Sunday, 27 September 2015

Moo Duk Kwan; Taekwondo`s forgotten Kwan?

In my recent post "Taekwondo is not and has never been a "kick block punch" system!" I referenced
a lot of Taekwondo books to demonstrate how Taekwondo has emplyed more tactics than just blocks, punches and kicks since the Kwan era. The oldest book was written by Hwang Kee in 1958 with the title "Tangsoodo textbook". In one of the comments I was asked why this book was referenced in Taekwondo history when Hwang Kee never truly joined the Taekwondo movement and developed his art into Soo Bahk Do. This post is not only a result of that comment though. This and similar questions on why I choose to count Moo Duk Kwan and Hwang Kee into Taekwondo history has been asked many times in discussions both in person, on online forums, e-mail and on this blog. I am sure I am going to need to explain this again in the future, but I hope this post will contribute a good answer to those who have wondered but yet to do the asking:-)

Lets start the story by working backwards. Modern Kukki Taekwondo evolved during the 1970s as a merger of the major schools of "Korean Karate" at the time. There were differences between the schools but they shared many outward characteristics with each other and it was felt that merging the schools together into one major style would be benificial not only for the martial arts but also for Korea in general. This new "super style" could be used to spread Korean culture, and boost the confidence and attitude as well as raising patriotic spirit in the Korean people. The merging of the different Kwan did not happen overnight though. It was a long drawn out process starting in the early 60s with the first joint black belt grading happening as early as 1962. This happened under a forerunner organisation of KTA (not Taekwondo but Tang Soo Do). Hwang Kee was one of the
founding masters of that organisation in that he was involved in talks of organising the different Kwan in Pusan during the Korean war, but he founded his own organisation instead of keep working with the KTA. He called his organisation the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association. Moo Duk Kwan was joined with the Ji Do Kwan under Yoon Kwae Byung in 1962 and Hwang Kee estimated that in the 1960s around 70% of the "Korean Karate" martial artists were organised in this association.

In 1967 there was a split and many Moo Duk Kwan students and Ji Do Kwan students (the Ji Do Kwan students being led by Lee Chon Woo) joined the KTA (this time the T was for Taekwondo) and the KTA determined to have all major Kwan a role to play with the creation of forms that the KTA members would center around determined that the Forms comitte who made the Palgwe and Black belt forms would start over with aditional members from the Ji Do Kwan and Moo Duk Kwan to make a new form set. This resulted in the Taegeuk series and a New Koryo who replaced the original Koryo in 1972.

The Kukkiwon was later founded in 1971 by the KTA which at that time had had many Moo Duk Kwan students for several years. Not only had Moo Duk Kwan members of the forms comitte, but Moo Duk Kwan also had their say in how the movement standard for all basic techniques should be executed as well as the KTA rules of conduct etc.

As you can understand the Moo Duk Kwan students who had trained and studdied under Hwang Kee had an important role to play in what was to become Kukki Taekwondo eventhough Hwang Kee would not be directly involved, and that he would later evolve his art into something quite different than Kukki Taekwondo. I am sure you can appreciate now just why I chose to count Moo Duk Kwan as one of Taekwondo root schools and why I cite the 1958 Tang Soo Do textbook by Hwang Kee in Taekwondo history :-)

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