The History of Jidokwan

Special thanks to GM Kim Pyung-soo for bringing minor inaccuracies to our attention We truly appreciate his assistance and knowledge of Jidokwan and Korean Martial Arts.

We are in the process of acquiring more accurate information. Changes will be made as they are received.

HISTORY OF JI DO KWAN On August 15, 1945, the Emperor of Japan made an unconditional surrender to American armed forces. With that surrender, Korea was liberated from Japan, which had dominated the country since annexing it in 1910. Many millions of Japanese living in Korea returned to the mainland of Japan. Korea was then divided at the 38th parallel, and Gen. Hedge, commander of the 24th Division of the U.S. Army, was appointed the Military Governor of South Korea. Russians occupied North of the 38th parallel. Korea was racked by political strife with great struggles between politicians, both new and old. In South Korea, the struggle was between Democracy and Communism. Although communists were few, they were highly organized. Killings of Korean politicians were commonplace; therefore, social order was in chaos. The Chosun Yunmoo-Kwan karate and judo school was organized on March 3, 1946 (Chosun Yunmoo-Kwan would later become Ji Do Kwan). Previously, Chosun Yunmoo-Kwan had been the original Japanese Judo school in Korea for more than 30 years. Master Lee, Kyung-Suk, who was one of the senior Judo masters of the school, was named the first headmaster. Among that first class of Korean karate students was Lee, Chung-Woo (student #6), who is now President of the Ji Do Kwan School. Master Chun, Sang-Sup was the first person appointed to be headmaster of Kwon Bup-Boo (the karate division) in that school. In the four-year period between 1946 and 1950, the students of Chosun Yunmoo-Kwan, who were in the age range of 15 to 25 years old, became the nucleus of the Ji Do Kwan leadership. Some of those young pioneer's were: Master Pal, Young-Ki (student #1, who is now deceased); Master Chun, Il-Sup (student #2), who became branch Headmaster of Chun-Nam Province Ji Do Kwan (which produced an outstanding number of champions; such as: Park, Dong-Keun [who has a school in Jersey City, N.J.] and Park, Yeon-Hee [who has a school in Long Island, N.Y.], both of whom were undefeated national champions in Korea); Kim, Bok-Nam (student #3); Um, Kiun and Master Lee, Byung-Ro. Junior to the before mentioned men, but nonetheless pioneers are Kim, Yoo (Soo) Jin; Shin, Sang-Jin, who now lives in Canada; Chung, Jin-Yong, now Director of the Tae Kwon Do Association in Japan, and Lee, Kyo-Yoon, who later became headmaster of the Ham Moo Kwan school. Also, Master Yun, Byun-In, established a Ji Do Kwan school at the YMCA in Seoul; Lee, Nam-Suk was one of the first students there. This school later became the Chang Moo Kwan School. Lee, Chung-Woo was appointed an instructor at the Chang Moo Kwan School in those early days. A week before the Ji Do Kwan School was established; the Chung Do Kwan School was established. Lee, Won-Kuk was appointed the first president of Chung Do Kwan. Two of the prize students of that school were: Son, Duk-Sung, who now teaches in New York, and Um, Woon-Kyu, who is the current Vice President of the Korea Tae Kwon Do Association, Hyun, Chong-Myung and Kim, Soon-Pal were early students of Chung Do Kwan who contributed greatly to the style. At that time, Chung Do Kwan had slightly more membership than Ji Do Kwan. Mr. Whang, Ki, who was one of the original members of Chung Do Kwan, later opened a school under the name of Moo Duk Kwan. There was one more style that was independently developed. The style was Song Moo Kwan, opened in the Kaesong area, and headed by Master No, Pyung-Zik. In March, 1950, Dr. Yoon, Kwa-Byung returned to Korea from Japan with the rank of 7th Dan -- one of the highest ranks in all of karate at that time. He was appointed the new headmaster of our school because the original headmaster, Chun, Sang-Suk, became a victim of the Korean War, and Dr. Yoon succeeded in that post. Dr. Yoon, who was a pathologist, a professor, and a former officer in the Japanese Imperial Army, held a fifth (5th) degree Black Belt in Japanese karate early in his college years (in those days, 5th Dan was an exceptional achievement -- very few men held that rank in Japan). And, before he became Headmaster, he had written a book on karate -- books on the subject were very rare. Dr. Yoon's training was in Japan as an original member of the To Chi Ki Ken style, which is known today as the Zito-Ryu style. (Note: The Japanese have four basic styles of karate. They are: Shotokan, Okinawan, Zito-Ryu and Ko Ju.) On June 25, 1950, the North Korean Army launched a massive invasion into South Korea. A one and one-half year vacuum was created in karate; during which time, Grandmaster Lee, Kyung-Suk, the original head of Chosun Yong Moo, was kidnapped by the North Koreans and was -- never heard from again. In 1952, the South Korean government was able to return to the capital city of Seoul from the temporary capital set up in the city of Pusan, which is the country's second largest city and the largest port. When the primary staff of Chosun Yunmoo Kwan wished to establish Yudo College (Yudo-Judo) as a four-year college, the Ji Do Kwan practitioners, who were all original members of the judo school and held Black Belts in judo, decided to relocate. A new headquarters for the school, the location the school now occupies in Korea, was secured through the great efforts of Dr. Shin (Canada) and Lee, Kyo-Yoon. The traditionalists wanted to keep their Yudo and Kumdo (Judo and Kendo) to themselves and they were uneasy about the new development - Tae Kwon Do. [The evolution of the martial arts has had its own share of suffering in the way of prejudice, and their unwillingness to adjust to change is still prevalent.] After the end of the Korean War in 1952, the capital city began to return to normal and the threat of the North Korean Army again overrunning the city lessened, more of the original members of the Ji Do Kwan school began returning from their hiding places outside the city. There was also an influx of many new members, which are also credited with exporting and building new Ji Do Kwan schools worldwide. The roots of Ji Do Kwan are carried by those men who were in Chosun Yunmoo Kwan, but the real strength of the school was established by those men in the school during the early 1950s, which is truly led by Grandmaster Lee and retired Grandmaster, Dr. Yoon.

