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Legitimate Moo Duk Kwan® Certification

Legitimate Moo Duk Kwan® Certification

Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Moo Duk Kwan® Founded 1945

Moo Duk Kwan® Founded 1945

Preserving the legitimacy of Moo Duk Kwan® certifications that each student earns from the Kwan Jang Nim is a core organizational function and responsibility of the United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation®.

While many martial art schools and instructors simply print their own certificates on personal ink jet or laser printers, ONLY Moo Duk Kwan® certified instructors operating Moo Duk Kwan® certified schools can acquire authentic, legitimate, Moo Duk Kwan® rank certification for their students' accomplishments.

Think about highly regarded diplomas that a student receives from reputable educational entities like colleges and universities such as Harvard or Yale. Only the institution prepares and authenticates the diplomas and credentials that are awarded to a student who earns them, not the individual teachers or professors.

Institutions with a valuable reputation and high credibility employ checks and balances and procedures that assure the full weight and reputation of the college or university is preserved and carried by each diploma that the institution awards and the institution maintains permanent records of all credentials it issues.

Moo Duk Kwan® certified instructors and Moo Duk Kwan® certified school owners voluntarily adhere to similar high standards and disciplined accreditation procedures like those employed by educational institutions. Moo Duk Kwan® certified instructors acquire legitimate Moo Duk Kwan® Legitimate Moo Duk Kwan Certificationrank certifications for their students and thus assure each student's credentials bear the full weight and reputation of Hwang Kee's Moo Duk Kwan® organization founded in 1945 plus all the credibility and validity of the United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation chartered in 1976. Both organizations validate the certified instructor's assessment of the student's skill level.

As a student, would you prefer to have your hard-earned accomplishments documented by a certificate from a personal printer at Joe Doe Karate that just opened last year or would you prefer to receive legitimate rank credentials that have been fully authenticated by an organization founded in 1945 and also by another national non-profit Moo Duk Kwan® organization exclusively chartered in 1976 to promote and preserve the authenticity and legitimacy of certifications issued to students studying Hwang Kee's Soo Bahk Do® martial art systemMoo Duk Kwan Dan Bon?

Which credentials have the most legitimacy?

Which credentials have the most credibility?

Which credentials have the most value?

Each instructor in each Moo Duk Kwan® school adheres to a standardized Soo Bahk Do® curriculum developed by the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). TAC members are personally appointed by the Kwan Jang Nim.

Each Moo Duk Kwan® certified instructor employs a disciplined training regimen and an extensive educational process to prepare students for rigorous performance evaluations and exams established by the Technical Advisory Committee.

Students who successfully complete milestone examinations are then recommended by their instructor for rank certification through the United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation pending final approval by the Moo Duk Kwan® Kwan Jang Nim.

Upon his final approval authentic Moo Duk Kwan® rank credentials are prepared for each student who has earned them and then they are shipped to the student's instructor for ceremonial presentation.

Moo Duk Kwan® rank credentials carry the highly regarded 70+ year global reputation of the Moo Duk Kwan® organization and the full weight, backing and protection of the United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation®.

As with all things of high value there are sometimes unscrupulous individuals who seek to use the well known reputation of the Moo Duk Kwan® for their own advantage and they may engage in trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting and/or consumer fraud by issuing counterfeit certificates bearing the Moo Duk Kwan® name or well known fist logo. The United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® takes this kind of deceptive and fraudulent activity very seriously and is chartered to protect its unique identity from trademark infringement and the public from consumer fraud that accompanies such illegal activity. The USA Federation has consistently defended its trademarks and service marks in order to protect the integrity, value and legitimacy of certifications it issues and it has prevailed in 100% of all cases.

Moo Duk Kwan® certifications legitimatize your accomplishments in a unique way that nothing else can and you can be proud that your Moo Duk Kwan® certified instructor cares enough to assure that you receive the best accreditation available in recognition of your accomplishments.




Is Soo Bahk Do® Sweeter Than A Bag of Halloween Candy?

Is Soo Bahk Do® Sweeter Than A Bag of Halloween Candy?

Reading Time: 2 minutes.

trickortreatbagwithcandy_b33f4aeb-b980-4552-93cf-5741be2e08faWhat's better than a bag of candy for Halloween and can also empower a child to protect themselves from bullies even when no authority figure is present to do so?

What can enhance a child's self esteem like nothing else and boost their confidence?

