The History of Taekwondo by Dakin Burdick


Senior Master
Dec 7, 2010
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Dakin Burdick: For those of you who have read Glenn saying that even Dakin admits errors in his history, yes, there is a mistake in my on line version, but is relatively minor and will be corrected in my next version. For the most part, I stand behind my history, which is available at:


I clicked on the link, and it didn't work. Maybe Dakin took it down, realizing that his article is invalid. I did a quick search and found it here:

Let's go through some of it and see if there are any errors:

>Another student of the outlawed arts was Hwang Kee, the
>future founder of Tang Soo Do. Kee "mastered" Tae Kyon and
>Soo Bak Do in 1936 (at the age of 22). He then travelled to
>Northern China where he studied the "T'ang method," and
>from that time until 1945, he worked to combine the two

GM HWANG Kee is not the founder of Tang Soo Do; it was GM LEE Won Kuk who first used the term Tang Soo Do. Also, GM Hwang never claimed to have mastered Taekkyon and Soo Bahk Do in 1936 and never studied the "T'ang method" from 1936 until 1945.

>After Korea's liberation in 1945, the native arts of Tae Kyon
>and Subak resurfaced. Among the other styles that surfaced
>at this time were Bang Soo Do, Kong Soo Do ("Way of the Empty
>Hand"), Kwon Bop, Tae Soo Do ("Way of the Foot and Hand"),
>and Tang Soo Do ("Way of the Tang Hand").

After WWII, the native arts of Taekkyon and Subak did not "resurface", unless Dakin means GM Hwang's use of the term Soo Bahk Do in 1960, and GM SONG Duk Ki's "resurfacing" in the early 1960's.

In 1945, there was only Tang Soo Do; Kwon Bup wasn't taught until 1946 by GM CHUN Sang Sup and GM YOON Byung In, Tae Soo Do as a name didn't come out until 1961, and there is no such thing as Bang Soo Do.

>The Japanese occupation of Korea had obviously renewed
>Korean interest in the martial arts, and several kwans ("schools")
>quickly opened in Seoul. The first to open was the Chung Do Kwan
>(a.k.a. Chong Do Kwan, "Gym of the Blue Wave"), which was founded
>by Won Kook Lee in 1945 in Yong Chun, Seoul. The Moo Duk Kwan
>was founded later that year by Hwang Kee, who taught an art he
>eventually named Tang Soo Do ("Way of the Chinese Hand"). The
>third school was the Yun Moo Kwan, founded by Sup Chun Sang
>(a.k.a. Sup Jun Sang). The Chang Moo Kwan was founded by Yun
>Pyung (a.k.a. In Yoon Byung) at a YMCA in 1946, and was followed
>quickly by the Chi Do Kwan, founded by Yon Kue Pyang.

The Chung Do Kwan was founded in 1944, not 1945. The Moo Duk Kwan was founded in 1946, not 1945. The Yun Moo Kwan was founded as a Judo school in 1931, not 1945. GM YOON Byung In (not In Yoon Byung) taught Kwon Bup at the Yun Moo Kwan for six months starting in March 1946 before opening his own club at the YMCA in 1946. The Yun Moo Kwan Kwon Bup Bu program was initially started by GM CHUN Sang Sup (not Sup Chun Sang or Sup Jun Sang). The name Chang Moo Kwan wasn't used until the 1950's by GM LEE Nam Suk, as was the name Jidokwan (sometimes spelled Chi Do Kwan). The second Kwan Jang of the Jidokwan was GM YON Kwai Byong (which I guess is close to Yon Kue Pyang).

>After the war, three more kwans appeared. In 1953-1954,
>Gae Byang Yun founded the Ji Do Kwan (a.k.a. Jee Do Kwan),
>Byung Chik Ro founded the Song Moo Kwan (a.k.a. Sang Moo
>Kwan), and Hong Hi Choi founded the Oh Do Kwan ("Gym of
>My Way") with the help of Tae Hi Nam.

The Jidokwan is the same kwan as the Chidokwan and Yun Moo Kwan; "Gae Byang Yun" is the same person as "Yon Kue Pyang" as quoted by Dakin. GM RO Byung Jick founded the Song Moo Kwan in 1947 in Kae Song; as for General Choi "founding" the Oh Do Kwan, I guess you can say that, given that he was the military general who authorized the gym to be started, but GM NAM Tae Hi was the kwan jang who did the actual training. And according to the interview done by Earl Weiss, GM Nam stated that Oh Do Kwan means Our Way, not My Way, because the Oh Do Kwan was composed of different kwan members and he wanted everyone to fit in.

I think that is enough for now.


Senior Master
Dec 7, 2010
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Here's some more:

>Unification of the Korean arts was slow. The first
>step came when a conference of masters assembled
>on Apr. 11, 1955, to organize the Korean arts and
>merge the kwan. The name chosen for this unified
>art was Tae Soo Do, although this was changed in
>1957 to "Taekwon-Do," a name suggested by Hong
>Hi Choi for its similarity to Tae Kyon.

The first step came in 1946, when GM LEE Won Kuk, GM RO Byung Jick, GM CHUN Sang Sup and GM YOON Byung In met to discuss the possibility of unifying their styles into one. There were some technical exchanges but it became apparent that GM Yoon's style which came primarily from Manchuria was radically different from the strict Shotokan curriculum of GM LEE Won Kuk. So GM Lee and GM Ro went one way, and GM Chun and GM Yoon went their own way.

