Tang Soo Do

Tang Soo Do ManualMoo_Duk_Kwan_Patch_Glass_Effect

Index of Links:

Meaning of Tang Soo Do
Ten Articles Of Faith
Fundamentals of Training
The Charter of Moo Duk Kwan
Key Concepts in Tang Soo Do
Korean Numbers
General Terminology of Tang Soo Do


The contemporary practicing member of Tang Soo Do may have entered Karate for a variety of reasons: learn self-defense, obtain muscle flexibility, practice mind and body discipline, satisfy curiosity and so on. As the training progresses however, the member usually experiences the original motivating intent along with the realization that martial art instruction encompasses many disciplines: patience, dedication, and the desire to develop and hone skills are the requirements needed for practical application. The student will also have the ability to demonstrate the beauty of movement and grace born from the ancient art of Tang Soo Do. The practice of Tang Soo Do is a continuing process of learning and growth, and the student finds new motivation every time he or she learns a new technique or form.

Meaning of Tang Soo Do

Literally translated, the word “Tang” means T’ang Dynasty of China, which reflects the shared cultural background between China and Korea (617 – 907 AD). “Soo” means hand, but it implies fist, punch, Strike, or defense, etc. “Do” means way of life or art. Thus “Tang Soo Do” means the Korean classical martial art which legendarily was influenced by the T’ang method of martial art.

Ten Articles of Faith

Articles of faith

Brief History


The exact origin of Tang Soo Do as well as any martial art in general, is obscure. Although there are a number of historical theories. However, the most credible and traditional view is that martial arts originated not in any one country but in almost all parts of the globe, as they were needed by primitive people.

Development in the Early Ages

The ancestral art of Korean Tang Soo Do can be traced back to the period of the three kingdoms. At that time, Korea was divided into three kingdoms.

Koguryo was founded 37 BC in northern Korea. The Silla Dynasty was founded in 57 BC in the southeast peninsula, and Paekche was founded in 18 BC.

After a long series of wars, the Silla Dynasty united the three kingdoms in 668 AD. During this period of time, the primitive martial arts were very popular in warfare. This is evident by mural paintings, ruins, and remains which depicted Tang Soo Do in those days.

Among the three kingdoms. the Silla Dynasty was most famous for its development of martial arts. A corps formed by young aristocrats, called “Hwa Rang Dan” was the major group who developed those arts. These warriors were instrumental in unifying the peninsula as the new Silla Dynasty (668 AD – 935 AD) and furnished many of the early leaders of that dynasty. Most Korean martial arts trace their spiritual and technical heritage to this group. The names of some groups and arts reflect this, such as Hwa Rang Do or Hwa Doo Do.

Medieval Development

The Unified Silla Kingdom was overthrown by a warlord, Wang Kun, in 918 AD. and a new kingdom called “Koryo” lasted for 475 years. In 1392 AD, the new kingdom, Yi Dynasty, succeeded and lasted about 500 years. Approximately a thousand year period elapsed between the two dynasties. Tang Soo Do became very popular among the military society. However, most importantly, this art also became very popular with the general public. In those days it was called Kwon Bop, Tae Kyun, Soo Bahk, Tang Soo, etc.

The very first complete martial arts book was written at this time. This most important book is called “Mooyae Dobo Tongji”. It was written in 1790 AD and contained illustrations that substantiate the theory that “Soo Bahk Ki,” the formal name of Tang Soo Do, had quickly developed into a sophisticated art of combat techniques.

Modern History

The subsequent occupation of Korea by the Japanese military regime took place from 1909 to 1945. During this period, practicing and teaching of martial arts was restricted.

After World War II 1945, this restriction was lifted. Several martial arts training schools were erected at that time as follows:

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

The founders started to organize their own organizations respectively, and Master Hwang Kee organized the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association on November 9th 1945.

Besides the Soo Bahk Do Association’s existence in Korea, there were various types of other martial arts called “Kong Soo” or “Tae Soo”. In 1965 all of these various systems were united into one organization called the “Korean Tae Kwon Do Association”, and the art was called “Tae Kwon Do” uniformly.

As a Korean national sport, Tae Kwon Do initiated a new era and instructors were dispatched throughout the world, and international tournaments were held. In those days, Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do were divided with Tang Soo Do striving to remain as a traditional martial art while Tae Kwon Do held its world games and sports.


