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The Origins and Rich History Behind Taekwondo

In honor of the upcoming addition to the Fujimini Adventure Series, Silver Bunny and the Secret Fort Chop, I took a peek into the rich history behind the Korean martial art. Viewed as both a martial art and a way of life, knowledge of the evolution of Taekwondo is extremely important when understanding the practice of the martial art itself.

The name is derived from the three Korean/Chinese words “Tae”, meaning foot, “Kwon”, meaning first, and “Do”, meaning way of- so Taekwondo literally means “the way of the foot and fist”. Although the name wasn’t used until 1955, elements of the art has been in existence for over 2,000 years. Many historians believe that the roots of Taekwondo originated from the martial art form known as t’aekyon. It began to evolve after the introduction of several Chinese and Japanese techniques following Japanese control in Korea. After liberation from the Japanese, martial arts flourished with combinations of both Japanese and Korean styles and techniques.

It was then that the style of Taekwondo we know today began to develop. During this time there were five major martial art schools, also known as Kwans. They were the Mooduk Kwan, Jido Kwan, Change Kwan, Chungdo Kwan, and Songmu Kwan. Within the schools themselves, there was a wide variety of styles that differed greatly from school to school.

So beginning in 1946, an attempt was made to unify and standardize training styles and methods. It was in April of 1955 that the unified style known as Taekwondo was born following a meeting between a board of instructors, historians, and prominent members of society. Then in 1962 the Korean Amateur Sports Association officially recognized the Korean Taekwondo Union, now known as the Korean Taekwondo Association.

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Today, Taekwondo has grown to an international sport and art that is practiced in over 190 countries. 2000 was a very exciting year for Taekwondo after being recognized as an official event in the Olympics.

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