Taekwondo - General Background

Date: 11/25/2014 4:06:47 PM

Taekwondo is derived from several martial arts with the main influence being tae-kyon - Korean kick fighting. "Tae" means to kick. "Kwon" means to strike using the hand, in most cases the fist. "Do" refers to the way of the art, like in the examples of Hapkido, Karate-do, Ninjado etc. Thus, the foundation of the art is the use of the hands and feet to overcome an attacker swiftly. History: 

Taekwondo was originally developed in Korea in the 1950s, when a group of leading martial arts exponents came together to unify their respective disciplines under a single fighting system. The inauguration took place in South Korea on April 11, 1955, with Major-General Choi Hong Hi, a 9th dan black belt, being credited as the founder. However, its roots date back nearly 2000 years ago when it was born from an art known as hwarang do, meaning "the way of the flowering manhood". The hwarang were young noblemen, influenced by Confucian teachings, who formed a patriotic society during the unification of Korea, in the Silla dynasty, around 600AD. The Silla kingdom was the smallest of 3 within the Korean peninsula and was constantly under attack from its two stronger neighbors. It was these constant invasions that led the Silla nobility to develop a fighting system to protect their kingdom. Towards the end of the 10th century, following the unification of Korea, learning Taekwondo became compulsory for all young men. However, in about the 16th century, the military traditions of the country fell out of general favor and the practice of Taekwondo was kept alive only by Buddhist monks. Following the Japanese occupation in 1909, the suppression of any form of martial art only served to further its decline. The few remaining dedicated practitioners emigrated to China and Japan and hence, the art survived. Following liberation in 1945, many Korean exiles returned to their homeland and reintroduced an improved version of Taekwondo. The Korean government, as part of its campaign to reassert national identity after years of Japanese occupation, supported the practice of Taekwondo by officially sponsoring it. This led to a more formal approach to the teaching and grading of the discipline. Taekwondo spread worldwide from Korea in the 1960s and the first world Taekwondo championship took place in Seoul, South Korea, in 1973. Since 1988, Taekwondo has been listed as an Olympic sport. Competitive fighting:

Competitive fighting in Taekwondo is purely optional. For those who participate, competitions are split into 3 sections - sparring, patterns and destruction. Sparring involves 2 practitioners practicing fighting techniques to develop their timing, focus and speed. It is performed in a controlled environment so that no unnecessary injuries occur. In competition, the aim is to score points through the delivery of correct techniques to target areas. Patterns are a set of series of combination techniques performed in a sequential order against an imaginary opponent. This is similar to Karate, which refers to patterns as kata, or Kung fu, which uses set movements called forms. Destruction refers to breaking techniques in which practitioners learn to break, for an example, a piece of wood about 0.5 to 1 cm thick. The aim is to ensure that the power and skill of the technique are truly effective. It is also designed to focus the mind.