"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." Lao Tzu
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= Tae, meaning foot
= Kwon, meaning hand
= Do, meaning 'the way of' or, art
Tae Kwon Do is the name of the martial art that was created in Korea and developed there over the course of more than 2000 years.
The art of Tae Kwon Do has five disciplines:
Forms - Poomseis a choreographed demonstration of the various kicks, blocks, and hand techniques learned in class which the student utilizes against an imaginary opponent or opponents. Forms are used to develop concentration, balance, precision, endurance, reflex action, power, speed, and agility. Watching a skilled practitioner is like watching a ballet - both are graceful, calculated, and controlled.
Sparring - Gyu Roo Giis the practical application of various forms of self defense with a partner. Sparring is used to develop control (to prevent injury and accidents), cooperation, coordination, speed, power, strength, skilled technique, precision, endurance and confidence.
Self-defense - Ho Sin Sool is the study of how to use an attacker's strength or skill and weapons against them. The practitioner learns when, how and where to attack an assailant using "pressure points" (areas of the body that when pressed cause intense pain), grappling and joint locking techniques, falling, rolling, throws, and some weapons.
Breaking - Kyuk Pah is done to practice and illustrate the formidable power, precision and great mental concentration of the Tae Kwon Do practitioner.
Meditation - Jung Shin Tong Il is for the purpose of concentration and enables the Tae Kwon Do practitioner to focus precision and power, visualize goals, and listen to one's conscience in order to be able to internalize important truths and moral standards.
The origin of the art of Tae Kwon Do goes back to the early days of human existence on earth. People needed to develop personal skills to obtain food and defend themselves against enemies. On the Korean peninsula, in 37 B.C., the three kingdoms of Koguryu, Paekche and Silla had developed the skills and techniques of the martial art Tae Kyon, which is the predecessor of Tae Kwon Do.
An elite officer's corps, Hwa Rang Do, was a military and social organization for noble youths. This corps made significant contributions to the development of the art of Tae Kwon Do. The Hwa Rang were taught a martial art and to act as models of cultured and chivalrous warriors. Hwa means "flowers", and Rang means "Young Master". In Korean culture of the time, "flower" symbolized glory, beauty and integrity. Thus, Hwa Rang means "Flower of Youth", the promise of the nation, the hope of the future. The Hwa Rang Spirit is embodied by the art of Tae Kwon Do.
Tae Kwon Do was introduced to the United States and the world in the late 1950's. It has become the national sport of Korea and is now practiced in over 100 countries. In 1980 Tae Kwon Do was accepted in the Summer International Olympic Games.