A Korean martial art, Taekwondo is a combination of self-defense and combat skills. It is used as a form of defense and makes use of the whole body. It includes skillful application of techniques like dodges, blocks, kicks, and punches. For Taekwondo masters, the art is more than just a way to defend themselves-it is a way of life, which requires them to be completely dedicated to the art. It is more than just learning the fighting techniques, but more about developing their inner self with strict discipline.
How did Taekwondo evolve?
Taekwondo is a combination of martial arts, most of which originated in Korea. Among the oldest disciplines, some of which are over 2,000 years old, that influenced the development of Taekwondo are Taek Kyon, Tae Kwonpup, Tae Kwon, T’ang-su, and Kwonpup. Use of circular hand movements influenced by Chinese martial arts can also be clearly seen in Taekwondo. It has also drawn inspiration from popular martial arts like Kung-fu (kicking techniques), Judo, and Karate (linear, abrupt movements).
The earliest mention of Taekwondo on record dates back to the time when Korea was divided into three kingdoms – Silla, Koguryo, and Paekche, around 50 B.C. Paintings of unarmed people from this period following modern day Taekwondo techniques are evidence of the origin of Taekwondo. The earliest known form of Taekwondo, Tae Kyon, is a self-defense art that uses kicks, hand strikes, throws, and joint locks.
Though Taekwondo was first practiced in the Koguryo kingdom, the credit of spreading it over Korea goes to the Hwarang warriors belonging to Silla. From 668 A.D. To 935 A.D., Taek Kyon (later renamed as Subak) served as a system to promote fitness among the soldiers. However, it was later developed into a fighting art. Though the defense form was allowed to be taught to the public during the rule of Yi dynasty, it failed to generate enough interest and was practiced only in a few parts of the country.
Revival of the art
The interest of Koreans in Subak renewed when the country was invaded by the Japanese. When the Japanese banned the practice of military arts in Korea and banned Korean books as well as languages, Korean patriots formed groups and started practicing Subak along with other self-defense forms. Karate, Judo, and Kung-fu were introduced officially to the public in 1943. By 1945, Korea developed several variations of Subak. The first school to teach Taekwondo was said to have started in 1945 in Seoul. Though the U.S. first saw the glimpses of Subak in the 1950s, the U.S. Taekwondo Association was formed in 1967. The American Taekwondo Association was founded in 1969 by Haeng Ung Lee, who premiered the Songahmstyle of Taekwondo in 1983. The World Taekwondo Federation, founded in 1973, is an organization recognized as the official international Taekwondo governing body by the Korean government.
ATA Park Karate was founded in 1990 in Roselle Park, NJ, by 8th degree black belt, Chief Master Vincent Raimondi. The school has received an Ambassador Award as one of the top five academies in the country.
All three of our locations offer a variety of programs, for pre-school children ages 3-6, and elementary ages children 7 and up, as well as teen and adult training. All programs incorporate physical fitness, self-defense and traditional Songahm Taekwondo, taught with a focus on life skills, all in a supportive, positive environment.
Under Chief Master Raimondi, all of our schools are dedicated to creating tomorrow’s leaders- one black belt at a time.
For more information, call us at any one of our 3 schools. You can also visit our website at parkkarate.com.