Taekwondo, a breakdown

“The Way of the Hand and Foot” in Korean

Taekwondo is a unarmed combat art with origins dating back over 2,000 years ago, believed to have been a unarmed battlefield form of “Taekyon” and “Kuk Sool Won” but the art of “Hwa Rang Do” being its predecessor. Taekwondo or “the way of the hand and foot” was founded in Korea by “Choi Hong Hi” in 1955, it now exists as both a sport and self defence system.

Taekwondo is well known as the “biggest and most practiced martial arts on earth”, practiced by over 70 million practitioners worldwide with thousands of franchises of the art around the world, franchises of TKD have unfortunatly taken up a good percentage of the population of Taekwondo’s schools, noted to not always be a good thing as many franchises of TKD teach a fake or altered “Taekwondo” to two or three original moves as seen in Korean Taekwondo, branding many TKD schools as a “McDojo’s” meaning money or business before quality of teaching.

It can take up to 15 years and a minimum starting age of 6 years old to achieve a high grade in Korean Taekwondo of constant well taught tuition in Korea, whereas in the West, on average it can take up to 4 years with a minimum starting age of 3-4 years old. Many experts have slated franchise schools of TKD for “handing out” belts with some students as young as 6 years old reaching black-belt status.

In many western Taekwondo schools, 14 to 15 year olds can become fully certified instructors as well as achieving 3rd or 4th Dan Black-Belt status at this very young age, many club owners let there 14 to 15 year old instructors do there job for them and the head of the school or “real instructor” takes all the credit not forgetting the money, it is branded that school to be called a “McDojo” or more of a business than a Quality Dojo, as Master “Bruce Lee” once said: “Give me a White Belt and I am still the same fighter”.

Due to “Taekwondo’s” fame it was accepted as a “Olympic Sport” in 2000 at the “Australian Olympic Games”. Taekwondo became well known in the early ninetees through such games as “Tekken” introducing characters such as “Hwa-Rang” favoured for his speed, agility and stamina, The “Hwa-Rang” were a “Elite Warrior Unit” which existed between 57 BCE and 668 CE, “Hwa-Rang-Do” the Martial Art the “Hwa-Rang” practiced is still believed to be used by the Korean Emporer’s Guard till this day.

Words: Conor Holden


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