One of the most methodical and scientific traditional Korean martial arts, taekwondo teaches more than just physical fighting techniques. It is a discipline that demonstrates how to improve one’s spirit and life through physical and mental training. It now ranks among the recognized official sports played in the Olympic Games and has grown to be a popular global sport.
Let’s examine the definition of “Tae” “Kwon” “Do” in more detail. Even though it only has one word in Korean, the English spelling of it has three components. Tae, Kwon, and Do all have different meanings, such as “foot,” “leg,” or “to walk on,” and “the method” or “discipline.” We can see two key ideas that underlie “Tae Kwon Do” if we combine these three elements.
Taekwondo, or all the body parts represented by fists and feet, is the “method” of using Tae and Kwon. It also serves as a means of maintaining peace by containing or defusing conflicts. This idea derives from Tae Kwon, which means “to control fists” or “to walk on fists.” To stop fights and contribute to the creation of a better and more peaceful world, Taekwondo is defined as “the appropriate manner of employing all parts of the body.”
Soon after the end of World War II and the Japanese Occupation, new martial arts schools known as kwans started popping up in Seoul starting in 1945. Korean martial artists with training in Chinese and Japanese martial arts founded these schools. Due to years of decline and repression by the Japanese colonial administration, indigenous disciplines (like Taekkyeon) during the time were being lost. Although the title “Taekwondo” had not yet been coined at that time, each kwan (school) was indeed practicing its own distinct style of the Korean art. Typically, the term “traditional Taekwondo” refers to the martial arts practiced by the kwans during the 1940s and 1950s.
The 29th Infantry Division ROK Army officers Choi Hong-hi and Nam Tae-hi performed a martial arts display in front of South Korean president Syngman Rhee in 1952. He incorrectly identified the demonstrated skill as Taekkyeon and pushed the army to adopt martial arts under a single system. The chiefs of the kwans started seriously debating the idea of forming a one Korean martial art in 1955. Up until that point, Korean karate was referred to as Tang Soo Do and was written with the Korean hanja version of the Japanese kanji (). Another term for a unified style of Korean martial arts was Tae Soo Do (). [Reference needed] This name is made up of the hanjas tae, meaning “to trample, hand,” su, meaning “hand,” and do, meaning “way, discipline.”
Choi Hong-hi pushed for the usage of the name Tae Kwon Do, substituting su “hand” with the Chinese character for “martial arts” (pinyin quán), kwon (Revised Romanization: gwon; McCune-Reischauer: kkwn), which is pronounced “fist.”  According to the president, the name was also the one that sounded the most like Taekkyeon. The kwan leaders took a little while to warm up to the new name. Taekwondo’s acceptance by the South Korean military during this time also contributed to its rise in popularity among martial arts schools that serve the general public.
To aid in the unification of Korean martial arts, the Korea Taekwondo Association, or KTA (formerly known as the Korea Tang Soo Do Association), was founded in 1959. General Choi of the Oh Do Kwan wanted his own Chan Hon-style of Taekwondo to be adopted by all the other member kwans of the KTA as a unified style. The other kwans opposed this, however, as they preferred that a single, unified style be developed based on suggestions from all the kwans in order to incorporate the history and traits of all the styles, not simply the style of a single kwan. The International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), a separate governing body devoted to institutionalizing Choi’s Chan Hon-style of Taekwondo in Canada, was founded in 1966 as a response to this as well as political disagreements regarding teaching Taekwondo in North Korea and unifying the entire Korean Peninsula.
Due to his close relationship with General Choi, the president of South Korea first provided the ITF with only sporadic backing. A North Korean impact on the martial art was something the South Korean government intended to prevent. In contrast, ITF President Choi Hong-hi lobbied everyone, including North Korea, to support his Chan Hon-style of Taekwondo. In retaliation, South Korea stopped supporting the ITF in 1972. Choi continued to develop the ITF-style, most notably with the 1983 release of his Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do. The ITF continued to operate as an independent federation, with its headquarters situated in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Following Choi’s retirement, the ITF split twice, first in 2001 and then again in 2002, resulting in three distinct ITF federations, each of which is still in existence today and still uses the same name.
