KIX TAEKWONDO CHRISTCHURCH

The name Taekwondo is derived from the Korean word “Tae” meaning foot, “Kwon” meaning fist and “Do” meaning way of. So, literally, Taekwondo means “the way of the foot and fist”. The name Taekwondo, however, has only been used since 1955 while the arts’ roots began 2,300 years ago in Korea. Known as a martial art and way of life, the evolution of Taekwondo was a direct result of the happenings in Korea long ago, and knowledge of the history is an important step in understanding Taekwondo.

The origin of Taekwondo traces back to the three kingdoms of Koguryo (37 BC-668 AD), Paekche (18 BC-600 AD), and Silla (57 BC-936 AD). Mural paintings on the royal tombs of the Koguryo dynasty, the stone sculptures of pagadas of temples of the Silla period, and documents written in the Paekche dynasty showed fighting stances, skills, and formalized movements similar to today’s Taekwondo styles and forms.

All three kingdoms indulged in growing national strength with trained warriors. Therefore, Korean history tells that there were military personalities among the well-known prominent national leaders of the three kingdoms, which proves the military tendency of ruling hierarchy.

Although Taekwondo first appeared in the Koguryo kingdom, it is the Silla’s Hwarang warriors that are credited with the growth and spread of Taekwondo throughout Korea. Silla was the smallest of the three kingdoms and was always under attack by Japanese pirates. Silla got help from King Gwanggaeto and his soldiers from the Koguryo kingdom to drive out the pirates. During this time a few select Sillan warriors were given training in Taek Kyon by the early masters from Koguryo.

The Japanese had great influence in Korea (Choson) and many things were changed.

All competitive sports and martial arts were outlawed. Only the military, now under Japanese control, could practice martial arts. SooBakGi was practised in secret and soon changed its name again to SooBakDo. Japanese combat arts were introduced to Korea at this time. The people of Korea received them with great interest. Due to peace treaties between the Japanese and Koreans, Japanese educational curricula were taught in all Korean schools and also such Japanese arts as Kendo (“way of the sword”), Judo, Karate, and Aikido. Once again martial arts began to flourish with each side, Japan and Korea, trading techniques and styles of martial arts. On August 15, 1945, Korea was liberated from Japan and Korean arts could once again develop.

Beginning in 1945, shortly after the end of the occupation of Korea by Imperial Japan, new martial arts schools called kwans were opened in Seoul. These schools were established by Korean martial artists who had studied primarily in Japan during the Japanese rule. The umbrella term traditional taekwondo typically refers to the martial arts practiced by the kwans during the 1940s and 1950s, though in reality the term “taekwondo” had not yet been coined at that time, and indeed each kwan was practicing their own unique style of martial art. During this timeframe, taekwondo was also adopted for use by the South Korean military, which increased its popularity among civilian martial arts schools.

A taekwondo student typically wears a uniform, often white but sometimes black (or other colors), with a belt tied around the waist. White uniforms are considered the traditional color and are encouraged for use at formal ceremonies such as belt tests and promotions. Colored uniforms are often reserved for special teams (such as demonstration teams or leadership teams) or higher-level instructors. There are at least two major styles of dobok, with the most obvious differences being in the style of jacket: (1) the cross-over front jacket (ITF style), (2) the V-neck or Y-neck jackets (no cross-over) typically worn by Kukkiwon/WTF practitioners. White uniforms in the Kukkiwon/WTF tradition will typically be white throughout the jacket (black along the collars for dan grades), while ITF-style uniforms are trimmed with a black border along the bottom of the jacket (for dan grades).

The belt color and any insignia thereon indicate the student’s rank. Different clubs and schools use different color schemes for belts. In general, the darker the color, the higher the rank. Taekwondo is traditionally performed in bare feet, although martial arts training shoes may sometimes be worn.

On May 28, 1973 the World Taekwondo Federation was officially established at the Kukkiwon (headquarters) by Dr. Un Yon Kim. Located in Seoul, Korea. The World Taekwondo Federation is the governing body which preserves Taekwondo’s roots and development, controls testing and testing requirements, and promotes the study of Taekwondo all over the world. In this way the WTF hopes to continue the unification of their native art.

Taekwondo today is just as exciting as ever. Taekwondo, under the leadership of the World Taekwondo Federation has grown into an international art and sport practiced in over 200 countries worldwide.

In 1975 the U.S. Amateur Athletes Union (AAU) accepted Taekwondo as an official sport. Taekwondo was also admitted to the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) and the International Council of Military Sports (CISM) in 1976.

In 1980 the WTF became an International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognized sports federation, making Taekwondo a demonstration sport for the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games. Taekwondo became an official event for the 2000 Olympic was held in Australia.

Originating from traditional martial art Taekwondo has reach at spiritual level that touches the hearts of people. Taekwondo is not a sport that only professional Tae kwan Masters can enjoy. Since it’s a hand to hand combat technique that require no sporting equipment and anybody can enjoy it in outdoor and indoor environment. Then what kind of physical benefits can be derived from Taekwondo. Taekwondo movements develops the joints and muscle of your body. Its is a sport that can stimulate the development of children’s body.

Besides the physical benefits from taking Taekwondo lessons, it can increase confidence in young children and improve the social relationships of a child. Taekwondo is not only beneficial sport for children but it is also brings many benefits to adult students. “The elderly need to stay limber and fit”. In the poomsae of Taekwondo, there are many stances that requires leg and arm flexing and these exercises will keep you fit and flexible.

It is not only the physical training that we gain from Taekwondo. It’s based in oriental philosophy of training the mind and body. Making an ideal sport for people who are seeking a healthy life style. Taekwondo contains the spiritual elements of the peace-loving hand raise as a vibrant sport with various etiquette technique. Today Taekwondo is practiced by people around the world and it helps us reach a balance in our life, reaching our minds and strengthening our body. Finding the balance with nature and other people is the aim of Taekwondo. That is why it’s a beloved sport among more than 70 million people around the world. Now Taekwondo is a global sport.

Essay by: Jupiter Bignotea