*Email dated 09/13/2003 from GM Kim Soo: Chon Sun Yun Mu Kwan was Yudo (Judo ) dojang, Master Chun and Yoon together ran the club at the Cho Sun Yun Mu Kwan, actually they ran the Karate (Kong Soo-Do) club, Chun and Yoon were very close friends since they studied together in Japan.  Master Yoon was invited by the YMCA as the Kwon-Bop teacher, at that time Jidokwan name wasn't even used. Nam Suk Lee was one of Yoon's early student later became the chief instructor of ChangmooKwan.

The following is an interview with GM LEE Chong Woo on the History of the Jidokwan published in the Korean language magazine "World Taekwondo", August 1997 edition:

"The Roots of the birth of modern Taekwondo


Jidokwan, meaning the "Way of Wisdom", has developed through its roots in the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan.  Because the Jidokwan took a main role for the Kwan Unity Act, the new executive
committee (Chong Bon Kwan) drove the act positively.

    Initiative role for Kwan Unity

"For myself, for my kwan, for my country", based on these three concepts, the Jidokwan was founded on March 3, 1946.  The Jidokwan was first known as the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan.

The Chosun Yun Moo Kwan first founded by CHUN Sang Sup, the first Kwan Jang (Cho Dae Kwan Jang) of the Jidokwan.

Master CHUN Sang Sup first started his martial arts career in Judo during his high school years, then he attended Dong Yang Chuck Sik Dae Hak Kyo (Takushoku University) in Japan, where he mastered Karate.

    Founded by CHUN Sang Sup

After graduating from college, CHUN Sang Sup returned to Korea, and started to teach Taekwondo to black belt Judo students at the Yun Moo Kwan, which was located in Soo Song Dong,
Seoul at the time.  LEE Kyung Suk was the Kwan Jang of the Yun Moo Kwan
during that time and Chosun Yun Moo Kwan was a Judo dojang.

After the surrender of Japan in World War II on August 15, 1945, the Cho Sun Yun Moo Kwan moved from Soo Song Dong to So Gong Dong, where the *Japanese KODO-KAN (in Korean Kang Do Kwan) used to be located, and officially announced the opening of the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan as branch of Korea Taekwondo.

