The Origin of Taekwondo
The origin of Taekwondo traces back to the three kingdoms of Koguryo (37 BC-668 AD), Paekche (18 BC-600 AD), and Silla (57 BC-936 AD). Mural paintings on the royal tombs of the Koguryo dynasty, the stone sculptures of pagadas of temples of the Silla period, and documents written in the Paekche dynasty showed fighting stances, skills, and formalized movements similar to today's Taekwondo styles and forms.
All three kingdoms indulged in growing national strength with trained warriors. Therefore, the Korean history tells that there were military personalities among the well-known prominent national leaders of the three kingdoms, which proves the military tendency of ruling hierarchy.
Although Taekwondo first
appeared in the Koguryo kingdom, it is the Silla's Hwarang warriors
that are credited with the growth and spread of Taekwondo throughout
Korea. Silla was the smallest of the three kingdoms and was always under
attack by Japanese pirates. Silla got help from King Gwanggaeto and
his soldiers from the Koguryo kingdom to drive out the pirates. During
this time a few select Sillan warriors were given training in Taek Kyon
by the early masters from Koguryo.
The modern period of Taekwondo
began with the liberation of Korea in 1945 after World War II. Korea
wanted to eliminate Japanese influences (in martial arts) and began
to unite the various martial arts schools and styles into a single style
and national sport. In 1965, the name Taekwondo was chosen to represent
this unified style of Korean martial arts.