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Tang Soo Do
Also known asDang Soo Do, Korean Karate
Country of originJapanese Korea
Ancestor artsShotokan Karate, Subak, Taekkyon
Descendant artsTaekwondo,[c] Chuck Norris System,[d] American Kickboxing, American Tang Soo Do, Kajukenbo,[6][7] Soo Bahk Do[e]
Tang Soo Do
Revised RomanizationDangsudo
Black Belt Tang Soo Do Dobok

Tang Soo Do (Hangul: 당수도, Hanja: 唐手道 pronounced [taŋ]) is a Korean martial art based on karate and may include fighting principles from taekkyeon, subak,[f] as well as northern Chinese martial arts.[8][9] From its beginnings in 1944 to today, Tang Soo Do is used by some Kwans to identify the traditional Korean fusion of martial arts styles. In the mid 1950s, Tang Soo Do became the basis for the martial art Taekwondo when the Korean Nine Kwans united.

In contemporary context, many Korean martial arts entities continued to use Tang Soo Do as a means to preserve the elements of Korean martial arts that evolved from the original nine kwans' Karate roots and were lost in transition to Taekwondo. The techniques of what is commonly known as Tang Soo Do combine elements of Shōtōkan, Subak, Taekkyon, and Kung Fu.


"Tang Soo Do" (당수도) is the Korean pronunciation of the Hanja 唐手道 (pronounced Táng shǒu dào in Mandarin),[10] and translates literally to "The Way of the Tang Hand."

The same characters can be pronounced "karate-dō" in Japanese. In the early 1930s, approximately 55 years after Japan's annexation of Okinawa,[11] Gichin Funakoshi in coordination with others changed the first character, 唐, which referred to the Chinese Tang dynasty, to 空, signifying "empty"; both characters can be pronounced "kara" in Japanese, though 唐 is more commonly rendered as "Tou".[12] Funakoshi ostensibly wanted to avoid confusion with Chinese Kenpō. Funakoshi claimed Okinawan Karate could "now be considered a Japanese martial art" and found the China reference "inappropriate" and "in a sense degrading".[13] The Mandarin pronunciation of 空手道 is kōng-shǒu-dào, and the Korean is pronounced [koŋsʰudo](공수도).

Outside of the Far East, the term "Tang Soo Do" has primarily become synonymous with the Korean martial art promoted by grandmaster Hwang Kee.


Bong is a weapon used in Tang Soo Do. This one is 160 cm long.

Further information: Taekwondo § History

Between 1944 and the Liberation of Korea in 1945, the original schools or kwans of Tang Soo Do were founded in Korea by practitioners who had studied Okinawan karate and had some exposure to kung-fu. ("traditional Taekwondo") At the time, there were five kwans, of which only Chung Do Kwan of Won-kuk Lee and Moo Duk Kwan of Hwang Kee identified their martial arts as Tang Soo Do.[1] Shortly after the Korean War and in 1953, four more offshoot schools formed. Of these second-generation kwans, Choi Hong-hi and Nam Tae-hi's Oh Do Kwan and Lee Young-woo's Jung Do Kwan splintered from Chung Do Kwan style of Tang Soo Do.

In 1960s, despite the Korean-nationalist effort to combine kwans, some schools chose not to change their style and name to Tae Kwon Do during the effort led by Syngman Rhee to create a single organization. [14][15][16] These kwons still flourish and other new branches have been developed since then.

Chung Do Kwan

Further information: Chung Do Kwan

The Chung Do Kwan still exists in Korea and now functions as a fraternal friendship social club of Kukkiwon Taekwondo. Present "Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan" organization follows the Kukkiwon curriculum and is no longer it's induvidual Tang Soo Do style. Some of the older Chung Do Kwan based schools practice the original Pyong-Ahn forms which Lee Won-Kuk incorporated from Shotokan karate. Schools tracing their lineage to Duk Sung Son when he founded the World Tae Kwon Do Association in the United States after leaving Korea also practice Kuk Mu forms.

