History of Taekwondo

Taekwondo, the “way of kicking and punching,” finds its roots beginning more than 2,000 years ago.  It began as a style known as “Subak” or “Taekyon” and was developed as a way of training the mind and body in the ancient kingdom of Koguryo under the name of “Sunbae.”  Paintings of unarmed men using very similar techniques to those of modern-day Taekwondo have been found on the ceilings of royal tombs.  It was the backbone of the Hwarangdo during the Silla Dynasty and aimed to produce leaders of the countries.

Because of Korea’s location, Taekwondo has adopted many similarities between Karate and Kung Fu from its nearby countries of Japan and China, including linear movements and circular patterns.  Taekwondo seeks coordinated growth and improvements in life through its many different activities.

The training was initially intended only for the royal families and military.  However, during the Yi  Dynasty (1397-1907), teaching to the general public began, and the focus changed to more of a recreational and physical fitness art style.

The first school was started in Yong Chun, Seoul, South Korea, in 1945.  However, many different schools were opening with different styles simultaneously, claiming to be of “Korean Tradition.”  It wasn’t until 1957 that General Hong Hi Choi (known as the father of Taekwondo) suggested that the name Taekwondo be the nationally accepted name of the art.  On September 14, 1961, an official decree was finally made to call it Taekwondo, and the formed Korea Taekwondo (KTA) with the general being elected as the first president.

A short time later, the art made its way to the USA, and the US Taekwondo Association was formed in 1967, which was then replaced 7 years later by The US Taekwondo Federation.

In 1988, it was a demonstration event in the Olympics and became an official medal sport in 2000 for the Sydney Games.   An estimated 80 million people, spanning 210 countries, currently training in the art.


Stance                                  –              Seogi                                     –              suh gee

Horseriding Stance           –              chachoomseogi                   –              cha choom suh gee

Walking Stance                  –              Apseogi                                 –              Ahp Suh gee

Low Front Stance              –              Apkubi                                  –              Ahp Koo Bee

Back Stance                        –              Dwikobi                                –              Dwee Koe Bee

Tiger Stance                       –              Beom Seogi                         –              Bee ohm Suh gee

Fighting Stance                  –              Kyorugi  seogi                     –              Kie yo rue gee suh gee

Block                                     –             Mahki                                 –              Mah key

Low block                            –             Ahrae mahki                      –              Ah rae mah key

Middle block                      –              Mahngtong mahki            –              Mong tong mah key

High block                           –             Eolgul mahki                      –              Ool gool mah key

In-Out middle block         –              Bakat mahki                       –              Bah cot Mah kee

Out-in middle block         –              An mahki                             –              Ahn Mah kee

Knife hand strike              –              Han sonal chigi                  –              Hahn Sahnahl cheegee

Double knife low              –              Ju Sonal  ahrae mahki        –            Joo Sahnahl Ah rae mah key

Double knife middle        –              Ju Sonal Mahngton mahki  –           Joo Sahnahl mong tong mah key

Kick                                     –              Chagi                                    –              Chah gee

Front Kick                          –              Ap chagi                               –              Ahp chah gee

Front stretch kick             –              Apbola chagi                       –              Ahp bowl  ah chah gee

Roundhouse kick              –              Dulya chagi                         –              Dool  ya chah gee

Side kick                             –              Yup chagi                            –              Yup chah gee

Back kick                            –              Dwi yup chagi                     –              Dwee yup chah gee


1 – Hanah            –              Hah nah

2 – Dul                  –              dool

3 – Saet                –              set

4 – Naet               –              net

5 – Dasut             –              Dah sut

6 – Yasut              –              Yah sut

7 – Ilgup               –              Ill gup

8 – Yadup            –              you dupe

9 – Ahop              –              ah hope

10 – Yul                –              Yool

11 – Yul hanah  –              Yool hah nah

12 – Yul dool      –              Yool dool

13 – Yul set         –              Yool set

14 – Yul net        –              Yool net

15 – Yul dasut    –              Yool dah sut

16 – Yul yasut    –              Yool yah sut

17 – Yul ilgup     –              Yool ill gup

18 – Yul yadup  –              Yool you dupe

19 – Yul ahop     –              Yool ah hope

20 – Samul          –              Sah mool

30 – Soreun        –              Sore ee un

40 – Maheun     –              Mah hee un

50 – Sheen         –              She un


First                       –              Il                              –              Ill

Second                 –              Ee                           –              Eee

Third                      –              Sam                       –              Sahm

Fourth                  –              Sah                         –              Sah

Fifth                       –              Oh                          –              Oh

Sixth                      –              Yook                      –              Yuke

Seventh               –              Chil                         –              Chill

Eighth                   –              Pal                          –              Pahl

Ninth                     –              Koo                        –              Koo

Tenth                    –              Ship                       –              Ship