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Tang Soo Do

During Korea’s Three Kingdom period (Koguryo, Paechta and Silla kingdoms; 57 B.C. – A.D. 668), the Chinese Tang dynasty helped the Silla defeat the Japanese-backed Paechta kingdom. To honor the Tang dynasty, the Silla created the martial art tangsu (Chinese hand) that was then taught to Korea’s renowned Hwarang warriors.

In 1945, Hwang Kee (1914-2002) combined the skills he learned from practicing Chinese and Korean martial arts with his working knowledge of Okinawan karate. He named the amalgamated style hwa soo do in honor of the Hwarang warriors. However, because he had difficulty raising interest with the public to learn the art, he chose a new name for the style that was more familiar to the Korean people: tang soo do moo duk kwan (way of the Chinese hand in the martial virtue school).

Although the foundation of tang soo do has existed for about 1300 years—beginning with the martial art tangsu—Hwang Kee is considered the modern-day founder of tang so do. Until the time of his death, he fought tirelessly—to no avail—to unify all the Korean martial arts under the tang soo do moniker.

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