The earliest martial arts developed in Korea are referred to as SahDoh MuSool; meaning tribal, clan, or family martial arts, as this type of martial art was mainly passed down from one generation to the next through family lines.

SahDoh MuSool was popular among the ancient tribes, city-states and smaller kingdoms that formed in the Korean Peninsula and parts of what is now China. This was evident well before the first unified Korean kingdom of Ko-Cho Sun which was founded in 2333 BC by the legendary king, DahnGoon WahngGuhm. Later, SahDoh MuSool was further developed and made widespread by voluntary militias comprised of the common people, who often fought in battles to defend their villages.

Traditional athletic activities such as Taekkyon, and Ssireum are considered to have originated from SahDoh MuSool. In fact, many techniques found in the popular Olympic sport of TaeKwonDo can also be traced back to SahDoh MuSool.