Special thanks to Grand Master Gene Perceval (click for bio) , original author of this historical writeup.
Lineage and Followed Systems
The lineage of our martial arts system, like most martial arts, finds its beginnings in China. The masters who established our martial arts organization studied and trained in Chinese, Japanese, Okinawan and Korean martial arts. Their studies also included the fighting arts of American boxing, wrestling and U.S. military fighting tactics. Therefore, our lineage is very diverse and has greatly benefited us as a true warriors martial arts system.
History tells us that unarmed martial arts began in China many centuries ago. How far back is still unknown. We are led to believe the martial arts beginning started with monks in a Shaolin monastery. The origins are obscure and shrouded in myth and secrecy. Unfortunately, there is no updated documentation or evidence to prove this to be true. Many of the people involved in the early martial arts were mostly illiterate, and if there were any historical documentation, the Chinese Red Brigades would have punished, killed or made people commit suicide for having such documents in their possession. As a result, important historical documents were destroyed. If there were any written histories or memoirs, over time they became lost, destroyed or thrown out. That leaves only one other historical source; the passing down of martial arts history orally.
As we all know, hearsay, especially when passed down through the generations, changes the “truth” of the message. For this reason, unless there is actual documentation or proof, ‘word of mouth’ is only a tale unless proven to be true. Therefore, our research on this system’s lineage can only be traced back into the 1600’s.
Okinawa, also known as the Ryukyu Islands, were also occupied by other countries, including Japan. As a result of occupation, martial arts training was banned between certain years starting with 1477. This also created a lack of documentation.
Ancient Martial Arts Lineage
WANG JI, (1621-1689) – also known as “Wanshu”
Wang Ji was a poet, calligrapher, diplomat and a martial artist in the Shaolin tradition of Fujian White Crane style. In 1683, he led a large ambassadorial mission from China under the Qing Government to the village of Tomari in Okinawa. He was credited teaching Chu’an Fa to the People of Tomari. Wanshu, a well known kata, was named after him.
WONG CHUNG YOH (1630- ???)
Wong Chung Yoh was from Fuzhou, a province in China. His style was Xingyiquan. He was the master of Hsing-I, Chi-Kung and Qigong. His notable student was Chatan Yara.
KWANG SHANG FU (1670 – 1762) – also known as “Kusanku”
Kwang Shang Fu studied Ch’uan Fa in China under a Shaolin Monk. Around 1756, Kusanku was sent to Okinawa as an ambassador of the Qing Dynasty in the village of Kanemura, near Naha City. During his stay, Kusanku instructed Kanga Sakukawa in martial arts.
CHATAN YARA (1668-1756)
Chatan Yara was from the Chatan village in Okinawa. He started training at 12 in China under Wong Chung Yoh and Kusanku. He returned to Shuri Okinawa around 1700. His style was Shuri Te. His notable student was Peichin Takahara.
INFORMATION: Martial art styles Naha-Te, Shuri-Te & Tomari-Te are indigenous to the Ryukyu Islands, Okinawa.
TAKAHARA PEICHIN (1683-1760)
Takahara Peichin was a monk from Shuri Okinawa. He was known as the “Father of Okinawa Karate”. His style was Ch’uan Fa. Peichin is a title of status. Takahara Peichin’s teacher was Chatan Yara. His most notable student was Kanga Sakugawa.
KANGA (Tode) SAGUGAWA (1733-1815)
Kanga Sagugawa was from the village of Akata, Shuri Okinawa. His style was Te. Kanga began his training in 1750 under Takahara Peichin. After six years, he trained under Kusanku style Ch’uan Fa. Kanga Sagugawa developed the style Shuri-Te which became Shorin-Ryu. His student was Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura.
“TODE,” a weaponless self-defense system, was developed in Okinawa.
SOKON “BUSHI” (warrior) MATSUMURA (1797? – 1889?)
Sokon “Bushi” Matsumura is from the village of Yamakawa, Shuri Okinawa. He studied the martial art of Ch’uan Fa in China. His style was Shuri-Te. Matsumura’s teachers include: Kanga Sagugawa and Annan (also known as Chinto). His students are as follows: Motobu Choki, Chotoku Kyan, Anko Asato, Anko Itosu, Motobu Choyu, Kentsu Yabu and Nabe Matsumura.
KARYU UKU (1800-1850) – also known as “Giko Uku”
One of the earliest known practitioner of Tomari-Te. Not much information that can be found on Karyu Uku. However, it’s known that his most notable student was Kosaku Matsumora and Kokan Oyadomori.
KISHIN TRYUYA (1804-1864)
Also called Kishin Teruya, born in Tomari (Okinawa), one of the most important teachers of Tomari-Te of the first generation. Students included Kosaku Matsumora and Kokan Oyadomari
KOKAN OYADOMORI (1827-1905)
Kokan Oyadomori is from the Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa. His style was Tomari-Te. Oyadomori’s teachers were Karyu Uku and Kishin Teruya. His student was Chotoku Kyan.