Other older Chung do Kwan schools practice the Palgwae forms, a predecessor of the Taegeuk forms. After black belt, practitioners of the Kukkiwon system practice the Yudanja and Kodanja series of black belt Poomsae of the Kukkiwon (Koryo, Kumgang, Taebaek, Pyongwon, Sipjin, Jitae, Cheonkwon, Hansoo, Ilyo). Many Chung Do Kwan schools also practice the Chang Hun tul, even if they are not affiliated with the International Taekwon-Do Federation.

The Chung Do Kwan-style of Tang Soo Do was introduced to United States by Jhoon Rhee.[1] In late 1950s and early 1960s, Rhee was teaching what he called Korean Karate (or Tang Soo Do) in Texas, in the United States. After receiving the ROK Army Field Manual (which contained martial arts training curriculum under the new name of Taekwondo) from General Choi, Rhee began using the name "Taekwondo".

Moo Duk Kwan

Further information: Moo Duk Kwan

Because of its political influence, the KTA, led by its second president, General Choi Hong-hi, tried to assimilate the Moo Duk Kwan. Kwanjangnim's organization was the largest martial arts system in Korea at the time. Grandmaster Hwang Kee agreed to discuss unification but, when it became clear that he would not be in charge of the new organization, he ultimately refused. The result was a weakening of the Moo Duk Kwan as the Tae Kwon Do movement grew in strength, absorbing many Moo Duk Kwan members in the process.

Due to political in-fighting and splintering, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do has had several members break off. Regardless, the Moo Duk Kwan as founded by Hwang Kee persists. Hwang Kee and a large constituent of the Moo Duk Kwan continued to develop a version of Tang Soo Do that eventually became what is now known as "Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan". This modified version of Tang Soo Do incorporates more fluid "soft" movements reminiscent of certain traditional Chinese martial arts.

After death of Hwang Kee, the Moo Duk Kwan continues to represent Soo Bahk Do worldwide, and is headed by Hwang Kee's son, Hwang Hyun-chul.

There are still a multitude of contemporary Taekwondo schools in the United States that teach what is known as "Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo". This nomenclature reflects this government-ordered kwan merger.


The World Tang Soo Do Association and the International Tang Soo Do Federation teach systems of Tang Soo Do that existed before the Taekwondo "merger" and before the development of modern Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan. These versions of Tang Soo Do are heavily influenced by Korean culture and also appear to be related to Okinawan Karate as initially taught in Japan by Gichin Funakoshi.[citation needed]

The Amateur Athletic Union Taekwondo recognizes Tang Soo Do ranks, permits Tang Soo Do hyeong in competition and hosts non-Olympic-style point-sparring to accommodate the various traditional Korean stylists.

American Tang Soo Do

Further information: American Tang Soo Do

American Tang Soo Do was formed in 1966 by Chuck Norris, which is combination of Moo Duk Kwan-style Tang Soo Do,[g] Judo and Karate (Shito-Ryu and Shotokan). Over the years it has been further developed by former black belts of his and their students.

American Tang Soo Do's original governing body was the National Tang Soo Do Congress (NTC) founded in 1973 by Chuck Norris as its president and Pat E. Johnson as its vice-president and Chief of Instruction after breaking ties with the Moo Duk Kwan. In 1979, Norris dissolved the NTC and formed his current organization the United Fighting Arts Federation (UFAF) and named Johnson as executive vice president. In 1986, Norris promoted Johnson to ninth-degree black belt.

At that time due to a philosophical difference of opinion with Norris, Johnson would leave the UFAF and reform the NTC as the governing body for American Tang Soo Do while Norris kept UFAF as the parent organization for his new martial arts system of Chun Kuk Do, in 1990.[17]

Despite Chuck Norris leaving the American Tang Soo Do, the entity still persists as 16 schools across the USA.

Mi Guk Kwan

Mi Guk Kwan ("American Brotherhood of the Empty Hand Defense") is an organization of 35 schools, founded by Grandmaster Charles J. Ferraro. The Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan system is a classical martial art concerned with scientific and martial theory, form and aesthetics. Tang Soo Do is a composite style influenced by the Northern Chinese arts, the Southern Chinese arts, and the Okinawan discipline of Karate.

