The Origin of Taekwondo
The origin of Taekwondo traces back to the three kingdoms of Koguryo (37 BC-668 AD), Paekche (18 BC-600 AD), and Silla (57 BC-936 AD). Mural paintings on the royal tombs of the Koguryo dynasty, the stone sculptures of pagadas of temples of the Silla period, and documents written in the Paekche dynasty showed fighting stances, skills, and formalized movements similar to today's Taekwondo styles and forms.
All three kingdoms indulged in growing national strength with trained warriors. Therefore, the Korean history tells that there were military personalities among the well-known prominent national leaders of the three kingdoms, which proves the military tendency of ruling hierarchy.
Although Taekwondo first appeared in the Koguryo kingdom, it is the Silla's Hwarang warriors that are credited with the growth and spread of Taekwondo throughout Korea. Silla was the smallest of the three kingdoms and was always under attack by Japanese pirates. Silla got help from King Gwanggaeto and his soldiers from the Koguryo kingdom to drive out the pirates. During this time a few select Sillan warriors were given training in Taek Kyon by the early masters from Koguryo.
The Taek Kyon trained warriors became known as the Hwarang. The Hwarang set up a military academy for the sons of royalty in Silla called Hwarang-do, which means "the way of flowering manhood." The guiding principles of the Hwarang warriors were loyalty, filial duty, trustworthiness, valor, and justice. The makeup of the Hwarang-do education was based on the Five Codes of Human Conduct written by a Buddhist scholar, fundamental education, Taek Kyon and social skills. Taek Kyon was spread throughout Korea as the Hwarang traveled to the various regions of the penninsula.
The modern period of Taekwondo began with the liberation of Korea in 1945 after World War II. Korea wanted to eliminate Japanese Karate influences (in martial arts) and began to unite the various martial arts schools and styles into a single style and national sport. In 1955, the name Taekwondo was chosen to represent this unified style of Korean martial arts. There are a few different styles of Taekwondo each having unique characteristics. At David Vincent's Martial Arts & Fitness the Chang-Hon style of Taekwondo is taught. The Chang-Hon style was founded by Korean General Choi Hong Hi.
The present Kukkiwon was finished in 1972 and was used as the central gymnasium as well as the site of various Taekwondo competitions. In 1980 Taekwondo, above all other styles, was granted recognition by the International Olympic Committe (IOC). Then the adoption of Taekwondo as an official event was followed by the World Games in 1981, the Pan-American games in 1986, and finally by the 2000 Olympics held in Australia positioning TaeKwonDo and Judo as the only Martial Arts styles recognized by the Olympics.