History of Taekwondo

Beginning in 1945, shortly after the end of the occupation of Korea by Imperial Japan, new martial arts schools called kwans were opened in Seoul. These schools were established by Korean martial artists who had studied primarily in Japan during the Japanese rule. The umbrella term traditional taekwondo typically refers to the martial arts practiced by the kwans during the 1940s and 1950s, though in reality the term “taekwondo” had not yet been coined at that time, and indeed each kwan was practicing its own unique style of martial art. During this time taekwondo was also adopted for use by the South Korean military, which increased its popularity among civilian martial arts schools.

Since 2000, taekwondo has been one of only two Asian martial arts (the other being judo) that are included in the Olympic Games. It became a demonstration event at the 1988 games in Seoul, and became an official medal event at the 2000 games in Sydney. In 2010, taekwondo was accepted as a Commonwealth Games sport.