The History Of Taekwondo

The Koreans adopted Taekwondo from China about 2000 years ago, during the T'ang Dynasty. Korea was divided into three kingdoms: Paekche, Koguryo, and Silla. The Chinese wanted control over them. They then decided to help the latter conquer the other two and unite Korea. The Silla were chosen because they were the smallest and least civilized, therefore the easiest to control. The Chinese Tang Dynasty assisted by sending soldiers and training the Silla warriors in warfare and martial arts.

They called their art Tang Soo Do. That name still exists; it means hand of the Tang. The Koreans wanted to change that name to reflect on their country and not the Chinese, so they changed it to Tae Kyon. The sons of the nobility and the elite warriors were called Hwarang (meaning flowering manhood), and were later taught the highest level or martial arts, known as Hwarang Do (the way of the Hwarang), while commoners and soldiers learned basic martial arts, known as Subak or Subak Do.

The names of the arts in Korea constantly changed, until the Japanese invaded them and banned any practice of martial arts. That action revived the declining interest in the fighting arts, and practice was achieved in secrecy. Some even travelled to Japan and China and learned different arts, specifically Karate and Kung Fu. When the Japanese were finally expelled, the Korean Masters tried to unite all their arts. They decided to unify the martial arts under one name, and Taekwondo was chosen, due to its accurate description of the skills taught (the way of hand and foot), and its similarity to one of the original names (Tae Kyon). Hapkido was the only Korean art that refused to be included in this union, they remained independent.

The people were divided during and after the Korean War. The martial art schools opposed each other, and the masters resumed teaching their art under different old names (such as, Tang Soo Do, Hwarang Do, Tae Kyon) so as not to associate themselves with organizations affiliated with their enemies.

Moo Duk Kwan Founded by Hwang Kee - 1945
Chung Do Kwan Founded by Won-Kook Lee - 1945
Yun Moo KwanFounded by Jun-Sang Sup - 1945
Chang moo KwanFounded by Pyung Yun - 1946
Chi Do Kwan Founded by Yon-Kue Pyang - 1946
Song Moo-KwanFounded by Chik-Ro Byung - Circa 1953
Ji Do KwanFounded by Gae-Byong Yun - Circa 1953
Oh Do KwanFounded by Nam-Tae Hi & Hong Hi Choi - Circa 1953
Kang Duk Kwan Moo Do AssociationFounded by Chul Hee Park - 1954

Four more Kwans or Schools were established in the Sixties, but by the mid Seventies the Korea Taekwondo Federation (a government sponsored body) abolished the names of the Kwans and replaced them with simple numbers so that the nameTaekwondo would become synonimous with quality Korean Martial arts. 

Taekwondo Child Blue Belt