Since the end of World War II, many traditional Korean martial arts have re-emerged and continued to be developed by dedicated instructors, with some rising to the level of Master along the way. Someof these Masters are still teaching their unique systems in Korea today in their original and individual schools. Some Korean Masters have further spread their arts by teaching around the world. One of these pioneering Masters is Grandmaster Sung Soo Lee.
Many Korean born Masters have been influenced by more than one of the post World War II Korean martial arts, but few have reached the level of expertise and skill possessed by Grandmaster Lee. He is a certified 9th Dan Hapkido by the Korea Hapkido Federation and a 9th Dan in Taekwondo certified by the World Taekwondo Federation. He was the first man in the world to achieve 9th Dan in both arts.
Sung Soo Lee was born into a traditional Korean family, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, on December 30th 1936. As a youngster, Lee did not understand that his native country was under the rule of a foreign power. It was when he was nine years old, that he realised something had changed. His lessons in primary school were no longer taught in Japanese; almost overnight they began to be taught in his native Korean language.
Grandmaster Sung Soo Lee began his study of martial arts when he was just 11 years old, under the tuition of his grandfather who taught him Ju-Jitsu. At the age of 17 he began studying Taekwondo under Professor Yoon Kwe Byun in Seoul in 1953. In 1993 Master Lee was awarded his 9th Dan in Taekwondo. Master Lee's first encounter with Hapkido was in the Korean army in 1960. Here he met a soldier who taught him Yawara, later to be known as Hapkido. He was awarded his 9th Dan in Hapkido in 1996.
In 1972 Sung Soo Lee was chosen to become the National Coach of Singapore's Taekwondo team. This request came personally from the President of the World Taekwondo Federation. It was while he was teaching martial arts in Singapore that he founded the Moo Hak Kwan school of Hapkido in 1973. Master Lee believes that in the early years of Hapkido's development, the art possessed a large amount of impractical techniques. He has refined the original techniques to be more suitable for the 21st Century and he believes Moo Hak Kwan is a more complete system of self defence.
The word "Moo" relates to martial arts; "Hak" means to study or learn something and "Kwan" is a school. Therefore Moo Hak Kwan is the school for the study of martial arts.
Grandmaster Lee is the head of the International Hapkido Moo Hak Kwan, the organization to which the EHA is affiliated and in turn to the Korea Hapkido Federation (Seoul).
The headquarters of the International Hapkido Moo Hak Kwan are in Sydney, Australia where Master Lee now resides. However, Grandmaster Lee has spread his teachings across the globe in countries such as UK, USA, India, Greece and of course South Korea.
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