The entire Tang Soo Do Martial Way Association Kwan Gi (flag/ banner) is encased in the color "midnight blue". In traditional Tang Soo Do, use of the color midnight blue ( sometimes referred to as Universe blue) to signify Dan ranking rather than the "infamous black belt", stems from the fact that in the Korean culture midnight blue represents maturity, success, and a time of harvest. Therefore, midnight blue portion of the Kwan Gi represents the Dan members of our Association and a time for a "new beginning" rather than the end of their development, growth and learning. The color Black on the other hand, signifies an "ending" or death and is considered to be finite or absolute which is contrary to our overall training discipline.
In addition to the reasons already stated, Grandmaster Ah Po also chose midnight blue because he strongly feels that this color, and its philosophical meaning, truly embodies the memory of the late Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee, founder of the Tang Soo Do Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan system. The late Great Grandmaster never ceased developing, refining and ensuring the continued evolution of the martial art of Tang Soo Do that he established in 1945 up until the time of his passing in 2002. In fact, he always stated that Tang Soo Do is a living martial art.
The octagon symbol in the center of the Kwan Gi was chosen by Grandmaster Ah Po for the following reasons:
First, each of the eight sides of the octagon represents one of the eight key concepts of the Tang Soo Do training method including:
Second, Grandmaster Ah Po also chose to utilize this symbol as part of the Association Kwan Gi out of respect and deference for his Chinese heritage (he is of part Chinese, Hawaiian and Portuguese ancestry) and to also recognize the influence of Chinese martial arts to the overall development of Tang Soo Do.
The eight sides of the Feng Shui Ba Qua historically represent the Chinese philosophy of the universe as it relates to life. Each direction has an element, color, and area of life associated with it. Below are the eight directions and the influences associated with each as are utilized in the practice of Chinese Feng Shui:
In ancient China, an earlier version of this symbol referred to as the Pre-Heaven Ba Qua simply defined the eight trigrams (patterns consisting of broken and unbroken lines) as the distillation of all things Heaven and Earth. This included the following combinations:
Simply stated, the Ba Qua is the energy map (Chi Gong) of any given space that gives guidance on creating the most harmonious energy flow in an individual's space on earth and in the Universe. Or, as Grandmaster Ah Po often states, energy flows where attention goes.
Which is the red and blue dissected circle that is part of and located in the center of the Ba Qua symbol, signifies the Um and Yang philosophy (the necessary co-existence of opposites in the Universe) of Asian Culture and also represents Grandmaster Ah Po's direct Tang Soo Do lineage to the late Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee and specifically Korea, the place of Grandmaster Hwang Kee's birth and also origin of the martial art of Tang Soo Do.
The Chinese characters (calligraphy) located in the center of the Um Yang reads Tang Soo Do the traditional martial art that we continue to develop, practice and teach. The Chinese calligraphy at the bottom of the Kwan Gi reads, Tang Soo Do Martial Way Association. Chinese calligraphy was chosen because it is generally utilized and can be read and understood by most Asian Cultures.
Which encircles the outer border of the Kwan Gi represents Grandmaster Ah Po and all Ko Dan Ja (Master Instructors) of our Association. It represents their active (Yang) commitment to continue the "original" teachings, philosophy and principles of Tang Soo Do as were originally developed and taught by the late Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee and their determination to further the traditions, refinement and growth of this martial art.
Use of Gold for all lettering, calligraphy and symbols used in the Kwan Gi was chosen by Grandmaster Ah Po to signify the very special relationship that he had with the late Great Grandmaster and also Mrs. Hwang Kee over the 48 years that he was a member of the Moo Duk Kwan. He was often called upon to be their personal escort and to be responsible for their security at special events and at public appearances.
In the early 1980's the late Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee commissioned Grandmaster Ah Po to design a federation patch specifically for use by Charter Members of the U.S. Tang Soo Do (Soo Bahk Do) Federation, Inc. in recognition of their contribution and commitment to the founding of that organization and to ensure that the members of that organization would always be aware of who they were.
Grandmaster Ah Po designed a patch identical to the organization's existing patch except that it consisted of a pure white patch with gold lettering and symbols. Upon completion of the design, the late Great Grandmaster expressed his elation over Grandmaster Ah Po's selection of the use of "Gold" lettering and symbols on a pure white background because in Korean culture and also traditional martial arts, "Gold" represents wisdom, maturity and elder statesmanship rather than simply a monetary value that we in the Western Culture tend to associate with this precious metal.
Use of the color white was also significant because philosophically it represents "purity" and the hidden potential of all human beings. The use of white is not reflected in the Kwan Gi but continues to be the primary color of our Tang Soo Do uniform.
In addition to the reasons already stated, use of "Gold" lettering and symbols in the Association's Kwan Gi was also chosen by Grandmaster Ah Po to represent his significant contribution and involvement in the 50th Anniversary of the Moo Duk Kwan festivities that were held in Seoul, Korea in 1995. Grandmaster Ah Po played an important role in helping to organize and coordinate this function and has become infamous for his Chi Gong brick breaking demonstration at this momentous and historical event.