What is Tang Soo Do?

Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial arts based on kicking and self-defense. Students are expected to learn how to stay calm inside and to think clearly, so as to understand themselves well and to pay close attention to their relationships with other people. This will help students apply these beliefs of Tang soo do in all parts of their lives.

Benefits of Tang Soo Do

  • Teaches Leadership
  • Teaches self-discipline
  • Teaches self-defense
  • Teaches self confidence


  • Variety of exercises
  • Stretching and flexibility
  • Cardio conditioning techniques
  • Quick response muscle training
  • Slow response muscle training
  • Balance
  • Meditation

Tang Soo Do History

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins  
 a Single Step ~ Lao Tzu

Hwang Kee (Grandmaster)

Hwang Kee (Grandmaster) November 9,1914–July 14, 2002 began his martial arts studies in Manchuria, China in 1936 and founded the Moo Duk Kwan Style in Seoul, Korea on November 3, 1945. Despite enduring many hardships over the next 30 years, Hwang Kee struggled through wars and governmental/political issues to keep the Art of Soo Bahk Do (Tang Soo Do) – Moo Duk Kwan alive. Tang Soo Do, Moo Duk Kwan is the name of the art we study. Its direct translation is “Tang” referencing (Tang dynasty of China) establishing a time reference,  “Soo” is a reference to (open hand or worthiness), and “Do” is (art or way), Moo means (military, stop war / conflict), Duk (virtue), Kwan means (school or style).

Jae Joon Kim (Grandmaster)

 Jae Joon Kim (Grandmaster) was born August 15,1929 in Seoul, Korea, the son of a world champion sumo wrestler. He died January 9, 2007 at the age of 77. He began training directly with Grandmaster Hwang Kee in 1945 and in1947, earned his 1st Degree Black Belt. In 1952, he assisted in the formation of the Korean Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Association. He served as a top master instructor from 1955 to 1959, and in 1961 was appointed Vice-President of the Association.  At Grandmaster Hwang Kee’s request, he brought Moo Duk Kwan to the United States and founded the Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Association in Detroit, Michigan. In 1969, Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim was awarded 8th Dan and appointed president of the US Chapter by Grandmaster Hwang Kee. In the 1970’s, Grandmaster Kim founded his own organization, the World Traditional Tang Soo Do Federation, (formerly the World Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation). He was inducted into the Tae Kwon Do Times Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Grandmasters Society Hall of Fame in 2006. The world’s martial art community considered Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim a Master’s Master.

American Kwan Tang Soo Do Federation

American Kwan Tang Soo Do traces its history back through the ages. The Martial Arts have been with us in one form or another starting with the caveman.

American Kwan Tang Soo Do, founded by Grand Master James Saffold, follows the principles learned from Honored Martial Artists, Hwang Kee and Jae Joon Kim, teaching the traditional style Tang Soo Do.

China is generally acknowledged as the birthplace of the formal Martial Arts. However, there are no written records dating back far enough to confirm the history. From China, the Martial Arts spread by various means to the rest of the world.

Grand Master James Saffold

Grand Master James Saffold, tested and was promoted in March 2002, to 8th Dan by Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim. He started his training in the Martial Arts while in Vietnam in 1968. In 1969, he continued his study with Grandmaster Jae Joon Kim, in Detroit, Michigan, becoming Cho (1st) Dan in 1971, Dan # 14489.

Grand Master Saffold in addition to teaching the traditional forms (Hyung) of Korean Karate, has developed a series of forms Chu Mei Hyung designed to develop a higher state of balance and ability in black belt and master level members.

Grand Master Saffold was promoted to 9th Dan by the League of Grand Masters on March 13, 2010.

On Thursday, August 25, 2011, The World Moo Duk Kwan General Federation awarded the rank of 9th Degree Black Belt to Grand Master James Saffold, signed by YD Kim, Dan#2, and HS Choi, Dan #3. 

Tang Soo Do Schedule…

Please click here for a full schedule of our Tang Soo Do classes