The History of Tae Kwon-Do

Tae Kwon-Do is a Korean martial art, composed of 3 separate parts. Tae meaning ‘foot’ (as in to destroy with), Kwon meaning ‘fist’ and Do meaning way (as in ‘the path you should follow’). So, Tae Kwon-Do means ‘way of the foot and the fist’. Tae Kwon-Do refers to a Korean fighting system which uses the hands and feet to deliver high energy impact techniques to an opponent. These techniques take the form of punches, strikes, kicks and blocks.

Tae Kwon-Do is rightly called a ‘martial art’ because it actually has been employed by the Korean military. Even in these days of long-range weaponry, there are times when the soldier engages the enemy in hand-to-hand combat, and it is under these circumstances that Tae Kwon-DO has proved itself effective.

Tae Kwon-Do is also an exciting combat sport in which skills are tested in a rigorously controlled competition. Contestants wear safety padding on fists and feet and impact is more controlled to avoid any injuries. One form of Tae Kwon-Do has now been accepted into the Olympic games.

Tae Kwon-Do is a healthy fitness promoting activity for persons of all ages, encouraging through its regular practice both self-defence and self-discipline.

Tae Kwon-Do was developed in the Korean peninsula and several different sources contributed towards the art as it is practiced today. Earliest of these sources is the Korean martial tradition itself. This developed in response to the many wars and battles which feature during Korea’s long history. Another early source is probably Chinese, that country being Korea’s nearest neighbour. From the earliest times the Chinese developed and refined forms of combat by Buddhist monks and military attachés. The most recent source is the Japanese, for the military of that country invaded Korean in 1907 and remained in occupation until 1945, the Japanese taught their fighting systems to Koreans in an effort to raise the latter’s martial spirit.

Though Tae Kwon-Do owes something to all these sources, what we now practise is a new system that reflects a truly unique blend of characteristics. Tae Kwon-Do kicking techniques are widely regarded as the most sophisticated in the martial world, and followers of other disciplines come to Tae Kwon-Do to study them. Impact testing techniques also reach a peak in Tae Kwon-Do.