Taekwon-Do literally translates as Fist and Foot Art. It is a Martial Art that was founded in Korea by a man called ‘Grandmaster General Choi Hong Hi’ – a General in the Korean Army – in April 1955.
General Choi was a 2nd Dan Black Belt in Shotokan Karate before he decided to take what he knew and use this knowledge to create the Art we know today as Taekwon-Do.
Taekwon-Do is primarily known as a ‘Kicking Art’, due to the vast number of kicks it has to offer, however, when studying Taekwon-Do properly, the practitioner will discover that there is a lot more to it than just some fancy kicks. It incorporates many different disciplines; pattern, sparring, special technique, power breaking and self-defence. These can be practiced in a practical sense as well as in a sporting environment through competition based activity.
GRAND MASTER GENERAL CHOI HONG HI
Taekwon-Do is cared for by the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). This is the founding body that governs Taekwon-Do as a Martial Art and is run by a group of Grandmasters, Masters and Senior practitioners to ensure member’s and the Art it self are looked after.
Taekwon-Do has a ranking system which is represented by different coloured belts. When a student first joins, they receive a White coloured belt, to symbolise innocence and that they have no previous knowledge in Taekwon-Do. In order to progress to a higher level, each student must undertake an Examination, if successful, then they are promoted to the next grade (different coloured belt).
In comparison to other Arts such as Kung-Fu, Karate, Sumo and many others, Taekwon-Do is classed as a ‘modern Martial Art’ as it was not developed thousands of years ago in ancient times. It is the only Martial Art that has been scientifically developed through extensive research and study, incorporating elements such as ‘sine wave’, to ensure that the practitioner can develop the maximum amount of power in each technique through utilising the body in the most effective way possible.
Once a student reaches Black Belt, the progression is no longer measured by the colour of their belt, but the Degree number on it. The first stage is 1st Degree Black Belt, ranging all the way to 9th Degree. At 4th Degree, the practitioner becomes an Internationally recognised Instructor by the ITF board. At 7th and 8th, the practitioner receives the title of ‘Master’. For those who have served long enough and devoted their lives into furthering the development and promotion of Taekwon-Do, they may be awarded to 9th Degree, giving them the title of ‘Grandmaster’ – the highest accolade in the Martial Art.
“A true Grandmaster is a person who starts the arts at a very young age and continues it until their body will no longer allow it. Then they still contribute mentally to the art.”
- General Choi Hong-Hi