Soo Bahk Do Institute

Never has it been easier to stay connected to the roots of Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Moo Duk Kwan. Whether you are currently active in the World Moo Duk Kwan under the direction of Grandmaster H.C. Hwang (son of Founder Hwang Kee) or your lineage is connected to the Founder in some way, then this new website is for you. It’s important to note that anyone who trains in Tang Soo Do or Soo Bahk Do can trace his or her history back to the founder of the Moo Duk Kwan, Hwang Kee, Kwan Jang Nim. Even most members of Tae Kwon Do trace their roots back to Grandmaster Hwang Kee.

The Soo Bahk Do Institute is the body of knowledge of the World Moo Duk Kwan with videos of Grandmaster H.C. Hwang and others demonstrating every aspect of this classical martial art. Every form is demonstrated including the form series Ki Cho, Pyong Ahn, Naihanji, Chil Sung, and Yuk Ro. It includes additional traditional Japanese forms like Bassai, Jin Do, Lo Hai, Kong Sang Koon, Sip Soo, O Sip Sa Bo, Wang Shu, and Ji-On. There is even historic information on rarely seen Hwa Sun Hyung.

It is important to remember that if you truly want to learn the material within the Soo Bahk Do Institute, you should connect with your closest certified instructor in the Moo Duk Kwan. If you would like help locating a certified instructor in your area, leave a comment. If you are in the Salt Lake City area, let’s get in touch as I am a registered affiliate of the Soo Bahk Do Institute and a certified instructor under the Moo Duk Kwan.

Listen to Grandmaster H.C. Hwang’s message on the Soo Bahk Do Institute here.

Youth Ambassador Seminar – Fall 2010

Region 8 Youth Ambassador Seminar
Region 8 Youth Ambassador Seminar

This fall, during the 126th Dan Classing Championships, we created history as the Youth Ambassador Program was unveiled to each of the 10 Regions that represent the US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation. This program was a result of Kwan Jang Nim Hwang’s wishes that regional and national seminars would begin to have a new track for kids, teenagers, and young adults that would suit their unique needs, interests, and abilities. The Regional Examiners from each of the 10 Regions appointed one Youth Ambassador representative and one of those representatives would become the US Youth Ambassador and represent the USA at an international level. That person is currently Katie Worley, Jo Kyo.

The Youth Ambassador’s mission is to create fun, dynamic training opportunities for kids, teenagers, and young adults while still aligning the trainings with the same theme and purpose as the TAC seminars for that year. This year’s topic being Moo Do Jaseh and a fusion of Chun Jin and Hu Jin motions in the form of Sam Soo Sik Dae Ryun, the Youth Ambassadors decided to give a seminar with a similar focus.

The following are some major takeaways from the seminar that will be useful for instructors and students alike to add additional repetitions to the exercises taught.


Bodhidharma was an Indian Buddhist Monk born into either the Brahman or Warrior class.  This high status gave him a good education and a privileged life.  After seeing the suffering of those under him, he gave up his status and birthright and became a hermit, hiking over the Himalayan Mountains into China.  He eventually encountered a monastery of feeble monks who could neither provide for their physical needs nor protect themselves from bandits.  He tried to teach the monks to protect themselves and improve their physical strength and health.  Unfortunately, his guidance was not wanted and he was sent away.

Bodhidharma spent the next 9 years in a mountain cave meditating.  Showing perfect stillness and discipline, he meditated on how to best help the monks.  Legend says that once he lost his discipline and fell asleep during his wall gazing.  He was so upset by his lack of discipline and awareness, he ripped his eyelids off so he could never fall asleep again.  As he continued to meditate, his eyelashes became seeds of the tea plant, which today helps monks stay awake during very difficult meditation practices.

Bodhidharma eventually left the mountain and returned to the monastery.  It is said that what he taught the monks was the beginnings of the Shaolin style (So Rim).  He is considered not only the founder of Shaolin Kung Fu (So Rim Jang Kwon), but also of Chan (Zen) Buddhism.

