|Chun Sang Sup|
Before I start with this post I must regrettibly inform you that I do not have a lot of material on Chun Sang Sup, but he had an important role in the Ji Do Kwan lineage so he deserves his spot in this series. I will therefore share what little I do know, and hopefully as time goes by and I get better sources I can fill out the blanks at a later date.
Chun Sang Sup is often credited to be the founder of the Yun Moo Kwan (it was reopened in 1953 as Ji Do Kwan), but he did not actually found that school. Yun Moo Kwan`s history actually starts before Taekwondo`s history and was founded as a Yudo (Judo) school in 1931. The headmaster (Lee Kyung Suk) of the school later hired Chun Sang Sup to teach Karate and Yudo before the end of WW2.
Early YearsLittle is really known about Chun Sang Sup and if the information is out there it is not easy to come by. I have no date of birth and I do not know where in Korea he was born. What I do know is that he as many other original pioneers was of slight build (hinting of a reason for starting martial arts studdies but this is me reading between the lines of history again) and that he first studdied Yudo (Judo) while he lived in Korea (no school is mentioned and I do not have information on what rank he had either) in his youth before he moved to Japan for higher education. It was likely his connection with Yudo that later landed him the job-offering at the Yun Moo Kwan. The fact that he was sendt to Japan for higher education also tells us that his family had a good income as only affluent and wealthy Korean families could afford such an education at the time.
Training in JapanNow who he studdied with while in Japan seemed to be cut and dry information, but lately I have gotten some conflicting information on Chun Sang Sup`s training in Japan. In an interview with Lee Chong Woo (a student of Chun Sang Sup and a big name within Ji Do Kwan) Chung Sang Sup studdied at Takushoku University in Tokyo. Many have therefore concluded that Chun Sang Sup studdied Karate with Gichin and Yoshitaka Gigo Funakoshi at the University Karate Dojo. This is likely Eric Madis source in his excellent "storming the fortress" article series too. This is in my opinion the most likely source of his training and it would mirror the pattern we have established while looking at Ro Byung Jik and Lee Won Kuk`s training too. Both studdied Karate at the University they studdied. But I can not discount the other possibilities either. There was another teacher located in the same area that could also be the source of Chun Sang Sup`s training.
It is possible that Lee Chong Woo named the wrong university, or that Chun Sang Sup studdied Karate outside the University because in some interesting e-mail exchanges with Dr. Geroge Vitale (noted Taekwondo historian) he suggested that Chun Sang Sup really studdied with Toyama Kanken and therefore had the same teacher in Karate as Yun Byung In (founder of Chang Moo Kwan) and Yun Kwae Byung (he who reopened Yun Moo Kwan as Ji Do Kwan in 1953). Toyama Kanken also taught his style of Karate (Shudo Ryu or Shudokan) in Tokyo so it is entirely possible that this is Chun Sang Sup`s real source of Karate training. (Takushoku University is located in Tokyo.) In future articles when I will write about Yun Byung In and Yun Kwae Byung you will see that there might be some things that support this linkeage with Toyama Kanken. Dr. George Vitale`s source on Chun Sang Sup`s training was Kimm He Young`s new book on Taekwondo`s history. Kimm He Young has researched Taekwondo history the last 40 years so he has a huge head start on me so I will not argue against his claims. I do not have this book yet, but it is on my "to buy list" and I am looking forward to see what sources Kimm He Young has.
Opening the Karate department in Yun Moo KwanBefore the end of WW2 Chun Sang Sup was aproached by the headmaster of the Yun Moo Kwan and asked if he could open a Karate division within Yun Moo Kwan which Chun Sang Sup did. He also taught Yudo at the Yun Moo Kwan. After WW2 was over Chung Sang Sup moved the Karate division to a
|Chun Sang Sup, Yun Byong In and Lee Kyo Yun 1948|
Chun Sang Sup was a skillfull administrator and teacher and it is mentioned in the sparingly information on him in Kang & Lee`s "A history of modern Taekwondo" that he was an intilectual who would most often wear suites. His administrative and teaching talents made Yun Moo Kwan the leading Kwan together with the Chung Do Hwe in the period 1946-49. As his student pool grew Chun Sang Sup was able to hire assistant instructors. The two he hired was none other than Yun Kwae Byung and Yun Byung In. Both of them had excellent reputations and had made a name for themselves in Japan, and both had been given the rank of Master by Toyama Kanken.
The fact that both of the instructors he hired to help him teach Karate was master students of Toyama Kanken can support the claim that Chun Sang Sup also was a student of Toyama Kanken. It would be natural to hire them if they all had the same teacher. On the other hand it might be that they knew each other since the number of Koreans training in Karate in Japan at that timeperiod could not be so great. Also they were Koreans living in the same area at the same time with the same interests. Anyone who has been abroad for a long time and isolated from your native country will recognize that the few people you meet who are from the same country as you are will easily becomes friends.
Yun Byung In would shortly after being an instructor for the Yun Moo Kwan go on to found the Chang Moo Kwan, and Yun Kwae Byung is reported to be teaching at two Korean Universities as well as the Yun Moo Kwan.
The End of Yun Moo KwanIn 1950 the Korean war broke out and all Martial Arts schools were closed or at least driven far underground. Chun Sang Sup dissapeared during the war and dissapears from Taekwondo`s history too.
|Outside Yun Moo Kwan in 1947|
The LegacyChun Sang Sup was the original driving force for what was to become the Ji Do Kwan and had the most influential Martial Arts School only rivaled With the Chung Do Kwan in influence before the Korean war. Original Students of Chun Sang Sup founded their own Kwan`s after the war such as Lee Kyo Yun who founded the Han Moo Kwan (Korean Martial Institute). Chun Sang Sup was responsible for many important peoples early training in what was to become Taekwondo and helped lay the foundation of what was to become Taekwondo. There is little information on him and he was "only" active from around 1943 to 1950 so many overlook his importance and place within the history of Taekwondo. It is my hope that this post will increase the interest in this man and his teachings as well as more research into his history so we can fill in the blanks.
Special thanks to Dr. George Vitale for his sharing of information. Without him this would indeed be a short post:-)