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Introduction to Taekwon-do


Taekwon-do has evolved from more than 2,000 years of Martial Arts. Tae is interpreted to mean ‘Jump, Kick or Smash with the foot’, Kwon as to 'Punch or Destroy with the Hand or Fist' and Do is interpreted as 'Art, Method or Way'. Simply put Taekwon-do stands for ‘Foot Hand Way’.


From 1910 to 1945 Korea was occupied by Japan and the practice of Korean Martial Arts had been outlawed. However Tae Kyon Masters, Han Il Dong and Song Duk Ki were determined that their art and heritage should not be lost and continued to practice their art in secrecy.


The main development of the Art we know as Taekwon-do was undertaken by Major General Choi Hong Hi 9th Degree during the latter half of the 20th Century. Taekwon-do is a true Military Martial Art having been practiced and evolved within the Korean Army. General Choi started his Martial Arts Training in Tae Kyon under the Instruction of Master Han Il Dong. This was obviously at great risk to Master Han since as previously mentioned, Korean Martial Arts had been outlawed by the Japanese occupiers of Korea. In 1937 General Choi went to Japan to continue his education. Whilst there he studied Karate and eventually achieved his 2nd Degree in the art.


Following the outbreak of World War II General Choi returned to Korea and was conscripted into the Japanese army. He was accused of being an activist with Korean Independence Movement and placed in Prison by the Japanese occupiers. Whilst in prison he started to lay the foundations of Taekwon-do. At the end of the War he was released from Prison and given a commission in the newly formed Korean Army. He eventually achieved the rank of Major General and was given command of the 29th Infantry Division where the majority of Taekwon-do development occurred.


Taekwon-do was officially recognised by the Korean Hierarchy on 11th April 1955. It quickly became the most popular Martial Art in terms of the number of practitioner’s world wide. The International Taekwon-do Federation was founded on 22nd March 1966.


Sadly General Choi Hong Hi passed away on 15 June 2002 having passed on a legacy few of us can hope to achieve. In his own words; "Here I leave Taekwon-do for Mankind as a trace of a man of the late 20th Century. The twenty four patterns represent twenty four hours, one day or all of my life".


A more extensive history of Taekwon-do and General Choi can be found at; http://www.comdo.com/information.html. Clicking this link will open a new window and take you to another website outside of Heart of England-ITF control.


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