The Martial Art of Moo Duk Kwan is relatively modern. However its roots can be traced back to the period of three kingdoms. The Koquryo was founded in 37 B.C. in Northern Korea, the Sicca Dynasty founded in 57 B.C., and Paekche was founded in 18 B.C.
Moo Duk Kwan is a composite style, 60% Soo Bahk – first developed during the Silla Dynasty 618 – 935 A.D. and emphasising kicking techniques. The other 40% involves hard and soft hand movements which were passed on from Chinese styles. The certified Silla Kingdom was overthrown by a warlord, Wang Kun, and a new kingdom formed called ‘Koryo’ lasted about 475 to 500 years.
In 1392 A.D. the new kingdom, Yi Dynasty, succeeded and lasted about 500 years. About a thousand year period elapsed where the general public and the military found this Art to be very popular. In those days it was called Soo Bahk, Tang Soo etc. Moo Duk Kwan is both a hard and soft style, deriving its hardness in part from Soo Bahk and its soft flowing movements from the southern Chinese Tang systems.
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 this 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
- Yuk Moo Kwan by Sang Sup, Chun
The man who developed Moo Duk Kwan, Grandmaster Hwang Kee, is a Martial Arts prodigy, having mastered Soo Bahk at the age of 22. At that time, (1936) he travelled to Northern China. There he encountered a Chinese variation of martial artistry called the Tang Method and developed what was to be known as Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do.
It is a classical Martial Art, and its purpose is to develop every aspect of the self, in order to create a mature personality who totally integrates his/her intellect, emotions and spirit. This total integration helps to create a person who is free from inner conflict and who can deal with the outside world in a mature, intelligent, forthright and virtuous manner.