Song Moo Kwan

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Song Moo Kwan
Hangul 송무관
Hanja 松武館 [1]
Song Mu Gwan
Song Mu Kwan

Song Moo Kwan is "The Ever Youthful House Of Martial Arts Training." Originally named "Song Do Kwan". Rich in history and tradition, Song Moo Kwan is one of the nine original Kwans of Taekwondo in Korea. Its founder Byung Jick Ro, is one of the highest ranking Taekwondo practitioners in the world.



Byung Jick Ro was born July 3, 1919 in Kaesung City, Korea. Frail health forced him to enter school a year later than the other children. At the age of twelve, his strong interest in the ancient martial arts was intensified as he witnessed the techniques practiced in the local temples. His youthful spirit drove him to train with intense dedication subsequently strengthening and improving his health.

As a young man, Ro traveled to Japan to attend Chou University. It was during this time that his passion for the martial arts led him to seek out Shotokan founder, Gichin Funakoshi. Beginning in 1936, Ro studied Shotokan (Song Do Kwan) Karate in Japan under the founder of modern Karate, Gichin Funakoshi, along with Chung Do Kwan founder, Won Kuk Lee, subsequently earning his black belt. During college vacations he returned home and taught friends and neighbors the techniques he had learned. In February 1944 he returned to Korea, where he continued to create additional hand and foot techniques of his own. In the 1960s Ro began studying Hapkido in 1963 and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu in 1967. He trained Karate, Hapkido, Kumdo and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. later he created his art Tang Soo Do.[2] It is the combination of these techniques along with the ones he learned during his early years of training that helped in the formation of Taekwondo.

Honoring numerous training requests, he opened the Kaesung dojang on March 11, 1944 in the Kwan Duck Jung archery school, establishing the first of the "original founding kwans". Unfortu-nately, due to the situation in Korea during this time the dojang was forced to close within three to four months after opening. It was the end of World War II and Korea was under Japanese occupa-tion. Survival was the first priority for the people of Korea and training in the martial arts was far from their minds. On May 2, 1946, Ro re-established his art at Dong Hung Dong. For the next few years martial arts swept through the Korean general population and began to thrive as additional Kwans sprung up. However, war would again cause Ro and the rest of the founders to abandon their dreams as the Korean War forced them to close their doors.

Early Song Moo Kwan practice sessions started with an hour of warm up exercises consisting of lifting weights and then practicing on the Kwon Go (makiwara). Byung Jick Ro was known as a powerful puncher and kicker from his students. He always let his students punch the Kwon Go at least 100 times and then started the real practice. If students received the 4th Guep or higher, he let them spar. He was known to have his students practice in cold weather during winter and in the hot weather during summer.

One of Byung Jick Ro’s original students, Young Sup Lee reflects: "Every six months, there was testing for promotion. Mainly one step sparring, three step sparring, free sparring and forms were used to decide promotions. But free sparring was for 4th Guep and higher, and 1st Dan required breaking a board. If these rules were broken, the Kwan Jang was very upset."

In July 1946, Byung Jik Ro (Song Moo Kwan), Won Kuk Lee (Chung Do Kwan), Sang Sup Chun (Yun Moo Kwan), and Byung In Yoon (Chang Moo Kwan) met to discuss Korean martial arts and possible unification. Hwang Kee (Moo Duk Kwan) was not present. Nothing definitive came from the meeting.

Korean Kong Soo Do Association

On May 25, 1953, while the war was still raging, representatives of the five original kwans (Song Moo Kwan, Chung Do Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan/Ji Do Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan and Moo Duk Kwan) met in Pusan and formed the Korea Kong Soo Do Association. The association did not elect a president. They elected Young-Joo Cho (a Yudo stylist) as Vice-President and Byung Jik Ro (Song Moo Kwan founder) as the Executive Director.

Byung Jik Ro was also established as "the master instructor" and as "the chair of the rank promotion committee." Eventually dissension set in, and the association dissolved. Chong Do Kwan continued to describe its art as Kong Soo Do until about 1962.

