What is Tae Kwon Do?

Although you may be entertained by the smashing of boards and the spectacular jumping and spinning kicks which characterise Tae Kwon Do, the goal of Tae Kwon Do is actually to improve and enhance the people who practice it.

Tae Kwon Do brings physical well-being, as it is one of the most aerobic styles of martial arts and has an emphasis on flexibility. The aim of Tae Kwon Do is to gain fluidity in motion; grace and precision in movement. Power derives from physical harmony, timing and placement.

Practice brings self-strength, self-knowledge, self-confidence, and self-control.

Tae Kwon Do History:

There was an ancient Korean martial art called taekkyeon, which was banned under the Japanese occupation of Korea 1910-1945. Japanese karate called kongsudo or tangsudo was introduced to Korea just after liberation from Japan by Koreans who had learned in Japan. After these first schools became established, Korean nationalism led to the development of a new art that was clearly Korean. It was influenced by memories of past Korean martial arts, Japanese karate and by a desire to create an art that could be practiced as a competitive sport.

By the end of the Korean War, nine schools of martial arts had emerged, and South Korean President Syngman Rhee ordered that the various schools unify under a single system. The Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) was formed in 1959 to facilitate the unification, and shortly thereafter, Tae Kwon Do made its debut worldwide. Tae Kwon Do was adopted by the Korean military - hence its focus on fitness and flexibility. General Choi Hong Hi (who had a black belt in Shotokan karate) was the author of the first English Tae Kwon Do syllabus book published in 1965. General Choi is regarded by ITF Tae Kwon Do practitioners as the founder of Tae Kwon Do. In 1972, the Korea Taekwondo Association Central Dojang was opened.

As with all martial arts Tae Kwon Do has numerous splinter organisations. The largest groupings are the three International Taekwondo Federations "ITF" (based in Canada and two in Austria), the World Taekwondo Federation "WTF" and the Korean Taekwondo Association "KTA".

The first World Tae Kwon Do Championships was held in 1973. In 1980 The WTF was granted recognition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the 83rd General Session in Moscow. Tae Kwon Do was a demonstration sport in the Olympic Games of 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992 and 1996 - finally being granted full Olympic sport status for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Great Britain has not yet won a medal at Olympic level, but both the men's and women's teams are highly regarded.

Tae Kwon Do is one of the most popular martial arts in the world. Although competition has always been a significant feature of Tae Kwon Do, many practitioners study Tae Kwon Do for personal development, to learn self-defence, or for a combination of reasons. Our club ethos is to regard Tae Kwon Do as a pathway for personal development rather than a sport.

Tenets of Tae Kwon Do:

The Tenets of Tae Kwon Do are at the foundation of the Art, which is concerned with the positive development of the total individual. The intention is to develop a person who is both a positive influence on those around them and the community.

The Tae Kwon Do Student Oath:

Although somewhat cheesy in the cynical world of today, the oath is intended to remind students of their responsibilities as they learn a fighting art.

Tae Kwon Do Etiquette:

Traditional Tae Kwon Do Dojangs (training halls) have a strictly hierarchical and complex etiquette designed in a military fashion to inculcate obedience, respect and courtesy. These are our simplified rules of etiquette reflecting our small class sizes and our ethos of friendly, co-operative learning.