Changmoo-Kwan and Kang Duk Won History - Photos available upon request


Black Belt
Jan 20, 2005
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Arlington, Texas

By: Robert McLain

The Changmoo-Kwan (Brighten Martial Arts School) and Kangduk-Won (Institute of Teaching Generosity) were two notable schools of Kong Soo Do established in South Korea following WWII. These schools had different chief instructors, but hailed from the same root school, the YMCA Kwon Bop Bu. The YMCA Kwon Bop Bu was established by Master Yoon Byung-in in Seoul, Korea in 1946. The unique aspect of the YMCA Kwon Bop Bu was the combination of a Shudokan karate and Chinese Chuan-fa curriculum.

There are schools in the world still using the name Changmoo-Kwan or Kangduk-Won and link themselves to the original curriculum. A quick glance at the background of the original YMCA Kwon Bop Bu curriculum and modern Taekwondo development can bring to light whether a school preserves the original YMCA Kwon Bop Bu instruction or is simply a modern Taekwondo school using the old “kwan” name.

<Flow Chart available>

The founder of the YMCA Kwon Bop Bu was Master Yoon Byung-in. Master Yoon&#8217;s grandfather, Yoon Young-hyun, was from the Yang Ban (Noble) class in South Korea. During the later part of the Yi Dynasty (1392-1910A.D.), the grandfather was the government appointed Country Chief of the Tong-young and Gojae Island Districts. When Imperial Japan invaded Korea in 1909, Grandfather Yoon Young-hyun was pushed out of his government position. To avoid any trouble with the Japanese forces he took his family to Manchuria. His grandson, Master Yoon, was born on May 18, 1920 in Mu-sun, Bong-Chon, Manchuria.

Master Yoon began his academic studies at Shin-kyoung elementary school and later attended Youn-byun middle school. During his elementary school days he began studies of Chuan-fa under the guidance of a Mongolian instructor. According to his 2nd cousin, Yoon Byung-bu, most chuan-fa instructors in the area were from Mongolia at that time. He also described Master Yoon as, &#8220;very bright, sincere, quiet, always helping people. Typical martial artist.&#8221; Master Yoon continued his studies of chuan-fa through elementary and middle school. His cousin adds, &#8220;He was very strong. If he ever had to fight, he would never seriously hurt anyone. He just did enough to make them stop.&#8221;

Despite having a relatively peaceful childhood, Master Yoon suffered a severe injury to his right hand. One winter while huddling around a neighborhood fire for warmth, he was shoved forward into the fire. He stopped his body from getting burned at the expense of his right hand being immersed in the hot coals. Unfortunately, there where no doctors in the area to help and he ended up losing 翻 of the length of his fingers. To hide his injury, Master Yoon always wore white gloves in public and while instructing classes. Later, his students would wear white gloves during training to show respect for him.

In 1938, Master Yoon graduated from high school and was chosen by his family to study Colonial Agriculture at Nihon University in Tokyo, Japan. During his academic career at Nihon University, he had the opportunity to meet karate Master Toyama Kanken (student of Yasutsune &#8220;Anko&#8221; Itosu) through an interesting situation. Master Toyama Kanken was faculty at Nihon University and was Sensei (Teacher) for the university karate club. Some of the Korean students were allowed to join the club and learn karate. One of the Korean students decided to spend additional time with his college sweetheart and began to miss karate club practices. This angered the Japanese karate students and they pursued the Korean student and beat him up. The Korean student knew about Master Yoon&#8217;s practice of Chuan-fa, as he was routinely seen conditioning himself by striking a large tree in the university courtyard. The tree eventually started leaning a little bit towards the ground from his training. The Korean student begged Master Yoon for help against the karate toughs. He asked, &#8220;You are a Korean, I am a Korean, will you please help me to not get beat up?&#8221; He agreed and upon the next intended beating from the Japanese karate students, Master Yoon sprung into action using Chuan-fa. He skillfully deflected and evaded the karate students&#8217; strikes and kicks to the point that they gave up and ran back to tell their teacher about what happened.

Master Toyama Kanken was an open-minded person and invited Master Yoon to tell him about the skillful non-karate martial art he used against his students. He explained to Master Toyama about his Chuan-fa education in Manchuria. Master Toyama appreciated the Chuan-fa background since he (Master Toyama) had studied Chuan-fa in Taiwan for 7 years, previously. They decided to exchange knowledge; Master Yoon would teach Toyama Kanken Chuan-fa and Master Toyama would teach Master Yoon his Shudokan karate.

Master Yoon was later made Captain of the university karate club and recognized as a 4th degree black belt by Master Toyama. Master Toyama was a 5th degree black belt at that time, which made Master Yoon the highest ranked student in the karate club.

When the Japanese military surrendered on August 15, 1945, marking the end of a 36-year occupation of Korea, Master Yoon returned to Korea and settled in the Chung-yang Rhee area in Seoul. He had two notable friends from the karate club at Nihon University living nearby: Chun Sang-sup and Yoon Ui-byung (Yoon Kwe- byung). Chun Sang-sup was head of the karate club within the Cho-sun Yunmoo-Kwan Yudo School located in Seoul, Korea.

