A Brief History of Tae Kwon Do

 Tae Kwon Do (or taekwondo as it is sometimes known) is a fighting style that has it's origins in Korea. In 57 BC Korea had three kingdoms (Koguryo, Paekje and Silla) it was inevitable that there would be a power struggle. Needless to say the Silla won and united the three kingdoms in 668AD. It was the Silla's elite Hwa Rang Do (flowering youth) who were credited with the success.These young men devoted their mind and bodies to their style of combat to better serve the kingdom. The Hwa Rang Do also developed an honour code and it is this which today forms the philosophical background of Tae Kwon Do.
  In 936AD the Silla kingdom acme to an end and it was the turn of the Koguryo to rule. It was under their reign that Soo Bakh Do was introduced, a popular sport that drew influences from many other martial arts. This was to be the precursor to modern day Tae Kwon Do. When Korea became invaded by Japan Tae Kwon Do took on some forms of Karate (as performed by the Japanese). This led to the art form still practised today.

Competition Rules (WTF)

The competition area measures 10m x 10m.
The contestant shall wear the trunk protector (hogu), head protector, groin guard, forearm guards, shin guards, hand protectors, and a mouthpiece.
The duration of the contest is non-stop three rounds of two minutes each, with a one-minute rest period between rounds. In case of a tie score after the completion of the 3rd round, a 4th round of two minutes will be conducted as the sudden death overtime round.
Permitted and prohibited techniques:
Fist techniques are only allowed with a closed hand, and only with the leading part of the hand (no backhand or hammer techniques).
Foot techniques are only allowed by using the parts of the foot below the ankle bone (no shin or knee techniques).
Permitted areas
Trunk: Full force attack by fist and foot techniques on the areas covered by the trunk protector are permitted. Attacks on the part of the back not covered by the trunk protector are permitted so long as they are not direct hits to the spine.
Head: Full force, knock out attack to the head is only allowed by foot techniques. Attack to the back of the head is prohibited, as are all hand techniques to the head.
Points are awarded when permitted techniques deliver full force, abrupt displacement and trembling shock to the legal scoring areas of the body. Points may be awarded by judges for a successful technique as follows:
One point for attack on trunk protector.
Two points for attack on the head.
One point if a punch is thrown and stops the opponent in their tracks.
One additional point if the opponent is knocked down and the referee counts.
Declared winner if knock-out of the opponent with foot kicking to the legal area of head and face.
Deduction of points. Two types of penalties may be assigned for prohibited acts, "kyonggo" (warning penalty) and "gamjom" (deduction penalty). Two "kyonggo" deduct one point, rounded down (an odd "kyonggo" is not counted in the grand total), and a "gamjom" deducts one full point. When a contestant has been deducted four points, the referee shall declare him/her loser by penalties.
"Kyonggo" penalties include: evading by turning the back to the opponent; falling down; avoiding/stalling the match; grabbing, holding, or pushing; attacking below the waist; pretending injury; butting or attacking with knee; hitting the opponent’s face with the hand.
"Gaamjan" penalties include: attacking the opponent when the round is stopped; attacking a fallen opponent; intentionally attacking the opponent’s face with the hand.
In the event of a tied score after the sudden death round, the judging officials decide the match based on the initiative shown during the final round. (For full rules and regulation visit the WTF site)

Main Organisations

WTF World Taekwondo Federation
ITF International Taekwondodo Federation

The Five Tenents of Tae Kwon Do (A tenet is any opinion, principle, dogma, or doctrine which a person or group believes or maintains.)

Courtesy
Integrity
Perseverance
Self Control
Indomitable Spirit

Brief Taekwondo Techniques

Known mainly for it's flashy kicks, Tae Kwon Do shares many moves with the likes of karate and kickboxing (for historical reasons). But some of the moves you can expect to learn are; roundhouse kick, half-moon kick (also known as a crescent kick), back kick, knife hand strike and a range of blocks. There are alot more but you will find that out when you enrol in your local Taekwon-do class.

Tae Kwon Do Gradings

Part of the Taekwondo training is to learn the Korean language but other than that it is similar to kickboxing and karate grading system (for historical reasons). The belts and patterns are shown underneath.

Belt progress as follows, (grade also known as gup)

10th grade: White
9th grade: Orange
8th grade: Yellow
7th grade: Yellow, green stripe
6th grade: Green
5th grade: Green, blue stripe
4th grade: Blue
3rd grade: Blue, red stripe
2nd grade: Red
1st grade: Red, black stripe
1st degree: Black

Name of Pattern Number of Movements Learnt At a Rank of...
1 Chon-Ji 19 10th Gup
2 Dan-Gun 21 9th Gup
3 Do-San 24 8th Gup
4 Won-Hyo 28 7thGup
5 Yul-Gok 38 6th Gup
6 Joong-Gun 32 5th Gup
7 Toi-Gye 37 4th Gup
8 Hwa-Rang 29 3rd Gup
9 Choong-Moo 30 2nd Gup
10 Kwang-Gae 39 1st Gup
11 Po-Eun 12 Ge-Baek 13 Eui-Am 36 44 45 1st Dan
14 Choong-Jang 15 Ko-Dang 16 Sam-II 52 39 33 2nd Dan
17 Yoo-Sin 18 Choi-Yong 19 Yon-Ge 68 46 49 3rd Dan
20 Ul-Ji 21 Moon-Moo 22 So-San 42 61 72 4th Dan
23 Se-Jong 24 Tong-ll 24 56 5th Dan

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