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Korean Martial Arts
Original Poster: Kyorgi
Forum: Korean Martial Arts
Posted On: 07-11-2006, 14:56

Orginal Post: Kyorgi: This is here to discuss Korean martial arts and answer any questions anyone may have about them. I thought it would be good to start naming and defining every korean martial art we know of so far.

TaeKwonDo- the way of the hand and foot
Hapkido- ?
Mu Duk Kwan- ?
Tang Soo Do- ?
Kumdo- ?
So Bhak Do- ?

(?= i dont know what the definition is)

Post: Hengest:

I’m no expert on Korean styles, but I’ll give it a go. Here’s what I know of:

Taekwondo – obviously

Hapkido – modern art mixing TKD with (allegedly) Daito Ryu aikijujutsu

Tang soo do/Soo bahk do – Hwang Kee’s school of martial arts, probably based on Goju Ryu or Goju Kai karate although he later added kwonbup techniques from the Muye Dobo Tongji

Kwonbup – old boxing techniques, probably of Chinese origin, illustrated in the Muye Dobo Tongji

Soo bahk (aka subak) – lost art, probably similar to kwonbup, i.e. imported Chinese boxing

T’ang su – see above

Kong soo do – the Korean pronunciation of “karatedo”; originally used as a name for TKD, TSD and other modern striking arts taught in South Korea

Kumdo – Japanese kendo as taught in South Korea

Yudo – Japanese judo as taught in South Korea

Yu sool – Japanese jujutsu ryuha as taught in South Korea

Haedong kumdo – a modern attempt to reconstruct ancient Korean sword fighting, heavily influenced by Japanese kenjutsu and contemporary wushu

Hwarangdo – Joo Bang Lee’s eclectic martial art, combining techniques from several Korean and Japanese arts

Kuk Sool Won – In Hyuk Suh’s system of martial arts that allegedly combines several traditional Korean styles together to form a relatively complete system

Sulkido – a modern eclectic style that combines TKD and kuk sool won; mainly taught in the UK

Taekkyon – kicking game from the 17th century, mainly using circular kicks and throws and sweeps

Ssireum – ancient wrestling style, still seen on public holidays in South Korea, very similar to Japanese sumo

Kyuk too ki – a modern eclectic form that combines TKD and muay thai techniques

Kun gek do – a modern eclectic form that combines TKD and kickboxing techniques

Tae soo do – probably the name first decided on for TKD, before “taekwondo” was adopted

Kung sul – archery

Pakchigi – probably the oldest Korean style and likely a relative of Chinese chiao-ti, a basic style that mainly consists of butting and shoving

Chosondo – nineteenth century style, originally from North Korea, combines several Chinese and Korean systems>

Post: setsu nin to:

As Mr. Hengest said: I’m no expert on Korean styles, but I’ll give it a go

Choson Kwon Bup
Gicheon Mun
Haidong Gumdo
Han Mu Do
Han Pul
Hwarang Do
Kong Shin Bup
Kong Soo Do
Kuk Sool Won
Kun Gek Do
Kung Jung Moo Sool
Kung Sul
Moo Duk Kwan
Ship Pal Ki
SinMoo Hapkido
Soo Bahk Do
Tae Kyon
Tae Soo Do
Tang Soo Do
Yu Sool

Moust of them (Hapkido, Taekwondo, Tang Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do, Kong Soo Do, Kumdo, Yudo, Yu Sool, Hwarang Do, Kuk Sool Won, Tae Kyon, Kun Gek Do, Tae Soo Do and Kung Sul) Hengest already put on the list and I wrote about some of them in some prvious post.

Haidong Gumdo
First to say that its diferent art than Kumdo, but its also Korean sword art. We could compare it with Kenjutsu, while Kumdo we can compare with Kendo.

Han Mu Do
its modern Korean martial art founded by Dr. He-Young Kimm in 1989. It incloude unurmed combat and weapons such as sword, archery, short stick, also these is Ki traning.

Han Pul
Its self defense martial art, with stang up and grappling elemenths, also it incloude weapons such as knife, sword, short stick, long staff, cane…

Its style of Hapkido. to be honest I didnt noticed any diferent.

