Lawsuits in the KMAs ruining the Hwang Kee legacy, over MAHNEE! MAHNEE!

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by TSDTexan, Aug 20, 2015.

  1. TSDTexan

    TSDTexan Master of Arts

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    Well here is the statement from US Soo Bahk Do / Moo Duk Kwan.

    They were suing Eric Kovaleski, Robert Kovaleski and their corporations over the Goldfist And Laurals Logo, and the name Moo Duk Kwan which were granted registered trademark status to the US SBD_MDK a while back.

    (Robert Kovaleski founded the International Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation)

    Words in BOLD are mine.

    August 17, 2015


    It is with great happiness that we deliver the attached court documents rendering the decision on August 17,2015 for the Federation’s most recent defense of our trademarks and identity.

    The Federal Court’s decision confirms that members of the United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® are the sole heirs to Hwang Kee’s Moo Duk Kwan® legacy in the USA. This successful action also confirms that members are fulfilling the Federation’s chartered purposes and pursuing realizing the Founder’s vision in the United States.

    This outcome is the culmination of the efforts of many Moo Duk Kwan® alumni and supporters going back to our founding and involving members too numerous to thank here.

    We all now have the opportunity to digest the information in the attached documents and use it to further the art of our Founder!

    In Moo Do,

    Keith Wildonger
    Board Chairman 2014-2015


    During an interview a while back Robert Kovaleski had some things to say about how the MDK broke up.

    GR: How many different ways were there to go?

    Robert Kovaleski: Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan split into 3 different (MAIN) organizations. There was Grandmaster Hwang Kee (US. Soo Bahk Do Federation),
    Jae Chul Shin (World Tang Soo Do Association) and
    CS Kim (International Tang Soo Do Federation) at the time.
    My teacher followed Grandmaster JC Shin, because he was very close to him at the time. Master Trojanowicz was majorly responsible for sponsoring master Shin to come to the US.


    GR: Mr. Shin was from Korea?

    Robert Kovaleski: Yes, he now has the World Tang Soo Do Organization.

    GR: Do you want to speculate or tell me what you know about the breakup?

    Robert Kovaleski: I don’t think I should get involved in that, to stir up bad things. We should just let that go because right now I’m involved in a federal court case with HC Hwang (son of Gm Hwang Kee).

    [Which He just lost, to HC Hwang, on the 17th of this month]

    Robert Kovaleski: HC Hwang didn’t respect his seniors- Let’s just say that!

    So... my school that I earned my Dan Rank in was a Moo Duk Kwan General Federation / International Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Association outfit... we had the Gold Fist Logo... if the doors were still open at that location, we would have to lose our identity with regard to our patches, logo and name.

    I want to spit, I am so mad at HC Hwang. I wish I could call him out into a duel and spank the stuffing out of the impudent brat. He totally disrepected his seniors, and his Father. He argued his father out of the decision Kee had already made.

    There were too many who had superior Dan Bon numbers, and better leadership skills, teaching skills, organizational skills... and the individual who was selected was NOT HC. Hwang Kee gave his blessing to another to lead when He was to step down from the leading of the MDK.

    Disobedient Son. Such dishonor. I see nothing worthy of emulation in this leader. And I wanna knock the snot out of him.

    The old TSD-MDK curriculum is not taught at official MDK schools, only SBD curriculum.

    Its like folks are rewriting history, and editing out the little guys.
    We are Moo Duk Kwan... no amount of lawyers and judges changes that.

    Like we were never of Hwang Kee's Lineage, and HIS Moo Duk Kwan. "Chuck Norris" & "Robert Cheezic". Floyd Guidry didn't learn Soo Bahk Do. At Osan Air Force Base, He learned Tang Soo Do.

    The Official MDK line from Hwang HC is that TSD is not SBD. Which is also what this old photo shows.

    These US G.I.s who learned the art, and came back and planted Tang Soo Do schools are now being divorced from the historical and real Tang Soo Do - Moo Duk Kwan name... and being forced to either become Soo Bahk Do schools to rejoin the MDK (and start sending money to Hwang HC's fat wallet) or remain anonymous and uprooted.