The Cho-sun Yunmoo-Kwan was the Korean main branch and representative of the Japanese Kodo-kan (Lecturing Way School) judo during this time. Chun Sang-sup invited Master Yoon to teach kwon bop (chuan-fa) and karate at the Cho-sun Yunmoo-Kwan. He taught with Chun Sang-sup at the club for 6 months before he (Master Yoon Byung-In) was invited to teach at the Cho-Sun Central YMCA in Seoul, Korea. In the instructor&#8217;s directory of Toyama Kanken&#8217;s book published in the early 1950&#8217;s, Master Yoon is listed as Chief Instructor of the Cho-Sun YMCA. The book also listed Yoon Ui-byung (Yoon Kwe-byung) as chief instructor of the Jido-Kwan (Way Of Wisdom School) in Seoul, Korea. Both Master Yoon (Byung-in) and Yoon Ui-byung (Yoon Kwe-byung) were listed at 4th dan black belt in the directory. In 1959, the 2nd edition of Toyama Kanken&#8217;s book, Yoon Byung-in is listed as Chief Instructor of the Seoul, Korea dojang and Yoon Ui-byung (Yoon Kwe-byung) is listed as Chief Instructor of the Seoul, Korea Hanmoo-Kwan (Korean People&#8217;s Martial Art school). Hanmoo-kwan was also the name of the school Yoon Ui-byung (Yoon Kwe-byung) established while living in Japan.

Master Yoon Byung-in taught in many places in addition to the Cho-Sun YMCA. He became faculty at Sung-Kyun Kwan University and Kyoung-Nong Agricultural College, teaching chuan-fa and karate. He was also appointed as bodyguard of 1st Korean President Syng-mahn Rhee, but he refused the appointment. One reason for his refusal was because of the requirement to salute (military style with the right hand) to President Rhee. Master Yoon was missing fingers on his right hand from the injury during his youth and wanted to avoid the embarrassment.

In June 1950, the Korean War started and South Korea was in turmoil.

In August 1950, Yoon Byung-in&#8217;s older brother Yoon Byung-du showed up as a Captain in the North Korean Army. He told Yoon Byung-in, &#8220;I am your older brother and you must come with me.&#8221; Yoon Byung-in was then taken to North Korea by his brother. At this time, all YMCA Kwon Bop Bu students lost communication with Master Yoon and many speculations were made about his disappearance. Several of Master Yoon&#8217;s students continued instructing following his disappearance: Master Lee Nam-sok, Master Hong Jong-pyo and Master Park, Chul-hee.

The YMCA Central building was completely destroyed by bombs from U.S. warplanes in the late part of 1950 or 1951. So, the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu was temporarily closed until 1952. In 1952, Master Lee Nam-sok had YMCA Kwon Bop Bu students transfer to training space provided by the Postal Administration Department he used for his Cheshin-Bu (Postal Administration Department Club). When the YMCA Kwon Bup Bu students transferred to his club, Master Lee changed the club&#8217;s name to &#8220;Changmoo-Kwan&#8221; (Brighten Martial Art School). Changmoo-Kwan was a name mentioned by Master Yoon Byung-in when he was still in South Korea. Later, Master Lee lost use of the training space at the Postal Administration Department and had to relocate the Changmoo-Kwan. The Changmoo-Kwan first moved to the Mukyo-dong area in Seoul, then to the Kangmoo-Kwan Yudo dojang in the Kyungwoon-Dong area from 1958-63.

Both Masters Hong Jong-pyo and Park Chul-hee trained and taught at the Changmoo-Kwan until 1956. In 1956, Master Hong Jong-pyo established a separate school called &#8220;Kangduk-Won&#8221; (Institute of Teaching Generosity). Because he was very busy making a living, Master Hong Jong-pyo didn&#8217;t have time to operate the school and Master Park Chul-hee became chief instructor of the Kangduk-Won. Master Hong continued instructing several days per week at the Kangduk-Won. The Kangduk-Won had a difficult time finding a permanent location for the school and moved seven times from 1956 to 1964.

1. Shinsul-Dong, East Seoul, Korea
2. Chungjin-Dong, Seoul, Korea (Inside the Yunmoo-Kwan Yudo dojang)
3. Youngchun Seodae-Mun area (Inside the training center for prison officers)
4. Ulji-ro area (Inside a Wrestling gymnasium)
5. Chungshin-Dong (Near the Seoul National University Law School)
6. Shinsul-Dong, East Seoul Korea
7. Dongdae-Mun, East Seoul, Korea (Inside the Yunmoo-Kwan Yudo dojang)
8. SeoDae-Mun area (In front of the police station)

By 1957, Master Lee Nam-sok wasn&#8217;t teaching much at the Changmoo-Kwan and placed 3rd Dan Kim Pyung-soo in charge of instructing the majority of the classes. Kim Pyung-soo wanted to continue learning past the 3rd dan level but couldn&#8217;t find anyone at the Changmoo-Kwan to instruct him. So, he taught at the Changmoo-Kwan and would take classes as a student at the Kangduk-Won since they both shared the same lineage and curriculum. Kim Soon-bae, an assistant instructor for Master Lee Nam-sok at the Changmoo-Kwan headquarters dojang, found this out and told Kim Pyung-soo he had to choose only 1 dojang, not both. Kim Pyung-soo chose to stay at the Kangduk-Won and be a student. Because of Kim Pyung-soo&#8217;s reputation as a teacher and martial artist many of the Changmoo-Kwan Black Belts followed him and joined the Kangduk-Won dojang.

