Choi Kwang Do (The Art of Grand Master Kwang Choi) is a dynamic, innovative approach to martial arts training that is recognized as one of the fastest growing martial arts in the world. Founded by Grand Master Kwang Jo Choi, 9th Degree Black Belt, Choi Kwang Do is the culmination of Grand Master Choi’s more than 40 years of martial arts experience and has resulted in the most effective martial art system for today’s modern society.
Choi Kwang Do is based on traditional martial arts philosophy that emphasizes the ideal of personal and social development being paramount, rather than sports competition. Choi Kwang Do classes provide a safe and non-competitive environment for students that helps them to grow not only physically, but mentally as well. The development of good manners, courtesy, self-discipline, self-confidence, and good social adjustment can be considered primary objectives of this art, along with the development of practical self-defense skills.
The techniques and concepts of this art can be considered very non-traditional. Principles of modern science, derived from psychology, kinesiology, and biomechanics, form the basis for Choi Kwang Do. Conventional martial arts methodology is more often based on mysticism, impractical traditional techniques, or sports competition. Choi Kwang Do is not designed nor optimized for athletic competition. Instead Choi Kwang Do is designed to be a devastatingly effective self-defense system that can be used in real street situations. Furthermore, Choi Kwang Do has been designed to enhance the student’s overall health, fitness, and well being rather than cause the injuries and damage that many competitive activities do.
Finally, Choi Kwang Do is a dynamic art that continually evolves. As new information on health, fitness, and improved training methods are discovered and developed, it may be formally integrated into the Choi Kwang Do training system. As students in Choi Kwang Do, it is welcoming to know that you are not training in an system that is static or based on outdated training methods.
Choi Kwang-Do is of Korean origin and derives many of its traditions, customs, as well as terminology, from Korea’s own heritage. Many of these traditions and customs are based on the wisdom of oriental philosophers such as Lao Tzu, Buddha, and Confucius. Aspects such as bowing; demonstration of respect for seniors and elders; loyalty to one’s family, group or country; and emphasis on patience, self discipline, courtesy and humility are all examples of traditional oriental philosophy.
These customs, many dating back thousands of years, were originally designed to promote harmony, justice and social order. Interestingly enough, it is these same ancient customs that form the modern basis for promoting a safer and more productive learning environment for Choi Kwang Do training.
Another important historical influence on Choi Kwang Do’s philosophy is the Idea of Musado, or “way of the warrior spirit”. This philosophy, emphasizing bravery in battle and never give up attitude, was based on the heroic deeds of an ancient Korean military group called the Hwarang Do (literally, flower of youth or manhood).
This elite group, comparable to today’s special forces, were known for their harsh, self-imposed training, which included not only early forms of martial arts training but also mountain climbing and swimming rivers during the cold of winter. Through such arduous mental and physical training, the Hwarang Do warriors were able to unite the three warring kingdoms of Korea for the first time in its history.
Similar to the chivalry practiced by England’s knights of the round table, the Hwarang Do had a strict code of honor, which has evolved to this day to become the tenets of Choi Kwang Do. These tenets, or aims to achieve, are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control, and indomitable spirit. These tenets are fundamental to the development of mental strength, which is just as important for today’s “warriors” or martial artists, as it was for their ancient predecessors.
A more recent example of Choi Kwang Do’s military heritage is Choi Kwang Do’s motto or slogan: Pil Sung (literally meaning “Certain Victory”) is a term widely used as a salute by Korea’s famous ROK Army. Pil Sung emphasized that no defeat is permanent or all encompassing and that with a positive mental attitude and perseverance, any goal can be achieved.