"Only one Moo Duk Kwan"??

Discussion in 'Tang Soo Do' started by reeve87, Oct 8, 2019.

  1. reeve87

    reeve87 White Belt

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    Hi folks I'm hoping for some insight.....
    I'm a Soo Bahk Do practitioner and the MDK slogan is "there's only one Moo Duk Kwan" however I've read that there is a Tai Kwon Do MDK and there's the Soo Bahk Do MDK, I was also taught that Kwan ja nim Hwang Kee refused to unify with the Tai Kwon Do Kwans. So the question is....
    Is there 2 MDK federations 1 for soo bahk and 1 for Tai Kwon Do?
    Or are they the same thing? Also if Hwang Kee won the right to be independent from tai kwon do what changed? And why and when?
    Thanks for your input
     
  2. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    It's all about copyrights, politics, and egos. There are quite a few Moo Duk Kwan associations. One for Soo Bahk Do, and several for Tae Kwon Do.
    GM HWANG, Kee didn't "refuse to unify". In point of fact, he was one of the original group pushing the unification.
    GM HWANG, Kee didn't "win" anything. All he did was get mad about not being elected president of the KTA, essentially say "I'm going to take my ball and go home!" and walk away. About 1/3 of the Moo Duk Kwan students who joined the unification movement with him joined him in his walk out (Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, eventually renamed to Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan). The other 2/3 (including two of the top three students) stayed with the unification (Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan).
     
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  3. reeve87

    reeve87 White Belt

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    Thanks for the reply, any ideas why the SBDMDK sued the kovlaskis for copyright and not the Tai Kwon Do MDK or are the Tai Kwon Do guys paying to call themselves MDK.
     
  4. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't know why the SBDMDK make the choices they do, but I assure you we're not paying them anything.
     
  5. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    I have always suspected the divide caused in and around , GM Hwang, Kee, TKD, TSD/SBD was in part fundamental to paving the way for WTF/KKW TKD. If nothing else it certainly made their path much easier.

    We are MDK TKD and a Kukkiwon school at the same time. In the commercial sense it is a necessary marriage. In the traditional sense, we would not have as much tradition if we were not MDK TKD. WFT in large has consumed the competition TKD scene but it leaves a LOT to be desired when it comes to creating a sound, well rounded Dojang. IMHO
    I am only aware of about 1/2 dozen TSD dojangs in all of Tennessee and I have never been around a purely TSD dojang very much so I cannot speak to their normal environment.
     
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  6. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    There are numerous splinter groups who claim exclusivity to the Moo Duk Kwan name. It is a classic example of where you can ask 10 people and get 10 very different answers. In simplest terms there are three; TKD MKD, TSD MKD and SBD, with many offshoots of each adding to the confusion. There are literally dozens of corresponding logos.
    If you are looking for a pure lineage I would suggest tracing you school/instructors history.
     
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  7. Bruce7

    Bruce7 Brown Belt

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    This is a very deep interesting rabbit hole.
    Dirty Dog, dvcochran, and TSDTexan have the best information.
     
  8. Master K

    Master K Green Belt

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    I have been silent on this topic for far too long. So I will give you my 2 cents which probably isn't even worth that.
    My instructor was in Korea when Hwang Kee opened the Joong Ang Dojang (Central MDK Gym). He has watched it grow in Korea and helped to spread it in Korea as well as here in the USA. With that said, I will give you what I have told my students which was shared with me by my instructor.

    Originally Hwang Kee called his school Hwa Soo Do from 1945-1949 or so. But no one understood what that meant, and he was unable to get/retain students using this term. So Hwang Kee changed the name of the school to Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan (1949 or so thru 1960/1961). He later changed it to Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan in the either 1960 or 1961. Hwang Kee created the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association (around 1960 or 1961) of which my instructor claims to be a member of to this day. When the South Korean Government pushed for a unification of the Kwans, they created the Korean Tae Soo Do Association. And then eventually changed the name to the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association. It was around 1965 that two senior Moo Duk Kwan students eventually joined the Tae Kwon Do movement. Keep in mind that these two students had spent three or four years attempting to convince Hwang Kee to join the Tae Kwon Do movement without success. Hong Chong Soo (sometimes Hong Jong Soo), Dan Bon 10, and Lee Kang Eek, Dan Bon between 13 & 25, are the two senior students that joined the Tae Kwon Do movement. Others followed these two over to Tae Kwon Do. And some remained with Hwang Kee and Soo Bahk Do. This was the first major fragmentation of the Moo Duk Kwan, and the birth of Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan.

