무덕관 · 武德館

Mudeok-kwan is one of the nine schools of martial arts that contributed to the foundation of Taekwondo, opened by 황기 (Hwang Ki) in 1945 CE.


After travelling, and training with a number of different instructors, Hwang Ki developed a martial art which he initially named 화수도 花手道 (Hwasudo). This was the name of the art when he opened Mudeok-kwan on 9 November 1945 CE. Later, though, in order to reflect changes in the art, he renamed it to 당수도 唐手道 (Dangsudo, Tangsudo), and later again, on 30 June 1960 CE, to 수박도 手搏道 (Subakdo).

In 1961, the government of Korea endeavoured to unify the numerous martial arts schools within the country as part of one association, and with one name (initially Taesudo and later Taekwondo), with the aim of allowing all to develop rapidly. Hwang Ki did not like this arrangement, and remained independent. However, in 1965, three of his higher-grade students, 김영택 (Kim Yeong-taek), 홍종수 (Hong Jong-su), and 이강익 (Yi Gang-ik), led a significant number of practitioners from Mudeok-kwan to join Taekwondo.

The school was divided. Mudeok-kwan led by Hwang Ki continued to flourish independently, and exists today as an international martial arts association, which officially practises Mudeok-kwan Subakdo (and so is officialy separate from Taekwondo). Mudeok-kwan led by Yi Gang-ik now only exists in the form of a society, which officially supports the style of Taekwondo taught by 국기원 國技院 (Gukgiwon, Kukkiwon).


(mu) refers to martial arts, (deok) refers to morality, and (gwan, kwan) refers to a training hall, so 무덕관 武德館 (mudeokgwan) means 'Morality Martial Arts School'.

Hwang Ki initially named his martial art Hwasudo. (hwa) means 'flower' or 'petal', (su) means 'hand', and (do) means 'way'. Thus 화수도 花手道 (hwasudo) means 'The Way of the Flowering Hand'. Also, (hwa) is probably a reference to the 화랑 花郞 (hwarang), an elite class of warriors from the Silla dynasty.

당수도 唐手道 (Dangsudo, Tangsudo) is simply the Korean pronunciation of the Japanese word Karate-dō.

수박도 手搏道 (Subakdo) is a reference to the ancient martial art 수박 手搏 (Subak), which was practised during the time of the Three Kingdoms.

The name 'Mudeok-kwan' follows the traditional naming scheme for martial arts styles. This would therefore mean that the style of martial arts practised at Mudeok-kwan led by Yi Gang-ik is called 'Mudeok-kwan Taekwondo'. (The martial arts practised at Mudeok-kwan led by Hwang Ki is called 'Mudeok-kwan Hwasudo', 'Mudeok-kwan Tangsudo', or 'Mudeok-kwan Subakdo', depending on the time that is referred to.)


Korean Date

The date today is,

4350 년 1 월 3 일 (4350, Month 1 Day 3) (28 February 2017 CE)

This is the date according to the traditional lunisolar calendar of Korea. (Note that this is not an authoritative calculation; I’m still working on the details.) The years count back to the legendary founding of Korea by 단군 왕검 (Dan-gun Wanggeom).