  • Soo Bahk Do®  (say, "Sue Baaak Doe")

If you are planning to hand out treats to tricksters this Halloween, then consider adding Soo Bahk Do® karate lesson cards to your treat handouts at no cost to you thanks to the members and supporters of two non-profit organizations.

Any of one-hundred-thirty (130) independently owned and operated martial art studios (find one near you here) certified by the non-profit U.S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® will gladly provide you with a supply of  karate lesson gift cards that you can drop in with the treats you hand out and you'll be adding a valuable gift, a pleasant surprise and a healthy dose of self esteem and bully protection to every trickster's bag.

halloween_pumpkin_hand_1200x1633So this year why not add Soo Bahk Do® karate lesson cards to your mix of Halloween treats this year and be the best Halloween treat giver in your neighborhood!

Parents and kids alike will find your treat sweeter than candy when they go through their bag of goodies.

Fed_Patch-Round_Cut_Out_3968x3947Call or email a location near you  to have a supply of Soo Bahk Do® karate lesson cards sent today at no cost!


Are You A Moo Duk Kwan® Alumni?

Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Official Moo Duk Kwan® pins

Official Moo Duk Kwan® pins

Fig10-c-tu-1036x768-medKee Hwang founded his Moo Duk Kwan® martial arts schools in Seoul Korea in 1945 where he taught his martial art system to eager students and american military personnel.

In the early days of his Moo Duk Kwan® schools he named his martial art system that was taught in them Hwa Soo Do, then Tang Soo Do and later adopted the name Soo Bahk Do®.

Moo_Duk_Kwan_Fist_Established_1945_2014_trans_300x319Today, only those organizations affiliated with the World Moo Duk Kwan are legitimately authorized to represent themselves as Moo Duk Kwan® schools providing instruction in the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system.

The United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® has sole and exclusive license to use these trademarks in the USA, a right upheld by a Federal District court.


Conflict Resolution Strategies Are Inappropriate For Dealing With Bullying

Conflict Resolution Strategies Are Inappropriate For Dealing With Bullying

Reading Time: 2 minutes.

Excerpt from:

Question: Why Shouldn’t We Use a Conflict Resolution or Peer Mediation Program to Address Bullying Issues?

Answer:   One of the main characteristics of bullying is an imbalance of power; therefore, it cannot be considered “normal” relational conflict between two students. Bullying is a form of peer abuse.

The student who is being bullied needs to be protected from such victimization. [Phil Duncan: Unfortunately, the reality is that often the target of bullying may be the only one who can protect themselves and Soo Bahk Do® training can help prepare them to do so.]

The student or students who bullying others must be helped to stop their destructive behavior.

It is clear that conflict resolution and/or peer mediation strategies can serve a positive role in building a safe school climate when used with conflict situations.

Conflict resolution or peer mediation strategies, however, should not be used to address bullying problems because:

  • Peer mediation/conflict resolution programs assume there is a bit of both right and wrong on both sides. Such programs may place some blame on the student who is being bullied and free the student or students who are bullying from some responsibility. These programs work toward a compromise that, in the case of bullying, could mean further victimization of the student who has been bullied. [Phil Duncan: This argument also supports the position that zero tolerance policies are based on flawed thinking because expelling both the bully and the target should a physical encounter occur between them only serves to support further bullying of the target.] .
  • Another common assumption in such programs is that both parties have about the same negotiating power. This is usually not the case in bullying situations where there is an imbalance in power in favor of the student or students who bully. Chances are the bullied student will be the loser in such negotiations.
  • In peer mediation/conflict resolution programs, the mediator is told not to take a moral stand on the issue at hand. In the case of bullying, it is very important that the adults take a moral stand and clearly communicate that bullying is not acceptable.
  • Conflict resolution/peer mediation programs leave most of the responsibility for solving bullying problems to the students. However, bullying problems are often complex and difficult to handle, even for trained school staff. [Phil Duncan: This reality is yet another reason that unfortunately, the target of bullying may be the only one who can effectively stop it. ]  To defer these problems to the students is giving them too much responsibility. [Phil Duncan: Soo Bahk Do® training helps prepare individuals to assume this regrettable responsibility when those responsible for preventing bullying fail to do so. ] By using peer mediators, staff may also think that bullying is not their problem to solve.

Click here to find a Moo Duk Kwan® certified location offering Soo Bahk Do® training near you.


