In 1945, shortly after the end of WWII, Martial Arts schools began opening in Seoul, South Korea. The schools were opened by Korean Martial Artists with backgrounds in Japanese and Chinese fighting styles. At the time, indigenous Korean forms of Martial Arts, or Taekkyon, were slowly being forgotten even though they had been around since documented in 50 B.C. due to the Japanese rule for the last 40 years.
In 1952, during the Korean War, president Syngman Rhee witnessed a demonstration by ROK army officers from the 29th infantry division. He thought they were performing Taekkyon and ordered martial arts to be introduced to the army under a single system. Until then Tae Soo Do was the term used for Korean karate.
Eventually, Korean Martial Artists advocated for the use of the name taekwondo meaning tae, “to stomp or trample”, kwon “fist”, and do “way, discipline”. It was also the closest pronunciation to Taekkyon. The name slowly caught on and was adopted by the South Korean military which grew it in popularity among civilian Martial Arts schools.
In 1959 the Korean Taekwondo Association was established and set the standards for taekwondo training. They began sending demonstration teams all over the world including Jhoon Rhee and H.U. Lee, who is considered the father of American taekwondo. In 1963 a demonstration in front of the UN resulted in the forming of the U.S. Taekwondo Federation.
In 1973 the World Taekwondo Federation was established as the only regulation body for Taekwondo. They standardize and organize world class competitions. In 1988, taekwondo was inaugurated into the Olympics and an official sport and has been competed in ever since. In 2020, the US brought home their first gold medal in women’s taekwondo.
Since its development, taekwondo has been practiced around the world by over 30 million people.
Venture Martial Arts is proud to be a part of the legacy of taekwondo. To learn more about our program, click here.