Kung Jung Moo Sool
I know only that its part of Ki Do Hae Association.

Moo Duk Kwan
Its style of Tang Soo Do. I wroted somwhere more about it before.

SinMoo Hapkido
Style of Hapkido which is based on Aikido, Judo and Kung Fu.

Choson Kwon Bup
Choson Kwon Bup was founded as a Civil Defence Tradition in 19 century in Pyongyang, North Korea by Kim Chong Ji. Its mix of Korean, Japanese, Chinese Okinawa martial arts.

Gicheon Mun
Also known as Kichun Mun is martial art based on meditation and the cultivation of inner power. its based on Bagua Zhang and Preying Mantis.

Its not Hapkido! Defensive martial art based on Ki (something like Aikido). All art is based on Ki, just as every techniques. point is to use anemys energy against him.

Hankumdo is a sword art based on the shapes of the Korean alphabet or Hangul. Hankumdo was very influenced with Hankumdo.

Kong Shin Bup
Kong Shin Bup is a Kwan Yu Sool (hard/soft) system that makes full use of the study of Ki (Ki Hak). Also its interesting that healing techniques, acupuncture and acupressure are part of the more advanced study of Kong Shin Bup and it uses 270 Ki points to make its 3000+ self-defense techniques more effective.>

Post: Hengest:

Some great stuff there setsu. A few I’d never heard of; the Hankido and Hankumdo both sound interesting, and the Gicheon Mun sounds completely mental!

Kung jung mu sul means “royal court martial arts” and is supposedly an old style of combat. It can still be found being taught as a style by itself, but its most commonly taught as part of the kuk sool won syllabus I think.

A couple more for the list

Shippalgi – setsu already mentioned this one but I’ll just add a bit; the name means “18 hands” and is usually thought of as a kind of Korean kung fu. It’s uses the kwonbup of the Muye Dobo Tongji as a base but has been expanded through adding techniques from various Chinese systems

Cha yon ryu – Kim Soo’s eclectic system founded in the 1960s, mainly based on TKD and hapkido, although Shotokan and a few Chinese martial arts are supposed to have added to the body of techniques>

Post: Hengest:

I was bored so I just went through the Muye Dobo Tongji to see what I could add to the list from there. It doesn’t individually name arts so to speak, but it illustrates and explains techniques for a vast range of weapons and related stuff:

Jang chang – long spear
Juk jang chang – long bamboo spear
Kee chang – flag spear
Dang pa – triple tip spear
Ki chang – spear on horseback
Nang sun – multiple tip bamboo spear
Ssang soo do – long sword
Ye do – short sword
Wae gum – Japanese katana
Je dok gum – admiral’s sword
Bon kuk gum – Silla kingdom’s sword
Ssang gum – twin swords
Masang ssang gum – twin swords on horseback
Wol do – crescent sword
Masang wol do – crescent sword on horseback
Hyup do – spear sword
Dung pae – shield
Kwon bup – boxing
Kon bang – long stick
Pyun kon – flail
Masang pyun kon – flail on horseback
Kyuk koo – ball game on horseback (presumably for improving horsemanship)
Masang jae – horsemanship>

Post: setsu nin to:


Wow that was nice list of diferent arts. I am interesting is there some art or weapon that is authentic Korean and that “survived” all influences from China and Japan.>

Post: nEo-Wolf:

I was under the impression Hapkido was a Korean version of Aikido?>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

No. Hapkido has elements of Aikido in it, but it also includes striking taken from TKD, and many of the throws look like they’re taken right out of Judo.>


can someone go into detail about how TKD came about. From what I know they took Karate and focused on the kicking. I would like to know what info you guys have about the origin of the art.>

Post: Kyorgi:

Native Korean martial arts emerged during hte 3 kingdoms period (18 BC- AD 668) Specific skills had different names like:

Su Bak -punching and butting
Kang Ju -throwing
Kung Sa- archery
Ki Ma Sa Bop- horse archery
Tan Gom Sul- short knife
Kom Sul Bop- sword skill
Su Yong Bop- fighitng in water
Tae Kyon- Kicking

