Tang Soo Do The History of Tang Soo Do

Tang Soo Do is a relatively modern Korean martial art based upon the ancient Korean art of Soo Bahk Do, which dates back to the 6th Century. However, the exact origin of Tang Soo Do is obscure. Some Japanese Karate experts insist that the art is of Japanese origin; some say it came from Okinawa; others say it began in China with Bodhidarma and spread from there.

It was during the Silla Dynasty (618 - 935 AD) that the martial arts expanded rapidly in Korea. The Kingdom of Silla was one of the three kingdoms in Korea and was notable for the military prowess of its young warrior class, the Hwa Rang. The five basic principles of Tang Soo Do are derived from the principles of these elite warriors. However, Tang Soo Do gained most of its popularity during the Koryo Dynasty (935 - 1392 AD).

At the beginning of the Yi Dynasty (1392-1910), the National Martial Arts Manual was published, and the term Soo Bahk Do became widely used. During the occupation of Korea by Japan (1907 - 1945) the practice of native martial arts was prohibited. This prohibition forced many Korean Soo Bahk Do Masters to emigrate, or to practice secretly. Tang Soo Do was developed by Grand Master Hwang Kee. He mastered Tae Kyun and Soo Bahk Do at the age of 22. Upon his travels to Northern China in 1936, he encountered a Chinese variation of martial artistry called the Tang Method. From 1936 to 1945 he combined Soo Bahk Do with the Tang Method and developed what was to be known as Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, even though it was officially registered in Korea on November 9, 1945 as the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association.

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At the beginning of the modern era of the Korean martial arts, Tang Soo Do was the most popular term for the merged martial arts, however, at that time, the Korean political leader was concerned about establishing Korean value based on Korean nationalism. The political leaders recognized the popularity of Korean martial arts around the world, but were opposed to the use of the name Tang Soo Do for the art, as it sounded like a Chinese martial art. In 1964, a government sponsored small group created a new name for the Korean martial arts: Taekwondo. The "International Martial Arts Association" still respects the original term, Tang Soo Do, and intends to preserve its heritage and value as a traditional way or path. So Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do are divided principally, with Tang Soo Do striving to remain as a traditional martial art, while Taekwondo held its world games and sport.

Tang Soo Do has since spread throughout the world. Practiced by champions like Chuck Norris, it is a proven method of fighting with a long and proud tradition of victories.

Grandmaster Ki Yun Yi

Yi’s Martial Arts Institutes were established in 1974 by Grandmaster Ki Yun Yi President of the International Martial Arts Association and Yi’s Martial Arts Institutes. Grandmaster Yi is a well known Martial Artist and has appeared on the cover of Black Belt Magazine.

Grandmaster Ki Yun Yi is a native of Yong In, South Korea, and spent his childhood years in a country devastated by the Korean War. At the age of nine, shortly after the war ended, he began his training in Tang Soo Do as a means of survival and self-protection. Among his early instructors were Master Song Si Kim, founder of the World Dang Soo Do Union, and Master Jae Chul Shin, founder of the World Tang Soo Do Association.

Grandmaster Yi excelled in martial arts and received his first degree black belt at the age of twelve. During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s he taught Tang Soo Do at the Osan Air Force Base in South Korea. He also distinguished himself in national competition, and in 1970 won the Korean National Championship. In a country with limited educational and economic opportunities, his career in martial arts was the vehicle that allowed Grandmaster Yi to emigrate to the United States in 1973.

At the request of the Korean Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Association, of which he was then a member, Grandmaster Yi came to the U.S. to teach Tang Soo Do. He founded the first Yi’s Martial Arts Institutes in Woodbury and Cherry Hill, NJ in 1974. Having dedicated his life to the art of Tang Soo Do, he strives to bring the art to practitioners throughout the world and in 1984, he founded the International Martial Arts Association (IMA) in order to retain the traditionalism paramount to the true spirit of Tang Soo Do.

Grandmaster Yi is a moving force in the worldwide Tang Soo Do community and continues to teach in addition to managing the affairs of his organization and member schools. In recognition of his work over the years, he has been featured in several martial arts publications, including Black Belt Magazine, Tae Kwon Do Times, and the UK’s Tae Kwon Do and Korean Martial Arts Magazine.

International Martial Arts Association

The International Martial Arts Association (IMA) is an organization of individuals whose goal is to further the art of Tang Soo Do while preserving the unique heritage and traditions of this time honored art. Members of the IMA work toward the proliferation of the art throughout the world.

Founded by Grandmaster Ki Yun Yi in New Jersey, USA, in 1984, the organization now spans four continents. Although the IMA is a dynamic and growing organization, there is a unity and brotherhood throughout the member schools. Tang Soo Do has since spread throughout the world.

Master Alex Lonabaugh started his martial arts training with Grandmaster Ki Yun Yi in March of 1983. He achieved 1st degree Black Belt and began teaching in 1985. In early 2000 he became the Chief Instructor for Yi's Karate of Cherry Hill . Master Lonabaugh has been recognized by Yi's Karate and the International Martial Arts Association as both Student of the Year and Instructor of the Year 2003 among other honors.

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Our teaching of Tang Soo Do-Moo Duk Kwan is to stop violence. Tang Soo Do is a way of life and you will gain new ways of thinking which will guide your life, making you a happier, healthier and wiser person.

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