Learn more about what your state is doing to prevent bullying:

Is Tang Soo Do The Same As Soo Bahk Do®?

Is Tang Soo Do The Same As Soo Bahk Do®?

Reading Time: 1


Tang Soo Do is not the same as Soo Bahk Do®.

The Tang Soo Do martial art system developed by Hwang Kee was an early precursor to his more advanced Soo Bahk Do® martial art system developed years later.

Moo Duk Kwan® martial art school Founder Hwang Kee taught an early iteration of his martial art system and philosophy under the name "Tang Soo Do."  Later he modified the contents of his system and coined the name "Soo Bahk Do®" to identify his unique martial art system and philosophy being taught in all authorized Moo Duk Kwan® martial art schools worldwide.  His Soo Bahk Do® martial art system encompassed the content and attributes of his previous Tang Soo Do martial art system and was expanded and enhanced to include a significant amount of new content.

The Soo Bahk Do® martial art system is a living art that continues to evolve under the guidance of the Moo Duk Kwan President, H.C. Hwang, Kwan Jang Nim.

The Moo Duk Kwan® martial art school's high standards for philosophical understanding, technical excellence and rigorous quality controls stand behind every Moo Duk Kwan® rank certification.


Where There Is Preparation There Is No Fear

Where There Is Preparation There Is No Fear

Reading Time: 2 minutes.


Handstitched Replica of Caligraphy By Jo Ann Easley
01/01/1942 - 10/27/2007

On the front wall of my Instructor's dojang hung an oriental cloth inscribed with calligraphy that translated,

"Where there is preparation there is no fear."

Throughout the years I have pondered the meaning of these ancient words; every year bringing deeper understanding of how they apply to one's life.

This year, I have realized that preparation applies not only in being ready to defend one's life, but also in being ready to end one's life.

If we can accept the fact that someday our life will end and that it doesn't matter how or when, but only that we are ready when death approaches, then we can lead a fuller existence and never worry about dying, whether in a battle or a hospital bed.

In our youth we seldom think of dying and throughout life human nature causes us to avoid thoughts of death as long as we are healthy. A severe illness often brings about our first realization that we will not live forever and this is a very bad time to try and understand death as our mind may become fogged with the fear of dying and the battle could be lost sooner than is necessary.

In the prime of life and at the peak of health meditating seriously upon all aspects of death and dying may evoke humility and help us prepare for the day when death must be faced as an opponent.  Death will inevitably defeat us, but as a martial artist, we can fight without fear and die with honor because during our training we prepared ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually for battle, no matter who the opponent is and

"Where there is preparation, there is  no fear."

Phil Duncan

How To Bully Proof Your Child

How To Bully Proof Your Child

Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Bullying has reached epidemic proportions in today's society and while some schools, workplaces and governments are taking measures and attempting to curtail bullying, the sad reality is that bullying may often occur when there is no authority figure present to stop it and it may occur when and where there may be no witnesses to corroborate that it even occurred.

Bullying incidents are further exacerbated by bystanders who witness a bullying incident and take no action to intervene or help diffuse the situation and thus they become complicit in the bullying behavior through their inaction.

The unfortunate reality is that a child or an adult who is targeted by a bully may be the only person who can stop it and they often must face their antagonizer(s) alone and without help.


Even when the target of bullying summons the courage to stand up to a bully, they still need to possess the skills necessary to effectively deal with a bully.

Non violent conflict resolution skills may work in some cases to diffuse a bullying encounter; however, those skills may not work in others situations.

The better prepared one is to face a bully on whatever terms the bully brings to the confrontation, then the better one is equipped to bring a swift and favorable end to a bullying encounter.

Further compounding the challenges for those being bullied is the unfortunate reality that in some instances when a person who is being bullied takes necessary actions to stop the bullying, then the victim may be subject to the same punishment as the bully.

Schools, workplaces and public places may expel, suspend or arrest all parties involved in certain incidents. In some cases conceptually flawed and ineffective "zero tolerance" policies merely allow entities enforcing such policies to avoid analyzing the events that transpired leading up to the incident and by punishing all involved they avoid admitting what really happened on their watch and/or they avoid dealing with the underlying events that resulted in the incident. In the end the victim may be bullied AND get punished for taking action to stop it. What is wrong with this picture?

