Monday, 22 February 2016

Hwang Kee`s 10 precepts + important points on physical and mental training

I have translated a few sections from Hwang Kee`s 1958 book now and want to share it. I have included the two pages I have translated at the end of the post so anyone more knowledgeable in Korean can give their two cents :-) I have translated most of this myself without help (the 10 guidelines have been verified to hit the mark so to speak) so any mistakes here is mine and mine alone. I will be the first to admit that I am in no way fluent in Korean.

First out is the 10 point creed of Mu Duk Kwan as written by Hwang Kee himself in 1958. I have no idea if this creed is still in use. He starts each creed with the number 1. Similar creeds or guidelines appear in many Japanese Dojo and the numbering each as 1 means that they are all equally important. You will note that many of these points are mirrored in the more famous tenets of Taekwondo and 5 rules of taekwondo by Choi Hong Hi as well as other Kwan`s philosophy. My own teacher said in his first book that allthough there were differences in execution of techniques and forms as well as different "philosophies" their philosophies usually had the same core.

Hwang Kee includes an explanation to each guideline in his original text. So far I have not had the time to translate them but I will give it my best shot as soon as my Schedule opens up :-)

10 guidelines of the Mu Duk Kwan

1: Be loyal to the country

1: Filiel piety/ obidience to ones parents

1: Love between husband and wife (Maritial love)

1: Be cooperative between siblings

1: Be respectfull of elders

1: Faithfullness/ gratitude to the teacher

1: Faith between friends

1: Judicious killing

1: Do not withdraw when going into battle

1: Be a man of action

Some of these guidelines might be translated slightly different if they are still in use, but I belive this translation is within reason "correct". Hwang Kee does not use a simple language, and it is not everything in Korean that translates well into English.

Next Hwang Kee lists important factors and points on how to develop a strong spirit. These 5 factors and 10 Points have not been verified so again, take this with a grain of salt ;-) I guess you get what you pay for ;-P

5 important factors of cultivating a strong spirit
  1. Keep in contact with mother nature
  2. The environment/surroundings
  3. Experience
  4. Consience
  5. Refinement
Important Points

  1. A deep appreciation/love of nature
  2. Kiab *
  3. Etiquette, curtesy, manners
  4. Modesty/Humility mind/spirit/heart
  5. Grateful mind/spirit/heart
  6. sacrifice mind/spirit/heart
  7. Cultivation of courage
  8. Fidelity
  9. Appear gentle from the outside but be strong within
  10. Patient mind
  11. Read a lot / Study hard
* He uses the hangul for Kiab not Kihap which we usually say in Taekwondo. It translated differently than Kihap. Ki means energy while "ab" translates into pressure. In the dictionary I got "Atmospheric (air barometic) pressure" . If we look at the two words "Ki"and "ab" we get energy pressure. I believe he is meaning the same as Kihap but his term is more to do with the feeling and act of doing it while Kihap describes the goal. Kihap means cultivating/concentrating/gathereing of energy, while Kiab means pressure of energy.

5 important factors on how to improve in the physical education part of Mu Duk Kwan

  1. Keep in contact with nature
  2. Environment
  3. Eat correctly (Be well nourished)
  4. Train correctly
  5. Rest appropriatly
Important Points

  1. Kiab (allready explained earlier)
  2. Attention (eyes/eyesight/where to look)
  3. "Center" and balance while moving
  4. build from body
  5. Movement (Dynamics) of strength
  6. Speed of technique
  7. Precision (Correct) Technique
  8. Be able to adapt the distance (Correct distance)
  9. Breathing technique/skill
  10. Skill in training the hands and feet
Again I stress that this is just my work and therefore it should be reviewed by someone more knowledgeable than me before being used as a source, but I find this very exciting, and while ITF philosophy is well documented and known, the older Kwan`s philosophies has not been shared as much as its more famous counterpart in ITF. I will try to translate the explanation on each of the 10 guidelines in the relatively near future :-)

I hope to provide much more video content to this blog in the future. I have therefore set up a GoFundMe page on which I hope I can crowdfund a video editing software so I can make good quality videos for the blogs readers. If you want to contribute please visit the link to my GoFundMe page. Every donation helps :-)


  1. I use to learn taekwondo, and it not just about strength and skill, it was about respect and indomitable spirit.

    1. The theoretical studies that surrounds Traditional Taekwondo is what makes it a worthwhile art to study and practise for adults in my opinion. So far relatively little has been written about this openly and few Taekwondo books go into any great detail about this. I do see a slight change in emphasis around the world so this will probably be very different in a few years time :-D Thanks for commenting Oliver.

