History of Taekwondo    

Since prehistoric times, man has had to develop fighting skills for self-protection and survival. Hence according to their different environments and necessities, individual communities developed unique styles and techniques.

Korea's early history describes the development of three kingdoms. These were known as Goguryo (37 BC - 668 AD), Baekje (18 BC - 660 AD) and Shilla (57 BC - 936AD). In 668 AD the Shilla kingdom conquered the other two kingdoms to unify the nation.

In this period the clothing consisted of loose trousers and a jacket held together with a tied belt, thus resembling modern taekwondo suits. Military rank was similarly distinguished by a coloured belt and/or lapel.

In 1935, murals discovered in excavated tombs in Manchuria showed men practising what appeared to be an early form of taekwondo. Another tomb showed a man dressed in loose trousers, short sleeved jacket and a belt in a taekwondo pose. From this archaeologists have been able to testify to taekwondo as being a well established and popular activity.

From about 600 A.D. to about 1400, the mainstream dominant form was Soobak, which further evolved into Taekyon beginning in the late 1300s. In 1920 Korea was annexed to Japan and the practice of any martial arts by the Koreans was prohibited. Despite this, it was still practiced in secrecy.

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 Taekyon 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.

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 world wide sport are:

  • 1961 - The Korean Taekwondo Association was inaugurated.
  • 1972 - World headquarters for taekwondo - Kukkiwon established. Australian Taekwondo Federation formed.
  • 1973 - World Taekwondo Federation created. First World Taekwondo Championship held.
  • 1975 - General Association of International Sports Federations recognizes the WTF.
  • 1976 - Asian Taekwondo Championships hosted in Melbourne
  • 1980 - International Olympic Committee recognizes the WTF.
  • 1988 - Taekwondo becomes a demonstration sport in the Olympic Games.
  • 1992 - Taekwondo is an Olympic demonstration sport in Barcelona, Spain.
  • 1994 - Taekwondo is adopted as a full Olympic sport for the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
  • 1996 - Taekwondo is an Olympic demonstration sport in Atlanta.
  • Today - Taekwondo has been adopted as an official sport internationally being a part of games such as World Games, Pan American Games, All Africa Games, Southeast Asian Games and Cental American Games.

Information summarised from
"The complete handbook of Taekwondo"
(Australian Taekwondo Association 1992)
and www.taekwondoaustralia.org.au



@2008 Hanuman Taekwondo
19 Staple Street, Seventeen Mile Rocks QLD
Brisbane Queensland Australia