Tae Kuk Gi – The National Flag of Korea


The Korean flag symbolizes much of the thought, philosophy, and mysticism of the Orient. The symbol and sometimes the flag itself, is called Tae Geuk.

KoreanFlagDepicted on the flag is a circle divided equally and in perfect balance. The upper (red) section represents the Yang, and the lower (blue) section represents the Um, an ancient symbol of the universe originating in China. These two opposites express the dualism of the cosmos: Fire and water, day and night, dark and light, construction and destruction, masculine and feminine, active and passive, hot and cold, plus and minus, and so on.

The central thought in the Tae Geuk indicates that while there is a constant movement within the sphere of infinity there is also balance and harmony.

The ancient Oriental philosophers viewed the universe as a place in which harmony could be attained by the reconciliation of opposing forces. One such force, Yang, is associated with expansion and separation; the other, Um, with contraction and assimilation. These opposites continually balance and complement each other. This thought taught the martial arts the wisdom of using non-violence against violence, soft against hard, circle against straight line, and so on.

Three bars at each corner also carry the ideas of opposition and balance. The three unbroken lines stand for heaven the opposite three broken lines represent the Earth. At the lower left corner of the flag are two lines with a broken line between. This symbolizes fire. The opposite is the symbol of water.


Kwan Gi -Tang Soo Do School Flag


The Kwan Gi is the flag or symbol that represents a particular school, style, or federation. The Kwan Gi pictured above represents the Tang Soo Do Karate College.School Flag

Similar to the Tae Kuk GL the individual elements that make up the Kwan Gi have  significant meaning to the art of Tang Soo Do and the Tang Soo Do Karate College.

The fist symbolizes justice, the authority and power to uphold what is right and fair.

The laurels encircling the fist are comprised of fourteen leaves per side and a total of sir berries, three per side. The leaves represent the fourteen original colonies or provinces of Korea. The six berries represent the six inhabited continents (North America. South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia) where Tang Soo Do is taught today.

Below the fist are three Korean characters. The characters left and right of center are “Tang” end “Soo” respectively. The character in the center is “Moo.” Moo translates as “to stop conflict or aggression”. Moo may also translate as “military”. representing the force used to stop aggression.

Tang Soo Do in blue is the name of the art or style we study, and Moo Duk Kwan in red is the name of the organization.



United States Of America Flag


The Stars and Stripes is the most popular name for the red, white, and blue flag of the United States. (No one knows exactly where this name came from) The United StatesAmerican Flag flag has several other names such as Star-Spangled Banner and Old Glory.

The Stars and Stripes stands for the land, the people, and government, and the ideals of the United States.

STARS: The Stars represent all the states. Every time a new state joined, another star was added.

STRIPES: They represent the 13 original states or colonies. They alternate all 13 stripes going red then white.


  • Red represents hardiness and courage.
  • White represents purity and innocence.
  • Blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice.

 Fundamentals of Training

Five Requisites and Eleven points of emphasis on mental training.


  1. Oneness with nature
  2. Complete awareness of environment
  3. Experience
  4. Conscience
  5. Culture


  1. Reverence for nature
  2. Physical control (Ki-Aup)
  3. Courtesy
  4. Modest heart
  5. Thankful heart
  6. Self-sacrifice
  7. Cultivate courage
  8. Chastity
  9. Be strong inside and mild outside
  10. Endurance
  11. Reading ability

Five Requisites and Ten points of emphasis on Physical Development.


  1. Contact with natural surroundings
  2. Contact with diverse physical conditions
  3. Suitable nourishment
  4. Suitable exercise
  5. Suitable rest


  1. Vocal exhalation for thoracic strength (Ki-Aup)
  2. Eye-line of site (glance)
  3. Continuous balance during movements
  4. Flexibility of body
  5. Correct muscle tones for maximum power
  6. High and low speed techniques
  7. Exactness of techniques
  8. Adjustment for proper distance
  9. Proper breathing for endurance
  10. Conditioning hands and feet

The Charter of Moo Duk Kwan

Reference for life is as important as offense and defense within the Moo Duk Kwan.

