The History of Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a very popular martial arts form that offers many benefits.  It can intensify your physical skills and help you to discipline your mind – meaning that you can lose weight, get toned, and also develop greater confidence in yourself and your own abilities. This can translate into everything from doing well on an interview and getting a better job to handling stress more calmly and being able to defend yourself in dangerous situations. People have been using Taekwondo for years to bolster their physical and mental capabilities, but when did it all begin? If you study taekwondo, you may want to learn a thing or two about its history.

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The name “taekwondo” comes from three Korean words: “Tae” means “to strike with the foot”; “kwon” means “to strike with the fist”; and “Do” means “the way of” or “the art of.” If you take all three and put them together, it loosely translates to “the way of the foot and the fist.”

Although many of the disciplines that influenced the martial art existed beforehand, modern taekwondo was not developed until the 40s and 50s. In fact, it was not until April 11th, 1955, that taekwondo was recognized as a newly united and official Korean martial art. The name was conceived by Choi Hong Hi, a South Korean General whose part in establishing taekwondo is hotly contested to this day (but no one doubts that he coined the term).

The sport itself was a combination of an old Korean military fighting style (taekkyeon), Japanese karate, and a few others, many of which made their way into Korean martial arts in the early 20th century. Unfortunately, the exact beginnings of taekkyeon have been obscured by time, and it seems that possibly the first mention of it occurred during the 18th century. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that it forms an important part of the skill that many people know and practice today.

In the 1960s, taekwondo began to spread internationally, when it was introduced to the world as a combat sport and martial arts form; ever since that time, its development has been quite rapid. In fact, over thirty million people today practice taekwondo in over 156 countries – an impressive number for a sport that started out so recently.

Try ATA is one of many martial arts organizations to offer taekwondo, but ours offers a quality of instruction that you won’t find anywhere else. If you are interested in taking up taekwondo or any other martial art, contact us and we can get you started!