English Taekwondo Association
Kick Dorset
What is Taekwondo?
Literally Tae Kwon Do means the art of the foot and the fist. However it is much more than this. Taekwondo is a way of living. Its philosophy is summed up by its five tenets or beliefs.

Where does Taekwondo come from?

As with all ancient arts it is shrouded in mystery and evolution. This Korean martial art has probably been around for 2,000 years but it is only recently that it has become what we know today.
Consequently, the practice of WTF Taekwondo is more evolved and probably better suited to life in the 21st century than any other martial art.
Taekwondo is practiced all over the world and has maybe 60 million practitioners.

Taekwondo is now an Olympic sport. It can be used to get and keep fit. It can be learned to build self confidence.

We are the only club in the area recognised in Korea, the WTF and by the Olympics.
Our club can trace its lineage back to the founder of the first modern school of Taekwondo, Chung Do Kwan.

The Taekwondo Journey

Learning the art of Taekwondo is more than progressing through your belts from the innocent white belt through to the prestigious black belt.
It is about putting the tenets of Taekwondo into everything you do.  See the Philosophy of Taekwondo.
The rewards are an unassuming confidence, fitness and being at ease with yourself.

To understand Taekwondo it helps to understand a little Korean History
Taekwondo Tenets
Tae Kwon-Do is more than a mere physical use of skilled movements. It implies a complete way of thinking and living. It is based on five principals or tenets. These are:

1. Courtesy (Ye Ui) Polite Behaviour: To be polite to your instructor, seniors and fellow students

2. Integrity (Yom Chi) Honesty: To be honest with yourself

3. Perseverance (In Nae) To continue trying: You must not stop trying, you must persevere

4. Self Control (Guk Gi) To restrain oneself: To not lose your temper

5. Indomitable Spirit (Baekjul Boolgool) To show courage when you are pitted against overwhelming odds
What is the philosophy of Taekwondo
The philosophy of Taekwondo is very special, but what makes it so special?
If we learn philosophy from books, we tend to forget it as soon as we leave them, because it is not related to our actual lives.

But since Taekwondo is connected with our lives like every movement of ours is, we can never forget its philosophy.  That is, the philosophy is one of actions that can be learned from other actions, and our everyday activities.

Taekwondo philosophy represents the principles of the changes and movements in human beings. It also represents the principles of our lives, since life consists of our movements. Therefore, we can say Taekwondo is a philosophy in itself.  We can understand the philosophy of Taekwondo by doing Taekwondo, and this understanding should lead to better understanding and enhancement of our life.

The principles of Taekwondo can be explained in several ways but here we will explain it simply with the principle of "Sam Jae" [Three Elements] and that of "Eum" [the Negative or Darkness] and "Yang" [the Positive or the Brightness]. "Sam Jae" refers to "Cheon" [the Heaven], "Ji" [the Earth], and "In" [the Man] and the principles concerning them.

In oriental countries, it has been recognized as the central principle that explains the changes of everything in the world. "Sam Jae" and the changes of "Eum" and "Yang" constitute the "Eight Trigrams for Divination" in the "Book of Changes."  The principle of Sam Jae has been emphasized in oriental countries, especially in Korea.

If you understand Taekwondo's principle, you could understand all the skills and spiritual depth of Taekwondo. The principle of Eum and Yang has also been emphasized in oriental countries as the central principle of life. It maintains that everything has an opposite side. This principle explains various forms of changes, but it comes from "Taegeuk" [the Great Absolute], which represents the ultimate claim that Eum and Yang was the one and the same thing.

If we understand Taekwondo according to this principle, we will find a solution, and by continuously changing skills, we will never get stuck, in any situation. After we understand these philosophical principles of Taekwondo, we can find proper ways to understand and develop our lives.

Taekwondo contains thoughts that Han [Korean] people had developed through history. Its philosophy is easily explained with Hongik-Ingan, Jaese-Ihwa, or Hwarangdo spirit. Hongik-Ingan and Jaese-Ihwa were not only ideologies of Tangun Chosun's foundation, but also a fundamental thought of Han people. With time, these ideas developed into the Hwarangdo spirit and the Taekwondo philosophy today.

