What I’ve discovered
Hyujong (also Hyoojung) was the great Buddhist monk So-San ‘west mountain’ (also Susan-Daesa).
After the Yi dynasty gained control, Neo-Confucianism took over as the state religion, and Buddhists
were forced to keep a low profile.
Beginning life as a Neo-Confucian, he was unhappy with the teachings and went on to study Buddhism,
he became a great teacher in his day and his influence is still felt in Korean Buddhism today through
study of his great text, ‘Seon Gugam’ (also Songa-gwigam) a Buddhist moral guide.
So-San believed that Buddhism should be unified and his teaching seems to be founded on that of
During the Japanese Invasion (the Imjin Wars), Sosan led the Uisa ‘righteous monk movement’,
which consisted of several thousand monks who harassed the Japanese invaders using guerrilla tactics.
Due to his old age So-san appointed his closest disciple Samyong to be the field commander.
The monks’ army was a critical factor in the eventual expulsion of the Japanese forces, who were
harried at sea by Admiral Yi Sun-Sin (see Choong-Moo), and by General Kim Duk Ryang in the
So-San created a fighting style that is the origin of the modern art of Hapkido.
In his encyclopaedia General Choi told us:
So San is the pseudonym of the great monk Hyujong (1520-1604) who lived during the
Yi Dynasty. The 72 movements refer to his age when he organized a corps of
monk soldiers with the assistance of his pupil Samyong Dang. The monk soldiers
helped repulse the Japanese pirates who overran most of the Korean peninsula in 1592.