A brief history and explanation

Taekwondo is a martial art that in "todays" form of self-defence has evolved by combining many different styles of martial arts that existed in Korea over the last 2,000 years and some martial arts styles from countries that surround Korea. Taekwondo incorporates the abrupt linear movements of Karate and the flowing, circular patterns of Kung-fu with native kicking techniques. A few of the earlier martial arts styles that contributed to Taekwondo are: T'ang-su, Taek Kyon, also known as Subak, Tae Kwon, Kwonpup and Tang Soo Do. The main influence on ITF Taekwondo is, however, quite clear to see. General Choi gained a second degree Black Belt in Shotokan Karate with many of the hand techniques and even some of the earlier patterns, (Tul), bearing remarkable similarity to those of the Shotokan style. During the years of expansion to the west, Taekwondo was even referred to as, 'Korean Karate'.


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Taekwondo is an empty-hand combat form that entails the use of the whole body. Tae means "to Kick" or "Smash with the feet," Kwon implies "punching" or "destroying with the hand or fist," and Do means "way" or "method." Taekwondo thus, is the technique of unarmed combat for self-defence that involves the skilful application of techniques that include punching, jumping kicks, blocks, dodges, parrying actions with hands and feet. It is more than a mere physical fighting skill, representing as it does a way of thinking and a pattern of life requiring strict discipline. It is a system of training both the mind and the body in which great emphasis is placed on the development of the trainee's moral character."

Our style, ITF, is based around the teachings of General Choi Hong Hi, a Korean General, 9th Dan, and who is considered to have created the name for the modern art of Taekwondo. Against the whishes of the then ruling party in South Korea, General Choi didn’t wish to concentrate on the sport element of the art and moved his headquarters for the system to Canada for further development whilst a new sporting system was being developed under the auspicices of the current government. Today, it is believed that there are over 30 million practitioners of Taekwondo spread throughout 156 countries although some of these will practice WT, also known as Olympic, style Taekwondo.

As Taekwondo is a ‘Way’ and not just a form of fighting, we try to grow as individuals and hold to certain values. 

These we call the tenants of Taekwondo:

Courtesy - to be polite to one’s instructor, seniors and fellow students. Be willing and eager to help others.

Integrity - to be honest with oneself and others. One must be able to understand the principles that distinguish right from wrong. Present a positive image and be a role model for other students. Promote and be an ambassador for Taekwondo.

Perseverance - to achieve a goal, be it a higher grade or a technique, you must not stop trying, you must persevere. Recognise areas for personal development.

Self-control – to lose your temper when performing techniques against an opponent can be very dangerous and shows lack of control. To be able to live and train within your own limits shows good self-control. 

Indomitable Spirit – to show courage when you and your principles are pitted against overwhelming odds. Support your fellow student in their progression even if they surpass your own grade.

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