With proper training and preparation no one need suffer the actions of bullies and/or the ineptness or inaction of overseers or indifferent bystanders. Where there is preparation there is no fear.

Moo Duk Kwan® martial art schools certified by the nonprofit United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® teach the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system with an emphasis on developing personal safety awareness and skills to avoid conflict whenever possible and the skills necessary to prevail in a conflict when avoidance is not possible.

Find A Moo Duk Kwan® Certified School Near You

Help protect your child by empowering them to stand up for themselves, so they are not the subject of a video like the following:

Mom, Dad, I'm Scared

Words Hurt

Nobody Is Coming To Save You

Who You Gonna Call?

Take A Stand Against Bullying

Disney Channel Celebrity Demi Lovato Stands Up Against Bullying

Welcome To My Life

Bullied To Death Memorials

The Only Way to Stop Them Is To Stand Up To Them


Protect your child by empowering them to stand up for themselves.

For the location and date of a Bully Proof  program near you call (888) 766-2245 or search here The call is free and the benefits are priceless. Sponsored by Members and Supporters of the nonprofit United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation®

Find A Moo Duk Kwan® Certified School Near You

Seven Characteristics of a Moo Duk Kwan® Quality Soo Bahk Do® Practitioner

Seven Characteristics of a Moo Duk Kwan® Quality Soo Bahk Do® Practitioner

Reading Time: 4 minutes.

70th_Anniversary_Challenge_Chip_2_150x150What characteristics exemplify a Moo Duk Kwan® "quality practitioner"?

Certainly, producing practitioners with technical excellence is a proud distinction of the Moo Duk Kwan® and some may think of "quality" only in terms of technical performance, but there are so many other dimensions to becoming and being a Soo Bahk Do® practitioner, that viewing quality through only the narrow lens of technique is like trying to see all of our art through the peephole of a door.

The Kwan Jang Nim refers to "quality of practitioners" in his Vision Objectives as being one of the two most important outcomes of the Federation's activity. He goes on the define a quality practitioner as one who embodies and exemplifies our Moo Do values in their daily lives outside the dojang.


Charles Smith, Sa Bom Dan Bon 33141, R10 Elected Board Director, Lifetime Member

2009 Board Chairman, Charles Smith, Sa Bom Nim once requested a group of people to provide him with a one-word description of  how they perceived him.

His question prompted me to think about the NPVT work that supports and quantifies some attributes of Quality Practitioners as they correlate to the contextual meaning expressed in the President's Vision Objectives and the Five Moo Do Values.

What are characteristics (or qualities) that you associate with a quality student practitioner, instructor, leader and/or Federation official?

The following thoughts are what I have come up with so far. I invite you to contemplate how you would express what "makes" a Moo Duk Kwan® quality Soo Bahk Do® practitioner and distinguishes them from other practitioners.

