Flags and Insignia

The American Flag

The American flag is something we too often take for granted. Many people sacrificed their lives to ensure that our flag and all it stands for would not die. The flag as a symbol stands for freedom, liberty, equality, and justice. But within the flags design are several significant symbols. The thirteen stripes represent the original 13 colonies, while the 50 white stars stand for the current states. The blue field and stars together stand for the broad sky under which our country rests with its freedoms. The red color picture the blood spilt by patriots to create, protect, and preserve our nation and in particular, the courage exhibited by them. White stripes pictures innocence and purity, while the blue represents vigilance, perseverance, and justice. The American flag represents our nation, and its ideals, but it also represents the government and all the people of the nation.

The Korean Flag

The Korean flag is known as the "Tae Kuk Ki," or "Han Kuk Ki." The word Han is the name of the Korean people group. The word Kuk means nation or national, and Ki means flag. Kuk Ki then means ‘national flag.’ The circle in the center of the flag is called the "Tae Kyuk," its symbolism is too extensive to cover completely here. The upper, red part is called "Yang" and symbolizes energy, masculinity, and strength. The lower, blue part is called "Um" or "Yin" and symbolizes confidence, femininity, and peacefulness. The Tae Kyuk has also represented night-day, good-evil, life-death, and generally is used to represent opposites balancing one another out in a constant flux of moving harmony. This balance of opposites is also seen in the Partial Hexagrams or Trigrams around the Tae Kyuk. These Trigrams come from an ancient Chinese book called the "I Ching" (the I is pronounced as a long ‘e’). It’s authorship is anonymous and it dates to before 1000BC. The three unbroken lines are known as the Qian in Chinese (Pronounced "Chien" or Gham in Korean) and they represent Heaven. The three broken lines juxtaposed are called Kun (Goon in Korean) and represent earth. The broken lines with a solid in the middle is called Kan (Gon in Korean) and it represents water, while the opposing broken line surrounded by solid lines is called Li (Yi in Korean) and represents fire. By looking at the Korean flag we can see that harmony and balance are ideals held in high regard by the Korean people and TSD artists alike.

The Brandywine Logo

The Brandywine TSD logo is specifically designed to reflect the school’s two-fold focus. We are (1) a martial arts training program, (2) whose foundation is squarely rooted in the Christian faith. As such our school logo has several symbols that reflect this union of ideas.

The color scheme: white, gold, green, red, and blue

National symbolism – The dominant colors of red, white, and blue point to the colors of our national flag, the star spangled banner and thus carry the weight of those. Red reminds us of the blood shed to create and defend our country and thus has the meaning of courage. White signifies purity and innocence. And blue signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice. These are also the colors of the national flag of Korea, the home country of Tang Soo Do’s founder, Hwang Kee.

Martial Symbolism – The colors white, gold, green, red, and blue correspond to the colors of the TSD belt system. The original belt color system being white, green, red, and blue (black). Gold reflects the current use of yellow and/or orange. See philosophy of the belt system for more on this.

Combination of the red and blue – There is a strong balance between the red and blue which reflects the "Um/Yin-Yang" on the Korean national flag and one of the principles in the art: balance.

Images on the Logo:

The Fist - Represents "power."

Martial Symbolism The fist is a traditional symbol for several martial arts including Tang Soo Do.
Christian Symbolism  Of course God has all power in the universe being omnipotent, but He allocates power and authority to humans in this world. We are called upon by God to use whatever power He has granted to us—be that physical strength through martial arts or political authority —to establish a just and peaceful society and to promote His Kingdom here on earth.

ESV Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

ESV 1 Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. (cf. Mark 12:17; Acts 4:27-28; Jeremiah 25:8-9; and John 19:11)

The Laurel Wreath - Represents "peace."

Martial Symbolism  Peace is one of the main goals of martial arts in general and Tang Soo Do specifically. The laurel wreath and fist with the berries is the traditional emblem of the founder, Grand Master Hwang Kee’s art: Tang Soo Do, Soo Bah Do, Moo Duk Kwan. It has 14 leaves reflecting the 14 provincesof Korea where TSD was born, and 6 berries reflecting the six continents on which it was practiced. As stated above, any power or authority we have is to be used to establish a just and peaceful society.
Christian Symbolism The laurel wreath in ancient Greece was often made of the wild olive branches. The dove returning to Noah on the ark brought with is an olive branch indicating that God’s wrath had finally subsided. Peace had come to the earth once again. The Olive branch has been a symbol for the nation of Israel from Bible times on. Ultimately we know that true and lasting peace can only be obtained through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, and Prince of Peace. ESV Colossians 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, 23 if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. ESV Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (cf. Rom 5:1, Matt 5:9, )

Chinese Characters – The Chinese characters as they appear on the logo are "Tang" on the left, "Mu" in the center with a circle around it, and "Soo" on the right. It should be read, left, right, center as "Tang Soo, Mu." It is the abbreviation of the full name of the original art, Tang Soo Do, Mu Duk Kwan.

