Taekwondo has a deep and rich history formally dating back 4000 years with traces of its roots going back as far as 10,000 years. Historically this includes the migration of the Korean ancestors from Central Asia to the location of modern day Korea. This lengthy time line provides a wealth of opportunities to mold Taekwondo into what it has become today.
Early on, historians believe the movements for Taekwondo were a re-enactment of past battles. Through the retelling of the combats, the tribes would continually improve on the techniques, thereby developing a better, faster and more efficient form of fighting. Around 4000 years ago, the formal development of Taekwondo took place and was fostered in the young warriors, Hwa-Rang-Do who protected the king. This development not only involved the training of hand foot combat, but also encouraged mental development making them scholars.
Martial Arts as a whole is a popular form of mental and physical enrichment. In the early 1900s, during the Yi Dynasty, these Martial Arts were banished. As all things banished, it goes underground to be practiced in silence and secrecy. These secret activities were taught by five Kwans. Of these five, Chung Do Kwan, founded by Grand Master Lee Won-Kuk, was the largest and the only one recognized by the Korean army.
In the middle 1950s, the name Taekwondo was selected as the formal name for the National Martial Art of Korea. So even in as early as the 1950s, we still see Taekwondo’s recent modernizations. However, formulation of the techniques and the development of proficiency and focus on mind and body health dates back so much farther. This merging of ancient history and modern emphasis provides for a dynamic and deeply impacting art form to be enjoyed by millions for many years to come.