Tae Kwon Do is a martial art from Korea that has a history of over 2000 years. It was originally developed for war to protect ancient Korean kingdoms from their enemies.At this time only royal princes and the sons of nobility were taught the martial arts, called Taek Kyon. This group of boys were called the Hwarang-Do or "the way of flowering manhood." It is at this time that most of the commandments and tenets of Tae Kwon Do were developed.

During the Silla Dynasty, Taek Kyon was used more for recreation than any thing else. However Taek Kyon became known as Subak in the Koryo Dynasty and became more of a fighting art. During the Yi Dynasty the first book about the art was published. This allowed for many more people to have access to the art. Soon after the art began to die out and was passed from generation to generation in individual families.

In 1909 Japan invaded Korea and banned the practice of all martial arts. Contrary to the wishes of the Japanese, Korean martial arts increased in popularity and they were practiced in secret. In 1945, when Korea was liberated from Japan, martial arts schools or dojangs opened in Korea. The military of Korea also began to teach the martial arts as part of its normal training.

On April 11, 1955 a meeting was held to unify all the styles or kwans into one style. The name chosen was Tae Soo Do, but two years later the name of Tae Kwon Do was adopted. The only kwan that did become part of Tae Kwon Do that still stands as a martial art today was Hapkido.

On September 14, 1961 the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association was created and then its sister organization the World Tae Kwon Do Federation was established on May 28, 1973. The next year the first World Tae Kwon Do Championships were held in Seoul, South Korea. The founder of modern Tae Kwon Do is General Choi Hong Hi, who lives in Toronto, Canada. There are thousands of Tae Kwon Do schools all over the world.

Today the World Tae Kwon Do Federation(WTF), the international organization of Tae Kwon Do; the Korean Tae Kwon Do Association, the South Korean counterpart of the WTF; and the Kukiwon, the World Tae Kwon Do Headquarters, which certifies belt ranks and tests, all work together to make Tae Kwon Do prosper. Today Tae Kwon Do has over 20 million practitioners in 120 countries.

In 1980 Tae Kwon Do was recognized by the International Olympic Committee(IOC) and when Seoul was awarded with the 1988 Summer Olympic Games in 1982 Tae Kwon Do, the national sport of Korea, was designated as a demonstration sport. In the year 2000 Tae Kwon Do becomes a full medal sport!

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