Tang Soo Do - "Tang" (唐 pronounced "tongue") is "당" in Korean and is the name of an ancient Chinese dynasty that ruled from A.D. 618-907. This points to the influence of Northern Chinese Kung Fu on our art. Soo (手 pronounced "Sue")  is "수," the Korean way of saying the Chinese word for "hand." It indicates that our art, while at times may employ weapons, is primarily a style using open or empty hands. "Do" (道 pronounced "dough") is "도," the Korean equivalent of the Chinese word "Tao" meaning "way." The name of our art is therefore, the "way of the Chinese hand." Tang Soo Do is a Korean phrase with a heavy Chinese influence on the pronunciation.

Mu Duk Kwan – "Mu" (武 pronounced "moo") is "무," the Korean word for "martial" as in martial arts; something having to do with fighting or warfare. "Duk" (德 pronounced "duck") is "덕," the Korean word for "virtue" and "Kwan" (館 pronounced "Quan") is "관," the Korean for school or institute. Together, the second part of the full name means "Institute of Martial Virtue," meaning a place where virtue is taught through the medium of karate.

Triangle with Interwoven Circle – A traditional symbol of the Trinity.

Christian Symbolism The triangle points to the three persons of the Trinity: 1. Father, 2. Son, and 3. Holy Spirit. The circle is an unbroken unit… an unending "one," indicating God’s unity and his eternality. The interwoven nature of the triangle/circle reminds us that God always has and always will exist in the divine mystery of the three-in-one Trinity.
Martial Symbolism The Triangle and circle can often be found in martial arts logos. The symbolism has to do with the contrast and blending of the linear and circular movements.
  • Linear – Many aspects of TSD are straight such as Punching and kicking. We speak often of angles in our movements, our forms, and our body position.
  • Circular – But there is also power in the circle. This comes into play when we get into grappling, joint locks, and other such maneuvers.
  • Combined – When brought together, as the interwoven emblem suggests, the combination of the linear strikes and circular grappling results in a powerful martial awareness. The balance, blending, and harmony between these two principles is also suggested in Um/Yin-Yang.

Trigrams – The Trigrams (three stripes) in the upper left and right of the logo stand for Heaven-Qian (乾) and earth-Kun (坤).

Martial Symbolism  These are another token of acknowledgement to the Chinese influence on Tang Soo Do. They come from the Chinese book, The "I Ching." They also point to our Korean origin (both are found on the Korean Flag).
Christian Symbolism The Christian significance for choosing these two trigrams, out of the many that exist, is our focus is on building the Heavenly Kingdom while we live on earth. Even as we pray regularly in the Lord’s Prayer, "Thy Kingdome come, Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." - Matthew 6-10 (Emphasis added)

Six-Points of the Stars The six pointed nature of the stars,  symbolize the traditional Star of David. Though it is a modern development— having come into popular use in the 19th century—it is well known as a symbol of the Jews and as such points to the Judeo-Christian foundation to our school.

Stars on a Field of Blue – Stars on a field of blue are a reminder of our American roots and the star spangled banner.

The Number of Stars (Seven)

Martial Significance Seven stars has significance specifically for Tang Soo Do. Legend has it that the founder, Hwang Kee, felt a connection with the constellation Ursa Major (The Big Bear; The Big Dipper) which has seven stars in it. The Korean Culture in general feels a strong connection with this constellation and used it in product development and sales such as "Chil Sung Cola" or "7-Star Cola" much like 7-Up. The term "Chil Sung" literally means "Seven Stars." The North Star, being the first (or last) star in the constellation gives direction and guidance to the traveler. It is a fixed mark which helps one find their way. One of KJN Hwang Kee’s life-time achievements was to create the "Chil Sung" forms. A set of seven demonstration forms used in competition. They are said to encompass both the "hard" and the "soft" elements of TSD. Thus they embody one of the key principles of TSD, balance.
Christian Symbolism Used over 850 times in the Bible, the symbolic value of the number seven is completion or perfection. While this is to be found only in God each practitioner should strive toward this goal trusting that God will continue to develop them as He has promised in Philippians. NAU Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (cf. Genesis 1:1-2:6, Matt 18:21-22)

For the student at Brandywine, our aim of perfecting goes beyond the study of martial arts, but rather it includes all areas of life as Matthew 5:48 suggests. Matthew 5:48 (ESV) "You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

God is perfecting us, completing us, making us whole and it is therefore our goal to strive toward that perfection that He is accomplishing through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. The specific significance coupling of seven stars can be found in Revelation when John sees a vision of Jesus who has seven stars in His right hand. Jesus explains the symbolism. ESV Revelation 1:20 "As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches." As a ministry of the church we acknowledge that the Tang Soo Do program is under the authority of the Church and serves at the pleasure of God’s body, the Church. We are, therefore, an extension of the Church, as represented by the seven stars.

Policies and Dojang Etiquette - Quick Reference Chart - Hyung: Origin and Meaning
Flags and Insignia - Tang Soo Do Terminology - Christianity and Martial Arts

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Revised 7/18/16