The Oh Do Kwan

The Oh Do Kwan Was founded by General Choi Hotig Hi and Major Nam Tae Hi. Both of these men were advanced military officers in the newly formed army of liberated Korea. Their classes were originally taught at the Korean Third Army Base, Yong Dae Ri, Korea. Choi Hong Hi was born into a prominent Korean family. He moved to Japan in his adolescence to further his education, while there, he studied Shotokan karate and earned a black belt. At the point when World War II broke out, he was forced into the service of the Japanese military. After World War II and the defeat of the Japanese occupying forces, he became a pivotal figure in the newly formed Korean military. Nam Tae Hi became a student of Chung Do Kwan immediately after Korean independence. He quickly mastered the art and began teaching at the Korean Army Military Signal School in 1947. During the same period, Nam Tae Hi met Choi Hong Hi. This laid the foundation for the birth of the Oh Do Kwan.

As the years progressed, in no small part due to General Choi's senior position in the Korean military, Oh Do Kwan became the main martial art taught to the Korean Army. Many individuals already possessed a black belt by the time they were inducted into the Korean armed forces, but due to General Choi's influence, the rank of black belt was only accepted and transferable from students of the Oh Do Kwan and the Chung Do Kwan. Those practitioners who held black belts from other Kwans had to be retrained and retested to be considered for official black-belt status. This regulation was questioned by many practitioners of the modern Korean martial arts, but it was, nonetheless, the impetus that brought the various schools of the Korean martial arts together under the banner of Tae Kwon Do.

The Song Moo Kwan

The name Song Moo Kwan means "The Ever-Youthful House of Martial Arts Training."

The Song-Moo Kwan was founded in Kae Sung City, Kyung Ki Province, Korea, by Ro Byung Jick, on March II, 1944. Like the Chung Do Kwan, this school was actually established prior to the end of Japanese occupation. The original classes of the Kwan were taught at the Kwan Duk Jung School of Archery. Due to the repressive political conditions, the kwan was forced to close its doors a few months later. It was not until May 2, 1946, that Ro could reopen his school in Dong Hung Dong, Kae Sung City, Korea. On June 25, 1950, the Song Moo Kwan again closed its doors, due to the onset of the Korean War. On September 20, 1953, the school was re-established in the Ah Hyung Dong, Mapo Gu district of Seoul. Ro's training in the martial arts began in 1936 in Japan. He studied Shotokan karate alongside Chung Do Kwan founder Lee
Won Kuk, under Shotokan karate's founder, Gichin Funakoshi.

The Chang Moo Kwan

The Chang Moo Kwan was founded at the YMCA in the Jong Ro section of Seoul in 1946 by Yoo: Byung In. In Japanese-occupied Korea, Yoon is said to have studied a Chinese system of self defense known as JOO an pa. This system is more commonly known as chuan fa. He then moved to Japan to attend the Nihon University. While there he studied karate under the direction of Toyama Kanken, the founder of Shotokan karate. When Korea gained independence, Yoon returned to his homeland and taught karate at the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan Kwon Bup Bu. He later became independant opened the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu or Chang Moo Kwan in 1946. This school initially had over 500 students, but Yoon's training method was so severe that fewer than 200 students remained after only a few months.

In 1946 Lee Nam Suk was named the first official instructor of the Chang Moo Kwan. When Yoon Byung In went missing in action during the Korean War, it was Lee Nam Suk and Kim Soon Bae, another advanced student of Yoon's, who reopened the school at the Seoul YMCA at the end of the war.

The Kang Duk Won

As the second incarnation of the Chang Moo Kwan came into existence in 1953, Lee Nam Suk and Kim Soon Bae had disagreements with two other senior students: Hong Jung Pyo and Park Chul Hee. These two men left and formed the Kang Duk Won, "House of Teaching Generosity," in the nearby Shin Sul Dong district of Seoul in 1956.

The Korea Tae Kwon Do Association

In 1959 General Choi petitioned the Ministry of Education and the Korea Amateur Sports Association to found a new organization. Due to his close ties to then Korean president Rhee Seung Man, the start of this organisation was virtually ensured. 

General Choi coined the name taekwondo. He established it in the minds of the Korean public by having military and civilian students of the art yell, "Tae Kwon," each time they executed a technique. There were several names being considered, and extensive debates went on. The six primary kwans—the Chung Do Kwan, Oh Do KwanSong Moo KwanChang Moo KwanJi Do Kwan, and Moo Duk Kwan — came together, and the name taekwondo was finally accepted as the title for the unified style of the Korean martial arts. This acceptance was attributed to the fact that it closely resembled the name of the ancient Korean martial art, tae kyon. In 1959 the affiliated Korean kwans finally became formalized as The Korea Tae kwon do Associationm and General Choi Hong Hi was elected its president. Ro Byung Jick of the Song Moo Kwan and Yoon Kwe Byung of the Ji Do Kwan were elected the vice presidents. Hwang Kee of the Moo Duk Kwan was appointed the chief director. Hwang Kee's participation in this organization was short-lived, however. He broke away from the group the same year.

On May 16, 1961, South Korean president Rhee Sang Man was overthrown by a military coup d'etat. South Korea entered into a period of internal chaos. The Korean Taekwondo Association collapsed.


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