12 Propers of Effective Technique

There are 12 essential points of emphasis that must be followed in order to have an effective technique.  With a proper understanding and application of all 12 points, your technique will be efficient, effective, and beautiful.  They include:

  1. Proper Foundation
  2. Proper Body Connection
  3. Proper Shi Sun—Mental and Physical Focus and Intent.
  4. Proper Choong Shim—Proper balance throughout the motion centered in the dan jun.
  5. Proper weapon and proper weapon to target application
  6. Proper conditioning of your weapon
  7. Proper Ho Hoop Cho Chung—Dan Jun breathing connected to movement.
  8. Proper Him Cho Chung
  9. Proper Shin Chook—Both internal and external expansion/contraction and tension/relaxation.
  10. Proper Wan Gup—Understanding of proper speed and acceleration in motion.
  11. Proper distance control through adjustments in body positioning
  12. Proper application of F=MA

Proper Foundation

A proper foundation is centered around Ja Seh, roughly translated as Stance.  Literally, Ja Seh translates to “Strength Posture”.   Your stance connects you with Mother Earth, giving you stability, balance, and energy.  A proper stance will allow you to use gravity to your advantage, whereas an improper stance will force you to fight against gravity.

Remember, your foundational stance will change depending on the intent of your technique.  The longer and deeper a stance, the more stable and less mobile it is.  The shorter and shallower the stance, the more mobile but less stable it is.  A Ki Ma Ja Seh is very stable, but not very mobile.  A Pyong Rip Ja Seh (natural standing stance) is highly mobile but not very stable.  It is essential to understand this relationship and be able to adjust your stances based on circumstance.

The Song of Ship Sam Seh says “Hold your head as if suspended by a string” and “when the base of the spine is erect, energy rises to the top of the head.”  Once the proper stance is acquired, it is important to maintain your center.  Your physical and spiritual center resides two to three inches below your navel and is called “dan jun” in Korean.  Your dan jun must always be positioned in the center of your base.  A common mistake with a wide stance is to lean forward or backward depending on whether your intent is on offense or defense.  When you move, your center moves first, forcing the rest of your body to follow.  Keeping your head up and your spine erect, will help ensure that you are moving from your center and that you are properly balanced.  Never learn forward or back with your spine or your head.  Everything should be in alignment with your waist.  If you need to move forward or back, remember to do so from the dan jun rather than from your spine.

Learn what Kwan Jang Nim HC Hwang has to say about the science behind our technique:  click here

Eli's Soo Bahk Do Training

Eli, my son, just barely turned 3.  Before he could even walk, I remember teaching him how to balance on against a chair executing a front and side kick into my palm.  He watches me teach and often practices his hyung when I’m supposedly not looking.  Soo Bahk Do being a passion of mine, it shouldn’t surprise you to see me beaming with joy with his interest in Soo Bahk.

Tonight was the highlight so far.  He grabbed my hand and brought me into my office, shut the door and asked me to turn off the lights.  It’s now dim in the room and not overly dark.  He then says, Daddy Soo Bahk!  He starts kicking and punching.  I get down on my knees and teach him how to do a low block and a punch.  He crosses his hands really well and usually brings his hand across in a low block fashion.  His punches were good too–relatively straight and was even making a proper fist.

Half way through the 10 minute lesson, he asked for a uniform, which of course I already had saved waiting for the moment he would finally want one.  I put it on him and it fit just right.  He then wanted me to put mine on, which I did.  We continued the lesson after a short photoshoot.

He was really interested in not just playing around, but wanted to learn really badly.  I hope to be able to do small 10 minute sessions with him now that he is 3 that way he’ll be prepared to enter the Tiger Tots class when he turns 4.

Eli's Jhoon Bee Ready Stance Eli's Horse Punch Eli's Fighting Stance Eli's Do Mal Seh (Paint Smearing Method #2)

New Testing Requirements

Recently, the US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation issued a new Gup/Dan manual for all of our members.  All current and active members of the federation are eligible to receive a free manual.  You will find that the testing requirements for Cho Dan (1st degree black belt equivalent) has changed.  The curriculum has been stream-lined in order to give ample time and attention to practical self-defense.  In the past, many have commented that the majority of class time is devoted towards memorizing standardized curriculum, leaving less time to improving proper execution of technique, awareness of weapon, and awareness and accuracy of target.

The curriculum below is based on the new minimum standard of curriculum you are required to know in order to test.  Wasatch Martial Arts Academy may require additional points of emphasis to fulfill local requirements.  Also note, that while the amount of memorized curriculum has been decreased, the expectation of performance has increased to a new level.

