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Chung Do Kwan in 26 May, 1946. Lee is seated in the middle of the photo.

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Chung Do Kwan in 1946


Tae kwon do 1956

Chung Do Kwan demonstration in 1956

Chung Do Kwan was one of the first schools (kwans) established at the end of the Japanese Occupation of Korea. The Chung Do Kwan (靑濤館; "Blue Wave School") name was first used by Won Kyuk Lee. Lee had previously studied:

  • Taekkyon in An Gup Dong (a neighborhood in Seoul)
  • Shotokan Karate with Sensei Gichin Funakoshi in Okinawa, and
  • Kung Fu at centers in Henan and Shanghai in China.

The term Blue Wave was meant to denote youthful spirit and vitality. 

Lee moved to Japan when he was 19 years old in 1926. After attending middle school and high school in Japan, he then entered the law school of Chuo University. He then enrolled at Japan's Karate headquarters, the Song Do Kwan (Shotokan). Lee received Karate instruction from Shotokan Karate's father, Sensei Gichin Funakoshi. There, he also studied Karate with Byung Jick Ro, who would go on to found Song Moo Kwan.

Lee earned dan ranking in Shotokan karate. According to Grandmaster Yong Taek Chung (a student of Lee) "It is probable that he did practice in secret as a teenager [during the Japanese occupation of Korea] because he told this author that when he first started training he and his first teachers would not exchange names due to possible consequences if someone got caught." 

Because of his law background, Lee was appointed as a teacher at the Korean Police Academy and many of his early students were police. Chung Do Kwan was once called "The National Police Headquarters Dojang."

Later, the President of Korea, Rhee Seung Man, offered Lee the position of Minister of the Interior. However, when Lee politely refused, President Rhee arrested Lee as well as one of his senior students, Duk Sung Son. After being released, Lee and his family emigrated back to Japan immediately prior to the beginning of the Korean War. Before leaving Korea, Lee appointed his senior student, Yoo Ung Jun to succeed him as the Chung Do Kwan Kwan lead. Yoo instead became a supporter of North Korea and eventually the position went to Duk Sung Son. Son was succeeded as President of the Chung Do Kwan by Uhm Woon Kyu in 1959. Uhm later went on to also serve as President of Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters).

The belt system of the Chung Do Kwan under Lee was as follows: White (8th-5th Guep), Red (4th-1st Guep)and Black (1st to 7th Dan). Testing occurred every six months and students would jump two guep levels per test (8th to 6th guep for example). The reason for this was that many Koreans at that time were poor and could not afford frequent testings.


  • Founder: Won Kyuk Lee
  • September 1944: Chung Do Kwan funded at Ok Chun Dong (Young Shin School), Suh Dae Moo Gue, Seoul, Korea
  • April 1946: re-established at Gyun Ji Dong (Si Chun Gyo Dang), Jong Ro Gu, Seoul, Korea
  • June 25, 1950: closed doors due to the Korean War
  • October 1953: re-established in Gyun Ji Dong (Si Chun Gyo Dang), Jong Ro Gu, Seoul, Korea. When this group was re-established in 1953, they did not have an instructor. Two students of Mr. Lee's, Jong Myong Hyun and Wun Shik Min, requested Master Byung Jick Ro to come as an instructor. Master Ro helped them re-establish and teach their students until December 1954. Before leaving, he appointed Duk Sung Sohn as head and Mr. Hyun and Mr. Min as instructors.

Derived Kwans[]

The following schools were offshoots of Chung Do Kwan:

See Also[]