What is Taekwondo?

What is Taekwondo?


A summary of what Tae Kwon Do is would be helpful for new readers. – Ayla Boswell

Taekwondo (or Tae Kwon Do) translates to ‘hand-foot way’ in Korean and dates back more that 2,000 years.  It is a close range unarmed combat system that morphed into one of the most popular martial arts sports across the globe.  It debuted as a full-medal Olympic sport in the Sydney, Australia Olympics in 2000 and was scheduled to be an event in the 2020 Olympicsuntil the Coronavirus pandemic postponed it until 2021 when the Olympics as a Taekwondo sport will be held in Tokyo, Japan.  Simply put, Taekwondo is an art of self-defense.

Taekwondo can be learned in its combat or sport forms and with or without weapons.  At Oh Do Kwon Tae Kwon Do and Tazewell Tae Kwon Do we teach both combat and sport forms with and without weapons.   Grandmaster Roy Richmond was an expert and proficient with a number of weapons such as the nun chucks, the controller and the cane.

History of Taekwondo

Ancient Koreans who settled the Korean peninsula existed in tribes some historians note since 2000 B.C. and formed three kingdoms:  Koryo, Paekje, and Silla.  These kingdoms defended themselves against China, Japan, and Mongolia with each of these nations invading and attempting dominance over the Korean Kingdoms.  This went on for centuries.

The warriors of the three kingdoms of Korean were united by the kingdom of Silla into one kingdom and along with this unification came the unification of Korean martial arts under the Hwarang branch of the military.  Hwarang translates to “flowering of manhood” in English.  Soldiers of the Hwarang were martial arts experts in unarmed, close combat and in the mastery of weapons.

Hwarang warriors were extremely loyal to their Korean rulers and upheld and demonstrated Confucian values of what was thought to be civilized at the time.  Many scholars have compared the Japanese Samurai to the Korean Hwarang warrior whose martial arts collective was called, hwarang-do (the way of the flowering manhood).

jumping side kick taekwondo

During the rule of the Koryo dynasty, Korean martial arts experimentation led to new developments and expansion of the art form practiced by the Hwarang warriors.  Enter taekwon and subak, martial arts that emphasized kicking and punches, respectively.  These martial arts survived and incorporated Chinese influence due to repeated invasions by the Chinese and the Mongols.  One move incorporated into TaeKwon do is the flying kick or the jumping side kick.

The Koroyo dynasty ended and the Mongols were overthrown in 1392 ushering in the Yi dynasty.  The rulers of the Yi were not keen on martial arts and banned their practice.  This led to martial artists going underground and practicing in unsuspected, remote locations like Buddhist monasteries to continue mastering their martial arts.

Eventually the Japanese set up camp and began their Korean occupation in about 1910 which lasted about thirty-five years.  During this time however, Koreans were forced to assimilate into Japanese culture.  Koreans took Japanese names and were forced to study at Japanese schools.  Martial arts training and practice as they knew it ended.  Like during the Yi dynasty, Koreans began practicing martial arts in secret again while at the same time studying Japanese martial arts such as karate, judo, and kendo.

When the Japanese occupation ended, Korean martial arts experienced a resurgence that survived the split of the north and south regions of the peninsula and the 1950 Korean war.

Oh Do Kwon Tae Kwon Do & Self Defense – Tazewell Tae Kwon Do

Oh Do Kwon Tae Kwon Do & Self Defense – Tazewell Tae Kwon Do is one of the top school martial arts schools founded by the late Grandmaster Roy Richmond.  Like Grandmaster Roy, our instructors are passionate about our students.  Our taekwondo program teaches unarmed hand-to-hand combat, armed hand-to-hand combat, Olympic sports, tournament styles , artistic discipline and practical self-defense.  Students learn basic movement and skills through Tae Kwon Do Forms

Olympic Sport

There are few students who excel so greatly in martial arts, they have the potential to qualify for a national taekwondo team and train for the Olympics.  We have access to instructors with Olympic training and qualifier experience that can help elite students recognize their talents and fulfill their fullest potential.

