The original founding Kwans

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. Japan was taking most of the young adult Korean males under the age of 60 and using them wherever they needed, so understandably, most of the young Korean men were uneasy and fearful during this time and were trying to hide themselves. Training in sports was not a priority in their lives 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 or Soo Bak, Kwun Bup to Tae Soo Do and finally to today's Taekwondo. Below is a brief overview of the history of the "original founding kwans" who formed modern day Taekwondo:

SONG MOO KWAN (Dang Soo Do)
- Founder: Byung Jick Ro

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  • March 20, 1944: Song Moo Kwan founded at Ja Name Dong (Kwan Duk 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
CHUNG DO KWAN (Dang Soo Do)
- Founder: Won Kook Lee -1975

  • September 1944: Chung Do Kwan funded 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.
CHOSON YON MOO KWAN JUDO DO JANG (Kwon Bup Bu)
- President: Kyung Suk Lee 1946-1975

  • 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
KYO TONG BU WOO ASSOCIATION (Dang Soo Do Bu)
- 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.   

DAE HAN CHE YOOK KWAN (Kong Soo Do Bu)
- First Instructors: Kyo Yoon Lee, Kwae Byung Yoon, Jong Woo Lee

  • September 1953: established (Kong Soo Do Bu)
  • The name has since been changed to Ji Do Kwan
CHAE SHIN BU (Kong Soo Do Bu)
- First Instructor: Nam Suk Lee

  • 1954: established (Kong Soo Do Bu)
  • The name has since changed to Chang Moo Kwan
OH DO KWAN (Army Taekwondo)
- Founder: Hong Hi Choi

  • 1955: began teaching Taekwondo to the Korean Army
  • July 1959: began to be known to the public

In addition to these kwans, many other groups were started such as: Han Moo Kwan, Jung Do Kwan and Sang Moo Kwan.