|What is Taekwondo?
| Taekwondo is one of the most systematic and
scientific Korean traditional martial arts, that teaches more
than physical fighting skills. It is a discipline that shows
ways of enhancing our spirit and life through training our
body and mind. Today, it has become a global sport that has
gained an international reputation, and stands among the official
games in the Olympics.
Let's take a closer look at the meaning
of the word "Tae" "Kwon" "Do." It
is composed of three parts as shown in the English spelling,
though it is one word in Korean. "Tae" means "foot," "leg," or "to
step on"; "Kwon" means "fist," or "fight"; and "Do" means
the "way" or "discipline." If we put these three parts
together, we can see two important concepts behind "Tae
First, Taekwondo is the right
way of using Tae and Kwon 'fists and feet,' or all the parts
of the body that are represented by fists and feet. Second,
it is a way to control or calm down fights and keep the peace.
This concept comes from the meaning of Tae Kwon 'to put fists
under control' [or 'to step on fists']. Thus Taekwondo means "the
right way of using all parts of the body to stop fights and
help to build a better and more peaceful world."
|Taekwondo has been developing with the 5000-year
long history of Korea, being called by several different names
in the course. In Korea, Taekwondo began as a defense martial
art called "Subak" or "Taekkyon," and developed as a way of
training the body and mind in the ancient kingdom of Koguryo, under
the name of "Sunbae." In the Shilla period, it had become the
backbone of Hwarangdo that aimed at producing leaders of the
|Taekwondo today is similar
to martial arts in other Asian countries and shares
some features with them, because in the course of its
evolution it has gained many different styles that existed
in the martial arts of the countries surrounding Korea,
like Japan and China.
But Taekwondo is
very different from many such Asian martial arts. First, physically
it is very dynamic with active movements that include a mirage
of foot skills. Second, the principle physical movements are
in simpatico with that of the mind and life as a whole. Third,
it possesses dynamic poses from another perspective.
Taekwondo can be characterized
by unity: the unity of body, mind, and life, and the unity
of the pose ["poomsae"]
and confrontation, and cracking down. When you do Taekwondo,
you should make your mind peaceful and synchronize your mind
with your movements, and extend this harmony to your life
and society. This is how in Taekwondo the principle of physical
movements, the principle of mind training, and the principle
of life become one and the same. On the other hand, the right
poomsae lead to the right confrontation, which will eventually
produce great destructive power.
harmonious growth and improvements of life through its unique
activities. This is why one could say Taekwondo is a way of
life. To ultimately enable ourselves to lead more valuable
lives, we would do well by finding the guiding principles deeply
hidden in Taekwondo.