"Taekwondo is an empty-hand combat form that
uses 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." It
is a combination of four of the five original Kwans or schools,
which originated in Korea. (Only Moo Duk Kwan, Tang Soo Do, remained
After fifty years of Japanese occupation where all
martial arts in Korea were forbidden, and after the division of
Korea into Northern and Southern States, Korean nationalism pushed
for the creation of a National Martial Art.
In 1955 General Hong Hi Choi pushed for the creation
of Tae Kwon Do which was named as such to link it with the Korean
native art, Tae-Kyon, (which Choi had studied as a child).
Tae Kwon Do, simply put, is an unarmed combat designed
for the purpose of self-defense. It is primarily a kicking art
fought at an extended range, where the practitioner keeps opponents
away using his feet. The style itself incorporates the linear movements
of Karate and the flowing, circular movements of Kung-fu. It is
an external style which includes punching, jumping kicks, blocks,
dodges and parrying actions using the hands and feet. Modern Tae
Kwon Do uses over fifty typically Chinese circular hand movements.
Tae Kwon Do is more than a mere physical fighting
skill, however. It is a way of thinking and a pattern of life that
requires strict discipline. It is a system of training for both
the mind and the body in which great emphasis is placed on the
development of moral character.
Students training in Tae Kwon Do do learn basics
and forms, but the great emphasis is on sparring. Competitions
in Tae Kwon Do are very prevalent.
Five Tenets of Tae Kwon Do