The minimal time requirement is also slightly different.  It is possible to achieve the rank of Cho Dan within 3 years.  The majority of students will still need to wait 4 or more years before testing for Cho Dan, but exceptionally pro-active students may be able to test for Cho Dan in as little as 3 years.

I hope you will share your comments on the changes below and our local curriculum may adjust slightly in order to better serve its local members.  Later, I will update the Children’s and Adult’s Requirements on the WasatchMartialArts.com website.

Testing Requirements Summary Wasatch Martial Arts Academy

US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Fed.

Rank Min Time Hyung Il Soo Sik Ho Sin Sul

Adult Kids Adult Kids
9th Gup White w/ Stripe 1 Month Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu 1-2 side-step, counter Cross Hand #1 (Release/counter)
8th Gup Orange 2 Months Ki Cho Hyung E Bu #1-2 Cross Hand #1 Cross Hand #1 (Release/Counter)
7th Gup Orange w/ Stripe 3 Months Ki Cho Hyung Sam Bu #3-4 Cross Hand #2 Cross Hand #2 (Release/Counter)
6th Gup Green 3 Months Pyong Ahn Cho Dan #5-6 #1 side-step, counter Cross Hand #3-4 Cross Hand #1
5th Gup Green w/ Stripe 3 Months Chil Sung E Ro #7-8 #3 side-step, counter Straight Hand #1-2 Cross Hand #2
4th Gup Green w/ 2 Stripes 3 Months Chil Sung Il Lo #9-10 #1 Straight Hand #3-4 Straight Hand #1
3rd Gup Red 3 Months Bassai #11-12 #3 2 on 1 Hand #1-3 Straight Hand #2
2nd Gup Red w/ Stripe 3 Months Chil Sung Sam No #13-14 #5 2 on 2 Hand #1-4 2 on 1 Hand #1
1st Gup Red w/ 2 Stripes 6 Months Du Mun #15-16 #7 Side and Back Grabs 2 on 1 Hand #2
Cho Dan Midnight Blue 6 Months Bassai
Chil Sung Sam No Du Mun
#1-18 #1-9 (odds only) All Wrist Grabs #1-2 of Cross, Straight, 2 on 1, and 2 on 2 Hand

Yong Gi

By: Libby Hunt


Yong Gi is the Korean way of saying courage. Yong Gi means a lot. It means standing up for yourself and your friends, not running away from your fears, holding that pose until your arms and legs sting with pain. That is Yong Gi!


I try to show Yong Gi in Soo Bahk Do. It’s harder than you think it is! When we are just standing, I try not to fidget, I try to focus. When we have to hold a pose, I try not to let my arms drop and I try to look straight ahead. I also have a fear of breaking boards. I think that I will hurt my foot or I won’t break it. That is a fear I have to face to be a 3rd gup.


I have used Yong Gi all my life. I had to tell my friend to include me. I had to go up in front of the whole school and do a form for Putting on the Arts. I had to go up in front of my whole acting class and sing a song. But, after I did all these scary things, I realized they are fun.   My friend now includes me and I have more fun.


 I think Yong Gi is important because if you never face your fears you’ll never learn how to get past them. It’s important to get past your fears because you need to have fun in life. I try to use Yong Gi a lot at Soo Bahk Do and at home.  I will try.              



Daphne Mitchie — Red Belt Test

The Moo Do values have several important meanings in my life. For example, Moo Do values include Pyang Ahn, awareness, The Eight Concepts, and discipline. Pyang Ahn means peaceful confidence. To me, awareness means being aware of my weapon, where I am, and where I need to be. The Eight Key Concepts to me include the following: Yong Gi-courage, Chung Shin Tong Il-concentration, and Wan Gup-speed control. To me, discipline means following directions and working hard.

I apply Pyang Ahn when I am swimming. When I am swimming I am peaceful, but still confident in myself. I apply awareness when I am in a very busy place by being conscious of where I am, those who are around me, and the environment that I am in. When I apply The Eight Key Concepts, I am training Soo Bahk. I apply Yong Gi when I am sparring someone taller than I am. I apply Chong Shin Tong Il when I am meditating. I apply Wan Gup when I am doing a form. I apply discipline when I am working hard.  I am trying really hard to get my Red Belt. These concepts have helped me get to the next rank.

Moo Do By Jacob Jefferies (4th Gup)

There are many parts of moo do that we’ve learned about in Soo Bahk Do training such as courage (yong gi), concentration (chung shin tong il), endurance (in neh), honesty (chung jik), and humility (kyum son).