After the war ended, Hong Hi Choi and Tae Hi Nam founded the Oh Do Kwan within the military and for military personnel only, although it had strong links with the civilian Chung Do Kwan which Choi later founded in 1954. Choi claims to be the developer of the Chang Hon set of patterns used by the International Taekwondo Federation, but some believe they came from Tae Hi Nam, who had much more experience and training in the martial arts than Choi, who was his commanding of-ficer.

The Korean Taekwondo Association

On September 3, 1959, representatives of the six Kwans agreed to unite under the name Korea Taekwondo Association and General Hong Hi Choi was elected its president. General Choi was elected president because of his position as a general in the Korean Army (under a military regime) and because he promised the heads of the original kwans that he would promote Taekwondo. However, the country was poor and had other more pressing concerns than spending valuable resources on martial arts. Because the government failed to come through with the things Choi had promised, he fell into disfavor with the other kwan heads.

On September 19, 1961, by presidential decree, the newly formed association became the Korea Tae-Soo-Do Association. This is considered the "true" inauguration of the KTA. Mr. Che Myung Shin (a non-martial artist) was chosen the first KTA president, serving until January 15, 1965 when he was replaced by General Choi. Choi served as president for one year, during which he convinced the association to change its name back to the Korea Taekwondo Association. The name change was completed on August 5, 1965. On January 30, 1966, Byung Jik Ro, founder of the Song Moo Kwan was elected president of the KTA.

Kwan Unification

On January 8, 1977, nine of the largest kwans unified, recognizing the Kukkiwon as the black belt promotional body for Taekwondo. The WTF replaced kwan names with serial numbers. The kwan serial numbers are as follows: (1) Song-Moo-Kwan, (2) Han-Moo-Kwan, (3) Chang-Moo-Kwan, (4) Moo-Duk-Kwan, (5) O-Do-Kwan, (6) Kang-Du-Kwan, (7) Jung-Do-kwan, (8) Ji-Do-Kwan, and (9) Chung-Do-Kwan.

Modern times

Taekwondo Song Moo Kwan still exists today. In the form of a Korean social club, Won Sik Kang is the President of Song Moo Kwan, having been appointed by Byung Jick Ro.

Hee Sang Ro, Byung Kick Ro's son, runs the World Song Moo Kwan Association, a global martial arts organization that carries on the traditional training developed by his father and serves as a resource for martial artists with Song Moo Kwan lineage, or those interested in traditional Taekwondo training.

The official training curriculum endorsed by Taekwondo Song Moo Kwan is the Kukkiwon curriculum. Song Moo Kwan as all Kwans, support the World Taekwondo Federation, the Kukkiwon and the Korea Taekwondo Association, whichRo helped to establish.

See also

External links


  1. 네이버 :: 지식iN
  2. History of Song Song Moo Kwan In the 1960's Grand Master Ro distinguished himself by becoming one of the youngest to reach 4th Dan Black Belt at the time. Pursuing his interest in the traditional martial arts, he began studying Hapkido in 1963 and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu in 1967. He subsequently became an instructor to the Korean Army and one of Korea's Taekwondo champions. In 1976 he moved to the United States where he founded and developed the North American Taekwondo Federation. Like his father before him, he too is a pioneer. He conceived and pursued his own vision and extending the spirit and vision of Song Moo Kwan beyond Taekwondo to Hapkido, Kumdo and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu.
  1. A Modern History of Taekwondo 1999 (Korean) Kyong Myung Lee and Kang Won Sik ISBN 89-358-0124-0
  2. Global Taekwondo 2003 (English) Kyo Yoon Lee ISBN 89-952721-4-7
  3. A Guide to Taekwondo 1996 (English) Kyo Yoon Lee ISBN 89-85936-05-0
  4. Kukkiwon 25th Anniversary Text 1997 (Korean) Un Yong Kim
  5. Kukkiwon Textbook 2006 (English/Korean) Um Woon Kyu
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