Karate North - patch image

Karate North - hair of the dog image (made by Eric Howell)

Karate North - chung bong image

History - of Karate North

Above: Mr. Jay Hyon posing, Mr. Tom Sullivan demonstrating and instructing with Mr. Mike Madden in the 70's.

Click here for more archive articles and images from the 70's.

Tom Sullivan ("professor of karate" at the University of Minnesota-Duluth) formed the school in September of 1973, as a branch of Jay Hyon's Karate Center, Inc.,of Minneapolis. Jay Hyon quit Engineering in 1968 and devoted all of his time to building his schools which he started in 1965. Hyon's lineage can be traced back directly to Song Moo Kwan.

The Chung Bong forms created by Mr. Hyon which might be different then traditional Tae Kwon Do forms found elsewhere, is quite common and recognizable in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas.

Many of Mr. Hyon's students created their own schools which populates most of the upper Midwest. All of the large schools including Karate North, host at least one tournament per year. Mr. Tom Sullivan hosts the Twin Ports Open each year with much success. People fondly recall Our Grand Master Mr. Sullivan as an avid tournament fighter himself.


History - of Tae Kwon Do

Early Koreans developed unique martial art forms for unarmed self defense to complement their skills with weapons. The first recorded evidence of what was to become modern Tae Kwon Do is found about two thousand years ago in Korean history. A mural painting from the Koguryu kingdom (37 B.C to 66 A.D.) was found in a tomb believed to have been built sometime during the period 3 to 427 A.D . This mural depicts figures practicing martial arts techniques. Historical records from this Koguryu period also mention the practice of martial arts techniques and tournaments. The early forms had different names, such as Kwonbak, Bakhi, Dangsoo, Taesoo and Kongsoo. From about 600 A.D. to about 1400, the main stream dominant form was Soobak, which further evolved into Taekyon beginning in the late 1300s. Taekyon was the dominant Korean martial art form until the Japanese invasion and occupation of Korea in 1909. From 1909 to 1945, the Japanese suppressed Korean culture and martial arts, and introduced Japanese culture and martial arts.

The modern period of Taekwondo began with the defeat of the Japanese and the liberation of Korea in 1945. Korean martial arts masters wanted to eliminate Japanese influences. They began discussions on how to return to the traditional Taekyon based Korean martial arts and on how to unite the various martial arts schools (or Kwans) and styles into a single style and national sport. After several years of discussions, the name "Taekwondo" was chosen in April 1955 by the board of masters of the various Kwans, and the kwans started to unify through the late 1950s.

The spread of Taekwondo as a martial art and competitive sport continues to this date. The principle events in the rapid evolution of Taekwondo as a popular world wide sport are:

  • 1965 - The Korea Taekwondo Association was formed.
  • 1973 - World Taekwondo Federation created.
  • 1975 - General Association of International Sports Federations recognizes the WTF.
  • 1976 - Taekwondo accepted as a Consul International du Sport Militaire sport (world level military sports organization).
  • 1980 - International Olympic Committee recognizes the WTF.
  • 1981 - Taekwondo accepted as a World Games sport
  • 1983 - Taekwondo accepted as a Pan American Games and All Africa Games sport
  • 1985 - Taekwondo adopted as a demonstration sport for the 1988 Olympic Games.
  • 1986 - Taekwondo accepted as a Federation International du Sport Universitaire sport (world university level sport organization).
  • 1992 - Taekwondo is an Olympic demonstration sport in Barcelona, Spain.
  • 1994 - Taekwondo selected as a full Olympic sport for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
  • 1996 - Taekwondo is an Olympic demonstration sport in Atlanta.
  • Today - Tae Kwon Do is by far the most widely practiced martial art in the world.


Meaning of Chong Bong

The characters Chong Bong, or Blue Mountain, have very strong symbolism also. The color blue has traditionally been the color of Um (or Yin) in the Um/Yang symbol. (This is the symbol that appears in the center of the Korean flag.) In this context it emphasizes the strength of the mind, as opposed to the strength of the body. The word chong also has other meanings in Korean, including "dignity", "fearlessness" and "restraint".* Mountain has traditionally been used to represent a mind that is centered, stable and that understands its relationship to the universe. Master Jay Hyon, the man who brought taekwondo to Minneapolis/St. Paul in 1965, created his own set of forms called "Chong Bong". Today, we teach these beautiful and unusual forms to preserve our heritage. (An interesting note about the word bong. It's actual meaning is closer to "small mountain" or "mountain top". Master Hyon no doubt was well aware of the real meaning when he named his forms, but used it to symbolize humility.)


The Korean Flag

The Korean flag symbolizes much of the thought, philosophy and mysticism of the Orient. The symbol, and sometimes the flag itself, is called Taeguk, and it was first flown in Korean in 1882. Depicted on the flag is a circle divided equally and in perfect balance. The upper (red) section represents the Yang and the lower (blue) the Um, an ancient symbol of the universe. The curve that separates the blue section from the red represents our vital energy, or ki. These two symbols express the dualism of the cosmos: fire and water, day and night, and so on. The central thought in the Taeguk indicates balance and harmony. The three bars at each corner also express the ideas of opposition and balance, and are based on four of the ancient symbols of the I Ching - heaven, earth, fire and water. The meaning of the Korean flag can be simply captured in the word "balance".


Meaning of Song Moo Kwan

Song Moo Kwan translates as Ever Youthful House of Martial Arts Training. Song Moo Kwan is the oldest and most famous Taekwondo and martial arts school in Korea. Su-preme Grand Master Byung Jick Ro, the founder of modern Taekwondo, explains his school's name: "Song Moo Kwan's *Song* meant pine tree, which meant green and a long life. Also, Song was one of the Koryo capital city names, Song Do.

- Song means evergreen tree which depicts youth or health everlasting.
- Moo means martial art.
- Kwan means gymnasium / house of study.