Moo Yea Tang Soo Do

Moo Yea Tang Soo Do (MYTSD) is a national association of 35+ martial arts schools that aims to serve its members while helping each studio maintain its independent spirit. They do not exist to govern the practices of individual schools, but rather provide a Tang Soo Do community that allows for continued learning, business success, and rank advancement. Moo Yea was formed by grandmaster David Sgro to provide a national network to help Train, Test, and organize Tournaments.


Evolution of the style first began in 2018 when a student of Tang Soo Dao, a mix of sanshou/ sanda a variation of Chinese kickboxing and Kung Fu, obtained a 7th degree black belt. Since being awarded this, the student went on to adapt a more ruthless style of martial art where no holds barred become a prevalent way of determining a universal victor, as opposed to the traditional point style of ITF taekwondo where point based tournaments determined a winner. Taekwondo changed forever as this style allowed for limitless learning of striking and grappling techniques as well as the use of western boxing and body mechanics to defeat an opponent where implemented. Unlike Chuck Norris who popularised Tang Soo Do, this style is rarely seen seen in Taekwondo but can be seen as a more complete style of Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune as its principles stay true to that of early Bushido Karate and Samurai fighting.[citation needed]

Ranking systems

Tang Soo Do Belts ranging by grade (from white to black belt)

Tang Soo Do uses the colored belt system that was instituted by Judo's founder Jigoro Kano and popularized in Karate-do by Gichin Funakoshi. However, minor deviations according to organization and/or individual school are commonplace. One differentiating characteristic of the Moo Duk Kwan style is that the black belt, or dan rank, is frequently represented by a midnight blue belt (some Chung Do Kwan schools also have adopted this custom) for students who attain dan rank. The reason for the midnight blue belt is the belief in Korean culture that black symbolizes perfection. As no one is perfect, the belt for the dan rank is a midnight blue color. It was also a belief of the founder of Moo Duk Kwan, Hwang Kee, that black is a color to which nothing can be added, thus blue signifies that a dan holder is still learning.[citation needed] The white belt means a birth or beginning of a person's will to acquire the skills of karate, the white belt symbolizes winter. The yellow belt signifies the beaming sunlight of spring. The orange belt signifies the strength of the rising sun. (The yellow belt and the orange belt both symbolizes spring) The green belt depicts the penetration of stems and roots of the plant to get the sunlight, the green belt symbolizes summer. The red belt this stage represents the seed which is now a flowering plant, representing the students improvement, participation and advancement, It symbolizes Summer.

Many schools and organizations still opt to use the black belt. The Moo Duk Kwan, and some Chung Do Kwan schools of Tang Soo Do incorporate a red-striped midnight blue (or black) belt to denote individuals who have reached the rank of Sa Beom (master 사범님/師範님), or 4th dan. The original non-dan, or geup, belt colors established by Hwang Kee were white belt, green belt, and red belt. In the 1970s, an orange belt was added after the white belt, along with either one or two stripes on the orange, green and red belts, encompassing ten geup (student) levels, and is currently the system in use in the Moo Duk Kwan. Many variations of this ranking system are still used and typically employ other colors (such as yellow, brown, purple, and blue). However, this is primarily a western influence.

The black belts (or midnight blue belts) are called dans and each degree has its own specific name. The dan rank ranges from 1st through 9th degree. In the Moo Duk Kwan, dan level is known by its Korean numeration, such as cho dan (1st), ee dan (2nd) and sam dan (3rd), and onward. In many organizations, the titles of kyosa (instructor 교사/敎師) and sa bom (master 사범/師範) are separately awarded after successfully demonstrating ability, knowledge, understanding and character for that level in a dan simsa (심사/審査), or test. One may not test for kyosa (certified instructor) until 2nd dan, or sabom (master instructor) until 4th dan or above. Dan levels from 4th dan onward are known as kodanja (고단자/高段者), whether sabom or not. Also in the U.S., a simple timing structure was created for the dan ranking system. If in constant study, then it was easy to measure when testing for the next rank. The next dan number was equal to the minimum number of years that must be spent training to achieve that dan. For example, a first dan would have two years before they could be a candidate for second dan, and so on.

