top of page

About Taekwondo

"TAE"  means "to kick with the foot."


 "KWON" implies "a hand or fist to block, punch, or strike,"


 "DO" means an "art" or a "way."


Thus, "Tae Kwon Do" means, "the art of kicking, blocking and punching".  However, Tae Kwon Do is not merely a physical fighting skill, it is also a way of thought and life. Through disciplined training, Tae Kwon Do improves both the mind and body, placing great emphasis on the development of personal character. Students are taught that self control, self discipline, kindness and humility must accompany their increased physical strength.


What is Tae Kwon Do?


Taekwondo is a martial art independently developed over 20 centuries ago in Korea. Over the many years it has become a popular international sport. The main feature of Taekwondo is that it is a free-fighting combat sport using the bare hands and feet to repel the opponent. Taekwondo literally means the way of kicking and punching. It consists of sharp strong angular movements with free flowing circular movements to produce a balance of beauty and power. With the addition of Taekwondo's trademark kicking techniques it is a complete system of self defense and personal improvement. All of its activities are based on the defensive attitude that originally developed for protection against enemy attacks.


The most important fact about Taekwondo is that it is not only a superior art of self-defense, but of the mind as well. It gives its practitioners self-confidence that provides an advantage over weaker opponents. This mental characteristic along with the physical ability is beneficial to the mental life of individuals as well as to their families and friends. With its practical means of self defense, its complete regiment of physical conditioning, and its aid to improved concentration and mental performance, Taekwondo offers a total fitness program integrating body, mind and spirit.


Today, Taekwondo is the most recognized Korean Martial Art. Taekwondo first came to be recognized as a system of self-defense in the 1950's when a group of leading Korean martial artists came together and unified their various art forms under a single style of hand and feet fighting. They named their style Taekwondo, and in the last 30 years have developed it into one of the most effective styles of unarmed self-defense in the world today. The popularity for Taekwondo is international and its evolution and development as an international amateur sport have grown quickly.


The literal meaning of Tae Kwon Do is "Foot-Hand-Martial Art."  Tae Kwon Do means much more than kicking and punching.  It is a martial Art that offers discipline, self-confidence, personal growth, and character development.  Practiced as an exercise system, it sharpens and improves your coordination, reflexes, muscle tone, and over all physical and metal strength.


Tae Kwon Do is a sport for everyone.  It aims to harmoniously improve ones body and mind, as well as physical exercise regiment using dynamics of balanced eye, hand and foot movements and coordination.


Tae Kwon Do consists of Poomse, Gyorooghi, and Breaking.  Poomse is a series of basic movements based on the traditional Asian techniques and philosophy.  Gyoroogi is a sparring between two players using the techniques learned from Poomse training.  Breaking culminates the Poomse, and Gyorooghi techniques and performed following a successful demonstration of Poomse and Gyorooghi.



Philosophical Principles of Taekwondo


Taekwondo philosophy represents the principles of the changes and movements in human beings. It also represents the principles of our lives, since life consists of our movements. Therefore, we can say Taekwondo is a philosophy in itself. We can understand the philosophy of Taekwondo by doing Taekwondo, and this understanding should lead to better understanding and enhancement of our life. The principles of Taekwondo can be explained in several ways but here we will explain it simply with the principle of "Sam Jae" [Three Elements] and that of "Eum" [the Negative or Darkness] and "Yang" [the Positive or the Brightness]. "Sam Jae" refers to "Cheon" [the Heaven], "Ji" [the Earth], and "In" [the Man] and the principles concerning them. In oriental countries, it has been recognized as the central principle that explains the changes of everything in the world. "Sam Jae" and the changes of "Eum" and "Yang" constitute the "Eight Trigrams for Divination" in the "Book of Changes." The principle of Sam Jae has been emphasized in oriental countries, especially in Korea. If you understand Taekwondo's principle, you could understand all the skills and spiritual depth of Taekwondo. The principle of Eum and Yang has also been emphasized in oriental countries as the central principle of life. It maintains that everything has an opposite side. This principle explains various forms of changes, but it comes from "Taegeuk" [the Great Absolute], which represents the ultimate claim that Eum and Yang was the one and the same thing. If we understand Taekwondo according to this principle, we will find a solution, and by continuously changing skills, we will never get stuck, in any situation. After we understand these philosophical principles of Taekwondo, we can find proper ways to understand and develop our lives.



What is the philosophy of Taekwondo?


Taekwondo contains thoughts that Han [Korean] people had developed through history.  Its Philosophy is easily explained with Hingik-Ingan, Jaese-Ihwa, or Hwarando spirit.  Hongik-Ingan and  Jaese-Ihwa were not only ideologies of Tangun Chosun's foundation, but also a fundamental thought of Han people.  With time, these ideas developed into the Hwarando spirit and the Taekwondo philosophy today.  Now, let's look at the principles contents of the philosophy.


Hongik-Ingan" means universal welfare of mankind. It was the idea of the national foundation by Tangun, and the Taekwondo spirit too has inherited the idea of Hongik-Ingan. It is easily confirmed from the fact that the word of Taekwondo, itself means to suppress fighting and induce peace. On one hand, Jaese-Ihwa means that the world is educated in accordance with the reason of heaven. Taekwondo is a principle, not a simple connection with movements. It is the Korean traditional martial art characterized by the trinity of body, mind and life. Thus, the principle is the reason of all creation, and so it refers to the reason of heaven in Jaese-Ihwa. Therefore, human beings can be educated in accordance with the reason of heaven through correct training of Taekwondo. That's the very meaning of Jaese-Ihwa. Hongik-Ingan and Jaese-Ihwa appear clearly in the myth of the Korean foundation. According to it, "In the early age, Hwan-Wung, the son of Heaven established a nation called Baedal [earliest name of Korea]. He then announced the purpose of the national foundation as Jaese-Ihwa [educate with the reason of heaven] and Hongik-Ingan [universal welfare of mankind].

bottom of page