I.T.F. plaque no. 5238
TAEKWON-DO A BRIEF HISTORY
Taekwon Do, "The Art Of Hand & foot Fighting".
Korea's first know and Historically documented form of fighting techniques were practice around 600 A.D in the time of the Silla Kingdom in the South of Korea. These ancient fighting techniques were in a style known as Soo Bak-Gi. This was shortly followed by the Korean art of foot fighting know as Tae Kwon. This style was used in the training the army of the Dynasties.
However as later Dynasties took an anti-military stance these styles fell into decline and further decline took place when in 1909 Korea was occupied by Japan who outlawed the practice of Tae Kwon and many other Korean customs and traditions. Tae Kwon only survived due to the efforts of people such as Master Song Duk Ki and Han LI Dong who refused to let their heritage die.
In 1933 a young General Choi was sent to study Calligraphy, his teacher was Han LI Dong who since the occupation had secretly practised the art of Tae Kwon relentlessly. On seeing the small and frail looking General Choi, Master Han decided to teach him Tae Kwon as well as Calligraphy.
In 1937 General Choi was sent to Kyoto in Japan to further his education, where under fellow Korean Mr. Kim General Choi studied Karate attaining the grade of 2nd degree black belt.On returning to his country during World War II, General Choi was forced to enlist in the Japanese Army, but while posted in Pyongyang he was implicated as a planner of the Korean Independence movement and sent to prison, where he started to lay the foundations of the new art by teaching his fellow inmates. 1945 saw the end of the war and the liberation of Korea and General Choi was released from prison.
In January 1946 General Choi became a 2nd Lieutenant in the newly formed Korean Army. Later he was assigned to Kwang-Ju as a company Commander, while there he taught the whole company the foundations of the new art.
On being promoted to 1st Lieutenant he was sent to Tae Jan where he not only taught the Korean soldiers but also the American solider stationed there.During the next few years General Choi consolidate the basic foundations of Tae Kwon-Do while pursuing his military career. By 1949 General Choi had attained the rank of full Colonel and with it the opportunity to go and study at Fort Riley Grand General School in Kansas in America. General Choi gave America it's first taste of Taekwon-Do.
Through the years up to 1953 saw General Choi organise the Korean GrandGeneral School in Pusan. As Assistant Commandant and chief of the Academic Department in 1952 he briefed General MacArthur on his visit to Kang Numg and at the time of the armistice he was in command of the 5th Infantry Division.
In 1954 General Choi activated the 29th Infantry Division at the Cheju Island and Oh Do Kwon. While there along with Major Nam Tae Hi, he was also commander of the Chon Do Kwan, which was the largest of the civilian gyms.
Then on the 11th April 1955 the name Tae Kwon Do came into existence when at a meeting of leading master, distinguished Historians and Politicians, General Choi Hong Hi 9th Degree submitted the name Taekwon-Do and the syllabus of his art, which was accepted and also received the approval of the Korean president, therefore unifying the various Kwan's such as Dong Soo, Gong Soo, Kwan bup, Tae Kyon, Soo Bak, Kang Soo and others.