    Osan Tang Soo Do Sign.jpg

     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2015
  2. Makalakumu

    Makalakumu Gonzo Karate Apocalypse

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    Interesting history here. It's too bad SBD had to reinvent itself. TSD is a great martial art with deep traditions that tie it to so many other martial arts.
     
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  3. reeskm

    reeskm Green Belt

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    Yes, this is a horrible shame. There are literally thousands of other martial artists out there that were taught Moo Duk Kwan style. In many of those cases, including mine, their own teacher was given a dan bon number and certificate signed and sealed by Hwang Kee himself. Many of these people were ranked as instructors and senior masters! Yet when they teach the art, and promote the style, they are beat down because they don't belong to The Only One True Organization(r)(TM)(c). What a sham! It's so obvious to us Korean Stylists what really happened! People go their own separate ways for practical, human reasons.

    The actions of the SBD MDK federation, in their own twisted minds, are correct and right. It is now clear that courts will uphold this trademark "right" that the US SBD MDK lays claim too. That does not mean that they are in fact any way right whatsoever, on a moral or virtuous sense.

    The dream of Hwang Kee was to see all former, current and future members of the Moo Duk Kwan come together and be one. Suing people over trademark law, in my humble opinion, is the worst way to attempt to bring this dream to life. In fact, HC Hwang does not care about this dream at all, nor does he care about uniting anybody together for the common good.

    HC Hwang is sitting on the greatest martial arts legacy, arguably, in Korea and in the world of Karate today. He is sitting on the greatest pile of historical documents and information available on the pioneering of Karate in Korea. Yet, he keeps it locked away, shares it with no-one, not even some of his most senior students. If he did, share his information openly and truthfully, it would change the martial world.

    What a darn dirty shame. More nasty political shenanigans from a leader that should be giving back so, so much more to the martial community. From someone that saw what happened in the 1960s, the 70s and 80s, and beyond, and could have done so much more.

    The Moo Duk Kwan now rivals Shotokan organizations, the Taekwondo organizations, and the Kyokushin groups that splintered like wildfire after their respective founder's deaths.

    Oh well, good thing they have no track record in my country, and have no legitimate claim to any trademark here on Moo Duk Kwan or the fist logo! I really sympathize with my American colleagues south of the border.
     
  4. reeskm

    reeskm Green Belt

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    For reference, here is the judgement.

    Sadly, it seems that not enough time in the historical research and defendant's evidence to back up their claims was the major reason they lost this case.

    Hopefully they will appeal, and bring forward better evidence. However, I have a feeling the courts couldn't care less about martial virtue. They are simply following trademark law, which has little to do with seniority, respect for traditions or history. It's all about first to file and protection of rights to make a profit!

    Interesting to note, the WMDKGF (World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation - Korea) is mentioned. Apparently H.C. Hwang cannot or will not prosecute them, as they are all alumni members of the Moo Duk Kwan who hold dan ranks given to them by Hwang Kee. Also, they do not do business in the USA, supposedly. So if you have an official Dan Bon #, and not living or practising openly in the USA, you might be safe! For now...

    MEMORANDUM OPINION

    Available Case Documents
     
  5. Koshiki

    Koshiki Brown Belt

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    Gotta say though, as a KMA practitioner, the history of the Korean Martial Arts has been messy, snotty, pretentious, political, grasping, and downright embarrassing since the days of the early Kwans, at least from the few histories I've read on the subject. Makes me glad to be from an early-split-off, unaffiliated school.

    So, while this is greedy and childish, it's not a terribly new mindset.
     
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  6. reeskm

    reeskm Green Belt

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    Zack,
    thanks for being honest and up front about an issue that few will speak about.
    I share your feelings too, and am lucky myself to have some independence from this mess large orgs. create.
     
  7. Koshiki

    Koshiki Brown Belt

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    Eh, I feel we all look better if we admit when we're related to something foolish, rather than pretending it either didn't and doesn't happen, or trying to justifying ego and greed.

    That said, that same ego and greed may be a large part of why the more evolved TKD schools have all those super-fancy, super cool kicks. I don't do those kicks, or particularly find them useful for my own training, but I'm glad they're out there for those that are into performance and sport.

    But I agree, personally I like being "anonymous and uprooted."123
     
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