Hwang Kee bigraphy, stories - Founders

Hwang Kee : biography

November 9, 1914 - July 14, 2002

Hwang Kee ( Hwang Gi; November 9, 1914 – July 14, 2002) was one of the most important figures in the Korean martial art of Tang Soo Do.. URL accessed on February 11, 2010. He was the founder of Soo Bahk Do and the school of Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan.

Martial Arts Training

Born during the Japanese occupation of Korea, Hwang Kee first studied traditional Korean martial art Soo Bahk and Tae Kyun covertly as a young man. After high school he was hired by the railway company in Manchuria, China, where he studied Kung Fu under Master Yang Kuk Jin until 1937, when he was forced to return to Seoul, Korea. Between 1939 and 1945, while working for Cho Sun Rail Way Bureau, he was able to study some books on Okinawan Karate.

Founding of His Moo Duk Kwan (Martial Arts School)

In 1945, grandmaster Hwang Kee formed his first school. Initially he titled his school Hwa Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, but changed the name to Tang Soo Mook Duk Kwan because Tang Soo (meaning "Chinese Hand") was more familiar to Koreans from their exposure to Japanese martial arts.

In 1957, Kee read the Muye Dobo Tongji. The Muye Dobo Tongji was a book commissioned in 1790 by King Jeongjo of Korea, which illustrated the Korean martial arts indigenous to the country. Hwang Kee incorporated these teachings into his Tang Soo Do discipline and named the art he created this way Soo Bahk Do. In 1960, the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association was incorporated and registered with the Korean government as a martial art.

During the 50th anniversary celebration of the founding of the Moo Duk Kwan, Hwang Kee officially renamed the art from Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan to Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan.


A distinctive philosophical component of Soo Bahk Do and some Tang Soo Do systems is the inclusions of guidelines and principles of Daoism (Taoism), created by Laozu and developed by Confucius.

One philosophy that Hwang included throughout his art was that no one could ever reach perfection. This was visible in his decision to use the Midnight Blue Belt over the Black Belt and to never promote nor accept the rank of 10th dan. This was also due to the fact the Koreans thought of black as the color of death, but the midnight blue sky was limitless, just like the training and knowledge that one could practice in a lifetime.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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