Techniques and patterns


Main article: Hyeong § Tang Soo Do

Forms (hyeong) vary depending upon the founder or head of the different federations of Tang Soo Do. Tang Soo Do forms are a set of moves demonstrating a defensive or aggressive action for every movement taken mainly from Japanese shotokan karate kata. They are based on an offender attacking and one demonstrating the form reacting to their attack. They are generally memorized and demonstrated at a test for ranking up or a tournament.

Traditionally, nine forms are included in the curriculum of most Tang Soo Do schools, which are required study to earn the midnight blue belt. These hyeong are:

Kee Cho forms: Kee Cho Il Bu, Kee Cho E bu, Kee Cho Sam Bu. The Kee Cho series comprises basic patterns. these were created by Gichin Funakoshi, and named taikyoku in Shotokan karate.

Pyung Ahn forms: Pyung Ahn Cho Dan, Pyung Ahn E Dan, Pyung Ahn Sam Dan, Pyung Ahn Sa Dan, Pyung Ahn Oh Dan. The Pyung Ahn series was adopted from Okinawan and Japanese karate, where they are called Pinan/Heian and are the creation of Yasutsune Itosu, who also was one of Funakoshi's teachers.

Bassai (also known as Pal Che). The Bassai form is also from karate, where it is called Passai/Bassai Dai/Hyung, and was created by Okinawan Bushi Sokon Matsumura.

Naihanchi Some schools of Tang Soo Do include Naihanchi forms, such as naihanchi ee dan and naihanchi sam dan. .[18]

Chil Sung or "Seven Star" Forms developed in 1952 by Hwang Kee, add a soft/ hard combination to the style, also incorporating/practicing more functional techniques like elbows, knees, shin-blocks, and others. Teaching these typically begins in the middle Gup ranks and continues into the Dans.

Yuk Ro or "Six-Fold path" Are a collection of 6 forms that were created in 1947 by Hwang Kee and develop advanced techniques. They are taught at some schools, primarily at the Dan level.

According to Hwang Kee, he learned these forms from studying Japanese books on Okinawan karate. Most scholars agree that the primary text Hwang Kee relied upon was Gichin Funakoshi's Rentan Goshin Toudi-Jutsu published in Japan in 1925.

However, almost all original 5 kwan instructors taught these same forms and had them in their curriculum as they were direct students of Japanese Karate masters, like Gichin Funakoshi or his contemporary peer Kanren Toyama, founder of shudokan karate; or they were friends and students of the other kwan leaders.[19]

One-step sparring

One-step sparring (Il Su Sik Dae Ryun) techniques are best described as a choreographed pattern of defense moves against the single step of an attack. Usually performed in pairs, this begins with a bow for respect. One partner then attacks, often with a simple punch, and the other person will perform a series of premeditated techniques, often in a block-attack-takedown sequence.

Other self-defense techniques

In some styles of Tang Soo Do there are techniques for defenses against grabs. In the World Tang Soo Do Association version of this, called Ho Sin Sul, there are 30 different grab defenses taught.[18]

Free sparring

Though variation is extensive, Tang Soo Do free-sparring is similar to competitive matches in other traditional Okinawan, Japanese and Korean striking systems and may include elements of American freestyle point karate. Tang Soo Do sparring consists of point matches that are based on the three-point rule (the first contestant to score three points wins) or a two-minute rule (a tally of points over one two-minute round, but see also AAU Taekwondo point sparring handbook). Lead and rear-leg kicks and lead and rear-arm hand techniques all score equally (one point per technique). However, to encourage the use of jumping and spinning kicks, these techniques may be scored with a higher point value than standing techniques in some competitions. Open-hand techniques other than the ridgehand and leg sweeps are typically not allowed.

