Chung Do Kwan, created by Won Kuk Lee in 1944, is one of the first of nine schools or kwan teaching Tang Soo Do, later the school began to teach what came to be known as taekwondo. This style of Tang Soo Do is known for its overall power and emphasis on kicks to the head.
The Chung Do Kwan (靑濤館; "Blue Wave School") name was first used by Won Kuk Lee. Lee had studied Taekkyon in An Gup Dong (a neighborhood in Seoul), karate with Sensei Gichin Funakoshi in Okinawa, and kung fu at centers in Henan and Shanghai in China. Lee earned 4th dan ranking in Shotokan karate. According to Yong Taek Chung (a student of Lee) "it is probable that he did practice in secret as a teenager because he told this author that when he first started training he and his first teachers would not exchange names due to possible consequences if someone got caught." Chung Do Kwan was the second oldest of the martial arts schools, or "kwans", that were established following the Japanese Occupation of Korea, being established shortly after the Song Moo Kwan.
Lee trained under Gichin Funakoshi Sensei at Chuo University in Japan. Lee also traveled to China and Okinawa, studying martial arts technique, history, and philosophy. According to Won Kuk Lee interview, the main differences among Korean style Tang Soo Do, Karate, and Kung Fu were in how pressure points were used and attacked.
The belt system of the Chung Do Kwan under Lee was as follows: White (8th-5th Guep), Red (4th-1st Guep) and Black (1st to 7th Dan). Testing occurred every six months and students would jump two guep levels per test (8th to 6th guep for example). The reason for this was that many Koreans at that time were poor and could not afford frequent testings.
The name "Taekwondo" was proposed in 1955 by Choi Hong Hi. It was slow to catch on among other Kwan Heads (Kwan Jang). Two names which were actually the two historical names of Karate, pronounced in the Korean language were being used by the Kwan's. Tang Soo Do (Karate; China Hand Way), which was first used by Chung Do Kwan, was used by the following Kwan's. Tang Soo Do Chung Do Kwan, Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan, Tang Soo Do Song Moo Kwan, Tang Soo Do Oh Do Kwan (ITF root) and Tang Soo Do Jung Do Kwan. The first Kwan to use Kong Soo Do (Karate; Empty Hand Way) was "Chosun Yun Moo Kwan Kwonbop Kong Soo Do Bu" which later became Jidokwan. Kong So Do was used by the following Kwans. Kong Soo Do Jidokwan, Kong Soo Do Chang Moo Kwan, Kong So Do Han Moo Kwan. Kang Duk Won, also a kwan, used the moniker "Moo Do" instead of Tang Soo, or Kong Soo. The Oh Do Kwan and Chung Do Kwan adopted the name "Taekwondo" immediately at Gen. Choi's direction as he was head of both kwans at the time.
On August 5, 1965, the name "Taekwondo" was adopted by all Kwans because that became the official name under the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA).
The Chung Do Kwan was the first Kwan to open in Korea. Because of his law background, Lee was appointed as a teacher at the Korean Police Academy and many of his early students were police.
Later, the President of Korea, Rhee Seung Man, offered Lee the position of Minister of the Interior. However, when Lee politely refused, President Rhee arrested Lee as well as one of his senior students, Duk Sung Son. After being released, Lee and his family emigrated back to Japan immediately prior to the beginning of the Korean War. Before leaving Korea, Lee appointed his senior student, Yoo Ung Jun to succeed him as the Chung Do Kwan Kwan Jang. Yoo instead became a supporter of North Korea and eventually the position went to Duk Sung Son. Son was succeeded as President of the Chung Do Kwan by Uhm Woon Kyu in 1959.
Uhm served as the Chung Do Kwan President. Uhm also served as President of Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters).
Technique and philosophy
Beginning in early times, Chung Do Kwan technique and philosophy centered on mastering basics, developing powerful technique, pinpoint accuracy in application, strong kicking, and deep appreciation for manners and etiquette. Its trademark techniques are the side kick, jumping side kick, and sliding side kick although it practices many other techniques as well—all in accordance with Chung Do Kwan principles. From the start, Lee Won Kuk wanted his students to be men of honor, only allowed upstanding individuals as his students, and encouraged them to live honorable lives as Chung Do Kwan students. All in an effort to restore the good reputation once held by Korean martial arts and distance itself from the notion of Taekwondo students as troublemakers.
Chung Do Kwan philosophy is that Taekwondo is a method of self-defense, self-improvement, and a Way of Life.
According to Hae Man Park, Vice-President of Chung Do Kwan (retired), today Chung Do Kwan is a social friendship club that endorses 100% the curriculum of the Kukkiwon system. Park states that Kukkiwon Taekwondo is Chung Do Kwan Taekwondo, and has been developed from the old systems of Chung Do Kwan and the other eight Kwans.
We, as members, train our spirits and bodies according to the strict code.
We, as members, are united in mutual friendship.
We, as members, will comply with regulations and obey instructors.
Before students could become members of the Chung Do Kwan, LEE Won Kuk would have the prospective members read the Chung Do Kwan membership oath as well as sign a paper agreeing to abide by the oath. Today, some Chung Do Kwan affiliated schools have their members recite the membership oath before the start of each class and after to end each class.
The Chung Do Kwan still exists in Korea and now functions as a fraternal friendship social club which is no longer a martial arts style. It, along with eight other recognized Kwans (Song Moo Kwan, Jidokwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Han Moo Kwan, Jung Do Kwan, Kang Duk Won and Oh Do Kwan), formed the basis of the Korea Taekwondo Association, and the Kukkiwon.
The Chung Do Kwan still issues Dan and other types of certificates from its world headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Chung Do Kwan members may also receive Kukkiwon poom and dan certification.
Chung Do Kwan forms
According to Uhm Woon Kyu, the President of Taekwondo Chung Do Kwan (and former President of Kukkiwon), the Chung Do Kwan today follows the complete curriculum of Kukkiwon.
Some of the older Chung Do Kwan based schools practice the original Pyong-Ahn forms which LEE Won Kuk incorporated from Shotokan karate. (The Pyong-Ahn forms originated in Okinawa, where they are called Pinan. In Japan, these forms are called Heian.)
Schools tracing their lineage to Duk Sung Son when he founded the World Tae Kwon Do Association in the United States after leaving Korea also practice Kuk Mu forms.
Other older Chung do Kwan schools practice the Palgwae forms, a predecessor of the Taegeuk forms. After black belt, practitioners of the Kukkiwon system practice the Yudanja and Kodanja series of black belt Poomsae of the Kukkiwon (Koryo, Kumgang, Taebaek, Pyongwon, Sipjin, Jitae, Cheonkwon, Hansoo, Ilyo). Many Chung Do Kwan schools also practice the Chang Hun tul, even if they are not affiliated with the International Taekwon-Do Federation.