A Brief Outline of the Development of Korean Martial Arts and of Kuk Sool Won
The earliest history of the Korean martial arts is as old as the land itself. Even the mythological founder of the Korean race, Tan’gun (단군), was said to have brought about the development of the Korean nation through martial prowess, coupled with his divine origin. More practically, however, the history of the Korean martial arts can be said to have begun when the first man raised his hand in defense of himself or his family, and further developed when he began to fashion crude weapons and tools, out of wood and stone, to use in hunting or in self-defense. But, the actual recorded history of the fighting arts of Korea begins some time later. Virtually all of the traditional Asian fighting arts can be identified as emerging from three important subgroups.
- Sah Doh Mu Sool (사도무술): Tribal Clan or Family Martial Arts
- Bool Kyo Mu Sool (불교무술): Buddhist Temple Martial Arts
- Koong Joong Mu Sool (궁중무술): Korean Royal Court Martial Arts
In our studies of the history of the Korean martial arts, we shall examine each of the martial arts’ developments, in light of these important categories.