  2. Good day sir - Soo Bahk Do calls those "ten guidelines of the Mu Duk Kwan" the "Ten Articles of Faith on Mental Training" (sometimes named slightly differently). They are defined in the student manuals as follows:

    Be loyal to your country
    Be obedient to your parents
    Be loving between husband and wife
    Be cooperative between brothers
    Be respectful to your elders
    Be faithful between teacher and student
    Be faithful between friends
    Face combat only in justice and with honor
    Never retreat in battle
    Always finish what you start

    They have changed slightly over the years perhaps the biggest change being in number eight. It used to say something like "kill only in justice and with honor" but was changed from "killing" to facing combat for philosophical reasons.

    So your translation is pretty much spot on.

    1. Nice :-) Thank you Roger. The last point Always finish what you start or be a man of action was very difficult to translate into something meaningful in English. The meaning is roughly the same though. Be faithfull between teacher and student is a little strange (but I do not doubt it is correct today), as in the text I am working from the Word "student" is no where to be found in that precept. It contains only two Words: one that can be translated as teacher and another that can be translated as faithfullness/grattitude. The verb is conjugated so we know that it is toward the teacher. I Wonder if this precept might have been changed somewhere along the line.

      I am happy to see that most of it was on target though :-) And I am also happy to see that this philosophy is still in use in Soo Bahk Do. I hope to translate more from this book when my schedule opens up a little:-)I think Learning more about the Kwan philosophy (all of them) would enrich modern Taekwondo a lot. Thanks for sharing :-) Looking forward to see if my translation on his explanation of the precepts are still in use too (but dont share before I have tranlsated so I can see if I was within reason correct :-P )

  3. The "five important factors.." and "Important Points" are referred to as "5 Requirements and 11 Points of Emphasis on Mental Training", listed as follows:

    1. Oneness with nature
    2. Complete awareness with environment
    3. Experience
    4. Conscience
    5. Culture
    (I prefer your interpretation of #5 as "refinement")

    1. Reverence for Nature
    2. Physical Control (Ki-Aup)
    3. Courtesy
    4. Modesty
    5. Thankfulness
    6. Self-Sacrifice
    7. Courage
    8. Chastity
    9. Strength Inside, Mildness Outside
    10. Endurance
    11. Reading Ability

    Again, right in line. You're doing admirably well in your interpretation - and the differences are likely due to "westernization" of the text for our readers/practitioners (most of us do not read Korean).

    1. I like the translation of physical Control of Kiab. Physical Control is the manifistation of correct usage of energy which Kiab is (pressure of energy). I had a hard time tranlsating that one.

      Again thanks for sharing and I am happy that you liked "refinement" better than "culture" on point 5.

  4. The last section on physical training are defined as:

    5 Requirements and 10 Points of Emphasis on Physical Training

    1. Contact with physical surroundings
    2. Contact with diverse physical conditions
    3. Suitable Nourishment
    4. Suitable Exercise
    5. Suitable Rest

    1. Vocal Exhalation for thoracic strength (Ki-Hap)
    2. Focus of Sight
    3. Continuous balance during movement
    4. Flexibility of the body
    5. Correct muscle tone for maximum power
    6. High and low speed technique
    7. Exactness of technique
    8. Adjustment for proper distance
    9. Proper breathing for endurance
    10. Conditioning of hands and feet

    1. The first point "contact With physical surroundings" is translated differently from earlier despite being Word for Word the same as point one in the 5 Points of mental training. I translate it as "Keep in contact With mother nature" and I repeat this tranlsation here as the Korean Words are the exact same one here.

      Likewise point two in the korean text is simply the Word "Environment" (unconjugated). The rest is the same (sligtly different worded but still same) as my translation. I find it interesting that repeated Words are translated different in Your Version. Perhaps Hwang Kee updated his thoughts on this matter over the years?

      Your Version of point one of the following 10 Points says "Kihap", while the 1958 text says Kiab here as well. That might be a spelling error in the 1958 book but, and it could also be that Hwang Kee updated this over the years, but in the 1958 book it says Kiap not Kihap.

      The rest seems to be the general same meaning as my own translation. Again thanks for sharing :-)

  5. Could I get your e-mail address please to discuss some additional Soo Bahk Do information. If so, I promise not to abuse the privilege. I you are agreeable, just send me an email at and I will reply. If not, I certainly understand and respect whatever decision you make in this matter.
    Thanks for all your hard work on this site - I love reading your articles and value your insight.