Unveiling the Origins: The Birth of Taekwondo

Are you curious about the origins of Taekwondo? Perhaps you’ve dabbled in this dynamic martial art yourself, or you’re simply intrigued by its graceful yet powerful movements. Whatever the case may be, join me on a journey back in time as we unravel the enigma surrounding the birth of Taekwondo. In this article, we will delve into the depths of history, exploring the origins and inception of this beloved martial art. So fasten your seatbelts and get ready to embark on a captivating adventure as we uncover the truth behind the question: when was Taekwondo invented?

When Was Taekwondo Invented

As we delve into the fascinating world of Taekwondo, one question that often arises is, “When was Taekwondo invented?” To uncover the origins of this martial art, we must travel back in time to the 1940s. While the Korean Taekwondo Association, established in 1959, is credited with the creation of Taekwondo as we know it today, its roots can be traced back further.

When Was Taekwondo Invented

During the 1940s, Koreans who had studied martial arts abroad, particularly in Japan, China, and ancient Korea, returned to their homeland with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Inspired by their learnings, they established their own schools, marking the beginning of the ‘Kwan Era’ of Taekwondo.

One prominent figure who played a pivotal role in the development of Taekwondo is General Choi Hong Hi. He combined elements from various martial arts, emphasizing fast and powerful kicks, to create a unique combat sport. In 1955, Taekwondo was officially adopted as the name for this new martial art, solidifying its identity.

The birth of Taekwondo, however, did not stop there. It continued to evolve and gain recognition on both national and international levels. In 1971, Taekwondo was declared the national sport of South Korea, further cementing its significance within the country. With this newfound status, Taekwondo gained popularity worldwide, attracting practitioners from all corners of the globe.

One of the oldest governing bodies for Taekwondo is the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), founded in 1959. This organization played a vital role in establishing standardized techniques and promoting the sport both domestically and internationally.

On an international scale, two prominent organizations for Taekwondo emerged: the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) and the partnership of the Kukkiwon and World Taekwondo (WT). These organizations have been instrumental in organizing competitions, setting rules and regulations, and promoting the values and philosophy of Taekwondo worldwide.

Taekwondo’s journey reached a major milestone in the year 2000 when it became an official Olympic event. This recognition showcased the skill, athleticism, and cultural significance of Taekwondo on the world stage. Today, Taekwondo stands proudly as Korea’s national martial art, embodying the nation’s rich heritage and spirit.

Throughout the article, we’ve discovered the birth of Taekwondo and witnessed its growth from its humble beginnings in the 1940s to its status as a global phenomenon. Taekwondo’s origins may be rooted in the past, but its influence and reach continue to thrive in the present day and will undoubtedly shape the future of martial arts for generations to come.

“From the 1940s to the present day, the story of Taekwondo is one of evolution and relentless pursuit. As practitioners don their doboks and engage in spirited combat, they pay homage to the pioneers who forged the path before them, forever carrying the spirit of Taekwondo within their hearts.”

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The History and Origin of Taekwondo

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Taekwondo has gained immense popularity as a martial art, especially in competitive settings. In this article, we will delve into the rich history and origin of Taekwondo, shedding light on its evolution and the key figures who have shaped this martial art. Join us as we explore the fascinating journey of Taekwondo through time.

Early Origins: Subak and Soo Bahk

The roots of Taekwondo can be traced back to ancient Korea, a land divided into three kingdoms. These kingdoms developed a joint system of unarmed combat known as “subak,” which encompassed a wide range of techniques. Each kingdom contributed its own unique methods, influenced by the surrounding terrain and environmental factors. Subak thrived as a military training discipline and an entertaining sport, even gaining popularity among China’s Qing dynasty.

However, with the fall of the kingdoms and the rise of the Joseon dynasty in Korea, subak gradually lost its dominance. The focus shifted from physical combat to literary and cultural arts, resulting in restrictions on the practice of subak, limiting it to competitions and sport.

During the Joseon dynasty, a new art emerged known as “Tae Kyon,” which sparked some historical debate regarding whether it was a distinct art or simply a variation of subak. Taek Kyon employed techniques such as tripping, throwing, and off-balancing opponents. It gained popularity as an art form and continued to be practiced in competitions and exhibitions.

“Subak and Tae Kyon laid the foundation for the martial arts culture in Korea, showcasing the adaptability and enduring nature of these disciplines.”

