DahnMuDo Revealed

While waiting for some Chinese takeout earlier this week, I read a brochure for the local branch of Dahn Yoga.  In addition to Yoga and Tai Chi, they now teach a martial art called DahnMuDo.

I had never heard of this martial art before, so I looked it up on the web:

DahnMuDo posture

DahnMuDo is an energy-based, non-combative, healing martial art, with roots dating back thousands of years into Korean history. In Korean, “Dahn” means energy. “Mu” means “martial,” or “limitless” and “Do (Tao)” means, “the way,” or, “the ultimate truth. DahnMuDo is therefore also known as “The Art of Being Limitless. Its mind-body training methods combine martial arts movements with universal energy principles to help practitioners circulate blood and energy through the body, and recover the natural balance and rhythm of the body and mind. Its goal lies in training the body and mind to become one.

Sounds good, but good marketing always does. 

So what does DahnMuDo look like? A few form demonstrations are available on the official USA website and Korean 단무도 website, but I only found one video of actual DahnMuDo practice. Here it is:

DahnMuDo 18 Joint Dance


  1. This video does not show the actual DahnMuDo practice. What it actually shows is the 18 joint dance which consists of exercises to help you gain flexibility in the 18 main joints in your body. It was created as a fun way to warm up before actually practicing DahnMuDo.

  2. I have no words to express my disbelief that people would take martial arts to this absurd and abstract level. Naturally, there will be practitioners of this “martial art” who will be offended and disagree with my view. But I shouldn’t be worried since the system doesn’t concern itself with base activities such as unnecessary mental proliferation nor will anyone from this system be able to physically do anything about it in case he/she wanted to teach me a lesson. ; ) Personally, I would have just called it “Mental and Physical Exercise School.”

  3. DahnMuDo is rooted in in ancient study and practice of Tao. All of the movements have combative applications, but these are not taught until much later in the practice. Because the fundamental purpose of DahnMuDo is to enhance the wellbeing of the body and brain, and attain a simple, effective and systemized way to share wellbeing with others that is what is focused on at the beggining.
    The important point is that DahnMuDo is not only effective for personal wellbeing, but also it is easy enough to learn that almost anyone with a a few months of training can share the basics with their loved. Of course, a few months of training does not make one a Master, but it does offer a whole new set of principles and a foundation for a lifetime of practice, (and it does take a lifetime to be a Master.)
    Being able to share the practice is most important and the dance performed in the video here is a very fun and entertaining adaptation of the muscular/skeletal alignment form taught to a beginner of DahnMuDo.
    Nothing wrong with taking a great thing and having fun with it.
    Dahn =)

  4. Aaron,
    What concrete skills, if any, are demonstrated in the video directly above your comment?

  5. I’m sorry Aaron, I take it you enjoy this art. More power to you. Unfortunately, and I will sound completely racist for saying this, but I stress that it has been my personal experience in the matter: Every single Korean school – Dahn Yoga, TKD, Chayon Ryu, etc. has been concerned more with enrollment, contracts and profit that has been concerned with doing anything helpful for mankind. It seems to be that this is born from a view that Westerners are to be seen as nïave cash cows who are easily harvested for their money. That’s pretty much as bluntly as I can put it.

  6. It’s true that DahnMuDo will not help someone defend themselves and lacks “non-cooperative practice”. It never claims to. It does not follow, however, that DahnMuDo is useless. From the practice you gain concrete ways of loosening the joints, opening the body’s energy meridian system, accumulating energy, centering both body and mind, opening the heart (figuratively), aligning muscles and bones, gaining confidence, and developing strength and power.

    Of course, not everyone values or cares about these things. And there is no scientific proof. The only support for these claims are the stories of practitioners, including my own. So I expect many refuting comments to follow, if any comments are made.

    But I can say that, however you want to label it, I really love the practice and know it does good for people. And I know the top-level trainers take it very seriously (as may be expected).

    Here are a few videos to contribute to the list here. The first is about the new DahnMuDo DVDs:

    And here’s another with one of the basic forms that is less commercial:

    Last one, a free-form demonstration by co-founder and over 30-year black belt Master Owoon:

    Thanks, this was fun…

  7. I have looked at the videos and read the comments. I myself have practiced Yang tai chi for many years. What I think needs to be said is that all styles of Tai Chi our beneficial to our health. To say one is wrong and one is right, is in itself on the wrong path. But to in brace and learn more is the true meaning in Tai Chi.

