Student Handbook

The History of Tang Soo Do

Tang Soo Do is a relatively modern Korean martial art based upon the ancient Korean art of Soo Bahk Do, which dates back to the 6th Century. However, the exact origin of Tang Soo Do is obscure. Some Japanese Karate experts insist that the art is of Japanese origin; some say it came from Okinawa; others say it began in China with Bodhidarma and spread from there.

It was during the Silla Dynasty (618 - 935 AD) that the martial arts expanded rapidly in Korea. The Kingdom of Silla was one of the three kingdoms in Korea and was notable for the military prowess of its young warrior class, the Hwa Rang. The five basic principles of Tang Soo Do are derived from the principles of these elite warriors. However, Tang Soo Do gained most of its popularity during the Koryo Dynasty (935 - 1392 AD).

At the beginning of the Yi Dynasty (1392-1910), the National Martial Arts Manual was published, and the term Soo Bahk Do became widely used. During the occupation of Korea by Japan (1907 - 1945) the practice of native martial arts was prohibited. This prohibition forced many Korean Soo Bahk Do Masters to emigrate, or to practice secretly. Tang Soo Do was developed by Grand Master Hwang Kee. He mastered Tae Kyun and Soo Bahk Do at the age of 22. Upon his travels to Northern China in 1936, he encountered a Chinese variation of martial artistry called the Tang Method. From 1936 to 1945 he combined Soo Bahk Do with the Tang Method and developed what was to be known as Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, even though it was officially registered in Korea on November 9, 1945 as the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association.

At the beginning of the modern era of Korean martial arts, Tang Soo Do was the most popular term for the merged martial arts, however, at that time, the Korean political leader was concerned about establishing Korean value based on Korean nationalism. The political leaders recognized the popularity of Korean martial arts around the world, but were opposed to the use of the name Tang Soo Do for the art, as it sounded like a Chinese martial art. In 1964, a government sponsored small group created a new name for the Korean martial arts: Tae Kwon Do.

The World Tang Soo Do Association still respects the original term, Tang Soo Do, and intends to preserve its heritage and value as a traditional way or path. So Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do are divided principally, with Tang Soo Do striving to remain as a traditional martial art, while Tae Kwon Do held its world games and sports.

The International Tang Soo Do Federation (ITSDF) was formed in 1989. The United Kingdom Tang Soo Do Federation currently serves as its administrative and technical headquarters. Tang Soo Do has since spread throughout the world. Practiced by champions like Chuck Norris, it is a proven method of fighting with a long and proud tradition of victories.

Our training is traditional, encompassing the refinement of technique, hyung (forms) and dae ryun (sparring). We encourage the pursuit of excellence in our Art and applaud our students' and instructors' achievements both within our discipline and in their scholastic and personal achievements. 

The bedrock has always been and continues to be its emphasis on respect for the traditions, beliefs, and practices, which characterize Tang Soo Do.

Korean Flag

Kuk Ki, The Korean Flag sym-bolizes much of the thought, philosophy and mysticism of the orient. The symbol imprinted on the center is called the "Tae Keuk", it is a circle which is divided and yet joined. The circle itself represents the absolute or the necessary unity of all things. The upper red section is called the Yang and the lower blue section is called the Um or, more commonly known, Ying. The Um Yank is the ancient symbol of the creation of the universe and shows the differences between day and night, hot and cold, Good and Evil. It is a representation of opposites and also a representation of how all parts are needed in order to be whole. The Um (Ying) represents contraction and assimilation and the Yang represents expansion and separation. The bars located in each corner of the flag represents the elements in the universe. The three solid bars in the upper left represents Heaven, the bars in the lower right corner represent earth. The bars in the lower left corner represents fire and the bars in the upper right corner represent Water. From the Tae Keuk Ki we learn that all parts of humanity, both good and bad are required if we are to ever find center.

Our Philosophy

Very simply, our goal is to teach self-respect and respect for others through the study and practice of Tang Soo Do, a very historic and traditional Korean discipline of the martial arts. The ideas of respect and tradition are pervasive in all of our activities and for all students at every level of achievement.

What We Do

On the spectrum of martial arts, Tang Soo Do is an external, hard discipline. We teach forms (hyungs), sparring, weapons, breaking, and self-defense techniques. We expect everyone to learn basic Korean martial arts terminology and the language of courtesy. We take part in martial arts tournaments across the country and internationally, hold tournaments within our own Federation, and offer a variety of activities for our young people-…everything from summer camps to cookouts to sleepovers. We take part in community activities by giving exhibitions in schools, fairs, and taking part in Special Olympics activities as well as community service fundraisers for various local organizations.

Tang Soo Do Student Creed

  • I intend to develop myself in a positive manner and to avoid anything that would reduce my mental growth or physical health.

  • I intend to develop self-discipline in order to bring out the best in others and myself.

  • I intend to use what I learn in class constructively and defensively to help my fellow man, myself, and never to be abusive or offensive.

8 Key Concepts

Yong Gi Courage
Chung Shin Tong Il Concentration
In Neh Endurance
Chung Jik Honesty
Kyum Son Humility
Him Cho Chung Control of Power
Shin Chook Tension & Relaxation
Wan Gup Speed Control

Our Protocol

Upon entering the Do-Jang (Training Place/Floor) students must bow first to the National Flags. If the class has already begun before you enter, you will, after bowing, wait for the instructor's acknowledgment of your bow and the instructor’s permission to join the class.

When class is to officially begin, all students will stop what they are doing and face the instructor at attention. All students will quickly line up according to rank and seniority. The instructor will then bow in the entire class.

At the end of the class, the instructor will bow the class out. Anytime a student enters or leaves the Do-Jang, they must bow. 

Do Bahk (uniform)

Black Belt- 1" Black trim on Lapels, Cuffs, Hem line of Jacket. Last Name printed on back, optional.

Apprentice Black Belt- 1" Black trim on Lapels, Cuffs, Hem line of Jacket. Red Belt, no stripes worn in class. Black belt, no stripes at tournament.

Red Belt - Red trim on lapels.

Green Belt - Green trim on lapels.

All Ranks - Federation Patch on left chest.

Flags (optional) - U.S. Flag on left sleeve. Korean flag on right sleeve, red yang on top.

Additional Patches - Jr. Leader, Assistant Instructor, Instructor, or other achievement patches go on right sleeve under Korean Flag.

Belt Ranking System

  1st Degree Black Belt

Apprentice Black Belt

1 Gup Red Belt

1 1/2 Gup Red Belt

2 Gup Red Belt

2 1/2 Gup Red Belt

3 Gup Red Belt

3 1/2 Gup Red Belt

Apprentice Red Belt

4 Gup Green Belt

4 1/2 Gup Green Belt

5 Gup Green Belt

5 1/2 Gup Green Belt

6 Gup Green Belt

6 1/2 Gup Green Belt

Apprentice Green Belt

7 Gup Purple Belt

7 1/2  Gup Purple Belt

Apprentice Purple

8 Gup Blue Belt

8 1/2 Gup Blue Belt

Apprentice Blue Belt

9 Gup Orange Belt

9 1/2 Gup Orange Belt

Apprentice Orange Belt

10 Gup White Belt

Commands in Training

Commands in Training

Jhoon Bee


Cha Ryut


Kyung Yet


Ba Ro








Shi Jock


Dwi Ro Tora

Turn to Rear

Ky Ryung


Ky Ryung E Mat Cho So

By the Count

Ky Ryung Up Shi

Without Count

Kyo Sa Nim Kyung Yet

Bow to Instructor

Sa Bah Nim Kyung Yet

Bow to Master Instructor

Kwan Jang Nim Kyung Yet

Bow to Grand Master

uk Ki Bay Ray

Bow to Flag

Sahng Ho Kan E Kyung Yet

Bow to Partner

Shim Sa Kwan Nim Ge Kyung Yet

Bow to Judge

Basic Terminology

Chung Shim


Cho Bo Ja


Ki Cho






Kyuck Pa


Ho Sin Sul



Training Hall/Studio

Deh Ryun


Ja Yu Dae Ryun

Free Sparring

Il Soo Sik Dae Ryun

One Step Sparring

Ha Dan

Low Part

Chun Dan

Middle Part

Sang Dan

High Part


Black Belt


Color Belt

Kwan Won

Student Member

Hu Beh

Junior Member

Sun Beh

Senior Member

Yu Dan Ja

Dan Holder







Rin Jok


Wen Jok


Kuk Ki

National Flag of Korea


Form or Pattern

Ki Hap

Yell (Focus Mind) 



Do Bahk


Neh Gung

Internal Power

Weh Gung

External Power

Shim Gung

Spiritual Power

Yu Gup Ja

Gup Holder

Shi Sun

Focus of Eyes

Kwang Jang Nim

Grand Master

Sa Bah Nim

Master Instructor

Kyo Sah Nim


Ko Dan Ja

Senior Dan Holder


Tahns Bong

Short Stick

Jung Bong

Middle Staff

Jang Bong

Long Staff

Ji Pang E


Cha Ru




Ee Chul Bong


Tan Do




Gum (Kum)


Boo Chai


Pho Bak







Han Bal Soo Kee Jaseh

Crane Stance

Basai Jaseh

Cross Stance

Hu Kul Jaseh

Fighting Stance

Chun Kul Jaseh

Front or #1 Stance

Kee Ma Jaseh

Horse Stance

Jhoon Bee Jaseh

Ready Stance

Sa Ko Rip Jaseh

Side Stance

Punching / Hand Technique

Soo Ki

Hand Technique

Kap Kwon

Back Fist

Jung Kwon

Fore Fist

Jang Kwon

Palm Heel

Yuk Soo Do

Ridge Hand (palm down)

Soo Do

Knife Hand (palm up)