Seven Characteristics of a Moo Duk Kwan® Quality Soo Bahk Do® Practitioner

  1. Strives to achieve the technical expectations of proficiency expressed by the Kwan Jang Nim and TAC for practitioners
    1. takes pride in achieving Gup Rank Testing expectations
    2. takes pride in achieving Dan Rank Testing expectations
    3. takes pride in achieving Ko Dan Ja Rank Testing expectations
    4. takes pride in meeting and fulfilling Instructor Certification expectations
    5. takes pride in meeting and fulfilling Studio Certification expectations
  2. Demonstrates and supports a high moral and ethical standard of personal conduct that is appropriate and proper for a martial artist
    1. conscientiously adheres to the Federation's membership code of conduct
    2. abides by the Federations Joint Board and TAC Administrative Policies
    3. respects and abides by the Federation's Policy of non-discrimination and harassment at all times
    4. understands and abides by the terms of the Certified Instructor Letter of Understanding
    5. avoids unethical conduct at all times
    6. avoids conflicts of interest
    7. avoids creating or allowing any circumstances that could jeopardize one's credibility or integrity as a martial artist representing  the Moo Duk Kwan® or the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system.
  3. Embraces and supports the spirit of the Founder's Mission 2000 Objectives
    1. seeks understanding and takes personal actions intent upon improve human relationships
    2. has a keen understanding of the concept and precepts of Moo
    3. demonstrates embodiment of Moo in one's daily life, ergo Moo Do
  4. Diligently displays key attributes of a martial artist as expressed by the Founder
    1. 8 Key Concepts
    2. courageous - possesses and exhibits the Yong Gi ~ brave energy necessary to speak up and/or standup for themselves, for others and for justice even in the face of adversity.
    3. 10 Articles of Faith on Mental Training
    4. self motivated - needs no external urging to take individual action
    5. composed - demonstrates Pyong Ahn ~ peaceful confidence and calm resoluteness, especially when confronted by adversity
    6. intent - demonstrates contemplation and thoughtfulness prior to speaking or taking action
    7. focused - demonstrates keen concentration ~ Chung Shin Tong Il before and while taking action
    8. * please post a COMMENT to add your characteristics or qualities to this incomplete list *
  5. Contemplates and embraces the essence of the Five Moo Do Values
    1. strives to exemplify the proper behavior of a true martial artist at all times
    2. conscientiously adheres to the Federation's membership code of conduct
    3. respects and abides by the Federation's Policy of non-discrimination and harassment at all times
  6. Comprehends and appreciates the intent of the President's Vision Objectives
    1. initiates personal actions that demonstrate Vision Participation
    2. initiates Random Acts of Moo Do
    3. actively embodies and applies mission objectives and vision objectives in one's daily life interactions with others
    4. engages in active advocacy of the Moo Duk Kwan® and the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system.
    5. seizes every opportunity to promote the public visibility of the Moo Duk Kwan® and the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system.
  7. Supports the Federation's initiatives to assure the long-term preservation of the Moo Duk Kwan® and the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system
      1. appreciates and embraces the Concept of Unity, community and purpose
      2. believes in acting for the common good of the community
      3. has read and understands the Federation's 501c4 Charter & Bylaws
      4. supports the Federation's 501c4 Chartered Purposes
      5. understands, appreciates and respects the Intellectual property shared by the Hwang family
      6. engages in active advocacy of the Moo Duk Kwan® and the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system

Think about the characteristics you observe in others, that you admire, aspire to, are inspired by, that motivate, etc. and help the NPVT in their work by contributing your perspective to this list of Seven Characteristics of a Moo Duk Kwan® Quality Soo Bahk Do® Practitioner.

You can post a comment on the page by using the COMMENT button at the bottom of the page and you can also help a friend add their thoughts by emailing them a link to this page or sharing the page on Facebook, etc.

Why Is Your Instructor So Happy?

Why Is Your Instructor So Happy?

Reading Time: 3 minutes.

Curt McCauley, Sa Bom Nim Dan Bon

Curt McCauley, Sa Bom Nim Dan Bon

Ask any instructor of the Soo Bahk Do® martial art system if they enjoy what they do and virtually all will tell you that they can think of no more personally rewarding experience than teaching students the skills and philosophy of the Soo Bahk Do® martial art and helping them discover their untapped potential and personal power.

"Man is at his best when helping others, at his worst bettering others."
-Moo Duk Kwan Founder Hwang Kee

The best instructors empower their students to change their lives and improve the quality of their life and the lives of those around them in ways that no other teacher or mentor can and they show students how they, too can experience the rewards of sharing Soo Bahk Do® with others.


H.C. Hwang,  Moo Duk Kwan Kwan Jang Nim

Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang is once again scheduling Presidents Vision Tour II appearances around the world and conveying his message that the future of our art lies in the hands of enthusiastic, motivated instructors and students who are empowered to take personal actions in support of our art and its Moo Do values.

“Individual participation is the Key Energy necessary to strengthen our foundation.”
– HC Hwang, Kwan Jang Nim

If you'd like to take a personal action that can give something back to your instructor for all you have received from their guidance, and if you'd like to serve your art, serve your studio and serve your local community by attracting new students to your school, then you can do so by participating in or hosting one or more Moo Duk Kwan® Kick-a-thons during 2014.


Kris Poole Sa Bom Nim Dan Bon 20632

Dan members and qualified Gups also have an additional opportunity to shine at the 2014 National Festival by acquiring sponsors and participating in the super exciting 10 rounds of rapid fire training that is the National Moo Duk Kwan® Kick-a-thon. 

The Federation's Board Directors have provided a 2014 Moo Duk Kwan® Kick-a-thons National Grand Studio Prize  that is there for the taking by the most motivated instructors and students who help their studio generate the greatest amount of support during 2014.

Winning the National Studio Grand Prize will require enthusiasm, creativity, leadership skills, motivation and most importantly, individual participation and personal action.

