Before I get into the history of Taekwondo, I would like to define what it means. I read the definition from many books and the one that I like best comes from the book Comprehensive Asian Fighting Arts written by Donn F. Dragger and Robert W. Smith. ‘Taekwondo is an empty-hand combat form that entails the use of the whole body. Tae means ‘to Kick’ or ‘Smash with the feet,’ Kwon implies ‘punching’ or ‘destroying with the hand or fist,’ and Do means ‘way’ or ” method.’ Taekwondo thus, is the technique of unarmed combat for self defense that involves the skillful application of techniques that include punching, jumping kicks, blocks, dodges, parrying actions with hands and feet.
It is more than a mere physical fighting skill, representing as it does a way of thinking and a pattern of life requiring strict discipline. It is a system of training both the mind and the body in which great emphasis is placed on the development of the trainee’s moral character.’ Taekwondo is a martial art that in ‘today’s’ form of self defense has evolved by combining many different styles of martial arts that existed in Korea over the last 2, 000 years and some martial arts styles from countries that surround Korea. Taekwondo incorporates the abrupt linear movements of Karate and the flowing, circular patterns of Kung-fu with native kicking techniques. Over fifty typically Chinese circular hand movements can be identified in modern Taekwondo. (1) A few of the earlier martial arts styles that contributed to Taekwondo are: T’ang-su, Taek Kyon, also known as Subak, Tae Kwon, Kwonpup and Tae Kwonpup. There are also influences from Judo, Karate, and Kung-fu.’ The earliest records of Taekwondo practice date back to about 50 B.
Martial Arts When you think of martial arts, what comes to mind? The slow, calm movements of Tai-Chi Chuan or maybe the faster, hard movements of Karate or Tae Kwon Do. No matter what you think of it always contains practiced movements of the body and a lot of concentration. These two elements combined with spirit and patience is basically what martial arts consists of. Martial arts is so great ...
C. During this time, Korea was divided into three kingdoms: Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche. Tae Kyon (also called Subak) is considered the earliest known form of Taekwondo. Paintings from this time period have been found on the ceiling of the Muyo ng-c hong, a royal tomb from the Koguryo dynasty. The paintings show unarmed people using techniques that are very similar to the ones used by Taekwondo today. Although Taekwondo first appeared in the Koguryo kingdom, it is the Silla’s Hwarang warriors that are credited with the growth and spread of Taekwondo throughout Korea.
Silla was the smallest of the three kingdoms and was always under attack by Japanese Pirates. Silla got help from King Gwanggaeto and his soldiers from the Koguryokingdom to drive out the pirates. During this time a few select Silla warriors were given training in Taek Kyon by the early masters from Koguryo. The Taek Kyon trained warriors then became known as the Hwarang. The Hwarang set up military academy for the sons of royalty in Silla called Hwarang-do, which means ‘The way of flowering knight, or manhood.’ The Hwarang studied Taek Kyon, history, Confucian Philosophy, ethics, Buddhist Morality, and military tactics.
The guiding principles of the Hwarang warriors were loyalty, filial duty, trustworthiness, valor, and justice, you could very much compare the Korean Hwarang to the Japanese Samurai. The makeup of the Hwarang-do education was based on the Five Codes of Human Conduct written by a Buddhist scholar, fundamental education, Taek Kyon and social skills. Taek Kyon was spread throughout Korea because the Hwarang traveled all around the peninsula to learn about the other regions and people. In 1909 the Japanese invaded Korea and occupied the country for 36 years. To control Korea’s patriotism, the Japanese banned the practice of all military arts, Korean language and even burned all books written in Korea. This ban was responsible for renewed interest in Subak.
37 years of Korean martial law The modern South Korea is counted among twelve most developed countries is the world. It is usually referred to as an Asian Tiger because of its economy rapid growth. Yet by the beginning of sixties South Korea used to be poor agrarian country with highly corrupt government, low standards of living and huge unemployment rate. The governments used to be replaced very ...
Many Koreans organized themselves into underground groups and practiced the martial arts in remote Buddhist temples. Other people left Korea to study the martial arts in other countries like China and Japan. In 1943 Judo, Karate and Kung-fu were officially introduced to the Korean residents and the martial arts regained popularity. In 1945 Korea was liberated. In the last few years before liberation, there were many different variations of Subak/Taek Kyon in Korea. This was due to all of the other martial arts influence on it.
The first Taekwondo school (Kwan) was started in Yong Chun, Seoul, Korea in 1945. Many different school were opened from 1945 through 1960. Each school claimed to teach the traditional Korean martial art, but each school emphasized a different aspect of Taek Kyon/Subak. This caused different names to emerge from each system, some of them were: Soo Back Do, Kwon Bop, Kong Soo Do, Tae Soo Do and Kang Soo Do. The greatest turning point for Korean martial arts started in 1952.
During the height of the Korean War, President Syngman Rhee watched a 30 minute performance by Korean martial arts masters. He was especially impressed when Tae Hi Nam broke 13 roof tiles with a single punch. After the demonstration Rhee talked with Hong Hi Choi about the martial arts, he then ordered his military chiefs of staff to require all Korean soldiers to receive training in the martial arts. This caused a tremendous surge in Taek Kyon schools and students. General Choi is noted to be the actual “founder” of modern day.