The beginner’s guide to Soo Bahk Do (2023)

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Side kick performed by Sabrina Mistry, Instructor, Dojang X

So, you’re interested to start a martial art, or are perhaps looking up what’s around your area for someone else.

Whether you’re in Abingdon and found Dojang X or you’re based in another location and have found a Soo Bahk Do club, you’re probably wondering what this martial art is all about. After all, chances are that you’ve not heard of other styles beyond Karate, Taekwondo, Judo and the like!

Well, you’ve come to the right place 😁

In this article, we share all you need to know about Soo Bahk Do when starting out!

Let’s begin…

1. The physical side

Soo Bahk Do is a traditional Korean martial art. It draws influence from Japanese Karate in terms of our stances and some hyungs (forms/ kata), along with movements that derive from Tai Chi and Kung Fu. The Art also has similarities to Taekwondo in terms of our dynamic and high kicks because both have Korean foundations.

Using hands and feet are of equal importance in Soo Bahk Do. Therefore, expect to undergo a fitness transformation as you develop a stronger and more flexible body!

For those interested in competitions, there’s plenty of opportunities available. Overall though, we have a greater emphasis on developing strong and powerful skills for self-defense.

2. The mental side

As a traditional martial art, Soo Bahk Do emphasises personal development and shaping our practitioners into leaders in our world. This makes Soo Bahk Do a great choice for anyone who wants to learn a martial art that prioritises internal development to learn more about themselves and how to overcome internal and external challenges that they may face in life.

3. What you learn in Soo Bahk Do

Our syllabus has been carefully designed to create high quality martial artists.

We cover:

The foundations

These are the building-blocks for everything.

Hyungs (aka forms/ kata)

These traditional sequences teach us how to apply multi-directional movement to our foundations and understand various applications to the moves whilst conditioning the body and strengthening our mindset.

Simulated sparring

These are drills where we learn how to evade and counter attacks from an opponent. The muscle memory these create are perfect to be used in free sparring and self-defense situations.


We learn how to break out from grabs and other attacks in order to control the situation.

Free sparring

There’s several different types of sparring in Soo Bahk Do. The one we often focus on in training is non-contact with an emphasis on distance and control. Our free sparring puts our skills to the ultimate test as we use everything we know when faced with an opponent in order to find openings and defend ourselves in a safe environment.

4. How is Soo Bahk Do different from other styles?

Different martial arts prioritise different elements in their training. For example, Brazilian Jui-Jitsu works on grappling, Taekwondo has a strong focus on kicking techniques, and Judo is known for throws.

Our Soo Bahk Do martial art embraces using the whole body with the main aim being to stop/ avoid conflict. We learn how to use our arms and legs equally for strikes and blocks, include grabs and some ground work at various stages in our syllabus. In many ways, our style can be described as Korean Karate.

Soo Bahk Do also promotes the philosophy of living in harmony in our world. As a result, our practitioners often enjoy training in nature to boost overall wellness and to obtain a better appreciation of our environment whilst having a great workout!

5. What are the main benefits from learning Soo Bahk Do?

Achieve greater wellness

We focus equally on the physical and mental development of the person, with an emphasis on self improvement through training.

Improved confidence

Through learning practical self-defense skills and the supportive environment that the Dojang offers, you’ll be encouraged to go beyond your comfort zone as part of your martial arts journey. Through the process, you’ll find yourself becoming more confident in your abilities and how you could face various situations.

An accessible martial art

Soo Bahk Do is suitable for anyone at any age and life stage. At Dojang X, we have a minimum age of 6 years old at our family class and no upper limit for adults. We train in an ego-free environment and everyone is supported based on their individual needs.

Health and fitness

Finally an exercise activity that is fun and sustainable!

With our carefully planned and standardised syllabus, you’ll become your fittest self yet as you work your way towards achieving your black belt with us. The best part is that your training doesn’t feel like a chore – and you’ll receive overall health benefits in the process!

Local and global friendships

Dojang X belongs to the Soo Bahk Do Moo Duk Kwan organisation. This means that by joining our club, you also join a national and global community! We have many opportunities to meet and train with others in the UK and abroad during our martial arts journey. It’s a great way to connect with others and learn about other people through sharing our martial art in common.

Wrap up

This article captures the essence of Soo Bahk Do for those starting out on their martial arts journey. However, there’s so much more that you can experience and learn when training with us!

The best way to experience what we have to offer is to take a free trial class.

Book your free trial now using the button below!

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