After that, in I believe 1951 or so, another effort was made to unify under the association name Korea Kong Soo Do Association. This organization was created in part to give the seniors higher dan rank, since most of their teachers either were killed or left South Korea following the outbreak of the Korean War.

Some ITF types like to say that Taekwondo was founded on April 11, 1955, when General Choi, GM SON Duk Sung, GM HYUN Jong Myung and other politicians got together in a tea house and created the name Taekwondo, or more specifically, Taekwon. This meeting was set up after President RHEE Syng Man saw that Taekwondo demonstration and exclaimed "that's taekkyon". But the meeting was actual held on December 19, 1954, a date which you can see in some of General Choi's early books. April 11, 1955 was the date that President RHEE Syng Man approved the name. It wasn't the date of the meeting.

Also, the name Taesoodo didn't come out until 1961, which was the original name of the KTA. Korea Taesoodo Association.

>The Korean Taekwon-do Association (KTA) was founded on
>Sept. 14, 1961, with Hong Hi Choi as the President, but the
>Chi Do Kwan Association seceded. The Chung Do Kwan, "the
>largest civilian gym in Korea," also remained aloof and developed
>the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association into a rival of the KTA.

When the KTA was founded in 1961, General Choi was not the first president, the first president was General CHOI Myung Shin, who was the ROK Chief of Staff I believe at the time. The Jidokwan never "seceded" fro the KTA. The Chung Do Kwan also never "remained aloof" and never was a part of the Korea Soobahkdo Hwe; that was GM HWANG Kee and the Moo Duk Kwan. Also, the largest civilian gym in Korea was the Moo Duk Kwan, not the Chung Do Kwan. The Moo Duk Kwan had the advantage of being spread by the railroads, and each station had a dojang. The Moo Duk Kwan also had more liberal promotion policies which also helped spread it throughout the country.


Senior Master
Dec 7, 2010
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Dakin Burdick:
>Unfortunately, Choi's leadership of the KTA was lost in 1966.
>A goodwill trip to North Korea by a Taekwondo demonstration
>team caused Choi "to fall from grace in the eyes of the South
>Korean government." He resigned as the President of the KTA
>in 1966 and founded the International Taekwon-do Federation
>(ITF) on Mar. 22. He then moved the ITF headquarters to Canada.

A goodwill trip to North Korea had nothing to do with General Choi's resignation as KTA president in 1966. Here is what the Modern History of Taekwondo says about that:


On March 18, 1965, there was a Unification Declaration Ceremony held at the Korea Amateur Sports Association auditorium. Moo Duk Kwan's HWANG Kee was there and agreed to the Declaration at the time.

However, the very next day, HWANG Kee stated that the Unification Declaration was invalid.

Moo Duk Kwan's HONG Chong Soo, who advised HWANG Kee for 36 hours straight on this issue, stated: "The day after the Unification Declaration Ceremony was held, HWANG Kee told me that the Declaration was invalid. I could not understand HWANG Kee and told him 'Why do you say that? You are one of the most famous martial artists in the country and you should not say that the Unification Declaration is invalid.' I advised him a
lot to try and get him to change his position. Finally, he asked me to call CHOI Hong Hi for him. When I gave HWANG Kee the telephone, he told CHOI Hong Hi that the Declaration was invalid and he hung up the telephone before CHOI Hong Hi could respond."

The relationship between HWANG Kee and CHOI Hong Hi was bad. HWANG Kee objected to CHOI Hong Hi being the president of the Korea Taesoodo Association because he said
the art and organization would not develop with CHOI Hong Hi in charge.

After much discussion and argument back and forth over the issue, CHOI Hong Hi changed the name of the art from Taesoodo to Taekwondo, which led to great hostility from LEE Chong Woo and LEE Nam Suk. CHOI Hong Hi attempted to establish his authoritarian dictator style but he could not continue to lead because no one would follow him. After one year, CHOI Hong Hi was forced to resign the KTA presidency by LEE Chong Woo
and UHM Woon Kyu. CHOI Hong Hi begged LEE Chong Woo to allow him to remain as President for six more months, but LEE Chong Woo said no.

LEE Chong Woo comments on the issue: "CHOI Hong Hi was like an authoritarian dictator so UHM Woon Kyu and I had to kick him out. One morning we went to visit him at his house in Hannamdong (near Yong San) to ask him to resign, but CHOI Hong Hi begged us to allow him to remain as KTA President for six more months.

We told him he would have to choose between three things: 'Money', 'Position' or 'Honor'. We told him that if he chose Honor and resigned, we would help him make his own International Taekwon-Do Federation, but we wanted him to resign immediately and get out of the Korea Taekwondo Association."

CHOI Hong Hi finally resigned as KTA President because he could not overcome the hostility of the Kwan heads (Kwan Jang) in Taekwondo. In March 1966, the ITF was created at the Choson Hotel with nine participating countries such as West Germany, USA, Turkey, Italy, etc. But because he had too much desire and because of his authoritarian ways, he was forever labeled the "permanent troublemaker" in Taekwondo.