History of Ho-Am Taekwondo
By: Asrif Mohamed -
(Junior Black Belt from Johnson's TaeKwonDo in Cary, NC)
The history of taekwondo began roughly 10,000 years ago when the ancestors of the Korean people migrated from Central Asia to the peninsula that is now called Korea. They relied mainly on hunting to survive, climbed rugged mountains, crossing strong rivers, and traveling along the seashore in their search of food. These rigors developed strong bodies, superior fighting skills, and a sense of teamwork.
Historians theorize that , upon their return, the hunters would reenact their motions of kicking, punching, throwing, also reenacting fighting scenes with neighboring tribes with whom they had fought during the hunt. A natural form of outgrowth of reenactments was practicing movements in order to refine and perfect their skill. Through time, these techniques formalized into martial arts. Formal martial arts training began approximately 4,000 years ago, consisting of running (daligi), throwing (dunjiki), sand spreading (moraisul), wooden pole (mok bong sul), punching or striking (jileuki), kicking (balachaki), and swimming (soo young). Weapons were also employed and included the stone knife (dolkal), stone spear (dolchang), and stones for throwing (doldunjiki). Eventually, horseback riding and archery were incorporated.
In the 6th century A.D, the Silla dynasty ruled the smallest of the three kingdoms of Korea and was in constant attack from its neighbors. During the rein of the 24th Silla, the young aristocrats and warriors formed an elite corpse called Hwa-Rang-Do. To guide themselves and give them a purpose to their knighthood, they adopted a five point code of conduct set forth by their greatest monk and scholar, Wan Kay. These students required learn and live by the following Hwa-Rang-Do virtues: humanity, courtesy, honor, knowledge, and conscience. The Hwa-Rang-Do warriors became known for their courage and skill in battle gaining respect from even their bitterest foes. From their victory, the Korean penninsuilla was united.
The ITA continues to preserve the historic traditions of taekwondo first conceieved 4,000 years ago by early artists, and recentley revised by General Choi. The ITA acknowledges Grand Master Lee Wong-kuk, the founder of Chung Do Kwan, as the beginning influence from which we came. Grand Master Lee was the teacher of many students who eventually assumed major positions within the martial arts community. Grand Master Lee said that students must never forget to appreciate their teachers. At the same time students should always strive to have better techniques and higher moral characters than their teachers. Grand master Lee compared this idea to an old saying. “The color green comes from the color blue but the green color is brighter than the blue. This ice is made from water but the ice is colder than the water”. In other words, the student is always better than the teacher. He believed that the martial arts will have a bright future if students live by these ideas. When a student does become a teacher, he must always remain humble and appreciate his teacher.
Once a student becomes a master, he should not forget his teacher's sweat. Without the teacher, he could have never reached the level of a master, just as there would be no ice without water or no color green without the blue. The ITA pledges itself to contributing to the art of taekwondo, providing leadership and instruction in an ancient discipline that represents an alternative allowing practitioners to avoid stresses and pitfalls of life in this modern age. This can be accomplished by teaching practitioners to strengthen their minds and bodies through regular taekwondo training and to impact society honorably. This mission will be undertaken within the guidelines of our tenets: honor, courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, courage, community, strength, humility, and knowledge.