Taekwondo has been developing with the 5000-year long history of Korea, being called by several different names in the course. In Korea, Taekwondo began as a defense martial art called “Subak” or “Taekkyon,” and developed as a way of training body and mind in the ancient kingdom of Koguryo, under the name of “Sunbae.” In the Shilla period, it had become the backbone of Hwarangdo that aimed at producing leaders of the country.Taekwondo today is similar to the martial arts in other Oriental countries and shares some features with them, because in the course of its evolution it has gained many different styles that existed in the martial arts of the countries surrounding Korea, like Japan and China.
Taekwondo in the 21st century
The Korea Taekwondo Association officially began operations on September 16, 1961. The Korea Taekwondo Association joined the Korea Amateur Sports Association as its 27th affiliate on February 25, 1962. Taekwondo was officially recognized as an event at the 44th National Athletic Meet on October 9, 1963. That meet was the catalyst for significant advancements in the creation of competition rules and protective equipment.
In the 1960s, Korean teachers began teaching Taekwondo abroad, marking a watershed moment in Taekwondo’s history. Taekwondo became a global sport in May 1973, when the first World Taekwondo Championships were held in Seoul, Korea, with 19 countries participating. Representatives of those nations founded the World Taekwondo Federation during a meeting in Seoul on May 28, 1973, with the championships (WTF).
In 1996, the World Taekwondo Federation had 144 member nations and an estimated worldwide Taekwondo population of 30 million individuals. Taekwondo has grown significantly as an international sport in recent years, owing to the IOC’s approval of the sport during its 83rd General Session in 1980. It was chosen as a demonstration sport for the 24th and 25th Summer Olympics in Seoul, 1988, and Barcelona, 1992.
Taekwondo was accepted as an official sport of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games during the IOC’s 103rd Session on September 4, 1994, in Paris, France. Taekwondo has grown in popularity faster than any other martial art. The WTF’s four regional union members host the continental championships. World and Women’s World Championships, World Cup Taekwondo, CISM Taekwondo Championships, and FISU World University Championships are held annually. Taekwondo is a sanctioned sport in most international multi-sport events, including the World Games, Pan American Games, African Games, Southeast Asian Games, and Central American Games.