The top studio will win an expense paid trip to attend the 2015 National Festival or apply the prize toward attending the Moo Duk Kwan 70th Anniversary Celebration in Korea in 2015.

So, why is your instructor so happy?

"Happiness... consists in giving, and in serving others."
- Henry Drummond


PatrMcCarthy, Sa Bom, Dan Bon 38003, Rick Wilcox Sa Bom, Dan Bon 19500, Dr. John Juliano Dan Bon 19785

When your instructor observes your personal actions and your personal successes, they are enjoying the fruit of their life's work.

Phil Duncan

The Path

The Path

Reading Time: 4 minutes.

Early Saturday morning, the air in the Embassy Suites Hotel in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma bristled with electricity as the Gups filed into the Sunrise Suite. Wide-eyed anticipation was on every face because they had never seen so many Masters in our region before and the excitement created by their presence was tremendous.


Chil Sung 4 Clinic — with Pat parnell, Phil Duncan, Brian Wilbourn, Kwan Jang Nim H.C. Hwang and Rex Smith in Broken Arrow, OK.

Seven nervous candidates lined up in front of the testing board and soon the sound of Kihaps echoed throughout the hotel. More than two hundred observers watched as sweat dripped from every inch of the candidates doboks. They performed all of their basics and 1-steps as Sa Born Nim Hwang silently observed every move. Next, they demonstrated their hyungs in unison until asked to do Chil Sung Sa Ro Hyung. Their lack of practice was painfully obvious, but Sa Bom Nim Hwang still remained silent. I kept waiting for a comment concerning their poor technical performance but it was not forthcoming.

The Ho Sin Sul demonstration created a flurry of activity on the floor and I barely noticed as one of the candidates finished with an incorrect motion on one of the standardized techniques. I knew this was not the way his instructor had taught him but I figured that since he had done everything else correctly he probably just got excited and did the wrong technique. It happened so fast and he was such a skilled technician that I dismissed it as too small an error to demand any special attention.


1983 Region 6 Dan Test

As the candidates finished and faced the testing board, Sa Born Nim Hwang spoke for the first time. Addressing the candidate I had been thinking about, he asked, "Why did you do a roundhouse kick instead of the required technique?" The candidate snapped to attention and answered respectfully, "Sir, I am just more comfortable with that technique. Sir."

I was just beginning to slide under the table in silent self-imposed embarrassment when Sa Bom Nim Hwang replied very firmly,

"Discipline goes beyond your personal feelings."

The silence which followed was intimidating.

Discussing it later, those on the testing board agreed, that the very instant those words came out of his mouth it felt like someone had grabbed us by the lapel, jerked us to our feet then shined a 10 billion candlepower light in our eyes and shouted loudly, "Do you see that?"

One tiny, seemingly insignificant event in an ordinary test was instantly transformed into one of the most profound realizations any of us had ever had by just a few simple words spoken at precisely the right time.

The very thing I was prepared to overlook as unimportant turned out to be the single most important event of the entire test, and I almost missed it. I marveled to myself, about the insight and perception it had taken for So Born Nim Hwang to see that it was not merely a technical error on the part of the student, but rather the indication of a potentially much more serious problem.

To his trained eyes, that single incorrect technique by a very talented student, triggered a red flag which caused him to inquire why it had been done and I am sure he already knew the answer he would get as well as the reply he would give. Obviously, the error was not as important as what had caused it and he must have instinctively known that the student's personal preference had dictated which technique to do instead of the discipline that was required of him.

In Grandmaster Hwang Kee's Volume 1 text (Page 4) one of the principles of the martial arts is defined as

''...the will of the individual to follow the length and breadth of the right path...",

but how do we know if we or our fellow students are on the right path? I know sometimes, it seems to move from under my feet and at other times it forks into many different directions; creating numerous confusing choices. How can we be sure where we are going by the choices we are making? What can we use to guide us on our way?

"Discipline goes beyond your personal feelings."

So few words, yet they convey so much of what our martial art is all about. I have said them to myself thousands of times since then and find new meaning and applications with every repetition.

When faced with decisions that seem difficult or confusing, it is amazing how quickly these few words can clear away the cobwebs and excuses we tend to build into our choices and actions.

In every instance, this simple statement works like a bright light to guide me through the darkness and most importantly, it only shines directly on "THE PATH."

Try it yourself and see.