Our basic charter charges all members to protect life, even that of an enemy. Developing reverence for  nature, with emphasis on beauty. speed. and rightness of action. are training goals held forth by the charter.

Matters that demand special attention while training in Tang Soo Do (Soo bahk Do)

  • Purpose of training should be enhancement of the mental and physical self
  • Sincerity is necessary
  • Effort is necessary
  • Consistent schedule during practice
  • Do one’s best when training
  • It is necessary to train in the basic spirit of Tang Soo Do
  • Regularly spaced practice sessions
  • Obey without objection the word of instructors or seniors–look and learn
  • Don’t be overly ambitious
  • Pay attention to every aspect of your training
  • Get instruction step by step in new forms and techniques
  • Try to conquer when you feel idleness
  • Cleanliness is desired after practice is finished

Characteristics of Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do)

  • It is natural and reasonable to practice Tang Soo Do as a martial art
  • It combines civil and military arts which are strong and submissive
  • It is good practice for mental and physical well being
  • You can practice anywhere, and it is inexpensive
  • You can practice as an individual or group
  • Anyone can learn with a little effort and faith
  • It develops your body and sense of balance


Key Concepts in Tang Soo Do

Yong Gi Courage
Chung Shin Tong Il Concentration
In Heh Endurance
Chung Jik Honesty
Kyum Son Humility
Him Cho Chung Control of Power
Shin Chook Tension and Relaxation
Wan Gup Speed Control

Korean Numbers

For Cadence Number For Ranking Order
Hana One Il
Dool Two E
Set Three Sam
Net Four Sa
Da Sot Five O
Yuh Sot Six Yook
Il Gop Seven Chil
Yo Dull Eight Pal
Ah Hope Nine Koo
Yohl Ten Ship
Sumul Twenty Sa-Ship
Sorun Thirty Sam-Ship
Mahun Fourty Sa-Ship
Shwin Fifty O-Ship
Yesun Sixty Yook-Ship
Irun Seventy Chil-Ship
Yodun Eighty Pay-Ship
Ahun Ninety Koo-Ship
Paek One Hundred Il-Paek
Chon One Thousand Il-Chon

Note: Numbers above ten are formed by adding the word for the numbers one through nine to the words meaning ten, twenty, thirty etc. For example: 11 is “Yohl Hanna”.

General Terminology OF Tang Soo Do

Tang Soo Do Name of the art we study
Moo Duk Kwan Name of the organization
Soo Bahk Do Ancient name of the Korean martial art
Kwang Jang(Nim) Grandmaster
Sa Bom(Nim) Instructor
Nim Term of respect similar to “Sir” or “Honorable”
Sun Beh Senior member
Hu Beh Junior member
Dan Degree, holder of midnight blue color
Gup Grade, holder of color belt
Ko Dan Ja Senior dan holder
Yu Dan Ja Dan holder
Yu Gup Ja Gup holder
Kwan Won Student member
Cho Bo Ja Beginner
Do Jang Training hall/studio
Do Bahk Uniform
Dee Belt
Kuk Gi National flag of Korea
Kwan Gi Tang Soo Do flag
Gi Cho Basic
Hyung Form
Deh Ryun Sparring
Ho Sin Sul Self-defense
Kyuck Pa Breaking
Soo Gi Hand Techniques
Jok Gi Foot Techniques
Neh Gung Internal power or control in exercise
Weh Gung External power or control in exercise
Shim Gung Spiritual power or control in exercise
Mahk Kee Block
Kong Kyuck Attack
Ha Dan Low part
Choong Dan Middle part
Sang Dan High part
Ahp Front
Yup Side
Dwi Back
Cha Gi Kick
Ki Hap Yell(focus mind/energy)
Shi Sun Focus of eyes
Choong Shim Balance
Chung Kwon Forefist
Cap Kwon Backfist
Soo Do Knifehand
Yuk Soo Do Ridgehand
Kwan Soo Spearhand
Jung Kwon Heal of palm
Kwon Do Bottom of fist
O Rin Jok Right
Wen Jok Left

Tang Soo Do Belt Ranks

Belt Ranking System for Tang Soo Do and Haidong Gumdo
Belt Ranking System for Tang Soo Do and Haidong Gumdo

How to tie your DeeDeebelt