H i s t o r y  o f  T a e  K w o n  D o

A picture of a page from Mooyae Dobo Tongji, begun in 1790 and aimed at compiling all martial arts into a comprehensive training manual. Tae Kwon Do has evolved with the history of Korea over 5000 years. Tae Kwon Do began as a martial arts with the name of “Subak” or Taekkyon” during the reign of the ancient Kingdom of Koguryo. It has also incorporated different aspects and styles of other types of martial arts from the neighboring countries such as China and Japan. However, Tae Kwon Do still retains its own uniqueness by possessing among its arsenal many special techniques involving legs’ techniques and its scientific ways to deliver its capacity of self-defense.

In the ancient times of Korea, the Koguryo, Paekje and Shilla Kingdoms were competing for power and control of the country. Therefore, martial arts training were very much emphasized. A special class of very well trained young warriors at that time in the Kingdom of Shilla, called Hwarangdo, always trained and perfected their martial arts skills in both styles of Subak and Taekkyon. Tae Kwon Do was noted in the ancient Korean martial arts book called “Muye dobo-Tongji" as a way to train people to build up their strength and how to use their hands and feet.

Taekkyon was even better developed and honored when the Koguryo Kingdom unified Korea. Contests were held to promote excellent Taekkyon practitioners. At one time in history, during the Japanese occupation of Korea until the independence in 1945, the practice of Taekkyon was forbidden by the Japanese-ruled government. However, the masters still secretly taught the skills and handed it down to later generations until the liberation of Korea. Therefore, we can see that during the Japanese occupation, the masters have also incorporated a few techniques from the Japanese martial arts styles such as Karate into their own Taekkyon style.

After World War II, there were many Schools of martial arts in Korea, namely the major ones:

  • Chung Do Kwan
  • Moo Duk Kwan
  • Yun Moo Kwan
  • Chang Moo Kwan
  • Oh Do Kwan
  • Ji Do Kwan
  • Chi Do Kwan
  • Song Moo Kwan

In 1955, the different schools of martial arts began to unify under the name of Tang Soo Do, and in 1957 the name of Tae Kwon Do was adopted for its similarity to the historical name of Taekkyon. General Choi Hong Hi was a general who has put together Tae Kwon Do and began its promotion outside of Korea. However, he was demoted later because of his good will visit to North Korea. He then went to Canada to form the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF) and in South Korea, Tae Kwon Do was to become the World Tae Kwon Ddo Federation (WTF). The Korean government really supported WTF and helped to send the masters to all over the world to promote TKD. Tae Kwon Do was recognized in the Olympic games in year 2000. It has been a long journey for TKD but it did not stop growing and continues to bring its good message of physical, spiritual, and mental strengths to the benefits of the world.

C o p y r i g h t

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