At that time, Taekwondo was called Kwon Bop Boo.  The first students of the new Chosun Yun Moo Kwan were CHUN Il Sup (brother of CHUN Sang Sup), BAE Young Ki, KIM Bok Nam,
LEE Chong Woo, PARK Hyun Jong, LEE Byung Ro, CHUNG Jin Dong, and KIM Chun Sun. Later, these became the founding members of the Jidokwan.

CHUN Il Sup first popularized the Taekwondo in Cholla Buk Do (Northern Cholla province), BAE Young Ki served as the 3rd Kwan Jang for the Jidokwan, and LEE Chong Woo served as the 2nd and 4th Kwan Jang. These three gentlemen were the main leaders of the Jidokwan.

PARK Hyun Jong led the Jidokwan's development in Pusan City and while LEE Kyo Yun from the Han Moo Kwan joined the Jidokwan and founded the Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan's Taekwondo
Department (Han Che) and served as its Sabum while he was working for the police communications department.

    The title Jidokwan first used from Pusan in 1950

BAE Young Ki had the earliest relation with Chosun Yun Moo Kwan.  He first started his training during the Soo Song Dong period.

YOON Byung In, the founder of the Chang Moo Kwan, also worked as Sabum for one ear in the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan in 1947. Later he went to the YMCA and founded the Chang Moo Kwan.

*Email dated 09/13/2003 from GM Kim Soo: Dr. Yoon was appointed as the chief instructor(4th dan) in Seoul, Korea by G.M. Kanken Doyama of Shudo-ryu in Japan in mid of 1940.  Also, Dr. Yoon's original name is Yoon, Ui-byung who used to run Han Mu Kwan dojang in Japan before the liberation of Korea.

With the appointment of new Kwan Jang YOON Kwe Byung, who was known as a great master in the Karate world (trained with Shito ryu’s MABUNI Kenwa in Japan), the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan
became very active.

On June 25, 1950, the Korean War started and the Grandmaster CHUN Sang Sup, Founder of the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan, was abducted and taken to North Korea.  During the evacuation period in Pusan, the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan changed its name to Jidokwan. LEE Chong Woo first suggested the change of the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan's name and with the agreement of YOON Kwe Byung the Chosun Yun Moo Kwan became Jidokwan.

"After the abduction of Grandmaster CHUN Sang Sup during the Korean War, I suggested to YOON Kwe Byung that we change the name of our school. Also, with his agreement, I recommended the appointment of YOON Kwe Byung as the new Kwan Jang." said Chong Woo Lee.

Jidokwan became really active and gained their strength in 1953, when it extended their organization to the Han Kuk Che Yuk Kwan as its Taekwondo Department.

During that period, once or twice a year, they taught self defense and bone setting at special seminars.  But the Jidokwan started to have disruption over the Kwan Unity Act.

During the development of the Korea Tae Soo Do Association, HWANG Kee and his followers from Moo Duk Kwan and YOON Kwe Byung and his followers from the Jidokwan stood in opposition to the Kwan Unity Act.

    Training through competition

And that was the start of the disruption of Jidokwan.  Chong Woo Lee drove the Kwan Unity Act without YOON Kwe Byung and became 2nd Kwan Jang of the Jidokwan with the support of the
National Council.

KIM Chun Sun (council of Jidokwan), CHO Yong Dae (President of the Australia Taekwondo Association), and LEE Sang Chul (president of to USTU) are all alumni members of the Jidokwan.

The Jidokwan, along with the Moo Duk Kwan, acted as the main role models of modern Taekwondo in Korea.  Jidokwan's unique and intensive training, such as having to defeat three straight competitors in order to receive a belt promotion, made the birth for the great athletics for this period.

History of Jidokwan Kwan Jang:

Founder:            CHUN Sang Sup
1st Kwan Jang:  YOON Kwe Byung
2nd Kwan Jang: LEE Chong Woo
3rd Kwan Jang: BAE Young Ki
4th Kwan Jang:  LEE Chong Woo
5th Kwan Jang:  LEE Seung Wan (current president)

 * Changes made to The History of Jidokwan - Email dated 09/13/2003 from GM Kim Soo


The WJDKF is an Independent Martial Arts Federation and was founded in an effort to continue promoting the "History of Jidokwan Taekwondo."

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