Tae kwon do

Tae kwon do (The Way of the Fist and Foot) is an advanced systems of martial arts known for its aggressive linear attacks and its refined elaborate kicking techniques. Tae kwon do is the most practiced martial art system in the world and was introduced as an Olympic Sport in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea.

What is known as Tae kwon do today, has gone through a long process of evolution since its inception at the end of World War II. In post war Korea, with brutal Japanese occupation lifted, Korea went through a period of cultural revitalization. During this process, the martial arts, which were banned by the occupying forces, found a new resurgence. The Korean people, who swore to never be over powered again, embraced the proliferation of the martial arts through out the nation. From this, came the birth of the modern Korean martial arts.

Lee, Won-kook opened the first martial art school in post war Korea in the Yong Chun district of Seoul in 1945. He founded Chung Do Kwan or the Chung Do school of martial arts. Soon after this, also in Seoul, Hwang Kee established Moo Duk Kwan, which later became more popularity known as known as Tang Soo Do (Way of the Knife Hand). In that same year Sup, Jun-sang established Yun Moo Kwan. In 1946, Chang Moo Kwan was founded by Yun, Pyung and Chi Do Kwan was created by Pyang, Yon-kue. These were the five original Kwans of the modern Korean martial arts which laid the foundation for what was to become Tae kwon do.

In 1953 Yoon, Gae Byong founded Ji Do Kwan, Byung, Chik-ro created Song Moo Kwan, and in 1954 Choi, Hong Hi, in association with Nam, Tae-hi founded the Oh Do Kwan.

These modern Korean martial art Kwans were created by integrating a combination of ancient indigenous Korean martial arts, mainly Tae Kyon, and the various schools of Japanese and Chinese martial arts which the founders were exposed to during Japanese occupations. Though each of these new schools possessed their own individualized techniques, their reliance on Tae Kyon gave them more similarity then difference.

In 1955 the leaders of the Kwans came together and agreed upon the name Tae kwon do to unify their individual schools. This name was submitted by General Choi Hong Hi, who had not only created the Oh Do Kwan but by this point was a pivotal military leader.

It was not until 1961 when the leaders of the various Kwans could fully formalize into one body. This affiliation became known as The Korea Tae kwon do Association and General Choi, Hong Hi was elected its president.

Hwang Kee, the founder of Moo Duk Kwan Soo Bak Do (Tang Soo Do), could never fall into agreement with this governing body and wished to keep his art free from organizational constraints. Thus, Tang Soo Do, though closely resembling Tae kwon do, remains a separate entity.

In 1966, due to on going conflicts and ideological differences within the organization, Choi, Hong Hi resigned his post, founded the International Tae kwon do Federation and relocated to Montreal, Canada. The Korea Tae kwon do Association was then passed to the hands of Dr. Un Yong Kim.

Believing that Tae kwon do was a Korean martial art and its governing body should be based in Korea, Dr. Kim dissolved the relationship between the Korea Tae kwon do Association and the International Tae kwon do Federation. In 1973 the World Tae kwon do Federation was formed. Dr. Kim was elected its president. This organization has lead the martial art of Tae kwon do into its status as an Olympic Sport

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