Taekwondo Vs other martial arts

Taekwondo is easily distinguished from other martial arts visibly by its diverse, fast flowing kicks. These are combined to form an elaborate but highly effective combat system.

Taekwondo in the past two decades has rapidly developed as an international competitive sport – now an Olympic sport, and all practitioners must participate in sparring. By the end of a year’s training a student should be able to hold their own with members of the same belt category.

Besides the Olympics and Sparring, when needed for self defence, Taekwondo is a lethal martial art. The typical characteristics of Taekwondo are blocks, punches, kicks and poomse – co-ordinated sequences. In addition there is Korean terminology, history and philosophy and at advanced level strikes, takedowns, traps and breaking techniques. For the dedicated and best practitioners, the journey is an endless one of development and perfection, which starts with overcoming one’s ego.

As well as the method of hand-to-hand combat, there is also weapons training at advanced level, using weapons such as the Staff, Nunchaka and Tonfa, and defensive techniques against an attacker armed with a weapon. Having said all that – it is best to avoid a confrontation against an armed assailant. If this is not an option, the correct application of disciplined techniques may save your life.

Self defence Tips
Remember the golden rule – run away and live to fight another day. If however you are forced into an unavoidable situation, be prepared to defend yourself. The aim is to get away with the least injury possible. Recognise your early warning signs e.g. faster heart beat, weakness in the knees etc. Accept them as natural reactions and act quickly to protect yourself. The quickest way is the best defence.
Do not panic, examine and assess the situation. React quickly and positively

Origins of Taekwondo

The origins of Tae Kwon Do date back to before Christ, where there is evidence showing the practice of Tae kyon (the earliest form of Tae Kwon Do) around 37BC. At this time, what is known as Korea was divided into three Kingdoms: Silla, Koguryo and Baekche.

Tae kyon first appeared in the Koguryo kingdom, but the growth of the art throughout Korea is due to Silla’s warrior nobility – the HWARANG. A military academy established for the young nobility, later becoming the Hwarang-do society, or “the way of the flowering manhood”. All its members were trained in Tae kyon, along with many others skills like horse riding, archery and swordsmanship.

During the Silla dynasty Tae kyon spread throughout Korea as the Hwarang travelled the land. When Tae kyon was first introduced it was as a form of self-defence against attacking pirates, but the emphasis moved towards an improvement of physical fitness.The focus later changed from a fitness system to a fighting art during the Koryo dynasty. People grew uninterested in the forms of martial arts and their technical development was hindered.

2nd August 1910 the Yi Dynasty (1392 AD – 1910AD) was forcibly overcome. Japan invaded and occupied Korea for 35 years. All native Korean martial arts were banned, but this increased interest. The martial arts changed during this period due to the influence of other martial arts.

15th August 1945 Korea was liberated from Japanese occupation and popularity rose when the first native Korean martial arts schools were opened. Soon after this and because of the unwanted Japanese influence on Korean martial arts, the leading instructors of five of the major schools started discussing the need to unite the various dojangs in order to standardise instruction methods throughout the country and recover the traditional Korean martial arts.

The 5 major schools
1. Chungdokwan (founded by Won Kuk Lee, located in Seoul)
2. Moodukwan (founded by Hwang Kee, located in Seoul)
3. Yonmookwan (founded by Chun Sang Sup and Yun Kwei Byong, located in Seoul)
4. YMCA kwon bup school, located in Seoul
5. Songmookwan (founded by No Byong Jik, located in Kai Sung)

11th April 1955, after years of discussion the leaders of most major schools agreed on a unified form of instruction. A special board was formed to choose a name for this form; the board included leading master instructors such as Son Duk Song (Director of Chungdokwan – the largest civilian gym in Korea) Major General Choi Hong Hi, historians and prominent leaders of society. A number of names were submitted to the board and Taekwwondo which was the name submitted by General Choi was chosen. During the same year, General Choi spread Taekwondo throughout universities and military posts throughout Korea.

In 1960, General Choi Hong Hi was elected President of the Tae Soo Do Association of Korea which was formed to make Taekwondo into a national sport as well as a martial art form. During that same year on June 30th the Korean Tang Soo Do Association was formed and registered under the leadership of its Chairman Master Hwang Kee. In 1964, the Tae Soo Do Association however, was officially recognised by governmental decree and given official membership in the Korean Amatuer Sports Association and in January 1965, the Korean Tae Soo Do Association changed its name to the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association.

In January 1971, Dr Un Yong Kim was elected president of the Association and under his leadership The World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) was formed on 28th May 1973, to promote Taekwondo on an international level. It was at this time the first biennial WTF Championships were held in Seoul, since then they have been held in countries all over the world.

1982, the International Olympic Committee designated Tae Kwon Do an official Demonstration Sport for the 1988 Olympic games.

Dr Kim was instrumental in helping to establish the Kukkiwon (Institute for National Sport) in Seoul. In addition to the World Taekwondo Federation, two other organisations continue to promote the Korean martial arts on an international level; the International Taekwondo Federation originally under the leadership of General Choi Hong Hi and the Korean Soo Bak Do, under the leadership of Grandmaster Hwang Kee.

Grandmaster Hwang Kee
Tang Soo Do – Moodukwan style => Korean Tang Soo Do Association => Korean Soo Bak Do

Grandmaster Won Kuk Lee (Chungdokwan style)
Master Son Suk Song (Chungdokwan style)

General Choi Hong Hi (Ohdokwan & Chungdokwan styles) => Korean Tae Soo Do Association => Chang Han style
=> International Taekwondo Federation

Kwon Bup School
Master Lee Nam Sak => Chungmookwan style => Korean Taekwondo Association

Grandmaster No Byong Jik
Songmookwan style => Korean Tae Soo Do Association => Korean Taekwondo Association

Grandmaster Chun Sang Sup
Yonmookwan style => Master Yun Kwei Byong => Jidokwan & Hanmookwan styles => Korean Tae Soo Do Association => Korean Taekwondo Association