As in traditional Japanese karate-do kumite, scoring techniques in Tang Soo Do competition should be decisive. That is, all kicking and hand techniques that score should be delivered with sufficient footing and power so that, if they were delivered without being controlled, they would stop the aggressive motion of the opponent. There are also similarities between American freestyle point sparring (see North American Sport Karate Association [NASKA] link below) and Tang Soo Do point sparring. Much of the footwork is the same, but the position of the body when executing blows is markedly different between the styles of competition.

Rapid-fire pump-kicking seen in American freestyle point sparring is sometimes used in Tang Soo Do competition. However, in order to score, the final kick in the pump-kick combination should be delivered from a solid base (with erect posture) and with sufficient power, or the technique is not considered decisive. Consequently, the pace of a Tang Soo Do match can be somewhat slower than would be seen at a typical NASKA-type tournament, but the techniques, theoretically, should be somewhat more recognizable as linear, powerful blows that are delivered from reliably stable stances and body positions.

Variation between Tang Soo Do competitions is extensive, but are typically standardized within the various associations. Because of the close historical relationship between Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo, many of the powerful rear leg and spinning kick techniques seen in both International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Taekwondo matches are commonplace in traditional Tang Soo Do competitions. The main difference is that they are not delivered with full contact to the head in Tang Soo Do.

Tang Soo Do sparring is a contact event. Though often billed as "light" or "no-contact," the typical level of contact is moderate, being controlled to both the body and head (in dan divisions). Most Tang Soo Do practitioners feel that contact in sparring is essential to understanding proper technique and necessary for developing mental preparedness and a level of relaxation critical to focused performance in stressful situations. Unnecessarily or disrespectfully harming an opponent in Tang Soo Do sparring is not tolerated.

Health and longevity of practitioners are the major goals of Tang Soo Do practice. Consequently, serious injuries are counterproductive because they retard a level of physical training that is needed to foster emotional and intellectual growth. However, minor injuries, such as bumps, bruises and the occasional loss of wind may be invaluable experiences. Each match should begin and end with respect, compassion and a deep appreciation for the opponent. Though Tang Soo Do sparring is competitive, traditional competitions are more of an exercise, or way of developing the self, than they are a competitive and game-like forum. Introspection and personal growth are fostered through free sparring.

Terminology and Korean commands

In Tang Soo Do, as in Taekwondo, commands and terminology to students are often given in Korean. However, beginning in 1955, and again in 1973, with the formation of the WT,[20] Taekwondo became centrally governed and Taekwondo terminology was revised favoring Korean terminology. Tang Soo Do commands predate these revisions and many are based on Sino-Korean words.[21]

