History of Taekwondo

Taekwondo is the art of self defense that originated in Korea. It is recognized as one of the oldest forms of martial arts in the world, reaching back over 2,000 years.

The name was selected for its appropriate description of the art: Tae (foot), Kwon (hand), Do (art).

The modern period of taekwondo began with the defeat of the Japanese and the liberation of Korea in 1945. Korean martial arts masters wanted to eliminate Japanese influences. They began discussions on how to return to the traditional taekkyon-based Korean martial arts and on how to unite the various martial arts schools (or kwans) and styles into a single style and national sport. After several years of discussions, the name "taekwondo" was chosen in April 1955 by the board of masters of the various kwans, and the kwans started to unify through the late 1950s.

The spread of taekwondo as a martial art and competitive sport continues to this date. The principle events in the rapid evolution of taekwondo as a popular worldwide sport are:

  • 1965 - The Korea Taekwondo Association was formed.
  • 1973 - World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) created.
  • 1975 - General Association of International Sports Federations recognizes the WTF.
  • 1976 - Taekwondo accepted as a Consul International du Sport Militaire sport (world level military sports organization).
  • 1980 - International Olympic Committee recognizes the WTF.
  • 1981 - Taekwondo accepted as a World Games sport
  • 1983 - Taekwondo accepted as a Pan American Games and All Africa Games sport
  • 1985 - Taekwondo adopted as a demonstration sport for the 1988 Olympic Games.
  • 1986 - Taekwondo accepted as a Federation International du Sport Universitaire sport (world university level sport organization).
  • 1992 - Taekwondo is an Olympic demonstration sport in Barcelona, Spain.
  • 1994 - Taekwondo selected as a full Olympic sport for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
  • 1996 - Taekwondo is an Olympic demonstration sport in Atlanta.
  • Today - Taekwondo is by far the most widely practiced martial art in the world.