Taekwondo is an approach to the martial arts, that instills just more than physical fighting skills. It is a discipline that shows ways of increasing our spirit and life through training our body and mind. Today, it has grown into a worldwide sport that’s ascertained an international appeal, and is among one of the Olympic Games.
What is the meaning of Taekwondo?
It is comprised of three distinct parts “Tae-Kwon-Do”, however, it’s made up of only one word in Korean. “Tae” means “foot,” “to step on,” or “leg”; “Kwon” means “fight,” or “fist”; and “Do” means the “way” or “discipline.” If we put these three parts together, we can see a couple of critical ideas behind Taekwondo.
First, Taekwondo is the enlightened way of using “Tae” and “Kwon” which are comprised of your “fists” and “feet”, or all of your body parts that represent your fists and feet.
Secondly, Taekwondo is a path to control a fighting situation so the outcome of the situation is peace. This idea comes from the meaning of Tae Kwon “to put fists under control”. Thus Taekwondo means “the right way of using all of your body parts to stop fights and help to create a world with peace.”
Taekwondo has developed along side the history of Korea and has, been represented by several different labels in throughout the course of its history. In Korea, Taekwondo started out as a defense martial art called “Taekkyon” or “Subak,” and made as a way of challenging 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 focused on producing leaders of the country. Nowadays Taekwondo is a national sport of South Korea.
Taekwondo today is similar to arts in other Asian countries and combines concepts and ideas with them, because throughout its history it has incorporated many different styles that were in the countries that surrounded them, like Japan and China.
But Taekwondo sets itself apart from many oriental martial arts in a couple respects. First, physically it is very dynamic with active movements that include a mirage of foot skills. Secondly, the physical movements are in line with that of the mind and life as a whole.
Third, it possesses dynamic poomsae (see poomsae in the martial arts) from another perspective. Taekwondo can be characterized by unity: the unity of body, mind, and life, and the unity of the poomsae and confrontation. When you participate in Taekwondo, you should quite your mind and synchronize your mind with your movements, and spread this harmony to your life and society. This is how the principle of the physical movements, the principle of training ones mind, and the principle of oneness of life become whole.
Taekwondo is an attitude about life, just like any other aspect of ones life like having a job, raising a family, or fighting for something in which you believe in. What sets Taekwondo apart from these is that it is an activity for survival in extremely life changing situations. One must always overcome the enemy that is trying to cause harm to you. But simply winning a fight is not enough to ensure one’s security, because the enemy may recuperate and attempt to assault you again. Also, there can be many other enemies than the one that was just defeated. A person can’t ever truly feel safe unless that person gains a continued sense of peace. To ascertain this permanent or lasting sense of peace, one needs wholeness. This is the aim of Taekwondo. Otherwise Taekwondo would be no different from any other street-fighting skills.
Taekwondo’s goal is for mental and spiritual growth and improvements in ones life through its unique activities. This is why one could say Taekwondo is a way of life. To ultimately enable one to lead more valuable lives, we would do well by obtaining the guiding principles at the core of Taekwondo.
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