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The Origin of Martial Arts

The Martial Arts are thought to have originated in India and made their way through China and across the rest of Asia. One can see signs of martial arts in Ancient murals and sculptures, showing fighting poses from Egypt, India and Babylon, dating from as far back as 5,000 years ago. Legend says that Bodhidharma, the Buddhist monk who brought Zen to China from India, also brought the martial arts. There is a clear path leading from the Southern China regions up to Korea, Okinawa and Japan. The details before that, and the exact details of that transfer, are greatly debated by historians and Martial Artists alike.

The Martial Arts probably did not evolve into a system of offensive and defensive skills until they were devised in or imported into China. There, in a country saturated with the spiritual teachings of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism, these fighting skills were combined with intangible elements such as compassion, discipline and self-control. Folklore recounts mythical creatures called Tengu who practiced martial arts and passed them on to humans. Founders of martial arts who wanted to give their methods the aura of legitimacy would often claim that the Tengu had taught them the art. 

Because the martial arts have endure for so many centuries, it has given them the chance to evolve into so many different styles throughout the world. They have managed to outlive their violent origins primarily because they teach man much more than just fighting. True martial arts stress character development, discipline and respect as well as self-defense.

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 Taek Kyon trained warriors became known as the Hwarang. The Hwarang set up a military academy for the sons of royalty in Silla called Hwarang-do, which means "the way of flowering manhood." The guiding principles of the Hwarang warriors were loyalty, filial duty, trustworthiness, valor, and justice. The makeup of the Hwarang-do education was based on the Five Codes of Human Conduct written by a Buddhist scholar, fundamental education, Taek Kyon and social skills. Taek Kyon was spread throughout Korea because the Hwarang traveled all around the peninsula to learn about the other regions and people.

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.

Upon liberation of Korea from the Japanese colonial rule after world war II, the Korean people began rediscovering the thought of self-reliance and the traditional folkloric games which resumed their popularity. Song Duk-ki, master of Taekkyondo, presented a demonstration of the martial art before the first Republic of Korea President Syngman Rhee on the occasion of the latter's birthday anniversary, thus clearly distinguishing Taekwondo from the Japanese karate which had been introduced by the Japanese rulers.

Soon after, Martial art experts began opening their Taekwondo gymnasia all over the country and after the end of Korean war (1950-1953) Taekwondo was popularized among the dan-grade black-belters within the country, also dispatching about 2,000 Taekwondo masters to more than 100 countries for foreigners' training.

After the nomination of Taekwondo as a national martial art in 1971, the present Kukkiwon was founded in 1972, to be used as the central gymnasium as well as the site of various Taekwondo competitions. Then a year later on May 28, 1973 the World Taekwondo Federation came into existence currently having 164 countries as its members. 1n 1973 the biennial World Taekwondo Championships was organized and again in 1974, Taekwondo was admitted to the Asian games as an official event.

In 1975 Taekwondo was accepted as an official sport by the U.S Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and also admitted to the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF), followed by the adoption of official sports event by the international council of military sports (CISM) in 1976. In 1979, president of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) was elected President of the world federation of non-Olympic sports. The WTF became an IOC-recognized sports federation in 1980, making Taekwondo an Olympic sport. Then the adoption of Taekwondo as an official event was followed by the World Games in 1981, the Pan-American games in 1986, and finally by the 2000 Olympiad held in Australia.

American Martial Arts Center, Palm Beach Gardens Florida

American Martial Arts Center has specialized in martial arts training since 1997
and has one of the longest-running martial arts programs
in the Palm Beach Gardens and Jupiter, FL area.

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