What is Taekwondo
The Tae Kwon Do | What is Taekwondo | Taekwondo History | Taekwondo Description | Introduction to Taekwondo | Origins and Evolution | Philosophy of Taekwondo | Taekwondo Ethics | Taekwondo Organizations | Taekwondo Patterns | Taekwondo Vital Points | Competition and Ranks | Five Tenets | The Taeguk | The Theory of Power | Founder of Taekwondo | The Life of Choi Hong Hi
Taekwondo (also, Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-Do, or Tae Kwon-Do) is a martial art and combat sport originating in Korea. Taekwondo is the national sport of South Korea and sparring, kyeorugi, is an Olympic sporting event.
In Korean, derived from hanja, tae (è·†) means to destroy with the feet; kwon (æ‹³) means to strike or smash with the hand; and do (é“) means “path”, “way” or “method”. Hence, taekwondo is loosely translated as “the way of the feet and fist”.
Taekwondo’s popularity has resulted in the divergent evolution of the martial art. As with many other martial arts, taekwondo is a combination of combat technique, self-defense, sport, exercise, entertainment, and philosophy.
Taekwondo is a modern martial art, characterized by it’s fast, high and spinning kicks. There are multiple interpretations of the name taekwondo. Taekwondo is often translated as ‘the way of hand and foot’. My definition of the name Taekwondo is
Although there are great doctrinal and technical differences among public and private taekwondo organizations. The art in general emphasizes kicks thrown from a mobile stance, using the leg’s greater reach and power to disable the opponent from a distance.
In sparring, turning, front, reverse turning and side kicks are often used, as well as the backfist and reverse punch; advanced kicks include jump, spin, sliding, and skip kicks, often in combination.
Taekwondo training often includes a system of blocks, punches, open-handed strikes and may include various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and joint locks, though it generally does not emphasize grappling.
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 Kwon Do”.
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 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 country.
Taekwondo today is similar to the martial arts in other Oriental 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 oriental 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.
How come we reach such a unity in Taekwondo? Taekwondo is a way of life, much like having a job, raising a family, fighting for a cause, or any one of numerous raison d’etre. What makes Taekwondo different from these is that it is an activity for survival in extremely antagonistic situations. One must always overcome the enemy that is trying to cause harm.
But simply winning a fight is not enough to guarantee one’s safety, because the enemy may recuperate and attack again. Moreover, there may be many other enemies than the one that was just defeated. One cannot ever feel safe unless one gains permanent peace. To attain this permanent or lasting peace, one needs unity. This is what Taekwondo aim for. Otherwise Taekwondo would be no different from any other street-fighting skills.
Taekwondo pursues 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. ~ The World Taekwondo FederationYou might also like: