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History of Taekwondo

Ancient royal tombAccording to some researchers, Tae Kwon Do date back to 50 B.C. Initially it would have been practiced in a native form called "Tae Kyon", derived by the fusion of some Korean techniques of struggle and the chinese "Kempo".

We know that Tae Kwon Do exists so long ago because archaeologists found pictures showing men on fighting stances, on the ceiling of an ancient royal tomb of the Koguryo dinasty in Korea. Others reject this hypothesis saying that these men could be simply dancing.

There were three kingdoms during that period:
1. Koguryo (37 B.C. -668 A.D.) in the Yalu valley
2. Paekje (18 B.C. -600 A.D.), in the southwest Korea.
3. Silla (57 B.C. -936 A.D.), the smallest, in the Kyongju lowland.

It was the reign of Silla to promote the development of Tae Kwon Do despite its first forms began in Koguryo reign.
The reign of Silla, smaller, less powerful and less armed in comparison to the two neighbouring kingdoms, lived under the constant threat of a military invasion. It became therefore necessary to train men able to safeguard the integrity of the borders of the kingdom.

So, in the first years of the VI sec. A. D., under the reign of Chin Heung, was found a youthful organization, called Hwa Rang Do®, constituted by an elite group of young noble men.

It was from it that came the General Kim Yu Shin, craftsman of the unification of Korea in 668 AD, with the victories brought against the kingdoms of Koguryo in 670 AD and of Paekje (668 A.D.).

Hwa Rang Do® purpose (Hwa = flower, Rang = young) was to form the future military and ruling class of the reign of Silla. Young people had to practice not only martial arts but their training included also other disciplines as history, buddhist morality, ethics, confucian philosophy and military tactics.

Hwa Rang Do® was based on the five principles established by the Buddhist monk Won Kang:
· Be loyal to your sovereign
· Honor your parents
· Be faithful to your friends
· Never retreat in battle
· Use good judgement before killing living things

This principles are still present in modern Tae Kwon Do:
· Be loyal to your country
· Respect your parents
· Be loyal to your bride
· Respect your brothers
· Be faithful to your friends
· Respect your elders
· Respect your teachers
· Use good judgement before killing living things
· Be an indomitable spirit
· Be loyal to your school
· Finish what you begin

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