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Brief History of Soo Bahk Do


Soo Bahk Do is the name of the art we study and its direct translation is Soo (hand), Bahk (strike), and Do (art or way). According to the Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji, the name “Bahk” originated in the age of Chun Chu (2700 years ago) and the name “Soo Bahk” originated during the early Jon Han Dynasty in China (2200 years ago). This is the oldest reference to any martial art name in Korea, based on the historical documentation available.

Numerous descriptions of the name “Soo Bahk” were recorded in the historical documentation and wall painting of tombs since the Han Dynasty and through the Ko Ku Ryo, Silla, and Ko Ryo Dynasties and down to the Yi Dynasty (600 years ago).

As discussed earlier, the name “Soo Bahk” was first used about 2200-2700 years ago in the age of Chun Chu in China. However, “Soo Bahk Ki” (Soo Bahk Technique) or “Soo Bahk Hee” (Soo Bahk Dance) seems to have been more actively known and practiced in the Ko Ku Ryo Dynasty (2000 years ago), Ko Ryo Dynasty (1000 years ago), and Yi Dynasty (600 years ago) of Korea. This shows that Soo Bahk Ki (or Hee) was practiced by Korean people traditionally since the Ko Ku Ryo Dynasty (2000 years ago).

No one knew about the existence of Soo Bahk for nearly a half century during the Japanese occupation. Korea became an independent country as World War II ended on August 15, 1945.

Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee discovered Soo Bahk in the Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji in 1957. This was the rebirth of Soo Bahk as a Korean traditional martial art. He spent long and arduous hours of study in order to make possible the rebirth of Soo Bahk for the martial art practitioners of the world.

He developed the Soo Bahk Do system for us to study through the Moo Duk Kwan as a living art, and he has helped us to become connected with our long and proud heritage.

Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee realized the importance and value of “Soo Bahk” as an art form and he named it “Soo Bahk Do” and started its promotion in 1957.

The Korean Soo Bahk Do Association was formally registered as a corporation with the Korean government on June 30, 1960 and has continuously fulfilled its mission.

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