Here’s the paper I wrote on Taekwondo for my 4th Dan Kukkiwon Test back in October 2010. Enjoy the read.
Taekwondo: The history, the passion, and the way of life!
The Korean art of Taekwondo literally means “The way (path) of Kicking and Punching. TAE means to kick or strike with the foot. KWON means to strike with clenched fist. DO meaning the road, path, or way. The modern name of “Taekwondo” was first used on April 11, 1955.
Ancient Koreans developed their martial arts and unarmed combat styles to develop speed, strength, and survival skills in the three rival Korean kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje. The most popular being Subak techniques. Taekkyeon was the most popular techniques from Subak. Warriors who shown the talent and proper mental attitude were selected for a new special warriors corp. called Hwarang. These warriors were privileged with training in academics as well as martial arts. They learned philosophy, history, a code of ethics, and equestrian sports. Military training also included weapons training in swordsmanship and archery. Lessons in military tactics using Subak were taught as well.
Subak is primarily a kicking oriented art of Goguryeo where as hand techniques influenced by the warriors of Silla. Around this time a selected few of the warriors from Silla were taught Taekkyeon by the earlier masters from Koguryo. These warriors became known as the Hwarang. The Hwarang set up a military academy for the privileged and Royalty in Silla and called their system Hwarang-Do which means “The way of Flowering Manhood”. The Hwarang spread Taekkyeon throughout the Korean peninsula as they traveled to learn about other regions and the people that lived there.
Even though Korea’s rich history of Martial Arts practice was great, in the Joseon Dynasty the Koreans become more concerned with social ideals. Arts like Subak and Taekkyeon were reserved for military purposes only. However Taekkyeon practice among civilians persisted into the 21st century,
During the Japanese occupation of Korea, all forms of martial arts and Korean cultures were in threat to be eradicated from Korean Society. They were forced to take on all aspects of Japanese culture from names to worshipping Japanese shrines, to learning Japanese martial arts as Korean Martial Arts were banned at this time. During this time some Koreans were able to earn black belt in the Japanese systems. After the Japanese occupation of Korea ended in 1945 various Kwans opened up under various influences. By the Mid 1950’s there was nine main Kwans that have emerged and were ordered to unify as one system. The name “Taekwondo” was then used from April 11, 1955 to present times. In 1959/1961 the Korean Taekwondo Association was developed to facilitate the unification of the nine Kwans. Taekwondo then made its’ world debut with the assignment of the various masters across the world to various countries.
Since the development of Taekwondo various Taekwondo organizations have been formed such as the World Taekwondo Federation, International Taekwondo Federation, and various other smaller organization. The Kukkiwon was formed in 1972 to further unite the Taekwondo styles as well as train and certified instructors and Black Belts. As of 1980 the International Olympic Committee recognized Taekwondo sparring. In 2000 Taekwondo become an official Olympic game. The World Taekwondo Federation continues to this day to make changes to make Taekwondo competition more interesting, effective, and safer for its’ competitors. Making Taekwondo one of two Martial Arts, Judo being the other to be included in the Olympic Games.
Spite what organization one belongs to, one thing remains the same. Taekwondo techniques are pretty much all the same. The use of the legs to strike an opponent with the length, speed, power, and agility is hard to miss. Single blows know to break bones and knock opponents out. Korean Taekwondo kicking techniques remain the most powerful weapons we have on the human body.
Taekwondo or martial arts has always been something I wanted to do since I was a little boy at the tender age of 4 or 5 years old. I remember always being amazed with the skills of martial artists. I cannot tell you exactly what attracted me to the Martial Arts. I think it was the whole in general. My parents signed me up for Taekwondo lessons on February 11, 1998 at Cobourg Tae Kwon Do under my original instructor. On May 1, 2003 while still attend business school I bought and took over my dojang from my original instructor. Since that time I have trained with a few different masters of Taekwondo such as Master Veronica DeSantos, Master Chip Townsend, and Master David Wright. I have also competed in various Open Style Martial Arts tournaments throughout Canada and the United States to represent Taekwondo against other styles. Bringing me to this point of grading for my 4th Dan Black Belt with Master John Dube and with the Kukkiwon. But why do I do Taekwondo? It’s not for competition. It’s not for learning how to fight. I believe I do Taekwondo because it shows me a better path in life. It teaches me to be the best person I can be. It makes me a Champion of Life!
Taekwondo has given me so much in return for the many years of dedication I have given her. Taekwondo has given physical strength, speed, agility, and flexibility that I wouldn’t have otherwise. But these are not as important as the self confidence, self discipline, courage, determination, compassion, integrity, and perseverance I have developed through the training of the mind, body, and spirit of Taekwondo. Taekwondo and the running of my dojang I have benefited greatly. I have made many friends. Some of my students and instructors I consider them to be family as my dojang is family oriented. We look after each other. Taekwondo has also provided me with a means to support myself.
Running my dojang (Cobourg Tae Kwon Do) has allowed me to share the art of Taekwondo with my great students. I have seen children grow up to be great young adults. I have seen students improve the quality of their lives in many of ways, too many to count. I have encouraged students to always do their best in whatever they choose to do. I have inspired them to arise above all challenges regardless of how many obstacles are standing in their way. I have taught them to show respect and courtesy to others in hope that others who are not my students will follow in their examples. I have also been lucky enough to train some National and US OPEN champions. It is truly a privilege to train my students and have them as a part of my life. They make me who I am.
In closing, Taekwondo is a journey in life that never ends. It shows you a better way. A way of enriching your life and the lives around you.
Hope you enjoy reading my thesis.
Master Jonathan Field