There are many oral and written legends about Bodhidharma.  There is substantial evidence that Bodhidharma did exist, however, various conflicting stories make it hard to decipher truth from legend.  What we can extract from this is that what we consider to be traditional East Asian martial arts began with a strong foundation of moo do jaseh.  This story is the very embodiment of moo do:  discipline, stillness, and awareness that will lead to self-mastery.

Course Summary

The following two exercises will challenge the practitioner in discipline, stillness, and awareness.  This was the heart of the routines taught in the Youth Ambassador Seminar.

Rope Exercise

Two participants are tied to each other, one moving forward with Choong Dan Kong Kyuk and the other retreating with a Hu Gul Jaseh and a natural block (Pahkesu Ahnuro Mahkee).  Neither side should pull on the rope or allow the rope to drag.  Keep the rope tight at all times.

Sweeping Exercise

This next exercise comes from Chil Sung Sam Lo (pronounced Sam No) and Chil Sung Yuk Ro (pronounced Yoong No).  The following videos will do a good job explaining how it works.  In the first video, please pay attention how I break down the sweep.  It is important to get the hand positions correct on each step of the sweeps.  Use the strength of your legs as you transition from one sweep to the next.  As you perform each sweep, don’t emphasize moving your leg, rather the twisting of your body using your waist (Hu Ri).  Don’t forget your foundational Soo Bahk training!  Remember, this is not an easy combination and is very physically demanding.  Only extreme effort will result in success.

Study Guide for White Belts

This study guide will focus on Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu, the main requirement for your first promotion to 9th Gup (white belt with a blue stripe) in Soo Bahk Do. Please visit in the White Belt Instruction category to view all of the material that we cover at the white belt level. Please note that children requirements are different. For specific requirements to compare with, please see my list of testing requirements.

Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu

Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu (Basic Form #1) is the first form you have to learn and the main requirement for your first promotion to 9th Gup (white with a blue stripe) in Soo Bahk Do.  This form was created by the late Grandmaster Hwang Kee, founder of Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, in 1945 in Seoul, South Korea.  It has a total of 22 movements including the Jhoon Bee Jaseh (ready stance) at the beginning and ending of the form. Some concepts I hope you will learn as a result of continued practice of Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu include:

  • Stepping and turning in a front stance
  • Basic understanding of defensive and offensive hip twist
  • Proper crossing for a low block and proper fist for the center punch.
  • Good chamber hand discipline.
  • Improved awareness through Shi Sun (eye focus)

Memorization Patterns

The form diagram is a capital “I”.  Each corner of the “I” has the combination low block, stepping center punch.  The middle of the I has the combination: low block, stepping center punch, stepping center punch, stepping center punch (ki hap or yell).  Whenever you change directions, step and turn towards the center of the “I” with the FRONT foot.  The exception to this rule is after a ki hap.  After the 3rd punch down the center of the “I”, you will turn in the drection of the center of the “I” but with the REAR foot.  The turns are probably the most difficult part of the form for a beginner.

Below you will find myself performing Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu deliberately to show the various intermediate positions.  On the right, you will find Kwan Jang Nim (Grandmaster) H.C. Hwang, current President of World Moo Duk Kwan demonsrating the same hyung.


Performance Tips

  1. Cross your arms with the blocking hand on top for a preparation for the low block.
  2. Before the stepping center punch, raise the low block up to center level and hold your rear hip back in an offensive hip preparation for the punch (notice my pause in the video before each punch).
  3. Before turning, always do a strong look, demonstrating proper intention.
  4. Don’t forget about your chamber hand (the hand not performing the technique).
  5. The only stance is the front stance.  Your legs should be shoulder width a part, front knee bent, rear knee straight with your rear foot facing in a FORWARD direction.  If the stance is correct, your belt should be facing forward.
  6. A center punch should be targeted at your own solar plexus.
  7. Don’t forget to inhale on the preparations and exhale on the contractions.
  8. Practice this form regularly at home until it is engrained in your muscle memory.

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 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