  8. I agree with Schajas. I have practiced Kung Fu, Qigong, Yang & Sun Tai Chi Chuan style for years, and also have practice this style of “Dahn Mu Do”. They are all different forms of “healing” martial arts. Actually, if you master any of these styles, you can use for combative, healing/therapeutic, or energetic(Chi/Qi/Ki) purposes. Those who say Dahnmudo is not a martial art(if they actually practiced it in its entirety), do not know what true martial art is. Dahn Mu Do is basically a Korean version of Tai Chi. True Martial Art is about mastering oneself, mind, body, & spirit. If one wants to learn to fight dont take tai chi, qigong, or dahn mu do, instead take TKD, Karate, or some other self defensive/combative martial art. If ones wants health/healing & therapeutic benefits take tai chi, qigong, or dahn mu do. Also the video above is just a warm up dance. Try it out first, before you judge. 🙂

  9. I am glad a master has come here to straighten out some points of confusion…

    “Dahn Mu Do is basically a Korean version of Tai Chi.”

    Do any Tai Chi masters of note share that sentiment? Who?

    What is the lineage relationship between Dahn Mu Do and Tai Chi? Who taught who, when and where?

    Or, if there is no relationship, then what is your basis for calling it Korean Tai Chi, any more than it is Korean Pilates?

    Aside from the direct lineage transmission, Tai Chi has a body of written work, that can be used as a starting point when judging whether someone’s performance is orthodox or good. How can you tell whether a practitioner of Dahn Mu Do is an expert or a mere amateur? I previously asked this question in regards to a concrete demonstration (as you can see above), but nobody was willing or able to answer it, and now the video has been hidden from public view.

    This is a serious martial arts forum–at least some of the time anyway–so let’s dig into the details.

  10. Chris:
    There are some tai chi masters that do share my thoughts. Not too many because, not too many masters know about Dahn MuDo. Here is one tai chi master I have trained with that would have a similar view, http://www.atouchofchi.com.

    DanhMuDo is fairly recently developed by Korean Martial Arts Master Owoon( in the demonstration video Michela posted above) and Ilchi Lee the founder of Dahn Yoga. Dahn yoga is actually a “Taoist Yoga” combined with qigong, yoga postures(asanas), forms and exercises. Owoon was a martial artist that studied qigong, tai chi & kung fu, before him and others developed Dahn Mu Do in Korea and brought it to the states.

    I say Korean version meaning “style” of tai chi(martial art) because:
    1.In Korean history they were occupied by Chinese and Japanese, so alot of their history or lineage stems from the Chinese or Japanese principles or philosophies, Taoism, Budhism, etc..
    2. Just as there is a Brazilian style martial art like capoeira, or Isreali style like Krav Maga, we know most of the Japanese and Chinese martial arts, but most people dont know that are many “styles” and forms of martial arts all over the world.
    3. In America Tai Chi is considered a “martial art” even though it is more than that. There are many “styles” of tai chi, many of styles of qigong, many styles of yoga. But all have similar principles, basically for connection, enlightenment and mastery of mind,body & spirit(soul).

    A s far as trying to find out if someone is a master or amatuer. You cant really know that with any style. Because it depends on the style. Yes, you can trace most lineage of different systems. But true practitioners know & understand that they are not masters, but working to master themselves. Especially if you travel to Asia, there are literally thousands of people claiming to be “masters” there, but who really knows? In America the main tai chi styles we know of are Yang, Sun, Wu, & Chen. But there are many more in Asia.

    I hope all this debating can actually help someone make better and educated choice when choosing a practice or martial art. Again what all this comes down too is self practice and self mastery.

  11. Hello, I am also a DahnMuDo practitioner and earned a black belt in 2007. Before that I trained in Tae Kwon Do and also Hap Ki Do. Although the latter two gave me a good foundation in martial arts it was through DahnMuDo that I really started to learn about self-mastery, discipline, energy, circulation, self- awareness, as well as awareness of my surroundings. I totally believe that DMD would be as effective in combat as any other martial art. We learn many combative forms as well as kicking and striking. However, DMD is not intended to be used for this purpose. It is for the purpose of self-healing as well being passed on to others for the same purpose. It is meant to help as many people as possible. Therefore, rather than participating in tournaments and such most DMD Masters and Practitioners perform in demonstrations as well as teach others. It is a wonderful way to be strong, peaceful, and healthy!