KOSAKU MATSUMORA (1829-1898)
Unknown origin. Ryukyu Kingdom. Kosaku Matsumora studied Tomari-Te. His teachers were Karyu Uku (aka) Giko Uku and Kishin Teyuya. His students were Motobu Choki and Chotoku Kyan.
ANKO ITOSU (1831-1915)
Anko Itosu was from the village of Gibo, Shuri Okinawa. His styles were Shorin-Ryu and Shuri-Te. In 1901, he had karate introduced in Okinawa schools. Itosu’s teachers were Nagahama Chickadee and Sokon Matsumura. His students were Choyu Motobu, Choki Motobu, Kentsu Yabu, Chomo Hanashiro, Gichin Funakoshi, Moden Yabiku, Kanken Toyama, Shinpan Gusukuma, Anbun Tokuda, Kenwa Mabuni, Choshin Chibana, and Chojun Miyagi.
ANKO ASATO (1827-1906)
Not much information is known on Anko Asato. His style was Shuri-Te. Asato’s teacher was Sokon Matsumura. His student Gichin Funakoshi.
MOTOBU CHOYU (1857-1928)
Motobu Choyu is from the village of Akahira, Shuri Okinawa. He’s the older brother of Motobu Choki. Choyu’s teachers were Choshin Motorbus and Sokon Matsumura.
MOTOBU CHOKI (1870-1944)
Motobu Choki was from the village of Akahira, Shuri Okinawa. His styles were Shuri-Te and Tomari-Te. He’s the founder of Motobu-Ryu. Motobu Choki is the younger brother of Motobu Choyu. His teachers were Sokon Matsumura, Sakuma Pechin, Anko Itosu, and Kosaku Matsumora. His students were his son Chosei Motobu, Tatsuo Yamada, Sannosuke Ueshima, Yasuhiro Konishi, Hironori Otsuka, Tatsuo Shimabuku, Shoshin Nagamine, and Katsuya Miyahira.
CHOTOKU KYAN (1870-1945)
Chotoku Kywan was from Shuri, Okinawa. He died of starvation. His style was Shorin-Ryu. His teachers are as follows: Sokon Matsumura, Yomitan Yara, Kokan Oyadomari, Maeda Pechin, Kosaku Matsumora, and Tokumine Pechin. Chotoku Kyan’s students are the following: Tatsuo Shimabuku, Ankichi Arakaki, Shoshin Nagamine, Zenryo Shimabukuro, Tsuyoshi Chitose, Joen Nakazato, and Kori Hisataka.
ARAKAKI SEISHO (1840-1918)
Arakaki Seisho was also known as Aragaki Tsuji & Pechin Seisho. He was from Naha, Okinawa. His style was Tode. His teacher was Wai Xinxian. Arakaki Seisho was an official on the royal court Ryukyu and held the title of Pechin. His students are as follows: Chitose Tsuyoshi, Gichin Funakoshi, Higaonna Kanryo, Uechi Kanbun, Kanken Toyama, and Mabuni Kenwa.
HIGAONNA KANRYO (1853-1915) – also known as “Higashionna”
Higaonna Kanryo was from Naha, Okinawa. He is the founder of Naha-Te, also known as Kempo, a fighting style. Kanryo is ecognized as one of the first students of Fujian White Crane Kung Fu masters, namely Ryu Ryu Ro in Fuzhou region of China. Later, he returned to Okinawa to teach his skills. His teachers were: Arakaki Seisho, Kojotaitei, Xie Zhongxiang, and Wai Xinxian.
KENWA MABUNI (1888-1952)
kenwa-mabuni-smallKenwas Mabuni was from Shuri, Okinawa. He’s one of the first Okinawans to teach on the mainland of Japan. He developed Shinto-Ryu. His teachers were Anko Itosu and Higaonna Kanryo.
GICHIN FUNAKOSHI (1868-1957)
Gichin Funakoshi is known as the father of modern karate. He’s from the Shuri Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa. His styles were Shori-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu and Shotokan karate. Funakoshi’s teachers were Anko Asato and Anko Itosu. His notable students: Hironori Otsuka, Gigo Funakoshi (son), Isao Obata, Shigeru Egami, Teruyuki Okazaki, Tetsuhiko Asai, Masatoshi Nakayama, Tsutomu Ohshima, Taiji Kase, Mitsusuke Harada, Hirokazu Kanazawa, Won Kuk Lee, Matsutatsu “Mas” Oyama, and Osamu Ozawa.