Shudokan Karate
Kibon Hyung 1-3 (Kibon Hyung 4 & 5 were unique to the Kangduk-Won)
Chulki Hyung 1-3
Pyung Ahn 1-5
No Hai
Ahm Hak
Wan Shu
Balsek Dae
Kong Sang Kun
Balsek So
Ban Wol
Ship Pal
Oh Ship Sa Bo
Jin Soo
Ni Jushi Ho
Myong Kyung

Dan Kwon
Chang Kwon
So Ho Yon
Doju San
Palgi Kwon
Tai-jo Kwon
Cheung Yong Kwon
Kum Kang Kwon
Chil-Bo Yaksok Dae-ryon
Han Son Dae Ryon

On July 10, 1951 peace talks began between North Korea and the United Nations. On November 25, 1951 the talks resulted in a country being divided at the 38th parallel: North Korea would control the north part of the Korean peninsula (with Soviet Union occupation) and South Korea would control the south (with U.S. occupation). During this time, Master Yoon Byung-in was in a POW camp on Gojae-do Island. Through an interview process POWs could decide where they wanted to go. Unfortunately, during the application process North Korean POW soldiers jumped on Master Yoon preventing him from leaving. His activities are unknown from this time until 1966.

From January 1966 until August 1967, Master Yoon was appointed by the North Korean government sports committee to teach an intensive Gyuck-Sul (special combat strategy) course to the Moran-Bong physical specialists group (specially selected group) in Pyong-yang, the capital of North Korea. In December 1967, the North Korean government&#8217;s International Sports Association told Master Yoon, &#8220;Gyuck Sul is not a game or international sport. The government has cancelled the Gyuck Sul program.&#8221; He was sent to work at a cement factory in Cheong-jin City, Ham-Gyoung North Province. Master Yoon worked in the cement factory until he died of lung cancer on April 3, 1983.

It is quite a loss that Master Yoon was not utilized as a martial arts instructor to the people of Korea. It was very rare to have a Korean national with a high ranking under a reputable karate instructor in Japan, plus a background in Chinese chuan-fa. Though Master Yoon provided a rich and diverse curriculum to his students, very few continued his legacy. Most students followed the push towards a unified &#8220;Taekwondo&#8221; during the 1960&#8217;s in Korea. This movement resulted in two organizations for Taekwondo students: 1) The Korean Taekwondo Association, 2) The International Taekwondo Federation.

To find a Taekwondo school that has preserved Master Yoon Byung-in&#8217;s legacy (Changmoo-Kwan/Kang-Duk Won), simply look at its list of forms for rank advancement. There should be a large list of Shudokan karate and chuan-fa forms required for students. Sometimes these forms are found in addition to the modern Taekwondo forms of the KTA(WTF) or ITF. But, if you find a list of modern forms of the KTA (WTF) or ITF without Shudokan or Chuan-fa forms, then the school is not preserving the Changmoo-Kwan/Kangduk-Won curriculum.


1) Choi, Hong Hi. TaeKwon Do: The Art Of Self-Defense. Seoul: Daeha, 1965.
2) Choi, Hong Hi. TaeKwon Do (The Korean Art Of Self-Defense). Canada: ITF, 1999.
3) Kim, Soo. Palgue 7-8 Of Tae Kwon Do Hyung Black Belt Requirements. Houston: Kim Soo, 1980.
4) McLain, Robert. Interview with Kim, Pyung-soo. Rec. July 16, 2006. Digital audio.
5) Kim, Soo and Robert McLain. &#8220;Yoon Byung-in Story.&#8221; 2006. Kim Soo Karate, Inc. May 3, 2006 <>.
6) Toyama Kanken. Shudokan Karate. 2nd ed. Tokyo: Toyama, 1959.

About Robert McLain:

Robert McLain is a 4th Dan Black Belt under the direct instruction of Grandmaster Kim Pyung-soo. Mr. McLain established the Arlington, Texas branch of The International Chayon-Ryu Martial Arts Association in 1994. He graduated with a Bachelor Of Science degree from The University Of Texas At Arlington and held an adjunct faculty position at the University for 2 翻 years while still an undergraduate student. He directed the for-credit &#8220;Self-Defense for Women&#8221; program through the Kinesiology Department which consisted of 200 students per semester. Since then, he has contributed articles to Black Belt Magazine, been appointed as &#8220;Special Correspondent & Photographer&#8221; for Taekwondo Times Magazine, and has worked in the film industry as a fight choreographer. Mr. McLain may be contacted at