English Hangul (한글) Hanja (한자/漢字) Revised Romanization
Ready 준비 準備 Junbi
Begin 시작 始作 Sijak
Stop 그만 Geuman
Resume/Continue 계속 繼續 Gyesok
Return 바로 Baro
Relax / At ease! 쉬어 Swieo
Turn around 뒤로돌아 Dwirodola
Yell 기합 氣合 Kihap
Look/focus 시선 視線 Siseon
By the count 구령에 맞춰서 口令에 맞춰서 Guryeonge majchweoseo
Without count 구령 없이 口令 없이 Guryeong eopsi
Switch feet 발 바꿔 Bal bakkweo
Hand Techniques
English Hangul (한글) Hanja (한자/漢字) Revised Romanization
Hand Techniques 수 기 手技 Sugi
Attack 공격 攻擊 Gonggyeok
...Strike 치기 Chigi
Block 막기 Maggi
Punch/hit Gweon
Middle punch 중 권 中拳 Junggweon
Back fist 갑 권 甲拳 / 角拳 Gabgweon
Knife hand 수도 手刀 Sudo
To pierce / spear Gwan
Spear hand 관 수 貫手 Gwansu
Ridge hand 역 수도 逆手刀 Yeogsudo
Hammer fist 권도 拳刀 / 拳槌 Gweondo
Pliers hand 집게 손 Jibge son
Palm heel 장관 掌貫 Janggwan
Elbow 팔꿈 Palkkum
Gooseneck 손목 등 Sonmog deung
Side punch 횡진 공격 橫進攻擊 Hoengjin gong gyeog
Mountain block 산 막기 山막기 San maggi
One finger fist 일 지 권 一指拳 il ji gwon
1 finger spear hand 일 지관 수 一指貫手 il ji gwan su
2 finger spear hand 이지관수 二指貫手 i ji gwan su
Double back fist 장갑권 長甲拳 Jang gab gwon
Double hammer fist 장 권도 長拳刀 Jang gwon do
Foot techniques
English Hangul (한글) Hanja (한자/漢字) Revised Romanization
Foot techniques 족기 足技 Jok gi
Kick 차기 Chagi
Front kick 앞 차기 Ap chagi
...also front Snap kick 앞 차넣기 Ap chaneohgi
...Snap front kick 앞 뻗어 차기 Ap ppeod-eo chagi
Inside-out heel kick 안에서 밖으로 차기 An-eseo bakk-eulo chagi
Outside-in heel kick 밖에서 안으로 차기 Baggeso aneuro chagi
Stretching front kick 앞 뻗어 올리 기 Ap ppeod-eo olli gi
Round-house kick 돌려 차기 Dollyeo chagi
Side kick 옆 차기 Yeop chagi
...Snap Side kick 옆 뻗어 차기 Yeop ppeod-eo chagi
Hook kick 후려기 차기 Hulyeogi chagi
...Hook kick 후려 차기 Huryeo chagi
Back kick 뒤 차기 Dwi chagi
...Spin Back kick 뒤 돌려 차기 Dwi dolyeo chagi
Spinning hook kick 뒤 돌려 후려기 차기 Dwi dollyeo hulyeogi chagi
Knee strike 무릎 차기 Mu reup chagi
Reverse round kick 빗 차기 Bit chagi
English Hangul (한글) Hanja (한자/漢字) Revised Romanization
Stances 자세 姿勢 Jahse
Ready stance 준비 자세 準備 姿勢 Junbi jase
Front stance 전굴 자세 前屈 姿勢 Jeongul jase
Back stance 후굴 자세 後屈 姿勢 Hugul jase
Horse stance 기마 자세 騎馬 姿勢 Gima jase
...also Horse Stance 기마립 자세 騎馬立 姿勢 Gimarip jase
Side Stance 사고립 자세 四股立 姿勢 Sagorib jase
Cross legged stance 교차 립 자세 交(叉/差)立 姿勢 Gyocha rip jase
Technique direction
English Hangul (한글) Hanja (한자/漢字) Revised Romanization
Moving forward 전진 推進 Jeonjin
Backing up / retreat 후진 後進 Hujin
Sideways/laterally 횡진 橫進 Hoengjin
Reverse (hand/foot) 역진 逆進 Yeogjin
Lower 하단 下段 Hadan
Middle 중단 中段 Jungdan
Upper 상단 上段 Sangdan
Two handed 쌍수 雙手 Ssangsu
Both hands 양수 兩手 Yangsu
Lowest 최 하단 最下段 Choe hadan
Right side 오른 쪽 Oreun jjok
Left side 왼 쪽 Oen jjok
Other side/Twist 틀어 Teul-eo
Inside-outside 안에서 밖으로 An-eseo bakk-eulo
Outside inside 밖에서 안으로 Bakk-eseo an-eulo
Jumping / 2nd level 이단 二段 idan
Hopping/Skipping 뜀을 Ttwim-eul
Double kick 두 발 Du bal
Combo kick 연속 連續 Yeonsok
Same foot 같은 발 Gat-eun bal
English Hangul (한글) Hanja (한자/漢字) Revised Romanization
School Owner/Founder/President 관장 館長 Gwanjang
Master instructor 사범 師範 Sa Beom (Nim)
Instructor/(Teacher) 교사/(선생) 敎師/(先生) Gyosa/(Seonsaeng)
Black Belt Dan
Student Geup
Master level 고단자 高段者 Godanja
English Hangul (한글) Hanja (한자/漢字) Revised Romanization
School Gwan
Country Flag 국기 國旗 Guggi
Attention! 차렷 Charyeot
Salute the flag 국기 배례 國旗 拜禮 Guggi baerye
Return 바로 Baro
Pay respect / bow 경례 敬禮 Gyeongnye
Moment of silence 묵념 默念 Mugnyeom
Sit down! 앉아! Anj-a!
Thank you 감사합니다 感謝합니다 Gamsa hamnida
Informal thank you 고맙습니다 Gomabseubnida
You're welcome 천만에요 Cheonman-eyo
Uniform 도복 道服 Dobok
Belt Tti
Studio 도장 道場 Dojang
Test 심사 審査 Simsa
Self Defense 호신술 護身術 Ho Sin Sul
Sparring 대련 對練 daeryeon
Free sparring 자유 대련 自由 對練 Jayu daeryeon
Ground sparring 좌 대련 座 對練 Jwa daeryeon
One-step sparring 일 수식 대련 一數式 對練 il su sik daeryeon
Three-step sparring 삼 수식 대련 三數式 對練 Sam su sik daeryeon
Board breaking 격파 擊破 Gyeok pa

