About Korean Karate, Tang Soo Do and the Moo Ji Hwe
Tangsoodo and kongsoodo were the two common Korean terms for karate from 1944-1971. "Tang soo" ("China hand") is the Korean pronunciation of the Okinawan term "tote" (Japanese: "karate") used by Okinawan educator and karate master Gichin Funakoshi, who introduced karate in Japan in the 1920s. In the mid-1930s, the Dai Nippon Butokukai (Greater Japanese Martial Arts Association) instituted a new character spelling, meaning "empty hand", still pronounced "karate" in Japanese, but pronunced "kong soo" in Korean. The suffix "do" is both the Japanese and Korean pronunciation of the Chinese term "tao" ("way","path"). This reflected the process of developing karate into a "martial way" (Korean: "mudo", Japanese: "budo"), an art practiced for fitness, self-defense and personal refinement, rather than being purely a method of combat.

During the Japanese occupation of Korea (1909-1945), some affluent Koreans sent their sons to college in Japan. A small number of these students earned black belts between 1933 and 1945 studying karate in clubs associated with major Japanese universities that were administered by Okinawan instructors. After returning to Korea, these individuals continued to practice and teach karate, calling their arts either tangsoodo or kongsoodo, based on personal choice. The first two Korean tangsoodo schools were the Chungdokwan (founded by Lee, Won-kuk) and the Songmookwan (founded by Ro, Byung-jik), both founded in 1944. Both Lee and Ro had studied Shotokan karate while attending Chuo University in Tokyo, Japan.
Tang Soo Do ("China Hand Way") Kong Soo Do ("Empty Hand Way")
After a tangsoodo demonstration in 1954, Republic of Korea President Syngman Rhee requested a new term be created for this art, not based on a Korean pronunciation of Japanese karate. The term taekwondo ("Kicking-Punching Art") was created in December 1954 and introduced in early 1955. From 1955-1971 many Korean karate schools unified into taekwondo, although some older masters resisted the pressure to do so. The best known of these was Hwang Kee, founder of the Moodukkwan ("Institute of Martial Virtue") founded in 1947 (not November 1945). The term tangsoodo has since become synonymous with the Moodukkwan school, since almost all current tangsoodo schools have their foundations in Tangsoodo Moodukkwan.

Traditional tangsoodo (karate) is a complete martial art; not just a striking art. Its modernization in 20th century Japan and Korea emphasized basics, forms and sparring, to be practiced for fitness, personal refinement, self-defense and now sport. Much of the art's original emphasis on close-quarter combat, pressure points, locks and holds, throwing techniques and even healing were dropped in favor of techniques that could be taught in classes and be successful at tournaments. While this modern approach has many positive aspects, our emphasis at the MooJiHwe is self-defense (including analysis and application of traditional forms) in balance with the modern conditioning that should be relevant and useful to all, not just the young and athletic. The way of martial art is a lifelong journey in fitness, self-defense, personal refinement and self-discovery.

MooJiHwe teaches traditional karate in a Korean style with Korean terminology and with supplementation from judo, aikido and hapkido. The meaning of MooJiHwe is "Martial Wisdom Association".
Moo Ji Hwe ("Martial Wisdom Association")
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