Sang Dan Kong Kyuck

High Punch

Chun Dan Kong Kyunck

Middle Punch

Ha Dan Kong Kyuck

Low Punch

Kwan Soo Kong Kyuck

Spear Hand (hand vertical)

Yuk Jin Kong Kyuck

Reverse Punch

Wheng Jin Kong Kyuck

Horse Stance Punch

Pahl Koop Kong Kyuck

Elbow Strike

Kwon DoKong Kyunck


Blocking Techniques

Mahk Ki

Blocking Technique

Sang Dan Mah Ki

High Block

Sang Dan Soo Do Mahk Ki

High Knife Hand Block

Ssang Soo Sang Dan Mahk Ki

High X Block

Ahneso Phaku Ro Mahk Ki

Inside/Out Block

Ha Dan Mahk Ki

Low Block

Chun Kul Ssang Soo Mahk Ki

2 Fist Block

Ha Dan Soo Mahk Ki

Low Knife Hand Block

Ssang Soo Ha Dan Mahk Ki

Low X Block

Chun Dan Soo Do Mahk Ki

Middle Knife Hand Block

Phakeso Ahnu Ro Mahk Ki

Outside/Inside Block

Ssang Soo Dan Mahk Ki

2 Hand Block

Kicking Techniques

Jok Ki

Foot Technique

Cha Ki


Cchik Cha Ki

Ax Kick

Dwi Cha Ki

Back Kick

Ahp Mee Ro Cha Ki

Front Pushing Kick

Tollyo Ahp Cha Ki

Round House Kick

Yup Cha Ki

Side Kick

Ahp Cha Ki

Front Kick

Bahl Poto Oly Ki

Front Stretch Kick

Dwi Tollyo Cha Ki

Spinning Back Round Kick

E Dan Yup Cha Ki

Jump Side Kick

E Dan Tollyo Cha Ki

Jump Roundhouse Kick

Moo Roop Cha Ki

Knee Kick

Dwi hu Ryo Cha Ki

Back Wheel/Heel Kick

Ahneso Phaku Ro Cha Ki

Crescent Kick (Inside/Out)

Phakeo Ahnu Ro Cha Ki

Crescent Kick (Outside/In)

Bit Cha Ki

Diagonal or Bow Kick

Yup Hu Ryo Cha Ki

Side Hook Kick 

Yup Poto Oly Ri Ki

Side Stretch Kick

E Dan Dwi Cha Ki

Jump Back Kick

E Dan Ahp Cha Ki

Jump Front Kick

Dwi Yup Hu Ryo Cha Ki

Spinning Hook Kick

Forms / Hyungs


Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu

Basic Form 1


Ki Cho Hyung E Bu

Basic Form 2


Ki Cho Hyung    Sam Bu

Basic Form 3


Pyung Ahn Hyung  Cho Dan

Well Balanced, Calm & Peaceful Form 1


Pyung Ahn Hyung     E Dan

Well Balanced, Calm & Peaceful Form 2


Pyung Ahn Hyung Sam Dan

Well Balanced, Calm & Peaceful Form 3


Pyung Ahn Hyung   Sa Dan

Well Balanced, Calm & Peaceful Form 4


Pyung Ahn Hyung Oeh Dan

Well Balanced, Calm & Peaceful Form 5

8 1/2 Chil San Ilro 1st of Seven Stars


Bassai Dae 

Form of the Cobra


Nia Han Ji Hyung Cho Dan

Inside / Inward Step Advanced Form 1

10 1/2 Chil San Ero 2nd of Seve n Stars


Nia Han Ji Hyung E Dan

Inside / Inward Step Advanced Form 2


Nia Han Ji Hyung Sam Dan

Inside / Inward Step Advanced Form 3

12 1/2

Chil San Samro

3rd of Seven Stars

Black Belt Hyungs

Jin Do

Form of Quiet Waves
Sip Soo Form of the Bear
` Ro Hai Form of the White Heron
Kong Sang Koon Form of the Eagle
Sei Shan Form of the Preying Mantis
Wang Shu Form of the Bird
Chil San Sa Ro 4th of Seven Stars  
Ji On Form of the Ram
Yuk Ro Cho Dan Entering the Gate
Chil San Oeh Ru 5th of Seven Stars  
O Sip Sa Bo Form of the Tiger
Yuk Ro E Dan Cutting the Middle
Chil San Yuk Ro 6th of Seven Stars  
Bassai So Form of the Snake
Yuk Ro Sam Dan Embracing the Moon
Chil San Chil Ro 7th of Seven Stars  
Yuk Ro Sa Dan High Whip
Hwa Sun Mountain Wizard
Yuk Ro Oh Dan Killing Scale
Shim Pa
Yuk Ro Yuk Dan Capturing


Ha Na


Ship Il Bon




Ship E Bon




Ship Sam Bon




Ship Sa Bon


Da Sot


Ship O Bon


Yuh Sot


Ship Yuk Bon


Il Gop


Ship Chil Bon


Yo Dull


Ship Pahl Bon




Ship Ku bon




E Ship