Grand Master Sung Soo Lee

Our Hapkido lineage.

Master Trent’s Hapkido instructor is Grand Master Sung Soo Lee:

  • Born 30 December 1936
  • Started martial arts at 11 yrs old
  • 9th Dan Hapkido
  • 9th Dan Taekwondo
  • 2nd Dan Judo
  • The first Taekwondo lecturer at Seoul’s National University
  • National coach of the Singapore TaeKwonDo team
  • The president of team coach of numerous Australian TaeKwonDo groups
  • The USA Army Taekwondo instructor (1958 – 1960)

Master Lee’s journey to Hapkido

In 1910 Korea the Joseon period came to an end and Korea fell under the occupation of Japan lasting until 1945.  Sung Soo Lee was born during this period on the 30th of December 1936. He has a Bachelor of Physical Education, graduating from Seoul’s National University.

Early 1900’s
Lee Poong Jae (the grandfather of Sung Soo Lee) was a law graduate from the Japan Meiji University. After graduating he went onto become the head Librarian of Kaesung Library.  The city of Kaesung is now in North Korea, the city had been the capital of Korea during the Taebong  and Goryeo kingdoms.

While the head of the Library, Lee Poong Jae opened a Yoo Sul dojang essentially teaching Jui Jitsu. Sung Soo Lee first got introduced to martial arts in this environment.  At age 11 he started 2 years of training with his grandfather learning Yoo Sul (or Jui Jitsu).

Sung Soo Lee had 4 years without martial arts from 1949-1953, he re-started training again at age 17 in what was then Kong Soo Do under the instructor Yun Kwe Byung at the dojang called the Jidokwan.  It was fortunate that Sung Soo Lee started his training at this prestigious dojang.

Of special note here is the story of the Jidokwan and Sung Soo Lee’s Taekwondo:

  • It opened in 1943 as a school called the YunMooKwan, by Mr Jeun who was teaching Kong Soo Do.
  • Yun Kwe Byung took over as Kwanjang-nim (president) and changed the name to Jidokwan (meaning school of wisdom).
  • The name of the art later changed to TaeSooDo
  • Before Taekwondo existed there were tournaments and the Jidokwan was most often successful typically winning 75% of competitions.  It was known for its use of front kicks.
  • In 1962 five schools all came together to form Taekwondo and the name of TaeSooDo stopped being used at the Jidokwan in favour of Taekwondo.
  • To confirm Grand Master Sung Soo Lee’s teacher was Master Yun Kwe Byung.

Master Sung Soo Lee’s Taekwondo rank awards have been:

  • 1st Dan in 1956 by Master Yun Kwe Byung
  • 2nd Dan in 1957
  • 3rd Dan in 1959
  • 4th Dan in 1962 (this is the year when the 5 sects joined to form Taekwondo)
  • 5th Dan in 1965
  • 6th Dan in 1970
  • 7thDan in 1976 by the World Taekwondo Federation
  • 8th Dan in 1983 by the World Jidokwan
  • 9th Dan in 1993 by Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo HQ)

Other notable items are:

  • From 1958 to 1960 as a 2nd Dan, Sung Soo Lee was the USA Army Taekwondo instructor.
  • In 1959 Sung Soo Lee was awarded 1st Dan in Judo from the Korea Judo Association, and 2nd dan in 1983.

In 1961, Sung Soo Lee was already a 3rd Dan in what was to become Taekwondo and a 1st Dan in Judo.  He started training in Yahwara Hapkido at a Korean Military dojang.  His teacher was Park Nam Sun. Sung Soo Lee was fortunate to have Park Nam Sun as his instructor.

Park is a student of Choi Yong Sul and trained at Choi’s second dojang that was a sponsored space in a market place in Daegu province. Choi Yong Sul is considered the founding father of Hapkido.

Through an appointment/contract to teach Taekwondo in Singapore, Sung Soo Lee was able to migrate to Australia, and in 1974 was the first introduction of Hapkido to Australia.

Master Sung Soo Lee’s Hapkido rank awards have been:

  • 1st Dan in 1963 by Master Park Nam-Sun whose school ‘JungMooKwan’ had just joined Ji Han Jae’s Korea Hapkido Associations
  • 2nd Dan in 1964
  • 3rd Dan in 1966
  • 4th Dan in 1969
  • 5th Dan in 1973 from ‘JungMooKwan’ school – after this time Sung Soo Lee named his own Kwan of MooHakKwan as he had moved to Singapore and was refining his own Hapkido.
  • 6th Dan in 1978 this time through the Korea Hapkido Association by the President Ji Han Jae
  • 7th Dan in 1983 through the Korea Hapkido Association (at this time Park Do Soon was the president & Sung Soo Lee was elected to the International Committee of the Korea Hapkido Association)
  • 8th Dan in 1988 through the Korea Hapkido Federation (the president was Oh Se-Lim)
  • 9th Dan in 1996 through the Korea Hapkido Federation

Today Sung Soo Lee is the only 2nd generation student of Choi Yong Sul still training and actively ‘on the mats’ teaching.  There are many Hapkido-ists from his generation still alive but their activity within Hapkido is often officiating gradings, events and certifications.

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Training with us is a great decision whether this will be your first time in a Dojang (meaning martial arts gym), or if you are getting back into it after a break. Many of our members have found that in just a few months they have improved their strength, fitness and flexibility, all whilst developing authentic and practical martial arts skills and techniques.

See you on the mats!
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See you on the mats!
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