Now out of all of those guess which one TKD was derived from? Tae Kyon.
Some time during the 1930s or 40s A young man named Choi Hong Hi was taught the acient art of Tae Kyon and Shotokan Karate. Choi would later go on to earn his 2nd degree black belt in shotokan. In 1954 (i think) Choi with the help of Mu Duk Kwan masters (not sure about this part) developed TaeKwonDo using elements from both Tae Kyon and Shotokan. In 1973 WTF TaeKwonDo was developed by the south korean governemnt and eventually it became the olympic sport you see today.>

Post: Hengest:

setsu: It’s kind of difficult for me to tell whether any of the styles in the Muye Dobo Tongji are distinctly Korean as my knowledge of Chinese arts isn’t really up to the task! However, it’s fair to say that large parts of the text were lifted from General Qi Jiguang’s work, including, ironically, the part about the katana.

kyorgi: When reading about TKD history, you have to bear in mind that, originally, it was largely written by Korean nationalists and their side of the story has become the norm. In actuality, taek kyon’s link with TKD is tenuous if not non-existant.

Taek kyon probably didn’t exist in the three kingdoms period. It’s only traceable back to the 17th century, but the nationalists conveniently ignored that fact and told everyone it was the striking art of the noble hwarang, and therefore TKD has a 2000-year history. In actual fact, taek kyon’s beginnings were much like capoeira’s. It was a kicking game played in back streets by thieves, muggers and all-round rough types. The nationalists ignored that part too.

TKD almost certainly originated from Japanese karate. Most of the major players in formulating what was to become TKD had served in the Japanese army or been educated in Japan and were yudansha in various karate ryuha. Choi Hong Hi always told the calligraphy teacher/taek kyon master story but, to my knowledge, he was never seen demonstrating taek kyon technique anywhere.

The schools in South Korea that came to teach TKD originally taught kong soo do (“karatedo”) using kata from Shotokan, Goju Ryu and various other ryuha. There’s a lot of controversy where the name “taekwondo” came from and who invented it, but it’s likely that TKD was first called tae soo do and the name later changed to TKD because of its similarity in sound to “taek kyon”. But even after the name changed, Japanese kata were still used in the dojang. Even when Choi started to develop his own patterns, they were heavily influenced by karate kata, Heian and Naihanchi in particular.

So, while TKD has become a distinct Korean art, its beginnings seem to have been Japanese and only go back about 50 years or so.>


If TKD is only about 50 years old then what was Tiger Kim trained in? He is knowns as like a TKD Grand Master.>

Post: Kyorgi:

I think his name was Dragon Kim….but what do i know>


No it’s Tiger Kim, one of his schools is not far from my work. I pass by it every day. And Kyorgi what is the kata called in your avtar, do you practice that kata?>

Post: Gong||Jau:

Hengest, now that there’s a Korean Martial Arts specific forum, maybe you should separate that post and sticky it, or something like it. That topic seems to arise fairly frequently, and it would be nice to have something like that in one place and easy to find.>

Post: Kyorgi:

“I pass by it every day. And Kyorgi what is the kata called in your avtar, do you practice that kata?”

I have no idea what kata (or poomse) that is…maybe its ITF

the forms that I do are the TaeGueks.>

Post: Hengest:

If TKD is only about 50 years old then what was Tiger Kim trained in? He is knowns as like a TKD Grand Master.

I don’t know much about Tiger Kim, so I did a little digging. I checked out his website but, unfortunately it didn’t give me much to work with.

However, working with what we’ve got, I would surmise this much. It says that Kim started training in TKD when he was 6, so around 1942, and, as it mentions Hwang Kee awarding him a black belt through the Mudokkwan, I assume that this was where he started.

There’s a couple of problems with this though. First of all, the name TKD wasn’t used until around 1962 and that was by Duk-Sung Son at the Ch’ongdokwan. Hwang Kee and the Mudokkwan refused to use the name.

