Chung Moo Quan

A martial arts discipline embroiled in controversy, with ties to cult-like activities and legal battles.

Chung Moo Quan, also known as Oom Yung Doe, is a line of Korean martial arts schools that has sparked significant controversy and legal attention over the years. Founded by John C. Kim, the organization has faced allegations of being a destructive cult, engaging in fraudulent activities, and exerting undue influence over its students and instructors.

The martial arts discipline combines eight traditional Korean and Chinese martial arts, including Hap Ki Do/Ai Ki Do, Kong Su/Tae Kwon Do, Kom Do/Samurai Sword, and Tai Chi, among others. It is promoted as a comprehensive practice for improving physical and mental health, incorporating aspects like meditation, philosophy, and the use of herbal formulas and equipment​​​​.

However, the school and its founder, John C. Kim, have been the subject of numerous controversies. In 1989, the Attorney General for the State of Illinois filed charges against the school for violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, including inducing consumers to pay excessive amounts for physical fitness services and failing to provide copies of contracts. This legal battle concluded in 1994 with a consent decree, where the defendants did not admit wrongdoing but agreed to abide by certain legal standards​​.

In 1995, Kim and several instructors were convicted in a federal court for a massive conspiracy to skim millions of dollars in profits and evade income taxes. Evidence presented during the trial depicted Kim as holding a cult-like status among his followers, some of whom testified to his coercive practices, including loyalty tests that involved life-threatening scenarios. Kim was sentenced to five years in prison​​​​.

Beyond legal troubles, former students and critics have raised concerns about the school’s practices, including high costs for training and the sale of herbal equipment of questionable value. Some have reported positive health outcomes from the training, while others have described it as overpriced and of dubious benefit compared to other martial arts schools​​.

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