight blue belt as opposed to a black belt.
From what Iíve been able to gather, Hwang Kee supposedly was exposed to Taekkyon at the age of 7 in 1921. Wikipedia stated he witnessed a man defend himself against a large group using the art, and it ďinspired him to create his own art.Ē On the website moodukwanhistory.com, it stated he observed Sip Pal Ki doing Taekkyon at a festival. There is confusion as to whether this man actually taught Hwang Kee Taekkyon or not. On the tka.cc website of the Tang Soo Do Karate Association, it mentions that Hwang observed this Sip Pal Ki get into an altercation with 7 or 8 men, and he used the Taekkyon kicking techniques to subdue the individuals. The site stated Hwang was interested in this man, and followed him home at a distance. Apparently, he would wander back to this manís house and watch him as he practiced Taekkyon with a partner, and eventually approached the man about learning it. The site states Sip Pal Ki stated Hwang was too young and refused to teach him, but Hwang would still go to watch the man train, and would then supposedly copy and mimic what the instructor did.
According to Taekwondo Wiki, Hwang Kee studied Taekkyon and Shotokan as a teenager. I have not found any other information as to his ties to Shotokan, or who he learned from. According to the tka.cc website, Hwang started work at the Cho Sun Railway Bureau in 1939, and reportedly had access to a library in which he discovered some books on Okinawan Karate. Supposedly, Hwang learned the Pyung Ahn Hyungs, Passai Hyungs, and Kong Sang Kun Hyungs from these Okinawan Karate texts, although he changed a few things here and there in his practice in regards to hip movement, and likely kicking. Perhaps Hwang Kee was a good visual learner, and was capable of attaining competent levels of skill in this manner?
In 1936, Hwang Kee traveled to China and met a Quan Fa master, Yang Kuk Jin, who he learned Quan Fa from. He apparently worked for a railway company and stayed in China until 1937, when he returned to Seoul. He returned to Manchuria in 1941 to train with Master Yang, but I have not found any information in regards to how long he stayed and trained. By 1946, China had become a Communist country, and Hwang could no longer travel to train with Master Yang. From what I have gathered on the internet, Master Yang was a master of Northern Kung Fu, particularly Tai Chi and Tan Tui. Iím not sure how substantiated this is. However, it does make for an interesting aspect of what TSD is.
August 15, 1945, WWII ends. Korea is no longer under Japanese rule. Hwang founds his Moo Duk Kwan in the same year, November 9. It is one of the 5 original Kwans established prior to the Korean War.
In 1947, there was an attempt to unify the 5 major Kwans: Moo Duk Kwan, Chung Do Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan, Song Moo Kwan, and the YMCA Kwon Bop Bu.
Korean War began June 25, 1950, and suspended teaching for 17 months. In 1953, he returned to Seoul to re-establish the Moo Duk Kwan, after Korean War ends. In 1953, Hwang established the Korean Tang Soo Do Association. I guess this is the same KTA founded by the 9 Kwans in 1953? Hwang also applied for membership to the Korean Athletic Association, but I believe there were attempts to block this by General Choi, hence I believe Hwangís lack of willingness to cooperate with Choi began.
In July of 1954, according to moodukkwanhistory.com, Hwang attempted to unify the Korean Tang Soo Do Association and the Korean Kong Soo Do Association (Chong Do Kwan, Jido Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Song Moo Kwan). In August of 1955, the Ministry of Education banned the teaching of Tang Soo Do in middle and high schools throughout Korea. Again, I believe Choi had a hand in this, and his strong desire for every art in Korea to be called TKD.
In 1955, the 9 Kwans agreed to combine the arts and rename the Korean Martial Art Tae Soo Do. In 1958, Hwang removes Moo Duk Kwan from the umbrella of TKD, and forms the Korean Martial Art Tang Soo Do. After this break, in March of 1965, Kim Young Taek and Hong Chong Soo stayed and ran a branch of the Moo Duk Kwan under the Taekwondo umbrella, hence the existence of MDK TKD and Hwangís MDK TSD. In 1977, MDK TKD agreed to recognize the Kukkiwon and WTF as the promotional body of TKD, and agreed to the black belt certification process and black belt certificates from these organizations. Iím trying to find more information on who ran things where after the split. I have several TKD books by Richard Chun, and one of them is titled "Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo," which I find interesting.
In June 1960, Hwang had discovered the Muye Dobo Tongji at a library, which inspired him to begin incorporating elements in it into his teachings. He renames his MA Soo Bahk Do, from the ancient style Soo Bahk he read about in the Muye Dobo Tongji. On June 30, 1960, Moo Duk Kwan and Ji Do Kwan were joined as the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association, with Hwang Kee as the head. I find this interesting in regards to the Ji Do Kwan. Iíll look into this history more, too.
