Although Tang Soo Do is a relatively modern martial art its basis, the Korean art Soo Bahk Do, has been in existence for many centuries. Soo Bahk originated during the Silla Dynasty in the years 618 to 935 A.D.. The name "Tang Soo Do" is literally translated to mean "the way of the China Hand". "Tang" represents the Tang Dynasty of China while "Soo" means hand and "Do" is defined as a way or system.
Grand Master Hwang Kee, founder of Tang Soo Do, mastered Soo Bahk Do and Tae Kyun, a Korean system known for its powerful kicks (not related to Tae Kwon Do), by the age of twenty-two. At that time, in 1936, he traveled to Northern China where he encountered a style of martial artistry called the Tang Method. From 1936 to 1945 he combined the techniques of Soo Bahk Do with those of the Tang Method and developed what was to be known as Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do although it was officially registered in Korea on November 9, 1945 as the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association.
Tang Soo Do is a composite style made up of 60% Soo Bahk Do and 40% Chinese. It is both a hard and soft style. The term hard refers to the overt power and strength of the various techniques which are derived from Soo Bahk Do. Soft refers to the more flowing aspect of the movements and the lack of direct confrontation. The softness of Tang Soo Do comes from the Northern Chinese influence.
The Cheezic Tang Soo Do Federation was formed by Grand Master Robert Cheezic. From 1959 to 1961, while serving in the U.S. Air Force in Korea, he studied the art under the instruction of Grand Master Jae Shin, a student of Hwang Kee. At the conclusion of his duty in Korea, Grand Master Cheezic returned to his hometown of Waterbury, Connecticut, where he began teaching this newly learned art. In the ensuing years, Grand Master Cheezic has promoted hundreds of Black Belts and directs approximately fifty clubs throughout the United States and in Moscow.
The Karate Club at Saint Louis University was formed in 1991 by Matt Warshauer. He originally learned Tang Soo Do while attending Central Connecticut State University as an undergraduate and has since returned to that location. His instructors were seventh degree Master Harry Needham and fifth degree Master Frank Capodicasa. The Club has been instructed by Dan Bramer, Kate Steinhable, Keith Montgomery, Patrick Renick, and Beth Kovaly. (all first degree black belts).
From left to right: Jamie Mize, Joe Barbera, Beth Kovaly, Chris Beardsley
From left to right: Master Jamie Mize, Master Chris Beardsley