    Keep in mind that Korean instructors from the Moo Duk Kwan came to the US between 1960 and 1970. These instructors used the term Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan. In 1975-1976 Hwang Kee dispatched his son, Hwang Hyun Chul (Dan Bon 509), to go to th USA to take over the creation of the US Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation. Due to various reasons there was an exodus of senior level Moo Duk Kwan practitioners between 1976 and 1993. There is a lot of speculation as to why this occurred. Some say they were forced out. Some say they were unhappy with the direction and chose to leave. Regardless, I would argue that this was the next major fragmentation of the Moo Duk Kwan.

    During the years between 1975 and 1993 the US Federation was using the term US Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation. In 1993 they changed the name in the USA to the US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation. This is because they were unable to enforce the copyright of the term, "Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan." The US Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation had sued many senior Moo Duk Kwan practitioners that were using the term Moo Duk Kwan. They had varied and limited success with the enforcement of the term Moo Duk Kwan. Some practitioners changed their belts to be more Japanese such as Shin Jae Chul (Dan Bon 698) who founded the World Tang Soo Do Association. Others changed the movements of their basics and forms to avoid a lawsuit such as Kim Chun Sik (Dan Bon 2457) who founded the International Tang Soo Do Federation. Others such as Kim Jae Joon (Dan Bon 38) were relatively successful in fighting the copyright issue. And others were pretty much untouchable such as Lee Kang Uk in Britain with his U. K. Tang Soo (Soo Bahk) Do Federation - Moo Duk Kwan. This was due to the fact that the copyright was filed in the USA. Therefore not enforceable in the U.K or Korea for that matter.

    In conclusion there are really three major branches of the Moo Duk Kwan. The Soo Bahk Do folks who are under Hwang Hyun Chul at present. The Tae Kwon Do folks who are aligned with the Kukkiwon and quite probably the World Taekwondo Federation. And then the Tang Soo Do folks who are holding onto the original forms (Pyung Ahns) taught.

    Now in response to the phrase "there is only one Moo Duk Kwan", this is a ploy to discredit those that are using the term Moo Duk Kwan. The US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation is known for using different tactics from legal threats to pure outright trying to convince the consumer that these Tang Soo Do Pioneers are frauds. In fact, the US Soo Bahk Do Federation even purchased "KarateFraud.com" in an effort to bully those that use the term Moo Duk Kwan.

    The reality is this...Hwang Kee wrote in the book Soo Bahk Do Dae Gahm (Korean Version), published 1970, and translated into English as Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do), published in 1978 that he believes in Ryu Pah. Essentially, a river flows down the mountain and divides on its own. If this is the case, then according to Hwang Kee all of these flavors, if you will, (Tang Soo Do, Soo Bahk Do, and Tae Kwon Do) are Moo Duk Kwan. I look at Hwang Kee's actions and he accepted several members from other Kwans as Black Belts. They were given Dan Bon numbers even though they received there black belts at one of the other Kwans. I feel this is how Hwang Kee views things.

    Sadly, I am not sure why the US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation has done and continue to do what it does to its Seniors. I have spoke with many senior Moo Duk Kwan practitioners about this including Hwang Hyun Chul himself a few weeks ago. It is my understanding from Hwang Hyun Chul that he is attempting to mend bridges by creating and promoting the Moo Duk Kwan Heritage program. I am not sure how this will play out. So far, my instructor doesn't seem to have any interest in this program much less mending bridges at this juncture in his life. I, myself, do not care for the . Hwang Kee was a person that promoted character development and world peace above all else. And I feel that this phrase, "there is only one Moo Duk Kwan", is not what Hwang Kee would have wanted as his legacy.