  12. As somebody who practices a lot of fast, aggressive martial art(Filipino Kali/Eskrima), I’ve never felt intimidated or insulted by people who append the term [something] in front of “Martial Arts”, and I don’t really understand why other people do.

    We don’t live in feudal eras where the local police-force was too weak to be trusted, and if you have a problem with someone, then you go buy a gun; you don’t spend ten year on the mountain learning double-broadswords.

    People want to use the motions for different things? Fine. It keeps interest alive, and there will always be those of us who keep the purely combative spirit alive.

    It doesn’t “demean” or “degrade” anything what that gentleman is doing in the original video, it’s just his and other like-minded peoples’ cup of tea.

  13. Thank you for that presentation!!
    Any form of movement and exercise is absolutely beneficial to the body, mind and spirit!
    It would be a good idea to bring this form pf exercise/movement to our children in grammar and high schools. It would enrich their lives with strength, peace and self health!

  14. I cannot believe some people from Ilchi’s organization still write to support Ilchi and legitimacy of DMM.

    1. Unlike any other martial arts branch, you will never see Ilchi Lee’s DMM demonstration, because he has nothing to show. This crude stick demonstration is all you are going to see.
    Which reminds me of star wars kid

    But Ilchi was honored by 10th degree black belt which is the ultimate achievement in martial arts.

    2. The original founder Owoon left Ilchi’s organization long ago with his top masters because he was sick of Ilchi’s deception and lies. Couple of people posted here in support of DMM – Aaron, Michela are long gone, and the idiotic dance guy Michael M is also gone. This is one of the worst cult group in existence, and people leave as soon as their life savings are sunk into the most expensive training program in the world, or start to find the truth about this evil cult.

    3. DMD is not based on five thousand years old ancient Korean anything. Someone above mentioned lineage. Ilchi nor Owoon did not learn from any lineage. This is Owoon’s invention and Owoon has previous training in chen style Tai Chi. If anything, this is a Chinese based martial arts.

    4. There are traditional Korean martial arts such as Taek Gyun or Ki Chun Moon which can show legitimate lineages.

    5. If you need to find out more about DMD and Ilchi, visit this Facebook

    So many people are hurt by Ilchi cult and their lies and deceptions must be stopped.

  15. Hi – I have studied Tai Chi from at least 6 great masters and Kung Fu and a few other styles. I’m not an expert or even black belt. I started taking classes at Body and Brain Yoga/Tai Chi Center close to me. They do teach some Dahn Mu Do there but it is only 1 part of the practice. The practice is about achieving enlightenment! That is no small task to want to accomplish. Body and Brain has many other exercises and also teaches the deeper forms of Taoist energy practice to build the energy of the chakras which open up our body, heart and brain centers for true spiritual attainment.

    Getting back to Dahn Mu Do it is only 1 aspect of the practice but a very good one to achieve many of the goals of a spiritual seeker. This particular video is just a fun thing that this instructor did to show how we can have fun while developing our bodies strength and energies. We also have classes that involve free form dancing and encourage high intensity activity to burn off stagnant energy. This video combines those 2 elements. One of my great Tai Chi masters who was head student of Chen Man Ching used to say “flowing water never putrifies”. This is a good energy principle to understand and apply to the human body, and was demonstrated in this video. 

    As for Dahn Mu Do there are many other videos that actually show what the art is and does. This video is not really representative of that, although I get a kick watching it. There is series of exercises we do to warm up the joints called the 18 joint exercises but it’s not done with any dance moves. Ha!

    I have been to many martial arts performances and watched many more online. I would rank some of our great Dahn Mu Do masters right up there with just about any one. But don’t take my word for it you can search and will find a lot more on it. But again, it is only one method of training on the path to enlightenment. There is much more and many other methods, practices, philosophies that can be employed to reach that goal. But having fun is essential. You need to lighten your spirit – that’s why they call it – enLIGHTenment!  🙂 

  16. just a quick follow up comment. The real achievement of any good martial art is the internal work. It’s not something that really lends itself to overt displays of physical prowess. That’s been my experience. Be well and be happy!

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