Michael W. Deem

Michael W. Deem

Dr. Michael W Deem is an award winning and world-renowned scientist.  He is currently a venture capitalist and CEO.  He was formerly an Entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures.  From 2002 to 2020 he was a professor at Rice University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering in 1991 from Caltech.  From the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Deem obtained his Ph.D. in 1994 in chemical engineering. He held a postdoctoral position at Harvard University in the field of Physics. He joined the faculty at UCLA in 1996 as an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering. In 2002, Dr. Deem joined Rice University as the John W Cox professor of Bioengineering and Physics & Astronomy.

Dr. Deem has had many prestigious awards bestowed upon him, some of the most notable include the Fannie and John Hertz Fellow at UC Berkeley (1991-1994); NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Chemistry (1995-1996); Assistant and tenured Associate Professor, UCLA (1996-2002); NSF CAREER Award (1997-2001); Northrop Grumman Outstanding Junior Faculty Research Award (1997); Visiting Professor, University of Amsterdam (1999); A Top 100 Young Innovator, MIT’s Technology Review (November 1999) (Profile and Original Profile); Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow (2000); Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (2002); John W. Cox Professor, Bioengineering and Physics & AstronomyRice University (2002-2020); Allan P. Colburn Award (2004); Editorial Board Member, Protein Engineering, Design and Selection (2005-present); Fellow, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2005); Member, Board of Directors, Biomedical Engineering Society (2005-2008); Fellow, American Physical Society (2006); Member, Rice University Faculty Senate (2006-2009); Vaughan Lectureship, California Institute of Technology (2007); Member, Nominating Committee, Division of Biological Physics, American Physical Society (2007); Member, Board of Governors, Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (2007-present); Fellow, Biomedical Engineering Society (2009); BMES Representative on the FASEB Publications & Communications Committee (2009-2012); Professional Progress Award (2010) (Profile); Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science (2010); External Scientific Advisor, Princeton Physical Sciences-Oncology Center (2010-present); Associate Editor, Physical Biology (2011-2018); Edith and Peter O’Donnell AwardThe Academy of Medicine, Engineering & Science of Texas (2012); Founding Director, Systems, Synthetic, and Physical Biology (2012-2014, raised $0.5M seed funding); Phi Beta Kappa, Visiting Scholar (2012-2013); Chair, Department of Bioengineering (2014-2017, raised $12M in external startup funding for new faculty); Editorial Advisory Board, Bioengineering and Translational Medicine, (2016-2019); Donald W. Breck Award for zeolite science (2019); and NACD Board Leadership Fellow and Directorship Certification (2020). He was an entrepreneur in Residence with Khosla Ventures (2021-2022) and is a General Partner with Smart Health Catalyzer (2023 to present).  His name has been synonymous with innovation and thought-provoking research for three decades.  He enjoys mentorship, vaccine design, and helping others invent the future.

Dr. Deem is known for his passion for the martial art Taekwondo. His skills in the Taekwondo would lead to competition in tournaments. Korean Martial Arts have a two-thousand-year history and a diverse range of styles.  Korean martial arts stem from the Korean military history of handed combat.  Their history is intertwined with that of the Korean government and Japanese occupation.   Modern Korean martial arts styles–with characteristic techniques–are widely adopted by martial art practitioners around the world and are undoubtedly Korea’s most recognized cultural feature. For example, Taekwondo, a renowned Korean martial art of Korean origins with many striking techniques, is one of the most frequently practiced martial arts in the world and has grown in popularity to the point of becoming an Olympic sport, with only Judo as the other Asian martial art form represented in the games. Self-defense, discipline, unity, balance, and control are important to Korean martial arts, yet with over 25 styles in use today, there is a wide range of Korean styles and manipulation techniques. 

The active style and technique martial art practitioners subscribe to depend on the form of training and martial arts training they’ve received. Many of the internal styles (as well as external styles) have their origins in Chinese and Japanese martial arts, but they have evolved into distinctly Korean art forms.

What are the types of Korean martial arts, the Korean fighting styles?  What distinguishes them?   The most popular Korean martial art form, Taekwondo, has roots in Japanese styles relating to karate (itself derived from Chinese martial arts) but incorporates many historically Korean techniques. Hapkido is rooted in Japanese Daito Ryu but is also considered distinctively Korean due to the incorporation of uniquely Korean styles.

So, what are the characteristics of Korean martial arts?  These forms stand out due to their acrobatic kicks, combat style, similarity to some Japanese styles, and overwhelming popularity. Discover what Korean martial arts are all about with this review.

List of Korean Martial Arts Styles

Taekwondo-Korean Martial Art Olympic Sport

Taekwondo is a martial arts style focused primarily on punches, blocks, strikes, and kicks (i.e. spinning hook kick). Taekwondo is without a doubt the most popular Korean martial art. It was first introduced as an official Olympic sport in 2000, during the Sydney Olympic Games, following a demonstration in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It is South Korea’s national sport and is extensively practiced around the world.

Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

Kicks and punches are the hallmarks of taekwondo, commonly known as taekwon-do or tae kwon do. “Tae” means “to destroy with the foot,” “Kwon” means “to destroy with the hand,” and “do” means “art” or “way of life.” While destruction is a common characteristic in its literal translation, taekwondo is much more than just a combat method. It’s also a philosophy, an exercise, a sport, and a self-defense practice. Punches to the head, as well as strikes below the belt, are absolutely prohibited in competition.

Taekwondo was created as a martial art at the unofficial end of the Korean War when President Syngman Rhee of South Korea ordered the formation of nine martial arts schools, which were later united. It was given the name “Taekwondo” in 1955, and the Korean Taekwondo Association was founded in 1959. Taekwondo swiftly spread over the world, and numerous ways were taught.

Taekwondo is a modern Korean martial art similar to karate (Taekwondo is the answer to a question from the early days: What is Korean karate?).  While Taekwondo has its origins in Japanese karate, it has since incorporated many Korean techniques from the Mu Ye Do Bo Tong Ji and now bears little resemblance to karate. Taekwondo, unlike karate, has evolved a comprehensive range of kicking techniques that distinguishes martial art from other popular martial art styles.

In the Korean martial art Taekwondo, there are ten levels of rank. Each level has a corresponding belt, like in many combat arts. While school colors vary, the most popular are white, white with yellow stripe, yellow, yellow with a green stripe, green, green with blue stripe, blue, blue with red stripe, red, and black, according to the ITF.


Hapkido is a Korean martial arts style focused on punches, kicks, throws, and joint locks. HapKiDo, or “the art of coordinated power,” is the second most popular Korean Martial Art form which combines aspects of many types of martial arts, including Aikido, Judo, Jujitsu, Karate, and Tae Kwon Do. It is considered a highly effective style of self-defense, teaching defense techniques to counter common attacks, both unskilled and those taught by other martial arts. Throughout the curriculum, one learns a few attack techniques but is primarily instructed in the defenses. For example, one will learn how to defend against multiple attackers, or how to defend from a lying position. More advanced hapkido lessons involve defense techniques against weapons such as knives and swords, as well as their usage. Hapkido isn’t as competitive as Taekwondo, and competitions usually consist only of demonstrations.

Like most Korean Martial arts, it is unclear where Hapkido found its origins. The founder was Korean by the name of Choi Yong Sul, who was sent to Japan as a child. However, what styles of martial arts he learned in Japan and employed in Hapkido are uncertain, even though most assume he had at least studied Daito-ryu Aikijujutsu as the similarities are undeniable.  One of the most well-known early grandmasters is Ji Han-jae

Michael W Deem

Michael W Deem

Other Korean martial arts include:

Gongkwon Yusul – Gongkwon Yusul (gong kwon yu sul) is a hybrid martial art that includes elements from Hapkido, Jujutsu, Judo, and Boxing.  There are several Gongkwon Yusul schools for learning Korean MMA worldwide.

Gungsol – Gungsul is a Korean martial art focused on traditional archery techniques.

Haidong Gumdo – Haidong Gumdo is a martial art focused on Korean swords techniques. It contains elements similar to Kenjutsu and Iaido.

Han Mu Do – Han Mu Do (or Hanmudo) is a Korean martial arts style. It is seen as a “smoother” and more “open hand” cousin to Hapkido. Hanmudo students also train with weapons.

Hwa Rang Do – Hwa Rang Do is a Korean martial art that includes sparring, self-defense, weapons training, and grappling.

Kuk Sool Won – Kuk Sool Won is a martial art focused on strikes, kicks, grappling, joint locks, weapons training, and healing techniques.

Kyuk Too Ki – Korean kickboxing.

Sibpalki – Sibpalki is a martial art that teaches close combat skills that were utilized in the late 1700s.

Soo Bahk Do – Soo Bahk Do is a Korean martial art that grew out of Tang Soo Do.

Ssireum – Ssireum is a martial art focused on wrestling.

Taekkyeon – Taekkyeon is a martial art focused on low kicks, leg sweeps, trips, pushes, etc.

Tang Soo Do – Tang Soo Do is a martial arts style that is similar to Taekwondo and Karate.

Teukgong Moosool – Teukgong Moosool (or Tukong Moosul) is a martial art that was developed by South Korean special forces units.

Won Hwa Do – Won Hwa Do (or WonHwaDo) is a Korean martial art known for its circular techniques.

Yongmudo – Yongmudo (Yongmoodo) is a Korean martial arts style that combines techniques from martial arts such as Taekwondo, Judo, and Ssireum.

Michael W. Deem

Michael W. Deem

Michael Deem–Korean martial arts trainer

Michael Deem is an elite martial arts coach that can help you succeed. He holds a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo.  Michael trains aspiring martial artists in the martial arts doctrine, helping students turn their weaknesses into strengths, improving their skills and confidence. Contact Michael Deem for everything from beginner Korean martial art classes and more. 

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