Founder of modern Tae Kwon-Do is General Choi Hong Hi. Even at an early age, the future General showed a strong and independent spirit. At the age of twelve, he was expelled from school for agitating the Japanese authorities, who were in control of Korea from 1910 to 1945. This was the beginning of what would be a long association with the Kwang Ju Student's Independence Movement. After his expulsion, young Choi's father sent him to study calligraphy under one of the most famous teachers in Korea, Mr. Han Il Dong. Han, in addition to his skills as a calligrapher, was also a master of Taek Kyon, the ancient Korean art of foot fighting.
The teacher, concerned with the frail condition of his new student, began teaching him the rigorous exercises of Taek Kyon to help build his body. In 1937, Choi was sent to Kyoto, Japan to his further education. In Kyoto, Choi met a fellow Korean, Mr. Kim, who was engaged in teaching the Japanese martial art, Karate. These techniques together with Taek Kyon foot techniques, were the forerunners of modern Tae Kwon-Do.
Technically, 1955 signaled the beginning of Tae Kwon-Do as a formally recognized art in Korea. During that year, a special board was formed which included leading master instructors, historians, and prominent leaders of the society. This single unified name of Tae Kwon-Do replaced the different and confusing terms such as Dang Soo, Gong Soo, Taek Kyon and Kwon Buap. In 1959, Tae Kwon-Do spread beyond its national boundaries. The father of Tae Kwon-Do and nineteen of his top black belt holders toured the Far East. The tour was a major success, astounding all spectators with the excellence of the Tae Kwon-Do techniques.
The Meaning of Taekwondo
The Korean word "TAE" means kicking, jumping, stepping or flying of the feet."KWON" means punching, striking, or beating of hands or fists."DO" means art, technique, or way. To put it simply, Tae Kwon-Do is a version of unarmed combat, designed for the purpose of self-defence. Though it is a martial art that has no equal in either power ortechnique, its discipline, technique and mental training are the mortar for building a strong sense of justice, fortitude, humility and resolve. It is this mental conditioning that separates the true practitioner, contentwith mastering only the fighting aspects of the art, from the sensationalist. Of course, wrongly applied, Tae Kwon-Do can be a lethal weapon, therefore, mental training must always be stressed to prevent the
student from misusing it.
What is a Taekwondo
Tae Kwon-Do is the modernized way of an old oriental art of self-defence, or unarmed combat. It was first heard of 1300 years ago in Korea when it was called Taek Kyon. It was a form of foot fighting that, through the centuries, hand techniques were introduced. The combination of both became known as Tae Kwon-Do. In the more advanced techniques, the use of the legs is still more important. This makes Tae Kwon-Do more effective and spectacular than other oriental self-defence arts since the legs can develop more power and reach farther than the hands.