The Influence of Japanese and Chinese Martial Arts

Amidst the Japanese occupation of Korea, many native Korean martial arts, including Taekwondo’s precursors, faced restrictions or bans. Consequently, Koreans began training in Japanese martial arts. However, one man named Won Kuk Lee sought a different path.

While living in China, Lee extensively studied Chinese “Young Kung Fu” to understand its effectiveness in close-quarter combat. He also embraced his Korean heritage and trained in Okinawan karate. When the Japanese occupation ended at the conclusion of World War II, Lee returned to Korea and became one of the founders of a new martial arts system.

These martial artists, blending Japanese and Chinese influences, established their own schools called “Kwans.” The Kwans, with their diverse teachings, began to shape the foundation of what would become modern Taekwondo. Their efforts marked the beginning of the “Kwan Era” of Taekwondo, during which the various schools developed their own versions of the art.

“The Kwans, with their blend of Japanese and Chinese influences, laid the groundwork for the future evolution of Taekwondo, fusing diverse martial arts techniques and philosophies.”

The Birth of Taekwondo and its Unification

As the Korean War drew to a close, four Kwans merged to form the “Original Nine Kwans,” aiming to unify their respective arts. Among the founders, General Choi Hong Hi played a pivotal role in the creation of a unique combat sport known as Taekwondo. His vision involved combining elements from different martial arts to develop an effective fighting system.

In 1955, Taekwondo was officially adopted as the name for this new martial art, and General Choi Hong Hi is often referred to as the founder of Taekwondo. Meanwhile, the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) was established in 1959, marking a significant milestone in the standardization and promotion of Taekwondo.

“General Choi Hong Hi’s innovative approach and the establishment of the KTA laid the groundwork for the growth and recognition of Taekwondo as a unique martial art.”

International Recognition and Legacy

In the years that followed, Taekwondo continued to evolve and gain recognition on both national and international levels. It was declared the national sport of South Korea in 1971, solidifying its position as a cultural and athletic treasure of the nation.

International organizations such as the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), Kukkiwon, and World Taekwondo (WT) played instrumental roles in organizing competitions and promoting the values and philosophies of Taekwondo across the globe. In 2000, Taekwondo attained the prestigious status of being recognized as an official Olympic event.

“Taekwondo’s international success and Olympic recognition have elevated it to a global platform, uniting athletes from all corners of the world and embodying the spirit of peace and harmony.”


Taekwondo, with its dynamic techniques and rich history, has evolved into Korea’s national martial art and thrives as a global phenomenon. From its early origins in subak and Tae Kyon to the efforts of pioneers such as General Choi Hong Hi, Taekwondo continues to inspire and captivate practitioners and spectators alike.

As we embark on this journey into the history and origin of Taekwondo, let us celebrate the legacy of this martial art and its profound impact on the world stage.

“The enduring spirit of Taekwondo lies in its ability to adapt and grow, inspiring generations to embrace discipline, perseverance, and the pursuit of excellence.”

When Was Taekwondo Invented


Question 1:

When was Taekwondo invented?

Answer 1:
Taekwondo was officially adopted as the name for this martial art in 1955. However, its roots can be traced back to the 1940s during the ‘Kwan Era’ of Taekwondo, when Koreans who returned to Korea after studying martial arts abroad established their own schools.

Question 2:

Who played a key role in the development of Taekwondo?

Answer 2:
General Choi Hong Hi played a significant role in the development of Taekwondo. He was instrumental in shaping and promoting the martial art, leading to its recognition and establishment.

Question 3:

What are the main international organizations for Taekwondo?

Answer 3:
The main international organizations for Taekwondo are the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) and the partnership of the Kukkiwon and World Taekwondo (WT). These organizations govern and regulate the practice and competitions of Taekwondo worldwide.

Question 4:

When did Taekwondo become a national sport of South Korea?

Answer 4:
Taekwondo became a national sport of South Korea and gained international recognition after being declared the national sport in 1971. This recognition further solidified Taekwondo’s status and influence as a globally recognized martial art and sport.

Question 5:

When did Taekwondo become an Olympic event?

Answer 5:
Taekwondo has been an Olympic event since the year 2000. Being designated as Korea’s national martial art, Taekwondo has achieved a prominent position in the international sports arena, captivating audiences with its dynamic and powerful techniques.

Lola Sofia