Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art which teaches empty hand and foot fighting, fighting forms, self-defense, and weapons. Tang Soo Do also teaches people to live a healthy and harmonious life. This ancient martial art traces its lineage back 2,000 years to the Korean peninsula.
Tang Soo Do literally means "The Way of the Chinese Hand" and has roots in various styles of martial arts including those found in Korea, China, and Okinawa. These roots started in Korean Tae Kyon, Chinese Shaolin and Japanese Shotokan.
During the Japanese occupation of Korea (1910-1945), some Koreans were exposed to Okinawan versions of Chinese martial arts such as Karate. As the Japanese moved deeper into the continent, Karate was adopted and practiced from the philosophical perspective that reflected the traditional Korean martial arts such as Taekkyon, Soo Bahk, as well as traditional Chinese martial arts studied by Koreans in Manchuria and China.
Around the time of the liberation of Korea in 1945, five martial arts schools were formed by men who were also trained in Soo Bahk, Taekkyon, Karate, Kungfu. Their schools were called the Kwans. The Kwans and their founders were the Chung Do Kwan (Lee Won Kuk), Jidokwan (Chun Sang Sup), Chang Moo Kwan (Yoon Byung In), Moo Duk Kwan (Hwang Kee), and Song Moo Kwan (Roh Byung Jick). These schools taught what most Americans know as "Korean Karate." However, there were some important philosophical differences in technique application and more of an emphasis on kicking in the these systems.