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Kickin' It Through the Ages: The Evolution of Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art renowned for its powerful kicks, dynamic strikes, and disciplined training. With a rich history spanning centuries, Taekwondo has evolved from ancient combat techniques to a globally recognised martial art and Olympic sport. Let's explore the fascinating journey of Taekwondo through time.

Origins in Ancient Korea

The roots of Taekwondo can be traced back to ancient Korea, where various martial arts styles were practiced. Influenced by indigenous Korean combat techniques and neighbouring Asian martial arts, early forms of Taekwondo began to take shape.

Development during the Three Kingdoms Period

During the Three Kingdoms period (Goguryeo,

Baekje, and Silla), martial arts training gained prominence. Silla's Hwarang warriors played a significant role in refining combat skills and developing a code of honor that emphasized moral values along with martial prowess.

Integration into the Joseon Dynasty

The Joseon Dynasty further influenced the development of martial arts in Korea. Military training incorporated a practice known as Subak, which involved strikes, kicks, and grappling techniques. This period solidified the foundation of what would eventually become Taekwondo.

Modernization and Standardization

One significant milestone in the formation of taekwondo organizations was the establishment of the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) in 1959. The KTA was founded by a group of prominent martial artists, instructors, and leaders who aimed to bring cohesion to the practice and instruction of taekwondo. General Choi Hong Hi, often regarded as the father of modern taekwondo, played a pivotal role in the early development of the KTA. He also played a crucial role in promoting and codifying the art. He founded the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) and developed the patterns (forms) that are an integral part of Taekwondo training. Over time, different schools and organizations emerged, each with their own interpretations and practices of Taekwondo. ITF and the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) were established as the main branches of Taekwondo globally.

Division and Global Recognition

Following General Choi's departure from the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) was finally established as the governing body for Taekwondo. It focused on promoting Taekwondo as a sport, leading to its inclusion in the Olympic Games in 2000. The WTF later changed its name to World Taekwondo (WT) to better reflect its global reach.

Taekwondo Today

Today, Taekwondo is practiced worldwide by millions of individuals of all ages. It embodies the values of discipline, respect, and self-control, while providing a complete physical workout.

Taekwondo training consists of forms (poomsae), sparring (kyorugi), self-defense techniques, and breaking (kyukpa), all of which contribute to its holistic approach to martial arts.


Taekwondo has come a long way from its ancient origins in Korea. Through centuries of development, standardization, and global recognition, it has emerged as a widely practiced martial art and a testament to the rich cultural heritage of Korea. Whether pursued for self-defense, physical fitness, or competitive aspirations, Taekwondo continues to inspire and empower individuals around the world.

What values or principles of Taekwondo would you use in your daily lifestyle?

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