History – TKD

Brief History Of Tae Kwon Do

Over two thousand years ago, in the city of Kyongju, Korea, two giants were carved on the tower wall of a Budhist temple. Kyoungju was the capital of the ancient kingdom of Silla at the time this giants were sculpted. The giants, facing each other, are assuming a fighting stance as if they were practicing a martial art. This giants undoubtedly represent the early developments of the modern art of fighting known today as Tae Kwon Do.

Records show that Tae Kwon Do was practiced as early as about 50 BC. During this time, Korea was divided into three Kingdoms: Silla, Koguryo and Baekche. Paintings on the ceiling of the Muyong-chong, a royal tomb from the Koguryo dynasty, have given evidence of the practice of Taek Kyon, the earliest known form of Tae Kwon Do. These, as well as other paintings show unarmed combat using techniques that very much resemble those of modern Tae Kwon Do, specially the use of the knife hand, fist and classical fighting stances.

Although Tae Kwon Do first appeared in the Koguryo kingdom, it is Silla’s warrior nobility, the Hwarang, who are credited with the growth and spread of the art throughout Korea. Out of the three kingdoms, Silla was the first to be formed, but it remained the smallest and less civilized. Because Silla’s coastline was always under attack by Japanese pirates, the 19th monarch in the Koguryo dynasty line, King Gwahggaeto, sent forces to help the neighboring kingdom with this problem. It was at this time that Taek Kyon was first introduced to Silla’s warriors class, taught directly and in secret to a few sillan warriors by early masters of the art.

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