WHAT IS TAEKWONDO?
The development of Taekwondo can be traced back about 2000 years ago to the country known today as Korea. Taekwondo means ‘Hand, Foot , way of Life’. Through rigorous training Taekwondo enables the practitioner to defend themselves and build self confidence. A self confident person is modest and generous. The development of physical and mental self confidence is beneficial not only to the individual, but to one’s family, community and country.
Taekwondo training consists of 'hosinsul' (self defense), ‘poomsae’ (forms), ‘kyorugi’ (sparring) and ‘kyupka’ (breaking). Hosinsul is practical self defense including but not limited to: blocks, strikes, kicks, chokes, take downs, throws, and joint manipulation. A ‘poomsae’ is a series of movements in which a practitioner perfects their technique against an imaginary opponent. Kyorugi is sparring, a competition between two practitioners using the techniques derived from poomsae or ‘forms’ of movement. Kyupka is a device by which a practitioner can gauge the precision and power of ones technique by breaking a solid object such as a board or a brick.
Taekwondo is a modern, international, amateur sport, which remains steeped in its Korean Traditions. All modern world championships are supported and conducted in over 80-120 countries under the auspices of the World Taekwondo Federation (WT), which has it’s headquarters at the Kukkiwon in Seoul, Korea.
Taekwondo was approved as a demonstration sport by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) in June, 1985, it was included in the 24th Olympiad held in Seoul, Korea in 1988 and also in the 25th Olympiad held in Barcelona, Spain in August 1992. Taekwondo was accepted as an official Olympic event in September 1994 for all future Olympic Games.
Today more than 120 countries (consisting of about 30,000,000 practitioners) are practicing Taekwondo.
THE IDEOLOGY OF TAEKWONDO
The ideology of taekwondo is to develop the full potential of an individual, respecting true righteousness, upholding the rights of individuals with a sense of responsibility, building self confidence with health in both body and mind.
A human being has a body, a mind and a spirit. The philosophy of taekwondo holds that all three must be alert and healthy so that the well-being of each is dependent upon the rest. This is why taekwondo aims at developing the whole person so they may have harmony and balance within themselves.
Once a state of physical and mental fitness is achieved, the focus shifts to developing speed, control and endurance. It is necessary to practice the techniques of taekwondo until they become automatic, at this point body and mind are unified into a whole and a self confident person.
Taekwondo training consists of hardening the body through the practice of the various attack and defense forms. This system was originally formed for unarmed combat, involves the skillful application of punching, jumping, kicking, blocking and parrying actions directed toward the goal of neutralizing an aggressor. It’s techniques are essentially linear motions, but also include the use of defensive circular hand movements and techniques. An essential characteristic used in taekwondo training is the mastery of breathing and development of Jip-Jung (power gathering) or focusing body and mind to unify one’s force.
In addition to the beneficial effect of a strong mind and body, the code of the Ko Ku Ryo warriors is an excellent tool for building spiritual strength. Although the five precepts that form the base of this code were written almost two thousand years ago, their value is ageless and can easily be adapted to today's world. They are: 1) Loyalty to country; 2) Respect for parents; 3) Honoring friendships; 4) Courage to overcome ones barriers or obstacles; and 5) Avoidance of unnecessary violence or harm. Following this code allows one to rise above ones own frustrations. It provides a set of guidelines to enable one to act correctly in almost any situation, thus eliminating indecision or uncertainty building confidence and self respect. It is important to remember that the development of the body, mind and spirit occurs simultaneously, each contributing to the development of the other in an ever-upward cycle. Ultimately, the final goal of taekwondo training is to allow one to accept and overcome the challenges within ones self, for the greatest challenge is within ones self.
The snake drinks water and produces poison, the cow drinks water and produces milk, though the water is the same, the animals are different as is ones attitude. Attitudes can always change, but it is up to the person to change it. Therefore a positive attitude makes all the difference.