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A Brief History of Tang Soo Do.

The very first evidence of this ancient form of Korean martial arts appeared during the Three Kingdom era (57 BC-935 AD) as Hwa Rang Do. Since then, 2,000 years have passed. The indigenous martial arts quietly developed through generations of the Korean people. During some eras it flourished and other times it diminished, according to the political, economic or cultural environment. The art was known by various names throughout the eras as Hwa Rang Do, Moo Sul, Kyuck Too Ki, Soo Bahk Ki, Soo Byuck Ki, Taek Kyun etc. respectively.

Following 1945 Korean independence, the Korean martial arts were again merged and flourished throughout the entire Korean Peninsula. Many organizations were founded with various names such as Soo Bahk Do, Tang Soo Do, Tae Soo Do and so on. At the beginning of the modern era of the Korean martial arts, Tang Soo Do was the most popular term for these 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, because the first word "Tang" could be interpreted as representing the Chinese T'ang Dynasty (617-907 AD).

In 1964, a government sponsored small group created a new name for the Korean martial arts: Tae Kwon Do. The World Tang Soo Do Association still respects the original term, Tang Soo Do, and intends to preserve its heritage and value as a traditional way or path. Tae Kwon Do converted to a sport, as they have progressed to the internationally recognized sports arenas such as the Olympic games. This was considered to be a great political achievement, to bring strength and prominence to the Korean government in International politics.

True martial arts lovers desired to continue to pursue traditional martial arts because Tae Kwon Do had to abandon many valuable aspects of true Martial Arts to become a competitive sport. We Tang Soo Do practitioners are striving to maintain traditional values of respect, discipline, self control, self improvement, etiquette and ultimately live a healthy and harmonious life, physically and mentally.

From Birth of World Tang Soo Do Association To Now.

In 1968 Master Jae Chul Shin came to the United States of America as the U. S. representative for the Korean Tang Soo Do Association. He formed the U. S. Tang Soo Do Federation in Burlington, New Jersey in 1968. This traditional Korean Martial Art was quickly accepted and soon grew in popularity throughout the World. The organization reformed to fit new demands internationally, and on November 13 and 14th, 1982, a charter convention of the World Tang Soo Do Association was held in Philadelphia, PA., USA. With the advent of the World Tang Soo Do Association, Tang Soo Do began a new era of development as a traditional martial art.

As of 1996, the new organization has grown at an outstanding rate to reach over 100,000 members in 36 countries and thousands of students are training in the following countries; Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Czechoslovakia, England, Germany, Greece, Guam, Holland, India, Italy, Korea, Mozambique, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Rumania, Russia, Scotland, Seychelles, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Uruguay, and the U.S.A.

For more information on Grandmaster Shin, click HERE.

Purpose of Training in Tang Soo Do.

In today's hectic society, there is no doubt that we need self-defense skills. Equally important are physical fitness and methods for the release of daily stress---No matter whether you are seeking self-defense, better health, physical fitness or discipline, our Tang Soo Do can meet your needs. However, Tang Soo Do has its own unique character which differentiates it from any other form of martial arts or martial sports. Tang Soo Do not only teaches physical techniques but also trains us to practice "DO" way of life through practice of the five virtues; "IN" -humanity, "UI"-righteousness, "YIE"-etiquette, "JI"-wisdom and "SHIN"-trust. When we reach the ultimate level of "DO", we can live in perfect harmony with the laws of nature.

Characteristics of Tang Soo Do.

Differentiation with Sports

Purpose Tang Soo Do Sports

Ideal Goal Subjective, set by self Objective, set by others
Object of training Increase mental, physical, and spiritual power Win in competitions against others
Application of technique For daily life For specific competition
Importance of results Results enhance the whole person Results are only as good as competitive outcome
Teacher's influence Considered lifetime teacher, called Sah Bum Nim Considered motivator during competitive years, called coach
Technical achievement Can be achieved individually Need group or team
Depth of training Way of life centered on mental, physical, and spiritual growth Focus on physical development
Philosophy, history, and tradition Heavy emphasis on roots Not necessary
Training area Can be anywhere since emphasis is on way of life Need gym, field, ring, court, etc.
Physical size Not important -- use vital points (Kup So) Body size affects heavily
Character building Major emphasis Minor importance
Protocol and etiquette Established code of conduct and protocol Not practiced -- little discipline required
Meditation, ki hap, bow, abdominal breathing Very important Not practiced
Spiritual and inner beauty Emphasized Solely physical
Psychological remedy Very effective in dealing with fear, anger, worry, frustration; remedy for stress Some help
Concentration Must be highly developed and used during entire session Some degree
Building leadership Very important as person advances through the ranks Not important
Organized ranking of advancement Tied to individual growth and maturity Tied to team need and physical skills

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