(864)209-7776 info@kswupstate.com

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A full-spectrum, comprehensive martial arts system, Kuk Sool Won Korean Martial Arts is considered by many to be almost a ‘graduate level’ martial arts program… we take you beyond what other martial arts schools only promise.

Unlike many styles that might vary from school to school, and often at the whim of the instructor, Kuk Sool Won of the Upstate, as a member of the World Kuk Sool Association, offers a systematic and structured approach designed to enhance your understanding of the principles underlying the Kuk Sool forms and techniques. Designed by the founder and taught in hundreds of WKSA schools worldwide, the Kuk Sool Won curriculum is taught as a step-by-step manner that both enhances your understanding of the technique, while at the same time preparing you for the more intricate and advanced techniques to come.


The founder of Kuk Sool Won, Suh In Hyuk, began his training with his grandfather, Suh Myuhng Duk, one of the last master instructors of the Korean Royal Palace Guard, which was dissolved with the annexation of Korea by the Japanese in 1911.

Returning to his home in Taegu, Suh Myuhng Duk set about the task of consolidating and preserving the martial traditions of the Korean Royal Palace. Because of severe penalties that he would suffer should he be found out, Master Suh taught in secret and later chose from among all of his family a young grandchild, Suh In Hyuk, to be the repository of his vast martial arts knowledge.

Even at a young age, young Master Suh worked diligently to perfect the intricacies of the often secret arts being passed on to him by his grandfather. Unfortunately, the Korean War raged about them at the time, and young Suh’s grandfather was tragically killed.


‘Ho Kuk Moo Yea’ (Arts Used to Defend the Nation) was a video featuring Kuk Sool Won that was produced by the Korean government back in the early 1980s. Having been described as a ‘living history of the Korean martial arts,’ Kuk Sool Won covers aspects of ALL traditional Korean martial arts in a single comprehensive system.

Fortunately for young Master Suh, the grandfather, prior to his death, had prepared letters of introduction to martial arts masters throughout Korea, and the respect others held for Suh’s grandfather opened many doors that might otherwise have been closed to him. Armed with these letters and a thirst for knowledge, young Master Suh traveled and learned from over a hundred different masters – some passing along only a single, oft times secret, technique – and young Suh began to systematize and consolidate these into a single system that would become Kuk Sool — Korean National Martial Arts — a comprehensive martial arts system comprised of the 3 sub-groups of traditional Korean martial arts:  Sado MuSool (Tribal, of Family, Martial Arts), Bulkyo MuSool (Buddhist Temple Martial Arts), and Koong Joong MuSool (Korean Royal Palace Martial Arts).

A total of 31 traditional Korean martial arts, for the first time united under a single system.



Disturbed by the state of martial arts in Korea in the post-war 1950s — following a period of Korean history during which, because of the Japanese occupation, the populace was restricted to the practice of Japanese martial arts only, while their own traditions were repressed — Master Suh reintroduced Korean traditional martial arts (Kuk Sool) and opened their practice to Koreans from ALL walks of life for the first time in Korean history. In 1962, Grandmaster Suh further organized his system under the name Kuk Sool Won (Traditional Korean Martial Arts Association), and was honored for his efforts by the Korean government which bestowed on Suh the title Kuk Sa Nym — ‘National Martial Arts Teacher’ — becoming, at the time, the only 10th degree Black Belt in Korean martial arts. . . but it was over ten years later, in 1973, that Kuk Sool Won would make an unprecedented impact on the ‘world’ of martial arts.

It was in that year that Kuk Sa Nym was encouraged by Ken Duncan — his first American student, who had previously trained in Korea — to relocate to the United States, teaching the first Kuk Sool Won Seminar in New Orleans, LA before opening the first US headquarters school in San Francisco (there were at the time only three Kuk Sool Won schools in the United States, and only 5 black belts). It would be the beginning of the World Kuk Sool Association in 1974, and the nascent beginning of what would become the largest martial arts organization of its type in the world, with more than 800 schools in over 25 different countries around the world, and the largest martial arts organization in the world under the leadership of a single grandmaster.

It was an accomplishment unmatched by any other martial arts grandmaster or system.

Today, Kuk Sool Won is unique in what it offers to its students worldwide: a comprehensive and integrated system of martial arts with a standard curriculum followed by all WKSA affiliated schools worldwide, a curriculum comprised of in excess of 3600 individual techniques in 270 categories. It is a system unique in its capabilities and standards, and a system that can offer its practitioners anything from a casual hobby or fitness regimen to a lifelong study of traditional Asian martial arts.
We invite you to stop by today and see just what Kuk Sool Won — and Kuk Sool Won of the Upstate — has to offer you.