the fascinating history of taekwondo...is right here!
It's hard to be certain about the very early history of taekwondo.
Some people think that ancient (50BC) cave paintings in Korea show men practicing martial arts.
If this is true.
It means that Koreans have trained in forms of taekwondo for over 2000 years!
We do know that for many, many hundreds of years.
Ancient Korean armies used martial arts to defeat their enemies.
And in more peaceful times, early forms of taekwondo were used for sport and fitness.
(A bit like we use taekwondo now!)
Japanese occupation of Korea
And more recently. Japan occupied Korea from 1910 until the end of World War Two. During this time Japan tried to wipe out Korean Culture. This included a ban on Korean martial arts.
But of course this didn't stop many Koreans secretly continuing their training!
The Japanese occupation influenced Korean martial arts. Many Korean soldiers went to Japan to learn Karate. And Korean people learned Judo, Karate and Kung-fu.
after world war 2
After the Japanese left Korea lots of martial art schools (or Kwans) sprang up. (Examples include Chung do Kwan and Moo do Kwan). The photo shows the plates of the individual Kwans as displayed at the taekwondo history museum.
The Kwans taught martial arts using traditional Korean methods. Mixed with techniques learned from Japan.
In our club we learn traditional Moo do Kwan taekwondo. Some of the traditional patterns we learn are hundreds of years old. And beautiful to perform.
In Korea these days less and less taekwondo schools teach the traditional Kwan styles.
In 1953 the different Kwans united. And in 1955 the name taekwondo was introduced. Taekwondo means the way of the hand and foot.
Taekwondo is famed for it's kicking.
We've always wondered why there are so many kicks in taekwondo.
We got the answer while we were traveling in Korea. Master Won-Kyu Cho explained to us that Korean people are on the whole taller than their neighbors in nearby countries. And if you are taller than your opponent. Then your legs are longer.
And long legs, combined with devastating kicks. Are very good for keeping you opponent back!
itf is formed
The International Taekwondo Federation (itf) was formed in 1966.
wtf is born
In 1973 the World Taekwondo Federation (wtf) came into being. Taekwondo became an Olympic Sport in 1988- a significant moment in the history of taekwondo.