Thank you Sa Bom Nim,
Your Loyal student
Phil Duncan


U.S. Federation Recognized In Congressional Record

U.S. Federation Recognized In Congressional Record

Reading Time: 1

congressional-records-1024x768When you are bidding to bring the National Festival to your Region, do you think the United States Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation® and its National Festival are really that big of a deal?

A New Jersey State Representative and the Congressional Record think so.

The Haircut

The Haircut

Reading Time: 6 minutes.

It was 1992 and the Lubbock, Texas Community Center was beginning to empty as we showered and I finished quickly and waited in the lobby. The last two days had certainly been an experience. How else would you describe packing 14 people in a motorhome designed for eight and then heading 600 miles across West Texas with half a ton of bricks and boards to give a series of Demonstrations in multiple cities hundreds of miles apart in only two days? Officially, we were here to promote and unify Master Chu's remote schools, but it seemed that togetherness and cooperation were the real theme of this trip.

As I sat comfortably on a couch in the lobby, I remember seeing Master Chu coming out of the dressing room with a towel in one hand and his uniform in the other. Kris Poole and I noted that he looked somewhat tired and distracted, but we figured it was because of the tremendous amount of energy he had expended in his part of the demonstrations over the last few days. After all, jumping over four people and breaking six concrete blocks, sparring 2 people, doing several forms and numerous other board breaking feats three times today plus traveling three hundred miles and doing it all again could make anyone look tired. I thought no more about it.

It was about midnight when we arrived at the local Instructor's apartment where we were to spend the night. Everyone was exhausted and looked like walking zombies as we stumbled from the motorhome out onto the apartment complex parking lot. Master Chu called us into a circle and said he knew it would be crowded, but we should stay together and accept the Instructor's hospitality so we would not hurt his feelings. Last night in Abilene, Texas we had trouble finding places for 14 people to lie down at that instructor's home and tonight there was even less room in this apartment, but we were all willing to try. Everyone that is, except one Dan who insisted he would go to a hotel so there would be more room for those who wanted to stay.

Once more, Master Chu repeated his instructions and requested him to accept the inconvenience and stay with the group, but the Dan insisted he would go to the hotel and take a couple of people with him so it would be less crowded. We were all beginning to get uncomfortable because he was being requested, by his Instructor, to do something specific and he was absolutely refusing. He was our junior, but we said nothing to him thinking Master Chu could handle any discipline problem better than we. For the third time, Master Chu repeated his instructions and still the Dan insisted on departing. Master Chu just stood quietly as the Dan said his goodbyes and departed with three others who evidently decided comfort was more important than togetherness or did not understand what our Instructor was saying.

We were glad the tense situation was over and everyone started toward the apartment when Master Chu called Mr. Poole and I to return to the Motorhome with him.

We stepped up in the vehicle which had been our home for the past two days and sat across from our Instructor at the tiny table near the side window. He just sat silently, looking down at the tabletop for what seemed like an eternity until finally, he raised his head, and looked right through us with dark, tired eyes and in that instant, I had the strangest sensation I've ever experienced in my whole life. It felt as if he had already spoken a thousand words when he looked at us yet, the silence was broken by only one lonely question, which hung interminably in the night air.

  • "How long must I cut my own hair?"

We stared blankly, confused by his question. The silence screamed at us but we could not make out what it was saying and then the screams became respectfully silent as he spoke ". . . Earlier, when we finished the demonstration and everyone went to the showers, I had to get my own towel. In Korea, someone would have been waiting with my towel and clothes. Now, a junior Dan refuses to do as I ask and my senior students stand by and do not say a word . . ."

  • "How long must I cut my own hair?"

There was that question again, and with it the screaming started anew, but now it was beginning to become understandable. "Why had we not taken a more active role in assistance to our Instructor?" it shouted! Why could we not see our responsibility to help him in matters that need not command his personal attention? He was always there when we needed him, where were we when he needed us? How much had we actually helped him to spread our art's benefits to others? What real assistance had we been to him for all he had done for us? Without another word he disappeared out the door and into the darkness as we sat in awkward silence.