Now, let's look at the principles contents of the philosophy.Hongik-Ingan" means universal welfare of mankind. It was the idea of the national foundation by Tangun, and the Taekwondo spirit too has inherited the idea of Hongik-Ingan. It is easily confirmed from the fact that the word of Taekwondo, itself means to suppress fighting and induce peace. On one hand, Jaese-Ihwa means that the world is educated in accordance with the reason of heaven.

Taekwondo is a principle, not a simple connection with movements.

It is the Korean traditional martial art characterised by the trinity of body, mind and life. Thus, the principle is the reason of all creation, and so it refers to the reason of heaven in Jaese-Ihwa. Therefore, human beings can be educated in accordance with the reason of heaven through correct training of Taekwondo.

That's the very meaning of Jaese-Ihwa. Hongik-Ingan and Jaese-Ihwa appear clearly in the myth of the Korean foundation. According to it, "In the early age, Hwan-Wung, the son of Heaven established a nation called Baedal [earliest name of Korea]. He then announced the purpose of the national foundation as Jaese-Ihwa [educate with the reason of heaven] and Hongik-Ingan [universal welfare of mankind].
Korea is the geographical, philosophical and cultural home of Taekwondo.
Korea is arguably the oldest kingdom in existence today. It certainly dates back to 400BC but there is substantial evidence dating it back to 3000BC!
It is located on its own peninsula between China on the landward side and Japan (across the Korea Strait).
It is similar in size to mainland UK. It is almost 700 miles from north to south and has a population approaching 80 million (slightly more than the UK).
Korea has a rich culture in terms of literature, art, music and cuisine. There is also a wide diversity in terms of religion. The main ones are Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism and Christianity.
It has a fantastic breadth of indigenous wildlife and is home to some remarkable animals such as the Siberian Tiger in the north, the Korean Moon Bear to name just two.
It is generally safe to visit Korea (although there are some restrictions on free travel in the North).
History of Taekwondo
The earliest records of Martial Arts practice in Korea dates back to about 50 B.C. These earliest forms of Korean martial arts are known as 'Taek Kyon'.

Evidence that Martial Arts were being practiced at that time can be found in tombs where wall-paintings show two men in fighting-stance. Some, however, reject this evidence and say that these men could be simply dancing.

Back then, there were three kingdoms in what is known today as Korea:

1. Koguryo (37 B.C. - 668 A.D.)

2. Paekje (18 B.C. - 660 A.D.)

3. Silla (57 B.C. - 935 A.D.)

Silla unified the kingdoms after winning the war against Paekje in 660 A.D. and Koguryo in 668 A.D. The Hwa Rang Do played an important role at this unification.

The Hwa Rang Do was an elite group of young noble men, called Sulsa, devoted to cultivating mind and body and serve the Silla kingdom.

Some reject this evidence and say that these men could be simply dancing.

Read about the Sulsa Warriors
Taekwondo Chronology
1944 - The first modern Korean Martial School, Chung Do Kwan was founded by Lee Won Kuk
1955 - The Kwans (schools) united as Tae Soo Do.
1957 - The name Taekwondo was adopted by several Korean martial arts masters, for its similarity to the name Tae Kyon.
1961 - Korean Taekwondo Union (KTU) arose from the Soo Bakh Do Association and the Tae Soo Do Association.
1962 - The Korean Amateur Sports Association acknowledged the KTU
1965 - KTU name was changed to Korean Taekwondo Association (K.T.A.).
1966 - International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) founded in Canada by General Choi
1972 - Kukkiwon Taekwondo training centre established
1973 - World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) founded
2000 - First medal Olympic competition for WTF Taekwondo

The post WWII Kwans
After World War II, when Korea became independent, several kwans arose. These kwans were:
Chung Do Kwan
Moo Duk Kwan
Yun Moo Kwan
Chang Moo Kwan
Oh Do Kwan
Ji Do Kwan
Chi Do Kwan
Song Moo Kwan

A kwan can be regarded as a school with its own grand master and methods.
Sulsa Warriors
The best translation for Hwa Rang would probably be "flowering youth" (Hwa ="flower", Rang="young man").

