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Frequently Asked Questions


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First it is important to understand that Soo Bahk Do is the Art and Moo Duk Kwan is the style. Soo Bahk Do is the technical side, and the Moo Duk Kwan is the philosophical side of “Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan.” The name “Bahk” originated in the age of Chun Chu (2700 years ago) according to the Moo Yei Dobo Tong Ji, which is one of the oldest records of Korea’s martial arts. Soo Bahk Do (combat with bare hands and feet) is the only Korean martial art handed down from the Ko Ku Ryo Dynasty, thereby making it the oldest Korean martial art (aprox. 2,000 years old)

Translated literally, Moo Duk Kwan means “Institute of Martial Virtue.” It is the scientific use of the body in methods of self defense, combined with a strict philosophy guiding the practitioner towards discovering their full potential. Soo Bahk Do, translated means “Hand Striking Way”, and is the means to forge a body towards gaining ultimate use of its faculties through intensive physical and mental training. It is an art of self defense and philosophy that’s secrets cannot be bought at any price other than serious and rigorous training. It is an art tempered on the lawns of Buddhist monasteries, against the steel of wandering bandits and on the fields of combat, its history is a long and honorable one.


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In the 1950s, Hwang Kee (founder of Soo Bahk Do) saw an example of traditional attire used in the Kokoryu and Shilla periods. From that point on, Soo Bahk Do has used the traditional do bok for training. An image of the do bok can be seen on the left. On the left is shown the attire used by men and on the right, the attire used by women. The deep, indigo (midnight blue) trim was not only expensive, but also a sign of knowledge.

Our school follows the Korean tradition. Dan members wear the midnight blue trim, which can be a symbol of their commitment to seek after knowledge. Midnight blue belts are also used in place of the more popular Japanese tradition–the black belt.

Belt System

Along with following the Korean tradition for our uniforms, we also have a very unique belt ranking system. Only 5 colors are used: white, orange, green, red, and midnight blue. Each color represents a season: winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Orange was introduced in 1975 as a transitional period between winter and spring.

How To Tie Your Belt

  1. Find the center of your belt, place it below your navel and wrap it around you once. You now have a top and bottom end of the belt.
  2. Cross the left side (with the stripe) on top of the right side.
  3. Cross the top flap over the bottom flap and tie the knot.
  4. Loop the left side underneath the belt (both layers).
  5. Make sure the knot opens to the right side and that the stripes are on the left tip.


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Sawtooth Martial Arts adheres to the standardizations of the US Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation.  This includes not only technical material, but also the terms in which we use in and out of class.  Here is a general outline of basic terms a student of Tang Soo Do or Soo Bahk Do should know.

General Terms:

  • Soo Bahk Do: Traditional martial art of Korea (Hand Strike Way)
  • Moo Duk Kwan: Name of our Philosophy and our Organization (School of Martial Virtue).
  • Dojang: Training Hall/studio Dobok: Training uniform
  • Dee: Belt Kuk Gi: National Flag
  • Kwan Jang Nim: Grandmaster (currently Hwang, Hyun Chul KJN)
  • Sa Bom Nim: Master Instructor
  • Kyo Sa Nim: Certified Instructor You Dan JaDan: Holder of midnight blue belt.
  • You Gup Ja: Holder of white through red belt.
  • Ko Dan Ja: Holder of master belt (midnight blue/red stripe)
  • Sun Beh: Senior Member Nim: Appended to denote respect.


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Commands in Class

  • Charyut: Attention (Feet together/hands at side)
  • Kuk Gi Bay Rey: Salute Flags
  • Anjo(shipsio): Sit Muk Nyum: Meditation
  • Sa Bom Nim Kay Kyung Ret: Bow to instructor
  • Choon Bee: Ready (stance) – Adjust/prepare
  • Baro: Return (stance)
  • Shi Jok: Begin
  • Shio: Rest
  • Dwi Ro: Look to rear
  • Tora: Turn
  • Da shi: Repeat
  • Wen Jok: Left O
  • Rin Jok: Right
  • Bal Bakwa: Switch Feet
  • Sahng Ko Kan E Kyung Ret: Bow to partners
  • Shim Sa Kwan Nim Kay Kyung Ret: Bow to Testing Board
  • Ku Ryung Up Shi: Without count
  • Il uh sut: Stand Ku Ryung E Macho So: With Count

*Add anything in front of Kyung Ret for a bow. For example, Kyo Sa Nim Kay Kyung Ret would mean Bow to certified instructor.


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Counting (Ku Ryung)

Korean Chinese
1 Hana Il
2 Dul Ee
3 Set Sam
4 Net Sa
5 Dasot Oh
6 Yosut Yook
7 Ilgop Chil
8 Yo dull  Pal
9 Ahop Ku
10 Yohl Ship


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Stances (Jaseh)

Jaseh:  Stance (bearing strength) Ki-se:  Poise Choon Bee/Baro Jaseh: Ready/Return Stance
Chan Gul Jaseh:  Front Stance Hu Gul Jaseh:  Back Stance Choon Kan Jaseh:  Intermediate Stance
Sa Ko Rip Jaseh:  Side Stance Deh Ryun Jaseh:  Fighting Stance Kyo Cha Rip Jaseh:  Cross-legged stance
Choi Ha Dan Jaseh:  Low Stance Sa Ko Rip Jaseh:  Side Stance Bal Cha Gi Jhoon Bee:  Ready for Kick Stance
Han Bal Sio Kee Jaseh:  Crane Stance


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Hand Techniques (Soo Gi)

Mahkee:  Block Kong Kyuk:  Attack Soo Do:  Open Hand
Ha Dan:  Low Choong Dan:  Middle Sang Dan:  High
Ahnuro:  Inside Pakuro:  Outside Chung Kwan:  Forefist (Jab)
Ssang Soo:  Two-hand Pahl Put Ki:  Horse-stance punching Yuk Soo Do:  Ridge Hand
Kwan Soo:  Spear Hand Jang Kwan:  Palm Heel Pahl Koop:  Elbow
Cap Kwan:  Back Fist Son Mok Deung:  Upper Wrist Jip Kay Son:  Pincer Hand (Web of Hand)

You can combine these terms to create most of our techniques. A few examples are given:

Ha Dan Mahkee: Low Block Sang Dan Mahkee: High Block
Ahnesu Pakuro Mahkee: Inside/outside block Pahkesu Ahnuro Mahkee: Outside/Inside Block
Ha Dan Soo Do Mahkee: Low Knife-hand block Choong Dan Soo Do Mahkee: Middle Knife-hand block
Ssang Soo Ha Dan Mahkee: Low X-block Ssang Soo Sang Dan Mahkee: High X-block
Choong Dan Kong Kyuk: Middle Punch

*Use Teul Oh for a reverse technique. Teul Oh means twisting because you will have to twist your hips more to execute a reverse technique.



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