GIGO (YOSHITAKA) FUNAKOSHI (1906-1945)
Gigo Funakoshi is from the Ryukyu Kingdom, Okinawa. He moved from Okinawa to Tokyo in 1923. His teacher was his father, Gichin Funakoshi. His style was Shotokai. Gigo Funakoshi’s students include Mitsusuke Harada, Taiji Kase and Won Kuk Lee.
WON KUK LEE (1907-2003)
Won Kuk Lee was from Seoul, Korea. In 1926, he moved to Tokyo, Japan. His style of martial arts was Shotokan.
In 1944, Won Kuk Lee formed Tang Soo Do (way of the Chinese hand). In 1955, it became known as Tae Kwon Do, in Japanese, it’s known as Karate-do. Lee’s teachers were Gichin Funakoshi and Gigo Funakoshi. His students are as follows: Duk Sung Son, Snh Chung Kang, Woon Kyu Uhm, and General Choi Hong Hi.
INFORMATION: The battle of Okinawa, fought in the Ryukyu Islands During World War II, was an 82 day battle from early April to mid-June 1945. Few martial art masters survived the aftermath.
CHOJUN MIYAGI (1888-1953)
Chojun Miyagi is from Higashimachi Naha, Okinawa. He founded the style of Goju-Ryu karate, meaning “hard-soft style”. Chojun Miyagi’s teachers were Ryuko Aragaki and Higashionna (aka Higaonna). His students are as follows: Seikichi Toguchi, Meitoku Yagi, Seigo Tada, Tatsuo Shimabuku, and *Ei’ichi Miyazato 1922-1999.
INFORMATION: Ei’ichi Miyazato was the instructor of Master Chuck Merrimon who lived on Long Island and had a martial arts school in Oceanside, N.Y. In 1970, Master Gene Perceval 4th degree & Master Andrew Linick took over Chuck Merrimon’s school
SHIGERU NAKAMURA (1894-1969)
Shigeru Nakamura was born January 20, 1894 in Nago City. He was known as “the iron fist warrior”. Nakumura is the founder of the Okinawa Kenpo Karate-Do Association. Teachers: Chomo Hanashiro 1869-1945, Anko Itosu, and Kentsu Yabu.
TATSUO SHIMABUKU (1908-1975)
Tatsuo Shimabuku was from the village of Gushikawa, Okinawa. Styles: Goju-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, and founder of Issian-Ryu. Teachers: Chotoku Kyan (his uncle), Chojun Miyagi, Choki Motobu, Taira Shinken, and Don Nagle (1938-1999) – from New Jersey.
SHOSHIN NAGAMINE (1907-1997)
Shoshin Nagamine was from Tomari Naha, Okinawa. His style was Matsubayashi-Ryu. His teachers were Taro Shimabuku, Ankichi Arakaki, Chotoku Kyan, and Motobo Choki. Shoshin Nagamine students are as follows: Chokie Kishaba, Takayoshi Nagamine, Katsuhiko Shinzato, and Ansei Ueshiro.
ANSEI UESHIRO (1933-2002)
Ansei Ueshiro was from Kin, Okinawa. He moved to Long Island in the beginning of 1962. His style was Matsubayshi-Ryu. Ansei Ueshiro’s teachers were Anho Ueshiro, Entasu Isaenta, Toguchi Seitoku, and Shoshin Nagamine. His students were many and include a long list of Americans from Long Island – most notably Grandmaster Eugene Perceval Jr.
INFORMATION: Due to the occupation of Korea by Japan 1910-1945, martial arts were forbidden to be practiced. As a result, there is no documentation of lineage during that period. Founders of systems, such as Hwang Kee and General Hong Hi Choi left little lineage of their teachers.
SONG DUK KI (1893-1987)
Style: Taek Kyon. Due to the occupation of Korea by Japan, martial arts were banned. Song Duk Ki kept Taek Kyon alive at great risk and in secret. He was recognized by South Korea as a National Treasure. Teacher: unknown. Student: Han Il Dong.
HAN IL DONG (Birth and death dates unknown)
Style: Taek Kyon. Teacher: Unknown. Student: General Hong Hi.
KIM HYUN SOO (Birth and death dates unknown)
Style: Shotokan Karate. Type: unknown. Student: General Choi Hong Hi.
General CHOI HONG HI (1918-2002)
General Choi Hong Hi was from Hwa Hyun Soo which now is North Korea. His styles include Shotokan Gichin Funakoshi, Shotokai Gigo Funakoshi, and Taekkyeon. He is the founder of Tae Kwon Do. His teachers include Gichin Funakoshi, Gigo Funakoshi, Han Il Dong (Taekkyeon), and Kim Hyun Soo. There’s no mention of students.
INFORMATION: As of present day, it is estimated that over 40 million people world wide practice Tae Kwon Do.
YANG KUK JIN (Birth and death dates unknown)
He was a Chinese master in China. Yang Kuk Jin was the teacher of Hwang Kee who is the founder of Moo Duk Kwan.
