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The History of Tae Kwon Do

tae kwon doeThe history of Tae Kwon Do can be traced back to around 50 . At this time the most common martial art was called Taek Kyon.

Many agree that proof of this can be found in ancient Korean cave paintings, although other dispute this, claiming that the subjects of the painting are simply dancing.

At the time there were three rival kingdoms vying for power in Korea, the Koguryo, Paekje and Silla kingdoms.

The Silla kingdom defeated the other two kingdoms in war around 660. This victory is due in large part to the Hwa Rang Do.

The Hwa Rang Do was an elite group of Silla youth, who focused on both mental and physical strength, and who lived by a strong code of honor. A rough translation of Hwa Rang Do would be “flowering youth” and their honor code forms the basic philosophical grounding for modern Tae Kwon Do.

As time went on, the HwaRang developed from a military organization into a group focused on art and society.

In 936 A.D. The Koryu dynasty was founded by Wang Kon.

The name Koryu is where the modern name for the country, Korea, was derived. Under the Koryu Dynasty, Soo Bakh Do, which was a sport used for military training, became very popular. However, the Joseon, or Yi dynasty, which was founded in 1392, erased this emphasis on military training.

Confucianism taught that martial arts was for the lower class, and as such there was a lack of emphasis on military training.

The 1910 invasion of Korea by Japan is what led to modern Tae Kwon Do. Many Koreans received training influenced by or in Japanese martial arts, and after the end of Japanese occupation there were several different types of common martial arts.

These disciplines agreed upon the name Tae Kwon Do in 1955, and joined under that name, to create the martial art commonly practiced today. Finally, in 2000, Tae Kwon Do became and olympic sport, securing it’s place among the world’s great martial arts.

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The Way of the Hand and Foot, an Introduction

TaekwondoTae Kwon Do is a commonly practiced martial art hailing from Korea.

The art is very popular due to it’s relative simplicity, and it’s practical application.

In Korean, Tae means to destroy with the feet, Kwon means to strike with the hand, and Do means the path, or way, thus Tae Kwon Do can be translated to “the way of the hand and foot.”

This name is very appropriate, as the foundation of Tae Kwon Do is the use of mobile kicks, this is due to the fact that the length of the leg allows you to keep you’re opponent at a distance, thus keeping the fight on you’re terms.

This is not to suggest that the hands aren’t important in Tae Kwon Do, back fists, punches, chop, and a myriad of blocks are all executed with the hands.

Practicing Tae Kwon Do is done one of two ways primarily, the first is through performing forms or patterns, collections of movements that are pre-planned.

The other method of training is that of sparring, sparring is usually done with at least hand, foot and head pads, though in competition you might wear shin, groin and chest protectors as well.

There are many different organizations in Tae Kwon Do, each practicing the art a little differently.

The largest are the World Tae Kwon Do federation and the International Tae Kwon Do federation.

There are also a multitude of smaller organizations, some of which only encompass a few schools.

Progress is marked by way of a belt system in Tae Kwon Do, the number of belts and their colors is dependent on the school and the school’s federation affiliation. Common belt colors include white, yellow, brown, green and of course, black.

It can take anywhere from 2-8 years to reach black belt, then there are multiple levels or dans of black belt, and it can take years to work through these as well.

In closing, Tae Kwon Do is a very good martial for those young and old, it is especially good for beginners due to its relative simplicity, however it offers plenty of variation and challenge through training and competition to keep someone interested for years.

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