Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do
Following the Japanese occupation,
Korea searched for native inspirations to help reawaken its strength of character
which had been submerged. They found it by unifying the martial arts, the nine
“kwans (schools) that had been developing. The idealism of the original kwans
was unique and special. It was such an important force that all of Tae Kwon
Do practiced throughout the world today derives in some way from these early
roots. Of the original nine kwans, Chung Do Kwan, started by Grandmaster Won
Kook Lee was the first. Its leadership was passed along to Duk Sung Son in the
1950’s. He took the modest-sized “Blue Wave school and built it into the largest
kwan in Korea. On December 19, 1955, the kwans officially united as one and
Tae Kwon Do was born. Grandmaster Son played an active role in the process.
He brought Chung Do Kwan Tae Kwon Do to the United States in the early 60’s
rather than see it dissolved into standardisation, opening one of the early
martial arts organizations in the USA. He trained a number of masters of traditional
Tae Kwon Do. Some became instructors, some directors for his organization.
Then as the years passed, he consolidated his leadership and parted with
some of his original masters or instructors, who branched off into their own
organizations, broadening their approach. One of these is Master
Kim of Tuscon, a creative and talented Master who has reached out to instruct
the West, contributing to the development of Tae Kwon Do with his own students
Grandmaster Son continues to remain true to his tradition, teaching strength of body and mind. He has inspired many students for decades with “Always best! Tae Chun Do carries forth this spirit, encouraging students to put forth their best effort with every kick, punch, and block. Strong kicks, blocks, and attacks help build powerful techniques executed with the good control that no contact teaches. We honor Grandmaster Son highly, a founding father of Tae Kwon Do, who perpetuates a powerful and inspiring tradition, source of our Chung Do Kwan roots.
The Burmese martial system of
Bando evolved principles from observation of nature. Bando techniques draw from
study of the spirit and instincts of animals. In the jungles of Burma, Bando
practitioners saw that all animals are equal. The tiger may think he is king
of the jungle, but he can be killed by a scorpion. The boar can overpower with
dynamic force, but size and strength are not the determiners: no one animal
is supreme. This translates into fundamental principles in Bando: use your talents.
Some might develop graceful evasive motions with fading, stepping, and absorption
of force. Others might find it more in their nature to charge in forcefully,
hard and fast. Bandoists individualize their technique.
Bando was brought from the jungles of war-torn Burma to the United States by Dr. Maung Gyi, who founded American Bando and developed other divisions such as a sport division using kickboxing to evolve these traditions even further. He has taught Bando to the military and the police along with other dedicated practitioners. Integral to Bando is honoring the armed services and all veterans who have served their country. Tae Chun Do has incorporated some of Bando’s basic concepts and techniques as taught to us, though we do not include kickboxing in our own art. We honor the founder and his traditions.
The Chinese art of Wing Chun uses force in a unique sensitive way that allows a smaller person to overcome a larger one. According to one legendary story of this art’s origins, a woman named Yim Wing Chun began the style. She had been promised in marriage but when the time came, she did not wish to marry the man chosen for her. He offered her the option of fighting for her freedom. She felt great despair. After all, how could she, a small, weak woman, overcome a powerful man? A great female Shaolin monk took pity on her and secretly taught her how to use her small stature to her advantage. She was victorious and was granted her freedom to choose another. Many of the concepts in Wing Chun such as the center line and quick, direct movements help make this possible. Tae Chun Do includes parts of this that integrate well within the unity of what we teach. Hard powerful style can be balanced and complimented with sensitive and soft style, as in the yin-yang.
Modern Arnis, and Jujitsu
These two arts are also a part of Tae Chun Do. The ability to flow with a force and redirect it is paramount in both. Modern Arnis, derived from the stick arts of the Philippines, was brought to the United States by Remy Presas. Modern Arnis teaches how to tap into the inner spirit for strength, confidence, and perseverance through continuous motion rather than static technique. The cornerstone of this system is “the flow, an interactive way of moving in tune with the opponent. Jujitsu, known as the gentle art of self defense, is very old with roots reaching back to ancient China and India. Today in America jujitsu is practiced broadly in many different forms. Aikido and Judo are outgrowths from Jujitsu. Jujitsu uses sensitivity for hand-to-hand grappling techniques. Tae Chun Do puts flow to use in soft blocking, locks, holds, and takedowns. Tae Chun Doists learn to flow with the opponent and redirect their force to their advantage.
Philosophy & Meditation
Tae Chun Do
is a meditative art. All practitioners learn how to meditate and apply it to
their techniques. We draw from the meditative traditions of Zen and Taoism.
The original founder of Zen, Bodhidharma, was also the legandary founder of
martial arts. According to legend, Bodhidharma was born a Brahman prince in
the southern kingdom of India. When he was very young, he became a student of
the great Buddhist master Prajnatara. He was a star pupil who achieved enlightenment
early. Prajnatara gave him his religious name, Bodhidharma, which translates
as “the Law of Enlightenment.
Bodhidharma promised his teacher that he would spread the wisdom of meditation to China. According to legend, he set out alone across the land by foot, a long and dangerous journey. He did not believe in carrying weapons or killing animals, despite the dangers from bandits and wild animals. He befriended, observed, and studied animals natural ways, including how they fought. Practical applications of their methods suggested themselves to him, including how to defend himself against attack without using weapons.
Bodhidharma arrived in China and began to teach his intense style of meditation. But he found the Chinese were not interested in what he had to say. Bodhidharma turned to a wall and meditated in silence for nine years. No one could disturb his calm or get his attention. Finally, one worthy disciple among the many who came, begged for his teaching and received it. Bodhidharma began to teach meditation to the monks at the Shaolin temple. He found that his new students were unable to sustain their concentration for long. He invented a way for them to meditate while moving, exercising mind and body together as one. These movements originally used for health and vitality marked the birth of martial arts. Over generations, patterns were combined, embellished and evolved. Diverse styles emerged. Although the movements are now used for many purposes such as sport and self defense, the spirit of traditional martial arts techniques have their roots in meditation. Thus we consider meditation fundamental to Tae Chun Do.
Back to Main Page / Interesting Links / Book Corner / Photos / Events / E-mail us