Tae kwon do means the art of "kicking and punching" and is a Korean martial art of unarmed combat. Tae kwon do is a free fighting sport that uses hands and feet to defend against an opponent, and while there is hardly a part of the body that cannot be used as a defensive weapon, it is probably the varied and powerful kicking techniques that are the most readily identifiable trademark of Tae kwon do.
A more literal translation of Tae Kwon Do is :
Tae - To kick, Strike or thrust with the foot.
Kwon - To punch, strike or a blow with the hand.
Do - Path, way, discipline or art.
Tae kwon do (occasionally referred to as Korean karate) is a complete system of self defence, that promotes personal development, both physically and mentally, and with regular training come the benefits of improved fitness, agility and flexibility, leading to an overall feeling of well being and self confidence.
THE HISTORY OF TAE KWON DO ( IN BRIEF )
The name Tae Kwon Do is a new name and as such Tae Kwon Do could be seen as a new martial art, but it's origins date back to 50 B.C. when Korea was three kingdoms, Silla, Koguryo and Baekche.
During the Koguryo dynasty where there is evidence of Taek kyon being practiced, the spread of the art is credited to the warrior nobility of Sila, the society of the Hawarang - do ("the way of the flowering manhood"). Later in the Koryo dynasty the art became known as subak and the emphasis changed away from a fighting art, to a system designed to promote fitness, as the mood of the populas turned to more scholarly pursuits.
It was the Japanese, during their occupation of Korea in 1909 that again sparked interest in the fighting arts, by banning native Korean arts, Koreans had to learn the art in secret or travel abroad, mainly China and some to Japan. When the occupation ended in 1945 the interest in the martial arts really took off with native Korean schools starting up with a blend of Chinese and Japanese influences being introduced into them.
The various schools or "kwans" of Korean martial arts continued to develop and grow until in 1955 many of these were united by General Choin Hon Hi, eventually under the name Tae Kwon Do.
TAE KWON DO IN THE EASTERN REGION
Young Kwon was born in 1945 and started in the martial arts at an early age by eleven he had obtained his black belt and was also very successful on the tournament scene. He left Korea and travelled to Germany and Ireland before bringing his family to settle in Norwich in Norfolk. Tae Kwon Do was started in Norwich by Master Kwon in 1971 at The Duke St Centre and spread through out East Anglia, being a member of the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (I.T.F.). At this time the head of the ITF was General Choi, and the UK chief instructor was Master Rhee, in 1973 Master Kwon teamed up with Master Chow and joined the World Tae Kwon Do Federation (W.T.F.) . Master Kwon returned to Korea in 1976 and was Chief instructor of all East Anglia clubs, Mr Richard Cox became head of the association in the 1980's and after his departure Mr Barry King became association president, and Mr Jim Edwards became chief instructor. Mr King started his training in 1972 under Master Kwon as did Mr Edwards in 1973.