Tae Kwon Do, loosely translated meaning “The Way of Kicking and Punching”, can trace its heritage back to the origin of all martial arts. Tae Kwon Do reaches back approximately 1500 years to the warrior class known as the Hwarang, which loosely translated means ‘The Way of Flowering Manhood’.
The Hwarang were young noblemen who studied indigenous kicking arts and weapon training as well as poetry, music and calligraphy. These young educated warriors were instrumental in the original unification of Korea.
In the early 1900’s, the Japanese occupied Korea and suppressed the practice of Martial Arts. The dedicated practitioners of martial arts left Korea to continue their practice elsewhere. Korea was again liberated after World War II and many of those practitioners came back to their homeland. In the early 1950’s, General Choi Hong Hi and several other renowned martial artists joined in an attempt to form a unified martial arts system for their country, which they named Tae Kwon Do. Later, Tae Kwon Do migrated to the United States via soldiers who had been stationed in Korea and Korean Masters, who immigrated to the US, and has become one of the most well known martial arts in the world today, as well as becoming an Olympic Event. The first Tae Kwon Do championships took place in Seoul Korea in 1973 and have been an Olympic event since 1988. The emphasis of the art is on kicking. Approximately 60 to 70 percent of the strikes are done with the foot. Most of the spectacular jumping and spinning kicks seen in today’s movies are Tae Kwon Do kicks, making it as much fun to watch as it is to learn.