Artistic Discipline

As an artistic discipline, taekwondo techniques are performed with graceful and powerful movements.  Students are inspired to aspire to reach the highest artistic presentation of each technique.  The art of taekwondo develops posture, graceful movements, excellent coordination and attention to detail. We believe that everyone can benefit from exposure to this artistic discipline and have seen first hand the impact that such training makes in the lives of our students.

Self-defense Training

Self defense skills are safety sills.  It is important for everyone to learn self-defense and taekwondo is an excellent martial arts form from which to begin.  When our students learn and develop self-defense skills with taekwondo at the core, they lessen their chance of sustaining an injury due to a fall or an attack and increase their chances of escaping a mugger, a rapist, or an abduction attempt.  Learning these self-defense tactics does not promote violence but instead helps to mitigate it and assists our students in defending themselves.

At Oh Do Kwon Tae Kwon Do & Self Defense we nurture each student at his or her skill level while encouraging and preparing them to make improvements and rank advancements in a way that students operate an progress at their highest level to meet their rank goals.  Our students learn mental toughness by learning the Tae Kwon Do Creed and living by the Tenets of Tae Kwon Do.

We will offer flexible class times to fit with your schedule as well as tournament opportunities. Contact us to day to learn more about our class schedule announcements and our free introductory classes.




Comments (34)

  1. Rose Ann Sales

    April 4, 2020 at 2:19 am

    Great blog! I am not so sporty,but it is still so great knowing the history of Tae Kwan Do.

  2. Brianne

    April 4, 2020 at 8:30 am

    I really had no idea what the history of Tae Kwon Do was until reading this. It was a fascinating read. I love the basic tenets behind the martial art.

  3. Daniel Sierra

    April 4, 2020 at 11:03 am

    It is the first time I read the history of Taekwondo. Incredible how this martial art has been around for so long.

  4. Hannah Marie Scott

    April 4, 2020 at 12:14 pm

    Thanks for the read, I never knew the history of taekwondo!

  5. the joyous living

    April 4, 2020 at 1:17 pm

    i highly recommend all women and men take a self defense class at sometime. Oh Do Kwon Tae Kwon Dos dojo is a great place to start. i took one at a dojo once and it was so helpful.

  6. catherine santiago jose

    April 4, 2020 at 2:05 pm

    Taekwondo is a sport that I really want to try and learn as it can improve oneself and defend yourself from people. If given the opportunity, I would definitely give this a try. Can’t wait till classes start.

  7. Celebrate Woman Today

    April 4, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    I love you have covered some interesting historic facts from Tae Kwon Do. Love this art.

  8. Heather

    April 4, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    I’ve heard so many great things about Taekwondo. I would love to have my children take classes there.

  9. Rachel Loza

    April 4, 2020 at 10:04 pm

    My 7 year old has been asking me about taekwondo so this is super helpful.

  10. Chirpybrains

    April 5, 2020 at 1:35 am

    Is karate and taekwondo same? I always thought that these are just two different name for the same sport!!

  11. Fransic verso

    April 5, 2020 at 2:36 am

    You have been sharing really good information about tae kwon do and types of it. Honestly, this is very helpful.

  12. Joanna

    April 5, 2020 at 6:30 am

    Taekwondo sounds like a great sport to learn, especially as a woman, because you can use its principles for self defense.

  13. Maysz

    April 5, 2020 at 6:53 am

    My little brother is taekwondo player he got silver medal on his school tournament 🙂 I’am not good in sports 🙂 but this sport is perfect for self defense.

  14. aisasami

    April 5, 2020 at 7:23 am

    I have practiced Tae Kwon Do for many years. Maybe in the next post, you should talk about the different styles as I have studied both ITF and WTF (they changed their name recently) styles. I had someone tell me I was supporting communism when I studied ITF (as the schoolmaster I was talking to thought ITF equals North Korea).

    • keshia.richmond

      April 9, 2020 at 2:24 am

      Hi AISASAMI,

      The late Grandmaster Roy Richmond was a certified master instructor with the World Tae Kwon Do Federation (WTF) which supports TaeKwonDo as the national sport of South Korea whereas the International Federation (ITF)of Tae Kwon Do includes North Korea.

      South Korea was once affiliated with ITF until it expanded into North Korea.