    As an interesting side note, the Moo Duk Hae in Korea is a group of Moo Duk Kwan practitioners that get together a couple to three times a year socially. The only requirement is that your lineage can be traced to the Moo Duk Kwan. This group does not care if you are Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do or Soo Bahk Do. In fact, members of all three groups can be seen at these social gatherings. I believe this is in the spirit of what Hwang Kee would have wanted. And it is my hope that this is the direction that Hwang Hyun Chul will go with the Moo Duk Kwan Heritage program. Only time will tell. Anyway, I hope this information is helpful and useful.

    Please bear in mind that this is my viewpoint and not necessarily that of my instructor. Any errors are strictly mine and mine alone.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2020
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  9. dvcochran

    dvcochran Senior Master

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    This is one of those post I wish I could click "love" on. This is a beautifully written post full of compassion and concern. Much of your concern I share or at least am cognizant of.

    My journey with Shin Seoung Eui very closely followes original Moo Duk Kwan teachings. He trained under Lee Kang Eek. Our required curriculum included learning the Pyung Ahn forms. We wore the traditional Gi style uniforms. Along with Shin Seoung Eui, I was fortunate enough train and have dinners with Hwang Kee in 1988 in Chicage, Illinois.
    Shin Seoung Eui opened his school in Nashville, TN in 1974. Our school has always been classified as a Tae Kwon Do school and early on each student paid membership to the Moo Duk Kwan. When the political jockeying got very bad between Moo Duk Kwan and Soo Bahk Do, Shin Seoung Eui made the decision to align with the World Tae Kwon Do Federation movement. We started learning the new form set (Taegueks) and stopped paying membership to Moo Duk Kwan. We do still use the Pyung Ahn form set as well as the Palgwe and Taeguek sets.
    For me personally, the rift within Moo Duk Kwan is a hard and rather confusing thing to watch. I received my 7th Dan Moo Duk Kwan last year. My certificate is signed by Jae Kyu Chun, Pan American President.

    I have also received achievement certificates from Moo Duk Kwan for my efforts in the United States. I strongly admire the ideas and efforts of Jae Kyu Chun. Sadly, he is very sick and has passed the President mantle to Jong H. Lee.

    In your opinion, would it be correct to say the main focus of Soo Bahk Do is to completely eliminate Tang Soo Do? I have heard this on several occasions. It is a sad sequence of events. I greatly appreciate Hwang Kee's philosophy and agree with your ideas on this matter. I strongly believe Moo Duk Kwan, if unified, is an entity that could unite Korean styles in a traditional way the World Tae Kwon Do Federation apparently has zero interest in. It (WT) has so very unbalanced the relationship of sport and traditional Korean martial arts. The majority of people practicing Tae Kwon Do today do not know there is a difference. This is a very unhealthy position for Tae Kwon Do.

    I look forward to hearing more from you on this matter. Please feel free to private message me if you wish.

    Yours in the Martial Spirit,

    David Cochran
     
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  10. O'Malley

    O'Malley Blue Belt

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    Funnily enough, a "bridge mending"-minded person could reinterpret the phrase "there is just one Moo Duk Kwan" as a unification message, meaning that even though they may belong to different associations, everyone is ultimately doing the same thing.
     
  11. Master K

    Master K Green Belt

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    Thank you so much for the kind words.
     
  12. Master K

    Master K Green Belt

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    The World Moo Duk Kwan Heritage program is using the word "Amnesty" instead of bridging and mending. Amnesty seems a bit nebulous to me. It implies that someone did something wrong and will be forgiven. But they do not say which party is receiving amnesty, and they haven't said which party committed the offense, if you will.

    When I spoke with KJN Hwang Hyun Chul, he said that it was his hope to gather the people from Soo Bahk Do, Tang Soo Do & Tae Kwon Do to expose them to their rich history and the roots of their lineage going back to the Moo Duk Kwan. This may be the first step in the right direction, but I find it difficult to rectify it with the US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation's stance of "There is only one Moo Duk Kwan" and if you use the term then we will go after you.

    With that said, I do see your point that one may construe that they are uniting everyone under the banner of the Moo Duk Kwan. But the actions of the US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation doesn't seem to fit with that viewpoint. Once again, just my two cents.123
     

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