Meaning of Tae Kwon Do

There are more than 300 martial arts today, and Tae Kwon Do is among the most popular in the world.  Tae kwon do is a Korean martial art that has roots dating back to over 1300 years ago, but modern Tae Kwon Do was developed by General Choi (pronounce chay) and has only been practiced since the end of World War II.  Since 1988, Tae Kwon Do has been included in the Olympics.

Today, Tae kwon do is considered an effective method of self-defense and a fun way of maintaining physical fitness.  “Tae” means foot, “kwon” means fist, and “do” means a way of life.  In training, legs are used about 70% and fists about 30% of the time, which is the opposite of karate.  Legs are emphasized because they are longer and stronger than arms and provide the element of surprise.  Most importantly, Tae Kwon Do involves a high degree of mental training.

The benefits of practicing Tae kwon do include:

Benefits of Practicing Tae Kwon Do

History of Tae Kwon Do

The technique of taekwondo were originally developed for military combat. About 1300 years ago, the Korean peninsula was divided into three kingdoms: Silla, Baek Je, and Koguryo. Silla was the smallest and constantly under attack by its two northern western neighbors. The king of Silla called upon the strong and patriotic youths throughout the country and they formed a strong organization called the Hwa-Rang Do. To harden their bodies they climbed rugged mountains, swam turbulent rivers in the coldest months, and worked very hard to prepare themselves to defend their homeland. The Hwa-rang do guided themselves by a five-point code of conduct:

The Hwa-Rang Do defended themselves by using postures resembling Taek Kyon and Jujitsu techniques. They had a strong desire for patriotism and became an elite fighting warrior corp. as they gained respect from their enemies. The Hwa-Rang Do unified the three kingdoms of Korea and the martial arts flourished. Soon after Korea was united, the dynasty acquired an anti-military posture. This began a period of civil enlightenments, and anything dealing with the military was debased. The final blow dcame with the Japanese occupation (1909 - 1945) when it was forbidden to practice any martial arts. Taek Kyon was secretly practiced and passed on to a handful of students.

In 1945 Korea was liberated and young second lieutenant, Choi Hong Hi, recently released from Japanese prison camp taught his martial arts to some students.

In 1955 this art was given the name of Tae Kwon Do by a board of instructors, historians, and prominent leaders, including General Choi Hong Hi. The original International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) was founded on March 22, 1966, by General Choi Hong Hi in Seoul, South Korea. Taekwondo made its first appearance as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and became a full medal sport at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.