Master John Chu

Maybe somewhere in his being he already knew his death was approaching and maybe this whole trip was an attempt to bind us together to withstand his absence or maybe the years of teaching students who quit and the endless hours of sometimes seemingly thankless travel and dedication had just taken it's toll for him to choose this moment to make these remarks to us. Whatever the reason, we knew we had missed something very important that our teacher had tried to show us. For nearly ten years he had traveled hundreds of miles and conducted thousands of hours of classes. He had 16 schools and more than 600 students but apparently not even two senior students who could answer his question. How had this happened? Clearly, our responsibilities were more than we had realized. We had plenty to think about that sleepless night.

Not many months later, our Instructor was gone and we were left to ponder the question he posed that lonely night in West Texas.

The togetherness of that trip has been enjoyably replayed in our lives four times since then; multiple times in England at the Internationals, multiple times in Korea and multiple times at Ko Dan Ja Tests all over the country; however; I hope we do not ever cause the other part of that experience to be repeated.

The Founder has said that man is at his best when helping others and if we apply that concept to our training and the relationship we share with our Instructors we may better ourselves and come to understand togetherness, brotherhood, prevention of conflict and harmony in a way that few people ever have the opportunity to experience.

No one is an island and no one can carry the future of our art alone, it is up to the juniors to help and protect their seniors just as it is up to the seniors to help and protect their juniors. It is up to the juniors to learn the skills of our instructors and to emulate our instructor's tireless and unflagging pursuit of learning and of sharing our art. During  his life Founder Hwang Kee requested that we make the U.S. a worldwide leader in human relationships and that goal can only be achieved when everyone does their part by improving their own personal relationships.

Take care of your Instructor, don't leave them to do all the work. Learn all you can from them. Ask for opportunities to assume new and challenging leadership roles and in doing so demonstrate your appreciation of them by your example. Dans and Red belts especially, learn all your responsibilities; ask if you are unsure. Trying and making a mistake is better than doing nothing. All students, see if there are tasks or projects you can do for them to free their valuable time. We never know how long our Instructor will be with us and it would be a shame to have wasted any of their priceless time on menial tasks. Pitch in and be the best you can be, take on a project beneficial to your studio, help run a new student recruitment activity for your studio, take on a project for your class, attend a special event and contribute your own unique energy to it, work hard and always be loyal to your Instructor just as they are loyal to theirs'. Be a part of our "Living Art,"  be active and contribute to it's growth.

We may already owe the Founder and our Kwan Jang Nim several haircuts, but in the future, lets not give them cause to ask . . .

  • "How long must I cut my own hair?"

--Phil Duncan


P.S. Some current opportunities to contribute that you may not have thought about:

Are You A Leader?

Are You A Leader?

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Building your Moo Do Ja Seh or strengthening your Moo Do Ja Seh also supports your development as a leader.

Leadership is a quality within that conceives visionary endeavors, compels the bold pursuit of uncertain ventures and drives the achievement of exceptional accomplishments.

Come share this premiere event with a host of fellow members who exude these leadership qualities and more.

Be a leader.

Be there, and lead someone there with you.

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leaders  S.T.A.R.T. things!

Membership Is A Kenyon Family Affair!

Membership Is A Kenyon Family Affair!

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Congratulations to Laural Kenyon as the Federation's newest Lifetime Member!

Laural's lifetime membership now makes the entire Kenyon Family Lifetime Members!

A hearty "Thank You" goes out to the Kenyon family!


Laural, Daymon, Vicki, Carli Kenyon, Lifetime Members

Bill Garcia Is U.S. Federation's Newest Lifetime Member

Bill Garcia Is U.S. Federation's Newest Lifetime Member

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Lifetime_Member_Thumbnail_150x150Congratulations to Bill Garcia, Jo Kyo owner of Tampa Bay Soo Bahk Do in Region 4 as the newest Lifetime Member of the U.S. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation!

Thank you for your support!

Bill Hockman Is Federation's Newest Lifetime Member

Bill Hockman Is Federation's Newest Lifetime Member

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Bill Hockman, Sa Bom Nim Appointed Regional Examiner, Certified Studio Owner

Bill Hockman Sa Bom, Appointed Regional Examiner, Certified Studio Owner, Pryor, Oklahoma

Congratulations to Sa Bom Nim Bill Hockman from Oklahoma who is the Federation's newest Lifetime Member!

Thank you for your support!

Lifetime Memberships are going like hotcakes with the 12/31 deadline fast approaching when they will increase in price from $1000 to $1500.

There will never be a better time to become a Lifetime Member or to get a Lifetime Membership for a student you know and love.$1000-until-jan-1-2013

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