UChicago Tang Soo Do

What is Tang Soo Do?

Yotam Amit

Most of us begin our answer by saying that Tang Soo Do is a traditional Korean martial art, but that usually doesn't mean much to most people who have little exposure to martial arts. Instead, I'll tell you what kept me hooked when I started. I was never any good at sports growing up, but Tang Soo Do does not require any amount of preexisting talent or athleticism for one to find it fulfilling and practical. Tang Soo Do teaches real, applicable self-defense using a standardized curriculum that expands in volume and difficulty with time. You learn hand and foot strikes as well as blocks, but you also learn escapes, grappling and take downs; nor do we neglect ground fighting as well as self-defense from other disadvantageous positions.

This established curriculum is part of what differentiates Tang Soo Do from other martial arts because it takes the emphasis away from virtuosity and places it on discipline, competence and above all knowledge of one's own capabilities, which will increase over time. Your instructors are experienced in negotiating the demands of this standard curriculum with your particular learning style and pace. If you stick with the lessons and put your trust in your instructors as I did at the gangly and awkward age of 14, you will find that your health, confidence and focus all increase more than you expect, and most importantly that you will have a growing understanding of your own body and how to use it to defend yourself.

Tang Soo!

—Sa Bom Nim Yotam Amit
Founder of UChicago Tang Soo Do