In popular media

Profilic American action movie star Chuck Norris is one of the most famous practitioners of the martial art.[22][9]

In the Karate Kid franchise, Tang Soo Do serves the basis for the fictional Karate derivative called Cobra Kai, practiced by the villainous Cobra Kai Dojo, founded by John Kreese.[h] In particular Johnny Lawrence, a central antagonist of the 1984 film and one of the central protagonists of the sequel series Cobra Kai is one of the most well-known fictional practitioners of the art. In both appearances, Johnny Lawrence is played by William Zabka, who was trained by Pat E. Johnson for the 1984 movie.[26][27]

Notable practitioners

For practitioners of Tang Soo Do, see Category:Tang Soo Do practitioners.

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by adding missing items with reliable sources.

Major organizations

Further reading


  1. ^ Founder of Chung Do Kwan, the first "Korean Karate" school to teach Tang Soo Do.
  2. ^ Most of the existing Tang Soo Do schools globally owe heritage to Hwang Kee's Moo Duk Kwan-style Tang Soo Do.
  3. ^ Via Chung Do Kwan and Moo Duk Kwan.
  4. ^ formerly known as "Chun Kuk Do".
  5. ^ AKA "Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan".
  6. ^ As described in the Kwon Bup Chong Do.
  7. ^ Older system taught by Shin Jae-chul. Not Soo Bahk Do that Moo Duk Kwan founder eventually developed the original style into.
  8. ^ The actor most famous for portraying him, Martin Kove, appears not to have been trained in Tang Soo Do. He has background in Okinawa-te Karate under prominent black belt Gordon Doversola Shihan.[23][24][25]
  9. ^ Asides Tang Soo Do, Michael Jai White also knows various forms of Karate.
  10. ^ Rothrock started Tang Soo Do at age 13. She received her 6th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan in 2006. She was tested by Grand Master Robert Kovaleski, 9th Dan and chair of the I.T.M.A., and was later promoted by him to 7th degree black belt in 2011 and 8th degree black belt in 2015. Asides Tang Soo Do, she practices various forms of Wushu.
  11. ^ Started in Chung Do Kwan Tang Soo Do. Would eventually found Jhoon Goo Rhee-style Taekwondo.


  1. ^ a b c KANG Won Sik and LEE Kyong Myong. "A Modern History of Taekwondo" (PDF). Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  2. ^ Global Taekwondo 2003 (English) Kyo Yoon Lee ISBN 89-952721-4-7
  3. ^ A Guide to Taekwondo 1996 (English) Kyo Yoon Lee
  4. ^ Duk Sung Son, Letter in Seoul Shinmoon newspaper (16 June 1959)
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