is a Korean martial art renowned for its use of various kicking techniques,
including spinning kicks. There are two forms of taekwondo competitions in the
Olympics: kyorugi (sparring) and poomsae (pattern of defence-and-attack
motions). In sparring, practitioners wear protective gear on the head and torso
and strike each other’s trunk and head with their feet and hands. They are not
allowed to use any part above the ankle bone for kicks. Punching techniques
must come out below the shoulder line and above the waist. Contestants are
divided into different groups depending on their weight and gender.
are many historical accounts about taekwondo. The official, popular narrative
established by taekwondo communities like World Taekwondo and the Korea
Taekwondo Association claim that the art originated in ancient times and
developed through the Three Kingdoms era of Korea between ad 209 and 407. Historical records
have been found in the old tombs and murals dating from the era. Burdick (2001:
292) argues that most of the historical claims based on murals and tombs are
exaggerated, noting that the depictions in the murals “seem to be wrestling
rather than striking”.
modern academic findings (Capener 1995; Madis 2003; Moenig & Kim 2016) suggest
that taekwondo has its roots in Japanese karate, influenced by the Japanese
colonial rule from 1910 to 1945. During the occupation, many elements of
Japanese culture and martial arts such as judo, kendo and karate were
introduced in Japanese-controlled schools, and often by Korean students who
studied in Japan and Koreans who worked with the Japanese army and police
the aftermath of the Korean War (1950–1953), the country “became more
nationalistic and there was increasing pressure to develop a Korean form of
karate, rather than continue to practise in the Japanese way” (Burdick 2001:
298). General Choi Hong-hi named a Korean form of karate “taekwondo” and led
the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), established in 1959. He founded the
International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) in 1966 to spread taekwondo all over
the world. Due to political conflicts with President Park Chung-hee, General
Choi moved to Canada with the ITF. KTA members, against his feelings, stayed in
Korea and founded the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in 1973. WTF changed its
name to World Taekwondo in 2017.
its foundation in 1955, taekwondo has gained much support and popularity as a
national martial art. It became an official part of primary- and middle-school
curricula in the 1970s. The first World Taekwondo Championships were held in
1973, and WTF was recognised by the IOC in 1980. Taekwondo was designated as a
demonstration sport for the first time at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1992
Barcelona Olympics, before becoming an official Olympic sport at the 2000
Sydney Games. It
is speculated that there are now more than eighty million taekwondo
practitioners around the world (KISS 2018).
||- Korea Taekwondo Association|
- World Taekwondo
- International Taekwondo Federation
||-Burdick, D. (2001). “Korea” in Green, T. (ed.) Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia Volume 1 CA: Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO. |
-Capener, S. D. (1995). “Problems in the Identity and Philosophy of t’aegwondo and their Historical Causes”. Korea Journal 35(4): 80-94.
-KISS. (2018). 태권도 활성화 및 세계화 전략 연구(Research on Strategies for Promoting and Internationalising Taekwondo.
-Madis, E. (2003). “The Evolution of Taekwondo from Japanese Karate”. In Green, T. and Svinth, J. (eds.) Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.
-Moenig, U. & Kim, M. (2016). “The Invention of Taekwondo Tradition, 1945-1972: When Mythology Becomes ‘History’”. Acta Koreana 19(2): 131-164.
-Korean Taekwondo Association. (2020).
-World Taekwondo. (2020).