GRANDMASTER HWANG KEE -(HWAN JANG NIM) (1914-2002)
Grandmaster Hwang Kee’s teacher was Yang Kuk Gin. Due to the Japanese occupation of Korea, Hwang Kee studied on his own from 1921 until 1936. In 1937, Hwang Kee returned to Seoul, Korea. After Japan’s occupation in 1945, Kee founded Moo Duk Kwan then Hwa Soo Do. In 1945, he changed the name to Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan.
GRANDMASTER CHUN CHAE KYU (birth/death dates unknown)
Style:Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan.
Instructor: Hwang Kee.
Student: Gene Perceval.
GRANDMASTER EUGENE “GENE” PERCEVAL (1940-present)
Grandmaster Eugene Perceval was born in Huntington, Long Island, New York. He started his martial arts training in 1955. Styles learned: Japanese Kodokan Judo, and Aikido. Instructors: Masters – Matsamoto, Katsuo Watanbe, Uneska, Shunichi Ito, Shina, (first names unkown) and Jerome Mackey. Judo and Karate Instructor: Master George Smith.
Karate instructor: Grandmaster Ansei Ueshiro (Okinawa style), Matsubayshi-Ryu, and Grandmaster Chun Chae Kyu.
Style: Tae kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan.
When returning from Korea in 1965, Gene Perceval (2nd Dan) went on his own and formed Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan U.S.A. In 1986, Master Gene Perceval further developed his own style of martial arts, consisting of how the mind and body biomechanics interact and has been teaching masters at his martial arts laboratory
GRANDMASTER CHARLES GRAHAM (1951-Present)
Charles Graham (click for bio) began his martial arts training in 1966 at Fort Dix, New Jersey, when he was fifteen years of age. He received his Black Belt on January 10, 1971 under Grand Master Forrest Blair and Grand Master Eugene Perceval, founder of Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan USA.
Grand Master Charles Graham holds the rank of 10th Dan Black Belt in American Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan, 8th Dan Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan USA and Black Belt in the Norway Kung Fu Association. He is the founder of American Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan, and the American Moo Duk Kwan Federation.
Students include: GM Roy Wade, GM Johnny Way, GM Ray Thomann, GM Stanley Heath, GM Mike Lawrence, GM Bruce Chapman, GM Joe Martin, GM Pal-Erik Ruud, Master Carlos Martin, amongst many others.
American Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan History
The modern history of American Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan can be traced back to 1961. This is the year that Tae Kwon Do and Moo Duk Kwan formed one organization. As far as we are concerned, Master Chun Chae Kyu (instructor of Eugene Perceval Jr.), was the head of that organization. After returning home from Korea in 1964, Grandmaster Eugene Perceval Jr. (Click for bio), founded Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan U.S.A. Students of GM Perceval included now GM Forrest Blair and GM Charles Graham (click for bio).
In 1974, ties were broken with GMs Eugene Perceval Jr. and Forrest Blair. This led to GM Graham’s (then 3rd Dan) founding of American Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan in 1977. Grandmaster Graham vision was to bring about a renewal of the old philosophy with attitudes for the future. The newly formed organization began to set its course for its ensuing success and growth. It’s also during this time that its most influential black belt instructors and masters began their training.
At that time, classes were held in the basement of “Chuck’s” home on Phillips Avenue in Browns Mills. Those were the good ole’ “basement days” that he fondly refers too. The basement days saw the foundation being established for what is now known as the American Moo Duk Kwan Federation. It was also a time in which our organization and system were in their initial stages of growth. The most influential instructors were being raised and mentored as leaders of this new organization. It wasn’t uncommon to have multiple black belts instructors and masters such as Johnnie Q. Wade, Roy Wade, Jeffrey Whitehead, Ray Thomann, Herman Davis, Stanley Heath, Roy Donald, and many others be in attendance during class. It was a great time to train, as much wisdom and knowledge was shared by the pioneers of the system.
American Tae Kwon Do – Moo Duk Kwan, under Grandmaster Graham, was unlike the traditional Korean schools and organizations that became popular in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Although it maintained many of those early traditions, the organization’s approach instilled American values while striving to develop a true warriors mentality. The strength, focus and direction of this organization was found in the diversity of its black belt membership. This made it very unique, genuine and tenable.
As a style, its influence is found in various Asian martial arts styles, American boxing, military technique, and grappling. The organization also adopted military discipline, a ranking system, and the use of traditional forms, modeled from Japanese Shotokan kata modified by the early Korean martial arts founders.
Under his guidance, the American Moo Duk Kwan Federation was established in 1992. This organization was formulated to provide a strong, unified and credible body of martial artists. The American Tae Kwon Do Moo Duk Kwan Federation is credited with producing many high caliber black belt instructors and masters who continue to uphold and promote its legacy, history and traditions.