Kang began studying under Won Kuk Lee before the Korean war; during the Korean war he served in the South Korean military. After the war, Kang became a martial arts instructor to the military and founded Kuk My Kwan based on his military experience. According to the Kuk My Kwan website: Kuk Mu Kwan opened many schools in Korea. During the 1970s Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) pressured Kuk My Kwan to adopt Kukkiwon style taekwondo. Kang, being a friend of General Choi Hong Hi instead adopted ITF-style taekwondo. Finally, feeling pressured by the KTA, Kang relocated his school to the United States. After Choi's death in 2002, Kang replaced the ITF forms (hyeong) with his own patterns, establishing Kuk Mu Kwan-style taekwondo, also known as the Kang System (named after the founder). From their website:
- From the late 1970’s, Kukmukwan lost its strong hold to KTA. In Korea, all kwans became outlawed so that Korean government can host the 1988 Olympics. WTF now controlled all certification and promotions for black belts and instructors. Suddenly Masters and Grand Masters in Korea lost their promotional powers to their own disciples. Overnight, Masters and Grand Masters were without their kwans became coaches. Now the Korean government can make all the monies involved with promotions, certifications and hold competitions, without protest, they just wrote themselves a blank check at Taekwondo's expense. But in the U.S., Kwans flourished, and best of the best Masters left Korea. This is the reason why America has the most number of famous Taekwondo Masters and why head of all Korean Kwans set up home here. The type of sparring KTA adapted was the sparring techniques based on Jido kwan, where the competitors wear hogu groin cup and helmet. KTA warned all kwans to change or close their doors and that’s exactly what they did. Some stayed open under Kukmukwan and subsequently were forced to close down by the Korean Government and KCIA. This also went same for ITF schools and Ohdo kwan in the Military, they were also forced to close down. The Korean government eliminated kwans and ITF, that is why General Choi was exiled to Canada, in 1972. But I believe that ITF and Kukmukwan’s core value as a martial art and not for sport, still makes them popular, and will still commands a large following in the future.
The Kang System is deliberately not well documented. Kang believes the techniques - being particularly lethal - should be kept secret. The philosophy of the Kuk My Kwan-style is "One shot, one kill" - meaning the first blow should be lethal. From their website:
- Great Grandmaster Kang would always say “ One shot, One kill “. Great Grandmaster Kang said that he was never worried about opponents blocking his kicks. He said that your kicks should be able to go through blocking hand and strike the body, which means you break the arm and the ribs, at the same time. That is the reason why we practice our kicks differently than others, and we do not air make DVD's or show the methods to outsiders. Kuk Mu Kwan values secrecy.
The Kang System is a total defense system utilizing every part of the body for defense, including head strikes, hand and elbow strikes, sweeps, locks, knee strikes, kicks, linear strikes, trapping, grappling, throws, pressure points, joint attacks and lethal strikes.