Hwang Kee Part 2

By Master David Allerton (5 th Dan)


Consider for a moment, creating a school in the aftermath of world war, expanding it to include the majority of your countrymen and finally, positively touching the lives of tens of thousands of people across the globe. This is a measure of what Kwan Jang Nim Hwang Kee achieved in his lifetime. He had a wish that through the Moo Duk Kwan students would find peace, enjoy friendships, be loyal, disciplined and learn to avoid conflict. How ironic this is considering he had to endure so much personal hardship in order to achieve his goal. Through his determination to succeed we are the proud inheritors of a system which gives Personal Protection, balance of mind and body, the strength to overcome and the humility to realise our own weaknesses.

Following on from last months account of GrandMaster Hwang Kee’s early history I shall now continue the story from his 1966 Supreme Court victory over the Korean Government which made safe the Soo Bahk Do (Moo Duk Kwan) for future generations.

By the 1970’s sanctions were eased and Moo Duk Kwan schools were established in the UK, USA, Greece, Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Malaysia, Brunei and Australia.

The United Kingdom Tang Soo Do Federation was established in 1974 as a designated branch of the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association. It was headed by Master Lee, Kang Uk then a 7th Dan. He was promoted to 8th Dan in 1979 and later formed his own organisation in 1989.

Now that Tang Soo Do was flourishing worldwide KJN Hwang Kee published the Korean Soo Bahk Do Dae Kham which was followed by the English edition Tang Soo (Soo Bahk) Do in 1978. It contained detailed analysis of technique, Pyung Ahn and Bassai hyungs , theory of the scientific use of power in Tang Soo Do, advice on correct training, explanation of the Sip Sam Seh and a copy of the MooYei Do Bo Tong Ji together with Hwang Kee’s own translations. It was an inspiring work. Here are a few guidelines – “Our basic charter charges all members to protect life, even that of an enemy”. “As everyone has a different face, so will everyone have their own special abilities, according to the method and level of training or physical conditioning”. There are many more jewels in this comprehensive book and I would advise any student who has not seen a copy to make every effort to acquire one !

Then in 1982 at Atlantic City, USA, Kwan Jang Nim aged 70 years gave the first public demonstration of the “Hwa Sun” hyung formulated directly from his study of the Moo Yei Do Bo Tong Ji . It must have been an electric moment for all who witnessed it.

Further progressions of the art followed when in the mid 1980’s GrandMaster Hwang Kee and his son Hwang, Hyun Chul made several visits to the UK with the purpose of introducing the Chil Sung and Yuk Ro hyung together with Moo Pal Dan Khum (8 brocade energy exercises). The new and highly complex movements were a major change of direction from the hard Okinawan style forms we had been used to up to that point. Now 25 years later I feel comfortable with the forms and see them as the “middle way” or natural progression from hard to soft. Technically, the Chil Sung (7 star) successfully blend Tai Chi (Tae Geuk) movement with Tan Tui (Dam Toi) and So Ho Yun and no doubt reflect his training with Master Yang in 1936. On the other hand the Yuk Ro series (6 paths) represent GrandMasters interpretation of the MooYei Do Bo Tong Ji text.

Those early seminars stick in the mind as the highlight of my Tang Soo Do career. Receiving instruction from the founder was memorable enough but so too was the incredible skill and power of Master Hwang, Hyun Chul. Even the 180 degree jumping crescent/chop kick in Chil Sung Sah Ro was executed flawlessly. He also appeared very humble and dedicated to his father . He now carries on the tradition as Soo Bahk Do GrandMaster.

1992 saw the publication of the second volume of Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Moo Duk Kwan. It contained hyungs not included in the first book such as Naihanchi, Jindo, Lo Hai, Sip Soo, Kong Sang Koon, SeiShan, WangShu, Jion and O-Sip Sa Bo but curiously excluded the Tae Geuk Kwon which I understand was shown in the Korean version of Soo Bahk Do Dae Kham. Nonetheless, it did confirm that the principles of Sip Sam Seh were very important in his interpretation and application of hyungs. The special sections of this book demonstrate Yuk Ro and Hwa Sun . GrandMaster states – “ I sincerely wish the discipline of Yuk Ro hyung will be passed down from generation to generation, for the betterment of the practitioners balance of mind and body”.

Sadly, KJN Hwang Kee passed away on 14th July, 2002. He was an inspirational figure who epitomised what a martial artist should be. His legacy will be long lasting and continue in the hearts and minds of future generations who practise Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Moo Duk Kwan.