The History of Taekwondo


What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a Korean Martial Art and the national sport of South Korea. Tae means “to strike or break with foot”, Kwon means “to strike or break with hand” and Do means “way” or “method”. Thus, Taekwondo may be translated as “the way of the hand and the foot.

Taekwondo combines contact techniques, self-defense, sport and exercise together to create a fantastic overall workout. Taekwondo is great for those who want to get in shape, learn self-defense techniques, or for the serious athlete that wants to improve their reflexes for other sports, or to compete in the actual Olympic sport of Taekwondo.

There are two main branches of Taekwondo development:

1)“Traditional Taekwondo” typically refers to the Martial Art as it was established in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the South Korean Military, and in various civilian organizations, including schools and universities. In particular, the names and symbolisms of the traditional patterns often refers to elements of Korean history, culture, and philosophy. 

Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches and open-handed strikes, and may also include various take-downs or sweeps, throws and joint locks. Some instructors also incorporate the use of pressure points, as well as grabbling self-defense techniques borrowed from other Martial Arts, such as Judo and Jiu Jitsu. Today, the sport has blossomed and is now an Olympic event.

2)“Sport Taekwondo” has developed in the decades since the 1950’s and may have a somewhat different focus, especially in terms of the emphasis on speed and competition (as in Olympic sparring). Olympic Sparring comes from the Kukkiwon who oversees Taekwondo world wide, and sets the requirements for Taekwondo competition. Sport/Olympic Taekwondo is very fast, and has a formal circuit of competition.

Our Moo Duk Kwan History

Moo Duk Kwan, translated literally means “the institute of Martial Virtue”. It was founded in Seoul, Korea by Hwang Kee on November 6,1945 following World War II(Korea was liberated from Japan on August 15,1945). In the same year, Hwang Kee became the first President of the Moo Duk Kwan.

Moo Duk Kwan was able to develop and expand its branch schools and members through Hwang Kee’s endless efforts and contributions. Hwang Kee formed the Korea Tang Soo Do Association in September,1958 and Moo Duk Kwan became a member of Korea Tang Soo Do Association.

In December, 1958 the Korea Tang Soo Do association unsuccessfully tried to join the Korean Athletic Association.

In June, 1960 the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association, named after the traditional Korean martial art, was formed by Hwang to replace the Korean Tang Soo Do Association.

The Tang Soo Do Association was liquidated and Moo Duk Kwan subsequently became a member of the Soo Bahk Do Association.

In March,1965 the Soo Bahk Do Association attempted to reunite with the Korea Taekwondo Association but the effort was again unsuccessful.

After the failure, a majority of the Moo Duk Kwan members left the Soo Bahk Do Association and joined the Korea Taekwondo Association.

In April,1965 Moo Duk Kwan officially became a member of the Korea Taekwondo Association. On November 20, 1965 Master Kang Ik Lee was elected by the Board of Directors of the Moo Duk Kwan as the president of Moo Duk Kwan, Korea Taekwondo Association. Unfortunately, Moo Duk Kwan was now divided into the Taekwondo Association and the Soo Bahk Do Association.

On July 27,1971 the Board of Directors of the Moo Duk Kwan elected Master Chong Soo Hong as the 3rd President of the Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo Association. Several attempts were made by Master Chong Soo Hong to unify the two divided Moo Duk Kwans but his efforts have not yet been successful.

In February 1974 however, as a result of Master Hong’s contributions to Taekwondo, he was appointed Vice President of the Taekwondo Central Gymnasium (Ku Ki Won) in Seoul Korea.