One of the interesting things about Taekwondo is the fact that contrary to other martial arts, this one was not born as it is, nor was it born nor created by an ancient spirit and passed from generation to generation like its predecessors’ karate and kung fu. No, curiously Taekwondo is a very recent martial art, born between 1949 and 1950.
What’s more, Taekwondo is the actual result of the mix between karate and one of the varieties of Kung Fu known as Han along with some primitive Korean martial arts. History tells us that the year was 1945 and World War II was about to end. After this period of turmoil was that the new martial arts style appeared originated from Koreans who studied Japanese and Chinese martial arts during the occupation and began to create a style that became particular of the Korean peninsula.
This new style concentrated in two factors: strength and speed. It also concentrated in two parts of the body to achieve this: arms and legs. This new style looked forward to creating fighters that were fast kickers while at the same time were able to connect powerful blows with their hands.
The first places of learning began to appear and were known as kwans. One of the interesting facts at this time (second half of the 1940s) was that this new style was yet to be named and every kwan had a master that practiced its own particular style.
But one key factor would change the course of history: this new martial arts style became the official martial arts style of the Korean military forces. This, of course, resulted in the increased popularity of the martial art in the south Korean peninsula.
It was now 1952 and South Korean Syngman Rhee was said to be witnessing a demonstration of this martial art and became interested, asking for it to be standardized for all the country.
AND SO TAEKWONDO BEGAN
The first name was Tae Soo Do which meant Stomp, Trample, Hand, and Discipline. It was shortly changed to Tae Kwon Do where the term Kwon was both for fist and martial arts which resulted in the first Korea Taekwondo Association to be created. But alongside it, there was another variant known as International Taekwondo Federation which sanctioned a more common way of Taekwondo.
In 1973 the Kukkiwon was established as the new Korean Academy for Taekwondo and served the same functions as the original Koran Taekwondo Association. This in turn allowed for the creation of the WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) that was the foundation that dictated how this martial art was to be ruled and practiced all over the world.
Now that Taekwondo was spreading all over the world and a governing body was available it was time for the next step which was to make it an Olympic sport. This goal became a reality in the Olympic Games of Sidney 2000 where Taekwondo appeared for the first time as an Olympic sport and has been one ever since being its next appearance in Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, none other than in one of the countries which martial arts style set the foundations of that Taekwondo is today.