Chuck Norris was one of the many US military service members that trained in one of Hwangís TSD schools, and Norris opened his school in Torrance, CA, USA, in 1962.
Moo Duk Kwan TKD
So now, I branch into TKD branch of MDK, at least somewhat. In Rhin Moon "Richard" Chunís 1975 book Moo Duk Kwan Tae Kwon Do, The Korean Art of Self-Defense, there is a preface written by Chong Soo Hong, who was the president of the TKD branch of MDK after Hwang Kee left. He speaks about "dwindling respect for authority and for recognized qualified teachers," and how "many must learn and some must re-learn to respect the teacher, especially the Master teacher and his teachings." When I read this again, knowing what I know now of the history of TKD, it sounded to me like a slight towards the direction Master Kee went with his original MDK.
In the "About the Author" section, it is stated that Richard Chun began studying TKD at "a very early age," under the instruction of Chong Soo Hong, as well as Ki Whang Kim. He graduated from the University of Yon Sei in 1957Öbut the MDK break happened in 1958. If he started "at an early age," then Iím guessing he had some time under Hwang Kee or his instructors.
In the TKD history section of the book, Chun mentions Taekkyon and itís development early on, and actually says itís "an ancient name for Tae Kwon Do." He then claims the origin of TKD in Korea is traced back to the Koguryo Dynasty, which was founded in 37 BC. He goes on to perpetuate what Iíve come to call the "typical" TKD origin story, through the Hwarang-Do of the Silla Dynasty, and Soo Bahk of the Koryo Dynasty, and some interesting information form the Yi Dynasty, in which a book was supposedly written to teach TKD as Martial Art as opposed to a game (I guess referencing Taekkyon?), which gave TKD to the public. Anywho, this forms the rhetoric of what has come to be the now-debunked "history" of TKD.
I found his "History of Moo Duk Kwan" section to be a bit more informative. He mentions the founding if the original Kwan by Hwang Kee on 11/6/1945; Kee formed the Korea Tang Soo Do Association in September of 1953, and Moo Duk Kwan became a member; unsuccessful attempt to join Korean Athletic Association in December 1953; formation of Korean Soo Bohk Do Association to replace Korea Tang Soo Do Association (which he says was then liquidated) in June 1960. Then it gets interesting to me. He says in March of 1965, the Soo Bahk Do Association attempted to unite with the Korea Tae Kwon Do Association, but the effort was unsuccessful. From what I can tell on moodukwanhistory.com, it was more like the KTA tried to dissolve the Moo Duk Kwan TSD and unify with TKD, led by then Lt. Gen. Choi, but those efforts didnít pan out. According to Chunís book, a "majority" of members left the Soo Bahk Do Association and joined the Korea TKD Association (KTA). Chun then writes that in April of 1965 MDK officially became a member of the KTA. On November 20, 1965, Master Kang Ik Lee was elected by the Board of Directors of the MDK as the president of MKD-KTA. On July 27, 1971, Master Chong Soo Hong was elected as the third president of MDK-KTA. Chun goes on to state that Hong tried to unify both branches of MDK, but was unsuccessful. Iím guessing that was because Hwang Kee wanted nothing to do with the KTA in any way, shape, or form.
In this book, Chun covers three Kicho forms and three Pal-Gwe forms. He mentions the Tae-Guek forms, too. So by this time, any "Karate Connection" has been severed. In his later books, he covers the Pal-Gwe, Tae-Guek, and WTF black belt forms.
I also own a book written by Chun Sik Kim, titled Authentic Tang Soo Do. I found Chun Sik Kim listed on the moodukkwanhistory.com website. In the book there is a photo from 1971 of Chun Sik Kim posing with GM Hwang Kee, Kang Uk Lee, and others. In his history section, he gives the familiar "cultural links" of TSD to the old arts recorded to have been studied during Koreaís "Three Kingdoms" era. He does not mention Hwang Keeís connection to Master Yang and Quan Fa, nor is Japanese Karate mentioned anywhere. CS Kim founded the International Tang Soo Do Federation in 1984. In the forms section of his book, he lists the three Kicho hyungs, but also a slurry of Pyong Ahn forms, which all bear a likeness to Pinan/Heian katas of Karate. Tang Soo Do truly is "Korean Karate."
I didnít plan on doing the Moo Duk Kwan first in this series, but I kind of fell into it, mainly because I was intrigued by the existence of two separate MDK branches, and wanted to see if I could learn when, how, and why the divergence took place. Iím especially intrigued by the Japanese roots of MDK-TSD and the forms. I would like to know more about Hwang Keeís experience with Quan Fa and Shotokan. I find it very interesting that Quan Fa has some connections to it, and I love how TSD has really stuck to itís roots, and how Hwang Kee was opposed to getting pulled under the KTA-TKD umbrella of unification. Of all the Kwans, I think TSD probably did the best job of retaining itís roots.