Those instructors and members who are legitimately using the name Song Moo Kwan have done so by a trademarked license agreement, which is held by Grand Master Hee Sang Ro and the World Song Moo Kwan Association. To that end the oath of “Song Moo Kwan” is what directs its members throughout the world.

The Oath of Song Moo Kwan

I pledge to uphold principles of Song Moo Kwan and discipline my mind and body.

I pledge to execute the Truth of Song Moo Kwan and respect all ethics.

I pledge to adhere to all Rules and Regulations and unite through cooperation.

GM-Hee-Sang-RoMaster Kirk Koskella would like to introduce to you a man that he turns to with any questions regarding the direction and the roll in which Song Moo Kwan plays throughout the world, Grand Master Hee Sang Ro.

Grand Master Hee Sang Ro’s dedication is to Song Moo Kwan and the furtherance of martial arts whether it be Taekwondo, Hapkido, Kumdo or Kungfu. Grand Master Hee Sang Ro  holds a 9th Degree Black Belt and he holds the keys to the future of Song Moo Kwan as Supreme Grand Master Byung Jik Ro’s successor.

The information that follows has been furnished by Grand Master Ro and is a tribute to the foundation of modern day martial arts by understanding our roots.

The Principles of Song Moo Kwan

松武館 館訓

The principles of Song Moo Kwan were written and passed down by its Founder, Supreme Grandmaster Byung Jick Ro, for the spiritual and mental development of his students. In the Principles, he emphasizes the development of more than the physical and technical aspects of Song Moo Kwan martial arts. This emphasis separates Song Moo Kwan from martial sports and many martial arts, as attitude is emphasized over stance, character over form, with the goal not being perfection of the art, but perfection of one’s self.

禮儀 尊重 (예의 존중)
Everything begins and ends with Courtesy and Respect.

克己 謙讓 (극기 겸양)
Your pursuit of the Way must be with humility, and indifference to pain or pleasure.

不斷 努力(부단 노력)
Realizing the Truth of Song Moo Kwan is a lifelong pursuit.

氣雄 萬夫(기웅 만부)
Your Indomitable Spirit should reflect the power of a million men.

文武 兼全 (문무 겸전)
Unite the wisdom of the Scholar with strength of a Warrior, integrating your mind and body into one.


The History of Modern Taekwondo

Early Korean Arts:

The practice of martial arts in Korea can be traced back to the Koguyo dynasty, (38 B.C.) It was during the Silla dynasty (668-935) that the martial arts were made popular by a group of young warriors called Hwarang (the way of the flowering youth). These young warriors devoted themselves to hunting, studying and martial arts, training both their mind and body. They lived by a code of honor based on loyalty to their nation, respect and obedience to their parents, faithfulness to their friends, courage in battle and avoidance of unnecessary violence and killing.

Martial arts remained popular in Korea through to the Kory dynasty (935-1392). Martial arts practiced during this time period were referred to as Subak and Taekyon were practiced by the military to improve health, as a sport and as a martial art. It is reported that it was during this time period that the first martial arts competitions were held for spectator appreciation.

The practice of martial arts was banned during the Japanese occupation of Korea which lasted from 1909 to 1945. However, martial arts continued to be practiced secretly and were passed on from father to son. During this time many patriotic young men visited China and Japan to study martial arts, resulting in the blending of Korean martial arts with other Asian styles.

Thousands of Korean immigrants returned home from other parts of Asian at the end of World War II Filled with patriotism and national pride. There was a pervasive movement to restore the rich traditions of Korea and as many experts established schools, the martial arts were revived giving birth to the Kwans (schools) of Korean martial arts.


The Original Founding Kwans and the Birth of Modern Taekwondo:

The history of Modern Taekwondo began on March 11, 1944 when Dang Soo Do-Song Moo Kwan was founded by Byung Jick Ro in KaeSung City, Korea.

Dang Soo Do-Chung Do Kwan, which followed six months later, was founded by Won Kook Lee in Seoul, Korea, in September of 1944.

Due to the unstable situation in Korea at the time, both schools were forced to close their doors to the public within three to four months after opening. It was the end of World War II and Korea was under Japanese occupation. During this time, training in sports was not a priority and the martial arts took a back seat to simple survival.

With the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea on August 15, 1946, Taekwondo began to once again flourish and spread to the general Korean public. However, all of the Kwans were again forced to close their doors in 1950 due to the onset of the Korean War. Since this time, the original name of the martial art has changed from Dang Soo Do to Kong Soo Do to Tae Soo Do and finally to today’s Taekwondo.


There were 5 original Kwans that were licensed by the Korean Government at the onset of Taekwondo.  Song Moo Kwan was the very first one and everything else came afterwards. Supreme Grand Master Byung Jik Ro is the highest ranking Taekwondo Master in the world, he is the founder of Song Moo Kwan and he is the chairman of the committee for the Korean Taekwondo Association and the World Taekwondo Federation.


  • Founder: Byung Jick Ro.
  • March 11, 1944: Song Moo Kwan founded at Ja Name Dong (Kwan Kuk Jung), KaeSung City, Kyung Ki Providence.
  • May 2, 1946: re-established at Dong Hung Dong, KaeSung City, Kyung Ki Providence.
  • June 25, 1950: closed doors due to the Korean War.
  • September 20, 1953: re-established Ah Hyung Dong, Mapogu, Seoul, Korea.


  • Founder: Won Kook Lee.
  • September 1944 : Chung Do Kwan founded at Ok Chun Dong (Young Shin School), Suh Dae Moo Gue, Seoul, Korea.
  • April 1946: re-established at Gyun Ji Dong (Si Chun Gyo Dang), Jong Ro Gu, Seoul, Korea.
  • June 25, 1950: closed doors due to the Korean War.
  • October 1953: re-established in Gyun Ji Dong (Si Chun Gyo Dang), Jong Ro Gu, Seoul, Korea.
  • When this group was re-established in 1953, they did not have an Instructor. Two students of Mr. Lee’s, Jong Myong Hyun and Wun Shik Min, requested Master Byung Jick Ro to come as an instructor. Master Ro helped them re-establish and teach their students until December 1954. Before leaving, he appointed Duk Sung Sohn as head and Mr. Hyun and Mr. Min as instructors.


  • President: Kung Suk Lee.
  • First instructor: Sang Sup Jun.
  • 1946: established (Kwon Bup Bu).
  • June 25, 1950: closed doors due to the Korean War.
  • September 1953: Kwon Bup Bu ceased to exist when Yon Moo Kwan became the central Do Jang of the Korean Judo Association.

Mr. Sang Sup Jun disappeared during the Korean War in 1950.

YMCA (Kwon Bup Bu)

  • First Instructor: Byung In Yoon.
  • September 1947: established (Kwon Bup Bu).
  • June 25, 1950: closed due to the Korean War.
  • YMCA building was destroyed during the war and Kwon Bup Bu ceased to exist.

Mr. Yoon disappeared during the Korean War.


  • First Instructor and Founder: Ki Hwang.
  • 1947: established (Dang Soo Do Bu).
  • June 25, 1950: closed due to the Korean War.
  • 1955: changed name to Moo Duk Kwan.
  • Departed from the “original founding” members of Korea Tae Soo Do Association.

Dang Soo Do originated with the above kwans. Groups established after this time period are branches of the above groups.


For your enjoyment the information here has been prepared and proffered to us for publication by Grand Master Hee Sang Ro.


Grand Master Hee Sang Ro (1969)