The Ancient Health Exercises of Soo Bahk Do




If you visited an Asian community in any city around sunrise and happen to be near an open space, chances are you would see many people doing what would appear to be strange exercises. Daily keep-fit exercises are part of the Asian culture, there are hundreds perhaps thousands of variations of these health- exercises. These exercises are called "Chi Gung" in Chinese and "Ki Gong" in Korean. They fall into two major categories; Martial exercises, which build health and also help increase ones power for self-defense. The second type is Scholarly, which is designed specifically for health. Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan, Korea's traditional martial art, practices Military (Called Moo) and Scholarly (Called Moon) energy exercises. Both have eight sets of exercises. They are called Moo Pal Dan Khum and Moon Pal Dan Khum. These exercises gently work the bones, ligaments and muscles as well as the internal organs and circulatory, immune, lymphatic, and energy systems.


The concept of energy systems, internal energy, its development and circulation is relatively new to the modern west. Internal energy is called Ki (Chi in Chinese) translated it means "universal breath/energy" or roughly translated "air"


The concept of Ki goes far beyond just air, It is more of an elemental force that is manifested by our body’s energies. There are many types of Ki just as there are many types of energy. The two types of Ki concerned with breathing are Chun Ki (Sky Ki) and Ji Ki (Earth Ki) similar to the energy a plant extracts from the sky/sun (Chun Ki) and the nutrients from the earth (Ji Ki) Everything has Ki, something's transmit Ki more than others. For example air gives us more Ki than soil. In our bodies the Ki is taken in through eating, through our skin and mainly through breathing. When we breathe the Ki is absorbed and stored in our bodies.


The area, which the Ki is stored, is called the Dan Jun, which translates to Red Sea or Sea of Ki. The Dan Jun is the area in lower abdomen under the navel. The Dan Jun draws stores and emits Ki, as the body needs it. Once Ki is absorbed and stored it is divided/used in two ways 1) Managing Ki, which is distributed through the body so it can function. 2) Protective Ki which is directed to the bodies surface to protect you from outside influences and injuries. The study and practice of developing our energy is called Ki Kong, which means "energy work/achievement". Ki Kong is the way to develop and increase your energy in your body so it may be directed and transmitted through your will/intention.




1) Accumulating / Storing the Ki

2) Circulating the Ki

3) Transmitting the Ki



STORING KI / Breathing (Ho Hup)


Proper breathing is an integral part of Soo Bahk Do, incorrect breathing is unhealthy. Consider this the first physical thing that is disturbed when a person is upset usually is the breathing. Proper breathing helps us stay calm, helps us keep our endurance and coupled with proper mental training and correct breathing we can even control pain. Just like fanning makes a flame greater because of the increase of oxygen, So to we gain additional strength with proper breathing. Ki Kong begins by breathing in your maximum capacity, The oxygen and Ki element separate in the lungs and the Ki travels to the Dan Jun and we expel waste gas Co2. Breathing should not be forced but gently brought from capacity to exhalation. The most important part of the breathing process concerning Ki is the pause between the inhale and the exhale. By pressing our breathing in a downward motion while locking the breath the optimum amount of Ki is sent to the Dan Jun. The longer the breath the more Ki is sent to the Dan Jun.




Ki circulates through our bodies whether we are aware of it or not. Circulating our Ki through our will (Li) or intention for our health and for self-defense is a vital part of Soo Bahk Do training. The first phase deals with gathering and storing the second with circulating the Ki through the body through the use of concentration exercises and the Moo and Moon Pal Dan Khum and thirdly the transmission of our Ki through Ki Hap (spirit unification) and Ki Ahp (Spirit pressure) to manifest it through our movements.




Literally Ki Hap means "energy unification" basically it means to focus the energy force together. Ki Hap is more than "Yelling" or "Vocal harassment" There are both physical and physiological parts of Ki Hap. Physically we focus on transmitting or energy through concentration, proper breathing and technique. But there is also a mental effect on our opponent. The spirited Ki Hap can actually lessen an opponent’s energy through fear, anxiety etc.


KI and LI


Ki is lead by the mind therefore if the mind is unbalanced so to will the Ki in the body. Negative emotions tend to use up Ki and disturb the delicate balance. For example thinking about a past experience that made you very angry can get you angry again. The relived emotion can make the blood pressure rise, the heartbeat and breathing irregular

Etc. Just by concentrating on a past experience we can change our internal and external state. We can actually effect our bodies chemistry and physiology by concentrating. So a healthy mental attitude is beneficial to the body, too much negative emotions can have an adverse effect on the health of the body. Through Li (intention/will) the Ki can be transmitted throughout the body for offense, defense and healing as in acupuncture, massage, accupressure and keeping the body healthy.




Moo and Moon Pal Dan Khum are very old exercises developed to maintain health internally and externally. Marshal Yei created the Moo and Moon Pal Dan Khum a famous Chinese military general. They were originally based on an older set called the Ship E Dan Khum (12 exercises) Marshal Yei adapted these exercises for his troops and divided them into two sets, the Moo (Military) and the Moon (Scholarly). The Moo Pal Dan Khum consists of 8 standing exercises and the Moon Pal Dan Khum consists of 8 sets of sitting exercises. Both are designed to help tone and keep supple the muscles, bones, organs and skin, in addition to circulating the energy (Ki) through the body.


Its founder GrandMaster Hwang Kee added the Moo and Moon Pal Dan Khum exercises to Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan’s curriculum. GrandMaster Hwang Kee is a pioneer in the martial arts, he learned the Moo and Moon Pal Dan Khum while he was practicing and researching in China. GrandMaster Hwang Kee chose to train in China when it became too difficult to practice in Korea due to the Japanese occupation. While in China he learned the Moo Pal Dan Khum and Moon Pal Dan Khum which in Chinese are called the "eight brocade" He added the energy exercises to Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan because he believes martial arts should not only be learned for self defense but mental, physical and spiritual development. The purpose of the martial art is to prolong life not take it. Practicing Soo Bahk Do's ancient health exercises will add a new dimension to your training and hopefully add a few more years to your life so you can train even more.







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