Secondly, the Mudokkwan wasn’t founded until 1945. It is of course possible that Hwang Kee was teaching before this but, if he was, it certainly wasn’t TKD. It would’ve been an art that he called hwasoodo, which he changed to t’ang soo do in the early ’50s, an art firmly grounded in Japanese karate.

Of course, I’m not questioning Kim’s qualifications, just the timing of them. He can’t have been training in TKD since 1942 since the art didn’t exist then, at least not as we know it today. Dojang would’ve been teaching various interpretations of kong soo do, so even if my assumption is wrong that he began training at the Mudokkwan, it seems to me his earliest training would’ve been in a form of karate.

Gong Sao, that’s a good suggestion. I’ll look into it!>

Post: 8LimbsScientist:

Wow! That’s one hell of a dojang! A spa and sauna?!? And a boxing ring?>


Well Tiger Kim, may have trainded in TKD b4 it was named TKD? I dunno. Just because the art wasn’t known to the western world until the 60’s, it may still be possible that the art did exist b4 that no? I may not have been named but he may have learned just the Karate kicks that were developed on?>

Post: setsu nin to:

There is one more thing that we shouldnt forget. General Choi was send to camp during the WWII and there in camp he started creating TKD. He leave camp in 1946. He was teaching martial arts in camp, but that was much more like to Karate than to what we know today as TKD.>

Post: Kyorgi:

I found this chart in one of my books:

Date School Name head master style
1944 chung do kwan won kuk lee tang soo do
1944 song mu kwan byong jik ro tang soo do, kong soo do
1945 mu duk kwan kee hwang tang soo do
1946 chang mu kwan byong in yun tang so do
1953 O do kwan Hong Hi Choi Mix of hard styles>

Post: Hengest:

Panta mate, you misunderstand me. TKD didn’t exist, it wasn’t that it was unknown to the west. If you look at the list of schools kyorgi kindly supplied, you’ll see that they all mention kong soo do or tang soo do, the Korean pronunciations of the two ways of writing “karatedo” in Chinese characters. Dojang at that time used Japanese dogi and Japanese dojo etiquette and taught Japanese kihon and Japanese kata. TKD was a later development. Even Hwang Kee, who was a bit more forward thinking than the rest, was using Shotokan and Goju Ryu kata at the Mudokkwan.

setsu: Yeah, what Choi taught during his army days was the karate he learned getting his nidan at Tokyo University. He’s quoted as saying: “I began to teach Karate to my soldiers as a means of physical and mental training. It was then that I realized that we needed to develop our own national martial art, superior in both spirit and technique to Japanese karate.”>


sorry hengest my bad. :oops: :D>


found this link about Tang Soo do>

Post: Hengest:

No worries Panta. :D

BTW, that link is typical of the badly researched rubbish that you get on so many martial arts sites, not just Korean.

Its claim that tang soo do comes from the “ancient Korean art” of soo bahk do, which, in turn, comes from the hwarang art of soo bahk bup sol is completely arse about face and just plain wrong in most places.

Soo bahk do was the name Hwang Kee later adopted for tang soo do, not the other way around. And as for soo bahk do coming from soo bahk, that’s just a joke. Nobody really knows what soo bahk was. It’s long, long dead in the Koreas but was probably some form of imported Chinese boxing. That said, I was reading an article by Stanley Henning the other day that said it may have been little more than a slapping game!>


Wow thanks Hengest. I heard that not many people teach or know Hwarang Do(sp?), is this true?>

Post: Hengest:

I heard that not many people teach or know Hwarang Do(sp?), is this true?

The art of Hwa Rang Do is fairly commonplace these days, but what it actually refers to is an eclectic system devised by Joo Bang Lee in the ’60s, based largely on hapkido.

Some try and claim it’s related to the hwarang, but it’s highly unlikely. The hwarang probably didn’t have a single unified system of combat. They were trained to be leaders, not warriors, so while they seem to have had training in archery and charioteering, their studies were mainly academic, studying strategy, philosophy and the arts.>

Post: nEo-Wolf:

Has anyone heard of Han-Kuk Mu-Do? I think it’s relatively new and I will be doing a seminar soon about it. It’s supposed to be like Korean Kickboxing…>

Post: Hengest:

Has anyone heard of Han-Kuk Mu-Do?

