What is Taekwondo?
Taekwondo roughly translates to “the way of hand and foot”. It is a martial art with origins that date back to around 57 B.C. during time of the Silla and Koguryo kingdoms of the Korean peninsula. During this time, martial arts forms referred to as “Subak” and “Taekkyon” were developed for hand-to-hand combat and were primarily a subject of military education for enhancing physical strength and survival skills. Subak and Taekkyon competitions were also popular within tribal festivals.
Around 918 A.D., these arts had developed to be more systematic and were taught to military cadets. However, as advances in weapons and gun powder in the military were increased, the support for martial arts in the military decreased. Traditions of the arts were still practiced in folk games.
Later, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, martial arts were prohibited and were only practiced in secret. It wasn’t until the liberation of the country in 1945, that Korean martial arts were once again taught publicly. Masters of the arts unified under the name “Taekwondo” in 1955.
Fast forward to today, where Taekwondo is now the national sport of South Korea and has spread to over 200 countries and is widely practiced as a martial art and as an Olympic sport.