What is Taekwondo?
Literally translated, Taekwondo breaks down to "tae" meaning to kick with the foot, "kwon" meaning to punch or strike with the hand, and "do" meaning art or way. Therefore, Taekwondo translates to "the art of kicking and punching." Its physical aspects come from the kicking and punching, while its spiritual aspects come from the art.
Many times the word Karate is used in the name of a Taekwondo school. This seems strange since karate is a Japanese word and Taekwondo is Korean. This occurs purely as a business decision. More people are familiar with the word Karate, so when they see it they will know what a Taekwondo school is about. Also, the word karate has fewer letters than Taekwondo. When putting up a sign on a school building for advertisement, the smaller word karate means the letters on the sign may be larger and possibly lighted for less cost than for the word Taekwondo.
Although Taekwondo is modern martial art, its origins and evolution may be traced back through 2,000 years of Korean history. For centuries, martial arts have been an integral part of Korean culture and heritage; improved and passed down from teacher to student. After the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea after the end of World War II, their was an insurgence of national pride that led Korean martial artists to renew their links to Korean's ancient martial arts. This led to the development of a new Korean martial art that, in 1955, was officially named Taekwondo. Today, Koreans practice Taekwondo during military training, as well as in grade school, as a way to build a strong sense of justice, fortitude, and humility using strict discipline, physical conditioning, and mental training. Taekwondo gradually spread to countries around the world where it is practiced as both a traditional self-defense system, and as a competitive sport. Taekwondo is a way for people of any age to learn self-defense and increase their physical fitness while training with others who have similar interests. Taekwondo not only develops the physical being; it also develops the moral being, which involves such things as character, integrity, and honor. These moral aspects develop unconsciously while students consciously train in the physical aspects of Taekwondo.