History of TAEKWONDO
During the 6th Century A.D., the Korean peninsula was divided into three kingdoms, Silla, Paekche, and Koguryo. Silla, the smallest was in constant exposure and danger of being over run by her more powerful neighbors. In response to this pressure, Silla assembled an elite fighting corps of young members of the higher class, which they called the “Hwarang Do” or “Flower Youth Corps”.
The fighting form of the Hwarang Do was known as Tae Kwon. At Kyungju, the ancient capital of Silla, two Buddhist images are inscribed on the Kuemkang Giant Tower portraying two giants facing each other in a Taekwondo stance. About 935 A.D., the art evolved into Soo Bok Do. It was the first art which combined the mind and the body into one art. In the Yi Dynasty about 1392 A.D., Soo Bok Do became a requirement to enter the military schools.
That art evolved into Taekwondo, as we know it today. Taekwondo was first introduced into the United States in the 1950’s. In 1973, the first World Taekwondo Championships were held in Seoul, Korea. This led to the formation of the World Taekwondo Federation. In 1974, Taekwondo was admitted into the AAU. In 1980, Taekwondo was formally recognized by the International Olympic Committee as a Class A sport, leading the way for Taekwondo to be admitted into the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul, Korea, as a demonstration sport. In 1984, the AAU, in response to its growth, was renamed the United States Taekwondo Union, and its office established at the U.S. Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs. In the year 2000 Taekwondo became full medal sport, held in Sydney, Australia.
The Style of TAEKWONDO
There are nine styles of Taekwondo. A few examples are: Ji Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Sung Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan, Han Moo Kwan, and Chung Do Kwan.
The style we practice is Ji Do Kwan. Ji means knowledge and intelligence; Do, the right way of life to cultivate one’s mind; Kwan, the spirit of one’s mind.
The Ji Do Kwan style embodies the indomitable spirit. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked down, you keep getting back up.
A high percentage of all national champions on the U.S. Olympic Team practice Ji Do Kwan style of Taekwondo. It is favored for its fluidity and speed.
In essence, Taekwondo is discipline and self-control, the control of the mind, body and spirit. For Taekwondo to be effective, there must be concentration of these 3 equally important forces at the point of contact.
One must develop the following fundamentals: focus, power, speed, accuracy, balance, relaxation and coordination. It takes long, hard conditioning and practice to develop these physical abilities.
The key to this is concentration. All of your senses must be focused on what you are doing. No thoughts should stray to work, romance, onlookers, etc. The mind must channel all energy into the physical activity of the moment. There is not even time to think about what should be done; action must flow freely, and reactions must become reflexes. Also, the mind must be completely empty and free of distracting thoughts.
This aspect is difficult to explain. To put it into words, one could say that the Taekwondo artist realizes the ability to seriously hurt another person, but has developed an inner responsibility to control their ability to do harm. They are not bullies. We can walk away from a fight because of self-control.