Author: Bret Gordon
When all of the Kwans were first established in Korea, they used terms like Tang Soo Do 唐手道, Kong Soo Do 空手道, and Kwon Bup 拳法 to describe their art. These terms are Korean translations of Tode-Do (Way of the Chinese Hand), Karatedo (Way of the Empty Hand), and Kempo (Law of the Fist) respectively. The founders of the Kwans learned Karate from the Japanese, and that is what they taught.
Jidokwan, specifically, has its roots in both Shotokan (through Chun Sang Sup), as well as Shito Ryu Karate and Shudokan Karate (through Yoon Kwe Byung). Yoon had actually run a martial arts school in Japan during the 1940s (the Kanbukan, later renamed Renbukan) as a sister school to the Shudokan. When he returned to Korea, he was hired by Chun Sang Sup to teach at the Yun Moo Kwan Kong Soo Do Bup (which would later become Jidokwan). Yoon is also reported to have taught Tang Soo Do/Kong Soo Do at 3 different universities. Yoon was voted as Chun Sang Sup's successor in 1953, after the latter's disappearance. Under his tutelage, the Jidokwan became one of the leading schools of the era and gained a reputation as ferocious fighters. While initially abstaining from using the name "Taekwondo," Yoon worked hard in the late 1950s towards Kwan unification under the Korea Kong Soo Do Association. He would also later join Hwang Kee's Korea Soo Bahk Do Association.
In 1961, Yoon Kwe Byung and Hwang Kee took a unified Jidokwan/Moo Duk Kwan team to Japan on an exchange trip, where the two would subsequently join the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organizations (FAJKO) and the Asian Karate Federation. It during this trip that Yoon and Hwang witnessed bogu kumite, would bring back 4 bogu (hogu in Korean) to Korea, which were later adopted by the Korea Taekwondo Association for use in tournaments.
In 1970, Yoon and Hwang would return to Japan for the FAJKO Pre-Championship tournament in Osaka. This event would also mark the beginning of WUKO (World Union of Karatedo Organizations), and Yoon and Hwang are credited among the founding members.
Budo Magazine Europe, June 1970. Scans provided by Rees Machtemes.
Furthermore, the certifications issued by Yoon Kwe Byung (like shown here) were issued under the "Korea Karate Ji Do Kwan." It wasn't until Lee Chong Woo became President of Jidokwan that they joined the Korea Taekwondo Association, and began using the term "Taekwondo" to describe their art, seeing more growth potential there and describing the Korea Soo Bahk Do Association as "old fashioned and rigid." However, Jidokwan's roots have always been Korean Karate (Tang Soo Do/Kong Soo Do) long after the rest of the kwans became Taekwondo.
Our Tang Soo Do branch of the American Jidokwan Association pays homage to our art's history, teaching the original Shotokan and Shito Ryu kata/hyung and preserving historical Jidokwan while emphasizing practical self defense training.
As the Jidokwan in Korea has adopted the KTA/Kukkiwon curriculum and no longer teaches the older Karate kata, we have also joined the World Tang Soo Do General Federation in Korea to provide our Tang Soo Do students with another layer of legitimacy and certification. All AJTSD students are eligible to receive Dan ranking from the WTSDGF. Therefore, all of our members both under Taekwondo and Tang Soo Do can receive international certification from Korea.