Soo Bahk Do is the scientific use 1 of the body in methods of self-defence, combined with a strict philosophy guiding the student towards discovering their full potential.
Soo Bahk Do translates literally as “hand strike way” or “way of the striking hand”. The history of Soo Bahk Do can be traced back over 2000 years to the Ko Ku Ryo Dynasty in ancient Korea. It is a traditional martial art with the purpose of “developing every aspect of oneself in order to create a mature human being who totally integrates intellect, body, emotions and spirit.” This highly effective self-defence system and beautiful traditional art form is a balance between hard and soft styles.
Soo Bahk Do has something to offer for everyone. From the active techniques like kicking for the younger people to the meditative breathing exercises and forms for the more mature people
Soo Bahk Do is an art, not a sport and a great emphasis is placed on the fact it is non-competitive, however Soo Bahk Do does have strong combat and self-defence applications, solely for the purpose of practicing the elements of the art.
What makes Soo Bahk Do stand out is its versatility and philosophy. Throughout the centuries, Korea has been attacked and invaded by its surrounding neighbours many times, and as such Soo Bahk Do became versatile out of necessity. This has resulted in an art that demands mastery of the whole body, not just kicking and punching. The challenging techniques taught range from fast, spontaneous movements to slow, graceful flowing movements that not only give variety but challenge students at all levels.
The martial arts of Korea are some of the most ancient known to man (no doubt owing to her close proximity to China), generally thought to have originated during the ‘Three Kingdoms’ period over 2000 years ago. It was then that an elite corps of young aristocrats (the Hwa Rang Dan) renowned for their martial skills and code of ethics, inspired the people of Silla to unite and overthrow the kingdoms of Koguryo and Paekche thus uniting the Korean peninsula for the first time. Also during this period, the primitive art of self-defence called Soo Bahk Ki (foot and body fighting) was combined with the warrior principles of the Hwa Rang Dan, and the traditional art of Soo Bahk Do was the result. Later, Soo Bahk Do merged with other combat forms, and shortly after World War II, these were the techniques from which Grandmaster Hwang Kee would develop modern day Soo Bahk Do.” With the development of Soo Bahk Do Grandmaster Hwang Kee introduced and founded the Moo Duk Kwan organisation. The combination of Soo Bahk Do and Moo Duk Kwan introduce a balance between the physical and the mental. Soo Bahk Do is the physical (the actual techniques) element of the art while the Moo Duk Kwan is the mental side of the art represented in the 5 Moo Do Values (Tradition, History, Philosophy, Discipline and Respect, Technique). For more information please see the about the organisation page.
The basic purpose for training in Soo Bahk Do is not to injure the enemy, but instead to develop a person who is more advanced in both the mental and physical aspects of life. It is based on the various nature principles of Oriental philosophy. This kind of concept contributes to peace and happiness for all mankind.
Excerpt from an interview by Alan Sutton of Hwang Kee and HC Hwang, Inside Kung Fu, May 1975