In Korean, Song means "pine tree". Moo refers to the art, and Kwan means school. Song Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do was founded in 1944 by Grand Master Byung Jik Ro, who studied in Japan under Grand Master Gichin Funakoshi, the founder of Shotokan Karate. In Japanese, Shoto means "pine tree". The symbolism was that of one staying persistently evergreen and growing straight toward the sun.
Song Moo Kwan Forms are classic Shotokan Karate forms as revised by Grand Master Ro. They are patterns of strikes, blocks and kicks against multiple opponents that teach the students the practical techniques of self-defense. Guards to the King of Okinawa, martial arts masters Matsumura, Itosu and Azato developed these forms based on actual combat so through repetition, the students learn to master the muscle memory and develop the balance, power, speed and precise technique required for effective combat against multiple opponents.