Courtesy - Enduring respect for and consideration of self and others. Politeness. Humility.
Integrity - Steadfast adherence to a strict moral and ethical code. Honesty. Loyalty
Perseverance - To persist in an endeavor or undertaking in spite of counter-influences, opposition or discouragement. Dedication.
Self Control - The ability of a person to exert their will over the inhibitions, impulses, emotions or desires of their body or self. Patience. Discipline.
Indomitable Spirit - Having the right attitude and maintaining inner strength regardless of winning or losing. Not allowing one’s principles to be broken, defeated, or conquered. Bravery. Courage.
Taekwondo, translated as, "The Way of the Hand and Foot", has a long history of being a self defense martial art, using only the hands and feet to fight off ones assailants. Taekwondo is primarily a defensive martial art, but it also embodies the "Way" of the martial artist.
Although the name Taekwondo was first introduced in 1944 by General Choi, the art can be traced back to murals painted on tomb walls dating back to between AD 5 and AD 427.
Taekwondo developed out of blending the ancient Korean foot-fighting techniques and Japanese Karate. Both styles dating back thousands of years.
One of the most significant ways in which Taekwondo differs from other fighting forms is that a great deal of emphasis is placed upon using the legs to fight with. Indeed the flying kicks unique to Taekwondo have been said to have originated as a way of kicking mounted soldiers off horseback.
The oldest Korean martial art was an amalgamation of unarmed combat styles developed by the three rival Korean Kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje, where young men were trained in unarmed combat techniques to develop strength, speed, and survival skills. The most popular of these techniques was ssireum and subak with taekkyeon being the most popular of the segments of subak. The Northern Goguryeo kingdom was a dominant force in Northern Korea and North Eastern China prior to common era and again from the 3rd century to the 6th century CE. Before the fall of Goguryeo Dynasty 6th century CE, the Shilla Kingdom asked for help in training its people for defence against pirate invasions. During this time a few select Silla warriors were given training in taekkyeon by the early masters from Koguryo. These Shilla warriors then became known as the Hwarang. The Hwarang set up a military academy for the sons of royalty in Silla called Hwarang-do, which means "the way of flowering manhood." The Hwarang studied taekkyeon, history, Confucian philosophy, ethics, Buddhist morality, social skills and military tactics. The guiding principles of the Hwarang warriors were based on Won Gwang's five codes of human conduct and included loyalty, filial duty, trustworthiness, valor and justice. Taekkyeon was spread throughout Korea because the Hwarang traveled all around the peninsula to learn about the other regions and people.
In spite of Korea's rich history of ancient and traditional martial arts, Korean martial arts faded into obscurity during the late Joseon Dynasty. Korean society became highly centralized under Korean Confucianism and martial arts were poorly regarded in a society whose ideals were epitomized by its scholar-kings. Formal practices of traditional martial arts such as subak and taekkyeon were reserved for sanctioned military uses. However, taekkyeon persisted into the 19th century as a folk game during the May-Dano festival and was still taught as the Military Martial Art under the last emperor of the Choson Dynasty.
During the occupation, Koreans who were able to study in Japan were exposed to Japanese martial arts. Others were exposed to martial arts in China and Manchuria.
When the occupation ended in 1945, Korean martial arts schools (kwans) began to open in Korea under various influences. There are differing views on the origins of the arts taught in these schools. Some believe that they taught martial arts that were based primarily upon the traditional Korean martial arts taekkyon and subak, or that taekwondo was derived from native Korean martial arts with influences from neighboring countries. Still others believe that these schools taught arts that were almost entirely based upon karate.
In 1952, at the height of the Korean War, there was a martial arts exhibition in which the kwans displayed their skills. In one demonstration, Nam Tae Hi smashed 13 roof tiles with a punch. Following this demonstration, South Korean President Syngman Rhee instructed Choi Hong Hi to introduce the martial arts to the Korean army. By the mid-1950s, nine kwans had emerged.
After the liberation of Korea at the end of the second world war there were five main martial art academies in Korea, all practicing Taekwondo but in slightly different ways. These families or styles of Taekwondo art were known as:
Chung Do Kwan.
Syngman Rhee ordered that the various schools unify under a single system. The name "taekwondo" was submitted by either Choi Hong Hi (of the Oh Do Kwan) or Song Duk Son (of the Chung Do Kwan), and was accepted on April 11, 1955. As it stands today, the nine kwans are the founders of taekwondo, though not all the kwans used the name. The Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) was formed in 1959/1961 to facilitate the unification.
In the early 1960s, taekwondo made its début worldwide with assignment of the original masters of taekwondo to various countries. Standardization efforts in South Korea stalled, as the kwans continued to teach differing styles. Another request from the Korean government for unification resulted in the formation of the Korea Tae Soo Do Association, which changed its name back to the Korea Taekwondo Association in 1965 following a change of leadership. The International Taekwon-Do Federation was founded in 1966, followed by World Taekwondo Federation in 1973.
White -Represents innocence, as that of the beginning student who has no previous knowledge of Taekwon-Do.
Yellow -Represents a plant that begins to see the light as the foundation of Taekwon-Do is being laid.
Green -Represents the plant's growth as Taekwon-Do skills begin to develop.
Blue -Represents the plant reaching to the sky as it matures and Taekwon-Do progresses.
Red - Represents the sun setting on this phase of the student’s learning, preparing for black belt training.