First, I am focusing on concentration (chung shin tong il). I have been concentrating on having better stances in class and on learning new forms. Concentrating also helps me be more prepared and when I’m prepared, people look up to me. My teachers reward me for my hard work. When I concentrate I don’t have to do extra work. When I concentrate in piano I can play better. When I concentrate when I’m shooting baskets I can get more points. When I concentrate when making scrambled eggs they don’t get burnt. When I concentrate on carving, my fingers don’t get cut. When I’m concentrating on breaking boards, I don’t get bruises and I can break the boards. When concentrating, you get lots of confidence.

Honesty (chung jik) is another part of Soo Bahk Do that I try to always do. Even though if you do something wrong you may get punished, you can learn with the mistake you made. You can be rewarded by being honest. If you don’t tell the truth the first time, the problem grows and you get into a bigger heap of trouble. If you tell the truth the first time, you don’t have to get in all this trouble. Sometimes, I don’t practice piano like I should, but when my mom asks me about it, I tell the truth. My mom isn’t disappointed in me when I’m honest. People can trust you when you’re honest. One time at school, I was playing freeze tag with some friends. I wasn’t honest about being frozen and they figured it out and I had to be “it”. From this, I learned a lesson.

Finally, I want to talk about courage (yong gi). I showed courage in church by bearing my testimony in sacrament meeting this month. There were a lot of people there, maybe 350 people. I was happy to share my testimony even though it was a big group and I had to walk up to the stand by myself. Other kids followed my example.

I think I should advance to 3rd Gup (red belt). I want to finish what I started. I feel motivated to go to my destination. Soo Bahk Do makes me feel better by letting me focus and know something about self-defense. I feel good about Soo Bahk Do and that I should keep trying. When I do this – when I finish, I go on to the next thing, the next level and try harder. This is why I think I should be a red belt.

How I have reflected the Moo Do Philosophy in my life – Joshua Jefferies (4th Gup)

In my life I have reflected Moo Do in many ways. I have always done this, but even more so after joining Soo Bahk Do Moo Do Kwan. These are some ways of showing Moo Do in my life.

Showing respect to others is very important in Soo Bak and in life. I try to show respect to my parents, teachers, and peers whenever possible. I do this by obeying my elders and following what they tell me to do. A recent way I have showed this was last Friday when a guest came to stay at our house over the weekend. I was home alone and although I did not want to help clean and prepare for this person, I did want them to be in a clean environment. It was a last minute job that I probably could have avoided but I did not complain, did my jobs well, and I even asked if there was anything else I could do to help. By doing this, my mom and I were able to finish the jobs we needed to do.

I am loyal to my friends and other peers by helping them and listening to what they have to say. I am trying to improve on this right now. As Assistant Senior Patrol Leader in my scout troop, our Senior Patrol Leader and I have been trying to encourage another scout to come more often. We are now planning a campout directed towards him to encourage him in scouting. We hope this will get him more involved so we can be better friends.

By following Moo Do I learn and grow in many ways. I have learned Yong Gi (courage), Chung Shin Tong Il (concentration), In Neh (Endurance), Chun Jik (honesty), and other values. I practice these every day, but I worked on honesty just last night, as I was looking for a book I accidently saw our web protection password. I knew that for my safety that this was not something that I should know. I told my parents about how I had seen the password on accident and she changed the password, this experience helped me be more honest, and helped me to be safe.

I also have really been working on my humility and on finishing what I have started. I recently showed this in my schoolwork. About three weeks ago although I did not want to admit that I was failing my History and Math classes and was almost in denial. But I humbled myself to the advice of my parents and teachers and worked hard. I did not want to fail those classes so I voluntarily stayed after school, redid my assignments, and did extra credit work. The term ended this past Friday and I passed both classes with B’s.

Because of Moo Do I have been able to learn many special things about Soo Bahk and other things in life. These values and concepts have helped prepare me for my rank advancement and I think I am ready both mentally and physically for this test. I am ready to take on the responsibility of a red belt and realize that I am someone else’s pier and someone else’s elder and truly believe that I can help others the way I have been helped .This understanding has and will also help me go further in Soo Bahk Do and other fields of life.


April 2009 Gup Shim Sa

Congratulations to everyone who has earned their next promotion.  You all did a superb job and I couldn’t be prouder.  This was our largest test yet. Candidates ranged from taking their first test to achieving their orange, green and red belts.  This was the first time Wasatch Martial Arts has promoted a red belt.  I’ve posted a few pictures of the test for you to enjoy:



Skylar, Cate, and Ethan

Johnny and Grant





Kyok Pa