Tae Kwon Do
Taekwondo is one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts, which teaches more than mere physical fighting skills.
It is a discipline which shows ways of enhancing our spirit and life through training our body and mind. It is also a modern 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 Taekwondo.
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," and Kwon means "fist," or "fight." Do means the "way" or "discipline." If we put these three parts together, we can see two important concepts behind Taekwondo.
First, Taekwondo is the right way of using Tae and Kwon 'fists and feet,' or all the parts of the body which are represented by fists and feet. Second, Taekwondo 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' (literally 'to step on fists'). Thus the comprehensive meaning of Taekwondo would be "the right way
of using all parts of the body to stop fights and help to build a better and more peaceful world."
With this peace-keeping spirit, Taekwondo has been developing with the 5000-year long history of Korea, being called by several different names in the course. In Korea, Taekwondo was begun as a defense martial art called "Subak" or "Takkyeon," 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, Taekwondo had become the backbone of Hwarangdo which 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.