The Kukkiwon was formed as the new national Taekwondo academy in 1972 by the KTA and the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of the South Korean government. When it comes to developing a unified style of Taekwondo that is supported by the government, Kukkiwon currently performs many of the duties that the KTA once performed. The World Taekwondo Federation was founded in 1973 with backing from the KTA and Kukkiwon to develop the athletic aspect of Kukki-Taekwondo. In 2017 the name was changed to World Taekwondo to avoid confusion. Taekwondo in the Kukkiwon style is used in WT tournaments. Due to this, Kukkiwon-style Taekwondo is frequently referred to as WT-style Taekwondo, sport-style Taekwondo, or Olympic-style Taekwondo, despite the fact that the Kukkiwon, not the WT, is the organization that established the form.
Taekwondo has been included in the Olympic Games since 2021. It is one of six martial arts overall (the others being boxing, Greco-Roman wrestling, freestyle wrestling, and karate), and one of three Asian martial arts (the others being judo and karate). A year after becoming a medal event in the Pan Am Games, it debuted at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 as a demonstration event before becoming an official medal event at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Taekwondo was approved as a Commonwealth Games sport in 2010..
Internationalization of TaeKwonDo
•November 30, 1972 – Kukkiwon’s construction was finished.
•The first World Taekwondo Championships took place on May 25, 1973. (biannual event).
The World Taekwondo Federation was founded on May 28, 1973.
The first Asian Taekwondo Championships were held on October 18, 1974. (biannual event).
The World Taekwondo Federation joined the General Association of the International Sports Federation on October 5, 1975. (GAISF).
•Taekwondo was recognized as an official sport by the CISM (Council International Sportive Militaire) Executive Committee on April 9, 1976.
•On July 17, 1980, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized the World Taekwondo Federation at its 83rd General Session in Moscow.
•On July 24, 1981, Taekwondo was one of the main non-Olympic events at the World Games in Santa Clara, California.
•At the IOC Executive Board Meeting on February 5, 1982, Taekwondo was approved as a demonstration sport for the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
•September 28, 1984 – At the 90th session of Executive Board of IOC held in Berlin, Taekwondo was formally recognized as a Demonstration Sport in the 1988 Olympic Games.
•In Colorado Springs, Colorado, on July 3, 1986, the first World Cup Taekwondo Championship was held.
On September 30, 1986, Seoul hosted the 10th Asian Games Taekwondo Tournament, which had 17 participant countries.
•The First World University Taekwondo Championships took place on November 29, 1986.
•Taekwondo was a part of the 10th Pan-American Games, which were held in Indianapolis, Indiana, on August 9, 1987.
•On October 7, 1987, Barcelona, Spain hosted the inaugural Women’s World Taekwondo Championships.
•September 17–20, 1988 – A Demonstration Sport of the 24th Olympiad, 192 participants from 25 countries (males) and 16 countries (female).
Taekwondo was a part of the 11th Pan-American Games, which were held in Havana, Cuba, from August 14–17, 1991.
•August 3–5, 1992 – Barcelona, Spain hosts a demonstration sport for the second consecutive olympics.
Depending on the sort of Taekwondo you’re practicing and whether you’re competing, you’ll need different equipment. It’s crucial to remember that the Taekwondo uniform cannot have any tape on it.
A white Taekwondo V-neck outfit that has been approved by the World Taekwondo Federation and is in acceptable shape is required for participants in sparring matches. Black collared uniforms are necessary for those with black belts.
Poomsae competitors are required to wear WTF-designated Y-neck competition Poomsae uniforms. These uniforms must adhere to all WTF regulations, including those pertaining to rank designations.
In addition, Taekwondo contestants must wear protective gear such as:
•Approved trunk protector
Taekwondo Health Benefits
There are other health advantages for individuals who practice Taekwondo, in addition to the obvious benefits of teaching trainees self-defense. Taekwondo:
Improves mental health by raising self-esteem, focus, confidence, concentration, and self-discipline; increases flexibility, balance, posture, strength, and stamina; improves muscular tone and physical condition; enhances agility and reflexes
As a way of life, taekwondo is. Therefore, it’s crucial for all Taekwondo practitioners to develop oneness of the mind, body, and life. You should keep your thoughts calm and in tune with your movements when practicing Taekwondo. Always keep in mind that your opponent can always recover and start a new battle.
Instead, to perfect Taekwondo, you must practice the path of unification, which calls for balanced growth and self-improvement. This will help you to reach lasting serenity.
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