Tae Kwon-Do is a Korean art of self defence founded by MAJOR GENERAL CHOI HONG HI (9th Dan) on April 11th, 1955 and introduced to Ireland by MASTER RHEE KI HA in 1968. Tae Kwon-Do, translated literally means “the way of the foot and the fist”, is based on traditional Korean Martial Arts.

General Choi, after exhaustive researching, developing, and experimenting, proclaimed Taekwon-Do to the world as a completely valid and unique martial art having a basic Korean origin. Translated literally, Tae means jumping or flying, to kick or smash with the foot. Kwon denotes the fist - chiefly to punch or destroy with the hands or fist. Do means art or way - the right way built and paved by the saints and sages of the past.

              A means of self-defence, physical conditioning and mental discipline, Tae Kwon-Do involves the scientific use of punches, kicks, blocks and dodges, with bare hands and feet, to the rapid destruction of the moving opponent or opponents. Thus, taken collectively “Tae Kwon-Do” indicates the mental training and techniques of unarmed combat for self defence, health and discipline.

         Tae Kwon-Do is a martial art that has no equal in either power or technique, developed using the principles of modern science. It provides the practitioner with a fine weapon to defend himself or herself. Used wrongly, Tae Kwon-Do can be a lethal weapon. Therefore mental training must always be stressed to prevent the student from misusing it and promote a strong sense of justice, fortitude, humility, and resolve.


Tae Kwon-Do Yoksa (History)

         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 actions involving the use of the hands and feet for the purpose of self-defence. Many countries throughout the world boast of having developed hand and foot fighting arts, each of which reflects the needs of the time and the varying historical and cultural background of the country where it originated. For example in China Kung Fu; in Japan, Judo, Karate, Aikido or Jujitsu; in Thailand, Thai Boxing or KickBoxing; and in Korea, Taek Kyon, Soo-Bak-Gi and Tae Kwon-Do and so on.

              Modern Tae Kwon-Do differs greatly from other martial arts, since the theories, Terminology, techniques, systems, methods, rules, practice suit and spiritual foundation were scientifically developed, systematised, and named by General Choi Hong Hi. The physical techniques of Tae Kwon-do are based on the principles of modern science, in particular Newtonian physics which teaches us how to generate maximum power.

               A combination of circumstances made it possible for Gen. Choi to originate and develop Tae Kwon-Do. In addition to his prior knowledge of Taek Kyon (one of the earliest forms of Korean martial art which he had been studying since he was fifteen), he had an opportunity to learn Karate in Japan during the period when Korea was occupied by the Japanese. When Korea was liberated in 1945 privileged position as a founding member of the in 1945 he was placed in the privileged position as a founding member of the newly formed South Korean Armed Forces.

            He began to teach Karate to his soldiers as a means of physical and mental training. It was then that he realised that he needed to develop a Korean national martial art, superior in both spirit and technique to Japanese Karate. He worked tirelessly from that day on until April 11 1955 when he unveiled his new Korean martial art. This new art was named "Tae Kwon-Do". Although Karate and Taek Kyon were used as references in the course of his study, the fundamental theories and principles of Tae Kwon-Do are totally different to those of any other martial art.

              In 1959, Tae Kwon-Do spread beyond its national boundaries, Gen. Choi and 19 of his top black belts toured the Far East. The tour was a major success, astounding all spectators with the excellence of the Tae Kwon-do techniques. On March 22nd 1966 the International Tae Kwon-Do Federation was formed, comprising of nine national associations i.e. Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, United States, Turkey, Italy, Republic of Egypt and Korea.

             The emergence of Tae Kwon-Do as an international martial art in a relatively short period of time was due to a variety of factors. The evils of contemporary society (moral corruption, materialism, selfishness, etc.) had created a spiritual vacuum. For many people Tae Kwon-Do filled that vacuum, and compensated for the prevailing sense of emptiness, distrust decadence and lack of confidence.

             In addition, the increase of violence and violent crime highlighted the need for self-protection and for many people Tae Kwon-Do filled that need. Tae Kwon-Do Ye Jol (Etiquette) Students, both inside and outside the Do Jang (training hall) should observe a high degree of etiquette. This should be applied by lower ranking students to senior students while training, by higher-ranking students to elder students outside of the Do Jang, and by all students when visiting another Do Jang.

                 In all cases, emphasis should be placed on correct and proper salutation. It is a form of respect and courtesy in Western as well as Oriental societies. It is indeed poor taste for a black belt to slight a beginning white belt that might very well be the instructor's senior in both age and station. Students visiting other Do Jangs, whether they be Tae Kwon-Do or other martial arts, must pay proper respect and observe the traits of modesty and courtesy at all times.