A sport which can help you to become as strong as superman, as loyal as your best friend, as brave as your brother and as wise as your grandpa. Today, ladies and gentlemen, I will bring you to the world of Taekwondo.
The name Taekwondo is derived from the Korean word “Tae” meaning foot, “Kwon” which means fist and “Do” meaning way of. So, literally Taekwondo means “the way of the foot and fist”. It is a martial art with an ancient history. In its modern form it was systematized by General Choi Hong Hi in 1954-1955. At the beginning of the New Era the Korean Peninsula was divided into three kingdoms- the Koguryo in the Northern part, Paekche- in the South-Eastern and Silla in the South-Western one. That’s why that historical time it was called the Period of the Three Kingdom. After the end of Silla dynasty, the new united state of Koryo was established.
In that period there were constant wars and martial arts became important and the most popular of them was Subak. Te Kion, Subak and Sirum were the initial forms of Taekwondo. In 1910 the occupation of the army of Japan conquered Korea. That time the national Korean martial arts were banned totally. Just to a small part of privileged men and the Koreans who were cadets in Japanese military. Despite the prohibition under death penalty the Korean martial arts flourished. A great contribution for the development of the modern Taekwondo was General Choi Hong Hi. In 1959 he founded the Korean Taekwondo Association. That was the time when Taekwondo was introduced to the world. On September 4, 1994 a dream becomes reality!
Taekwondo became an official Olympic sport.
Taekwondo is not just a physical practice or sport. It is a martial art- a whole system of physical exercises, spiritual development and philosophical principles. The concept of Taekwondo is the union of mind and spirit aiming self-perfection. When a man is heartily involved in his self-development and analyses his acts, then it comes the real human nature. Not many people know that the principle is followed even in the construction of the training uniform (tobok). The three geometrical shapes are combined in it: square, circle and triangle. The geometrical shapes of tobok have their meaning – the trousers symbolize the Earth, the belt stands for man and the upper garment – heaven.
The endless form of the belt symbolizes the circuit of human life among heaven and earth. The belt is a non separable part of Taekwondo equipment. It shows the rank of the practitioner. There are 5 colors of belts. The white symbolizes the beginning. At the other end is the black one-the conclusion. The yellow is the Sun, the new energy which rises, the blue is the sky, striving to knowledge, the red-danger but passion, too. In Taekwondo there is a specific etiquette. It teaches discipline and respect to the others. The bow shows respect. It is performed on entering and leaving the training hall; the practitioner trains barefooted and without watches, jewelry and others; the master’s instructions should be followed strictly. Taekwondo moral principles are non-violence, humanity, respect to the others, and use Taekwondo for self-defense only.
Poomsae, Kyukpa and Kyorugi are the three components of Taekwondo practice. Poomsae is a consistency of defensive and attacking movements against an imaginary opponent. Kyukpa – that’s the so called power test by different parts of the body and specific techniques. Kyorugi, or sparring, is the third main part of Taekwondo practice. there are spring regulations The first rule is the mandatory protective equipment of both competitors. Hits under the belt, punches in the head, back attacks are forbidden.
The contests are managed by a referee, head judge and three or four side judges. Leaving the sport field often, trespass the special etiquette is under penalty. Taekwondo forms or Poomsae have different meanings; Teaguk is the sequence of different movements, koryo is the name of an ancient dynasty in the Korean peninsula, Kumgang means too strong to be broken, Taeback means being looked up to as sacred, Pyongwon means vast plain, shipjin or stability is sought in every change of movements, Chunkwon is composed of the motions which are full of vitality, and Ilyeo signifies oneness.
How taekwondo can help you? It enhances your self esteem by heightening your physical and mental powers, develop discipline, and teach self defense. As what Mr. Amoso told me, taekwondo is a total learning activity. Lessons are tailored according to their age and skills. In their training place there are some elementary students who joined with them so the trainer has a different approach on how to train those kids. At first, Mr. Amoso begins practicing basic patterns and forms, kicking, blocking and punching. These fundamental skills increase his coordination, flexibility, balance and mental acumen. Taekwondo develops his athletic skills, self-awareness, and improves self defense.
Like any martial art properly taught and properly practiced, Taekwondo is a non- aggressive and ethical system of self-defense. Its practitioners enjoy physical and mental discipline, as well as excellent fitness and the ability to defend themselves if necessary. Taekwondo is not only a combat sport, but is also a way of life for enthusiasts around the globe.
Courtney from Study Moose
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