What is Tang Soo Do?

Tang Soo Do is a Korean Martial Art tracing its lineage back over 2000 years,  focusing mainly on unarmed techniques and self-defense.  Literally translated, the word “Tang” means the T’ ang dynasty of China, but reflects the shared cultural background between China and Korea.  “Soo” means hand but implies fist, punch, strike, etc, and “Do” means way of life.  Warrior aristocrats known as the Hwa Rang Dan lived by 5codes given to them by a monk named Won Kwang.  The 5 codes have been passed down as a way of life from generation to generation for centuries, and Tang Soo Do practicioners still follow these codes today.

Over many centuries, the Korean people had developed many empty-handed fighting methods, which were referred to as Kwon Bup.  As time went on, Kwon Bup was developed and expanded upon, and was referred to by many names, including Tae Soo, Soo Bahk, and Tae Kyun.  After World War II and the Japanese occupation of Korea, many different schools of empty-handed fighting emerged, one of which was Soo Bahk Do, founded by Hwang Kee.  Hwang Kee strived to continue the traditionalism of the art, while many others were trying to move more towards sports.  As a result, Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do parted ways.  Jae Chul Shin moved from Korea to the United States and later formed the World Tang Soo Do Association in 1982.

The World Tang Soo Do Association is a world wide organization with over 500 studios and over 100,000 members. It was founded by Grandmaster Jae Chul Shin in 1982. 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. We, as World 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.