The HwaRang Do had an honour-code and practiced various forms of martial arts, including Taekyon and Soo Bakh Do.

The old honour-code of the Hwa Rang is the philosophical background or tenets of modern WTF Taekwondo.

What followed was a time of peace and the Hwa Rang turned from a military organization to a group specialized in poetry and music. It was in 936 A.D. when Wang Kon founded the Koryo dynasty, an abbreviation of Koguryo. The name Korea is derived from Koryo.

Silla Warriors

The Hwa Rang Do were an elite group of young noble men, called Sulsa, devoted to cultivating mind and body and serve the Silla kingdom.
The Koryo Dynasty
During the Koryo Dynasty Soo Bakh Do, which was then used as a military training method, became popular.
Yi Dynasty

Later came the Joseon-dynasty (or the Yi-dynasty. 1392 A.D. - 1910 A.D.). The emphasis on military training disappeared. King Taejo, founder of the Joseon-dynasty, replaced Buddhism by Confucianism as the state religion. According to Confucianism, the higher class should study the poets, read poems and and play music.
Japanese Occupation of Korea

Modern-day Taekwondo is influenced by many other Martial Arts. The most important of these arts is Japanese Karate. This is because Japan dominated Korea from 1910 until the end of World War II. During WWII, lots of Korean soldiers were trained in Japan.

Sadly, the Japanese tried to erase all traces of the Korean culture, including their martial arts, during their occupation. Therefore Japanes martial arts have strong influences on modern Korean Taekwondo.

The Yi Dynasty adopted Confucianism and was a time for poetryand art. Martial arts was something for the common, or even inferior, man.
Chung Do Kwan
Chung Do Kwan: The first Taekwondo school

In January 1944, after two failed attempts, Grandmaster Lee Won Kuk got permission to start the first official martial arts school in Korea since the Japanese occupied them in 1910.

This school was the Chung Do Kwan or school of the Blue Wave.  It is said that originally Chung Do Kwan practiced a Martial Art that was a mixture of Taek Kyon and Shotokan Karate,
GM Won Kuk Lee's own interpretation.

Shortly afterwards several other schools came into being and by 1955 there were 8 or 9 major schools in Korea.

The debate on the recent history is endless. It is clear, however, that after considerable discussions the name Taekwondo was officially founded in 1957. Moreover that Chung Do Kwan and its students have led the way to promote and develop Taekwondo.

Japan's Influence: - The influence that Japan has given to Taekwondo are the quick, linear movements, that characterize the various Japanese systems, in particular Shotakan Karate.

The roots of our club is Chung Do Kwan.

more history. Grandmaster Lee Won Kuk
Grand Master Lee Won Kuk
(04/13/1907 - 02/02/2003)
Grandmaster Lee Won Kuk is the founder of the original post war Korean Martial Arts school Chung Do Kwan (청도관). This school had a huge influence over Korea and in 1955 played a key role in defining what we now know as Taekwondo.

Moreover, all of the senior figures in Taekwondo, including those of General Choi were students of or can trace their training back to Lee Won Kuk.

Lee Won Kuk should be respected as the key founder of modern day Taekwondo.

GM Kuk left Korea when he was 19 and spent time in Japan where he studied Shotokan Karate under its founder, Funakoshi Sensei. He also spent time travelling in China where he was exposed to a number of other Martial Arts.

Lee Won Kuk was a primary influence on what is Taekwondo today.

Kuk was humble, thoughtful and promoted the art and his students before himself.

Some Philosophies from Grandmaster Kuk

Grandmaster Kuk 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.

GM Lee compared this idea to an old saying:

"The colour green comes from blue, but the green is brighter than blue."

"Ice comes from water, but ice is colder than water."

"In other words, the student is always better than his teacher."

Grandmaster Kuk believed that the martial arts will have a bright future if students live by these ideas.

"When a student does become better than his teacher, he must always remain humble and never forget to appreciate the techniques and moral code that he learned from his teacher."

"Once a student becomes a master, he should not forget that his position was a joint effort of both his and his teacher's sweat."