A Brief History of Taekwondo

Taekwondo pic

Image: historyoffighting.com

A graduate of Loyola University, Michael Ikossi majored in language and culture with a concentration in French and a minor in criminal justice. Alongside his academic and professional pursuits, Michael Ikossi pursues an interest in sailing, music, and martial arts. Since the age of ten, he has maintained a black belt in taekwondo.

Meaning “the way of the foot and fist” in Korean, taekwondo is a dynamic martial arts form that emphasizes foot and leg attacks such as spinning and head-height kicks. Although its roots date back to ancient Korea thousands of years ago, taekwondo did not emerge as an organized practice until the mid-20th century.

Starting in the 1940s and ‘50s, martial arts schools called “kwans” opened in Seoul and began teaching a variety of fighting styles to classes of students comprised mostly of soldiers and members of law enforcement. By 1955, the fighting styles had been combined into a unified practice that became known as taekwondo.

Soon after, the popularity of taekwondo spread worldwide and tournament rules were established to govern world competitions. Today, it is an Olympic sport and practiced by tens of millions of people around the globe.


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