|About Tang Soo Do and Moo Ji Hwe|
Tangsoodo is Korean karate. In English, it can be written Tang Soo Do, Dang Soo Do, tangsoodo, tangsudo or any equivalent of the Korean pronunciation. "Tang soo" (literally "China hand") is the Korean equivalent of karate term that the Okinawan educator and karate master Gichin Funakoshi introduced in Japan in the late 1920s. In the mid-1930s, the Dai Nippon Butokukai changed the character spelling to "empty hand", still pronounced "karate" in Japanese ("kong soo" in Korean). The "do" suffix is the Japanese and Korean pronunciation of the Chinese "tao" (way, path, art) reflecting the process of making karate a "martial way" (Korean: "mudo", Japanese: "budo"), an art practiced for fitness, self-defense and personal refinement/enlightenment. The terms tangsoodo and kongsoodo were both common in Korea from 1944 to 1971.
During the years of the Japanese occupation of Korea (1909-1945), some affluent Koreans sent their sons to Japan to attend high school or college. A small number of these students studied karate in clubs associated with major Japanese universities between 1930 and 1944. When they returned to Korea, some called their arts tangsoodo and others called theirs kongsoodo. These terms did not represent significant stylistic or philosophical differences. The first two Korean schools were the Chungdohwe (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.
From 1955-1971, many Korean karate schools unified into the Korean art of taekwondo, although some older masters resisted the pressure to do so. The best known of these was Hwang Kee, founder of the Moodukkwan school of tangsoodo, founded in 1947 (not November, 1945) and at one time the largest school in Korea. Because of the Moodukwan's influence and the popularity of Chuck Norris (America's best known tangsoodo practitioner), "tangsoodo" became synonymous with the Moodukkwan school. While most tangsoodo schools are associated with the Moodukkwan style, any traditional Korean karate may be considered tangsoodo. In taekwondo's early years (1955-1971), before evolving into a martial sport, it was similar to tangsoodo, the primary differences in those days often being political. Tangsoodo does employ modern kicking techniques, some of which were developed in taekwondo and adopted since by other styles of karate.
Tangsoodo (karate) was traditionally a complete martial art; not just a striking art. In the 20th century, karate as it was taught in Japan and Korea was modernized to emphasize performance quality in basics, forms and sparring. This was part of a plan to make karate a "martial way" (Korean: "mudo", Japanese: budo); something to be practiced for fitness, personal refinement and sport. Because of this, much of the original emphasis on efficient self-defense, including pressure points, locks and holds, throwing techniques, close-quarter combat and healing arts were ignored in favor of techniques that could be taught in large classes and that would work well for use in tournaments. While this modern approach has many positive aspects, our intention at Tang Soo Do Moo Ji Hwe is to emphasize more complete self-defense (including multiple applications of traditional forms) in balance with the modern approach that should be relevant and useful to all, not just the young and athletic.
The meaning of Moo Ji Hwe is "martial wisdom association". While Tang Soo Do Moo Ji Hwe is rooted in the Moodukkwan style, it is informed by Eric Madis' training in judo, aikido, Okinawan karate (Goju-ryu and Shorin-ryu) and taekwondo.
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