“Taekwon-Do” literally means, “Way of hand and foot”.
Tae means “to smash, kick or destroy with the foot”
Kwon means “to smash or destroy with the hand”
Do means “way or art”
Taekwon-Do was developed from a version of an ancient form of unarmed combat practised for many centuries in Korea. It became perfected to its present form by General Choi Hong Hi, who was for many years head of the unarmed combat division of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. It has been scientifically developed and modernised by the ITF since its first introduction to the world on 11th April 1955.
Although the origins of the martial arts are shrouded in mystery, we consider it an undeniable fact that from time immemorial there have been physical condtions involving the use of the hands and feet for purpose of self-protection. If we ere to define these physical actions as “Taekwon– Do”, any country might claim credit for inventing Taekwon-Do. There is, however, scant esemblance between Taekwon-Do, as it is practiced today, and the crude forms of unarmed combat developed in the past.
Modern Taekwon-Do differs greatly from other martial arts. In fact, no other martial art is so advanced with regard to the sophistication and effectiveness of its technique or the over-all physical fitness it imparts to its practitioners. Technically, 1955 signaled the beginning of Taekwon-Do as a formally recognized art in Korea. During that year, a special board was formed which included leading master instructors, historians, and prominent leaders of society. A number of names for the new martial art were submitted. On the 11th of April, the board summoned by Gen. Choi Hong Hi, decided on the name of Taekwon-Do which had been submitted by him. This single unified name of Taekwon-Do replaced the different and confusing terms; Dang Soo, Gong Soo, Taek Kyon, Kwon Bup, etc.
In 1959, Taekwon-Do spread beyond its national boundaries. The father of Taekwon-Do and nineteen of his top black belt holders toured the Far East. The tour was a major success, astounding all spectators with the excellence of the Taekwon-Do techniques. Many of these black belt holders such as Nam Tae Hi, President of the Asia Taekwon-Do Federation;
Colonel Ko Jae Chun, the 5th Chief of Taekwon-Do instructors in Vietnam;
Colonel Baek Joon Gi, the 2nd Chief instructor in Vietnam; Brigadier
Gen. Woo Jong Lim; Mr. Han Cha Kyo, the Head Instructor in Singapore
and Mr. Cha Soo Young, presently an international instructor in Washington
D.C. eventually went on to spread the art to the world.
In this year, Choi was elevated to two illustrious posts; President of his newly formed Korea Taekwon-Do Association and deputy commander of the 2nd Army in Tae Gu. In 1965Ambassador Choi, retired two star general, was appointed by the Government of the Republic of Korea to lead a goodwill mission to West Germany, Italy, Turkey, United-Arab Republic, Malaysia, and Singapore. This trip is significant in that the Ambassador, for the first time in Korean history, declared Taekwon-Do as the national martial art of Korea.
This was the basis not only for establishing Taekwon-Do Associations in these countries but also the formation of the International Taekwon-Do Federation as it is known today. In 1966, the dream of the sickly young student of calligraphy, who rose to Ambassador and the Association President of the most respected martial art in the world came true. On the 22nd of March, the International Taekwon-Do Federation was formed with associations in Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, the United States, Turkey, Italy, Arab Republic of Egypt and Korea.
The United Kingdom Taekwon-Do Association (UKTA) was founded by Grand Master Rhee Ki Ha OCM, in 1967 and is the original Taekwon-Do organisation in Great Britain. The UKTA is a full member of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, and is a founding member of the All Europe Taekwon-Do Federation (now Europe International Taekwon-Do Federation) and the British Taekwon-Do Council (BTC).
The BTC is recognised by UK Sport as the governing body for non-Olympic Taekwon-Do in the UK.
The UKTA was founded when Grandmaster Rhee Ki Ha (then Mr Rhee, 5th Degree) was teaching Taekwon-Do to British Military personnel at RAF Changi. On their return home to the United Kingdom, they invited Mr Rhee to come to the UK and continue to teach them Taekwon-Do.
Mr Rhee arrived on British shores on 2 July 1967, reportedly only planning to stay for two years.
This was the birth of Taekwon-Do in the UK.
The UKTA was formed, and the rest as they say, is history.
This information is taken from the United Kingdom TaeKwon-Do Association (UKTA) Website