      According to the book, Martial Arts of the World by Thomas A. Greene, “Park Jung Tae, a senior instructor of the International Federation living in Canada, introduces taekwondo into North Korean. The South Korean Government is outraged.”

      A November 3, 2018 article published by the Hankyoreh.com, entitled “South and North Korea to integrate respective branches of taekwondo” states that the WTF and the ITF agreed to integrate: “World Taekwondo (WT), which took shape in South Korea, and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), which developed in North Korea, signed an agreement for the growth and integration of taekwondo at the Yanggakdo International Hotel in Pyongyang.

      So we think that regardless of which style of TaeKwonDo that you practice, you are supporting the art of TaeKwonDo on a global level as a whole and your association with either the ITF or WTF or both should not suggest a specific political affiliation.

  15. Marienne G.D.

    April 5, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Although I know it’s considered a sport, I have always seen Tae Kwon Do as learning to defend yourself, so it’s actually good to learn about its history.

  16. Megan

    April 5, 2020 at 11:19 am

    My son does Tae Kwan Do and loves it! The form and discipline are no joke. Great info here

  17. Kate Nnonyelu

    April 5, 2020 at 12:52 pm

    I really want to try Taekwondo, so I can improve my self-defense tactics. Good to know the history of Taekwondo. When will classes be offered?

  18. mariah green

    April 5, 2020 at 6:24 pm

    i can’t wait to put my kids in a taekwondo class! thanks for breaking it down for us. would love to know when your classes will be offered.

  19. Stephen

    April 5, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    I loved watching it during the Olympics, so great to learn the history of taekwondo and it’s various forms.

  20. Blair villanueva

    April 5, 2020 at 7:59 pm

    I’m not sporty but understand the value of learning this sport. This is a good way of learning self-defence and also practice discipline.

  21. Paula Schuck

    April 5, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Wow I didn’t know that much about this actually. I have obviously heard of Tae Kwon Do but had no idea of the origins – also I never really thought of it as a fighting art. I always thought karate was more of the fighting art.

  22. Emman Damian

    April 6, 2020 at 2:36 am

    I have always wanted to learn Taekwondo! It helps you to learn more discipline and also it’s a good self defense sport.

  23. Jessica L

    April 6, 2020 at 4:44 am

    This is awesome! I have always wanted to try Taekwondo! What a fascinating history it has!

  24. Magen

    April 6, 2020 at 9:18 am

    Great information. I’ve been thinking about signing my oldest daughter up for Taekwondo. I’ve had friends that have taken it throughout the years and it did wonders for them. Teaching discipline and how to focus and I’d love for my kids, especially my daughters, to have the ability to protect themselves and feel confident in their own bodies power and abilities. I’m subscribed to your newsletter and looking forward to announcements about your new classes.

  25. Ella

    April 6, 2020 at 9:46 am

    This is something I have always wanted to try! Looking forward to the date and times of the new classes being announced.

  26. WanderlustBeautyDreams

    April 6, 2020 at 10:07 am

    I didn’t know much of the history behind taekwondo. I would love to try this sport out. Learning these techniques can be very helpful. I’ll be checking for updates about the announcements for new classes.

  27. Harish

    April 6, 2020 at 10:18 am

    After reading this, I’ve found that whatever I know is too little about Taekwondo 🙂

  28. Jackline A

    April 6, 2020 at 11:52 am

    I am always in awe about Taekwondo. It’s super entertaining to watch. This is why I’m looking forward to the new date for the Grandmaster Roy Richmond Legacy Tournament.

  29. Natalie

    April 7, 2020 at 7:24 am

    Interesting read. Thanks for sharing this informations about Teakwondo. My kid wants to try it. I would love to know more about your upcoming classes. I think it’s a great way for him to learn discipline.

  30. mary

    April 7, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    my brother is in taekwondo now and all these great info really helped! informative indeed

  31. Michele

    April 7, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    My husband wants to get into taekwondo. I do not know much about it, I will be sharing this article with him.

  32. Olufunke

    April 8, 2020 at 12:23 am

    It is so good to know the history of taekwondo. Being able to defend oneself is good. I would love to learn it for that.

  33. Elizabeth O

    May 21, 2020 at 8:26 pm

    Woah! That is an interesting sport Tae Kwon Do is! Glad to know more about this


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