I hadn’t heard of it, so I did a little digging. It sounds like a UK version of what the Koreans have tried to do with kyuk too ki or kun gek do. Could be interesting. I note that it still harps on about being based on 2,000-year-old combat forms though… :roll:>

Post: nEo-Wolf:

I hate forms, but what can you do? I have to remember like 10 TKD forms, a new load of WKA kickboxing forms and some for the Han-Kuk Mu-Do… Like you said, it could be interesting to do though…>

Post: Hengest:

Found this rather handy lineage map of Korean styles. It’s surprisingly well researched and accurate, the only part I really have an issue with being the claim that modern Hwa Rang Do is a direct descendant of hwarang combat methods. And of course the claim that Chinese and Japanese arts all stem from the hwarang. :roll: Who would’ve thought a bunch of cross-dressing courtiers would have so much to teach about the noble art of rucking!?>

Post: Wilhelm von Wänkensteïn:

Careful whom you insult, guv – they might flash their panties at you! :shock:

Talk about a bunch of pretentious blowhards, though. As if the development of martial arts were that simple. Next thing we know, we’re going to find ‘irrefutable historical evidence’ that Hwarang warriors (read: skirt-wearing pansies) went to India and taught Bodhidharma everything he knew, since, as everybody knows, Bodhidharma was singlehandedly responsible for the development of martial arts in China :roll:>

Post: goongaloonga:

I have been training in hapkido for about 3 years, and the hapkido I think everyone’s mentioned is Ji Han Jae hapkido, which is the newer style of hapkido that has a lot of tkd kicks and what not in it. But there is an old school hardcore style, which is Yong Sul Choi hapkido, that’s the style I train, and it has almost no kicks, it has a few strikes though, but no formal striking stuff. Hapkido means the way of coordinated power, and has the water principle, the circular motion principle, and the non-resistance principle. I guess the mian difference in styles can be seen in the throws, the new style throws resemble judo throws pretty closely, but the old schhol throws are the ones that if you don’t flip over, your arm and wrist are pretty much screwed.>

Post: Hengest:

[quote=goongaloonga I have been training in hapkido for about 3 years, and the hapkido I think everyone’s mentioned is Ji Han Jae hapkido, which is the newer style of hapkido that has a lot of tkd kicks and what not in it. But there is an old school hardcore style, which is Yong Sul Choi hapkido, that’s the style I train, and it has almost no kicks, it has a few strikes though, but no formal striking stuff. [/quote 

I didn’t know that was still practised. Still, what you say does fit what I’ve read about Yong Sul Choi’s original teachings. I heard it was basically straight Daito Ryu aikijujutsu. Is that true to your knowledge?>

Post: goongaloonga:

Yeah, Yong Sul Choi was kidnapped and taken to Japan where sokaku takeda, who was the head daito-ryu guy at the time. Yong Sul Choi was hin only student to learn all 3,808 daito-ryu techniques. He got in fights with a lot of judo and jujutsu guys, so he took the techniques he used to beat them with and the other really effective ones and created hapkido. He called it a few other things before hapkido, and I think it was actually Ji Han Jae that came up with the name, and then from ym understanding they went off on their separate ways. is a great site with info on all of this>

Post: goongaloonga:

Sokaku Takeda took Yong Sul Choi in and took care of him***>

Post: shurite44:

[quote=nEo-Wolf I hate forms, but what can you do? I have to remember like 10 TKD forms, a new load of WKA kickboxing forms and some for the Han-Kuk Mu-Do… Like you said, it could be interesting to do though…[/quote 

:) I am not sure how old you are, but stick with the kata or hyung. When you are older you will enjoy it more.

When I first started TKD I liked sparring much more than kata, well 35 years later I enjoy kata more. I still like to spar but to be honest it is a little hard on me physically. But I now know and practice about 20 kata or hyung and it is a great little workout for a close to 50 year old man. Keeps me flexible and I maintain my strength also.

Kata and hyung can also be advanced in timing over the basic way it is practiced. This can be quite challenging to learn even for an advanced MA’ist.>

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