HISTORY OF TAEKWONDO:
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 artial 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 1965 Ambassador 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.
To demonstrate the value of ITF Taekwon-Do as a way of life, we must teach all facets of ITF Taekwon-Do, including the Do. I can tell you that General Choi’s true last wish and words of guidance for us for the future are found in the introduction to his last book Moral Culture. The General had come to realize that most of the emphasis had been placed on the teaching of the technical aspects of ITF Taekwon-Do. He felt it would be up to the next generation to give equal importance to the teaching of the Do.
We have already started working on a Code of Ethics based on the Do. In future, we will use all the resources available to us to teach the whole ITF Taekwon-Do: the technical and the Do. By studying the Do, our students will grow in understanding of the “why”, not only the “how”.
The ultimate purpose of life is the search for happiness. Many people suffer because they do not have the proper value system that leads to a balanced life and happiness. We have a solid philosophy and the tools to apply it in our lives. Now we must put in place a structure to teach the mental and spiritual aspects of ITF Taekwon-Do to our students so that they will be able to achieve a balanced life and happiness.
I have been teaching ITF Taekwon-Do as a way of life for many years and I believe we can help people to find a balance between family life, school or work, and ITF Taekwon-Do. Teaching this approach will open many doors to us.
Promote and develop Taekwon-Do as a means of building a better society on a foundation of peace, freedom, and justice Regulate the teaching of Taekwon-Do as well as the development of new methods and practices.
Improve the quality of Taekwon-Do instruction by applying high standards of ethics, conduct, education, and achievement. Establish and maintain the highest standards of professional ethics and conduct for all members of the ITF. Coordinate ITF Taekwon-Do activities around the world.
Resolve disagreements and conflicts between members Operate the ITF in countries around the globe without discrimination on any basis; this includes race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and political beliefs.
THE INTERNATIONAL TAEKWON-DO FEDERATION IS LEGALLY REGISTERED IN SPAIN AND HAS ITS HEADQUARTERS IN BENIDORM.
To develop ITF Taekwon-Do as a sport and encourage greater participation in competitions, major changes will be made to tournament rules, to the competition calendar, and to the qualification process. Training for umpires will be upgraded, and we will investigate the use of a computerized scoring system. Competitors will be happier and motivated to continue when our competitions are safer and scoring is more precise and reliable. Competitions held in well-known locations around the globe will focus attention on the ITF and will result in greater visibility.
To improve ITF Taekwon-Do as a martial art, there will be increased emphasis on the traditional core values and protocol. The teaching of self-defence our “raison d´etre” will be improved. We will use seminars, documentation, videos, and other means of communication to spread knowledge of ITF Taekwon-Do, reaching out to new markets and to new participants, particularly women.
To use ITF Taekwon-Do as a tool for social development, we must practice Taekwon-Do not just for ourselves, but also to improve life in our communities. ITF Taekwon-Do can be a powerful tool to help solve social problems such as drug abuse and juvenile delinquency, providing structure, discipline, and self-confidence that carry over into all aspects of life.
We hear a lot about efforts to reduce poverty in the world. By educating people with ITF Taekwon-Do values and practices, and by showing them that there is hope of improving their quality of life, we will be making an important contribution.
The ITF can develop programs such as intensive instructor training for the unemployed and ITF Taekwon-Do courses offered at affordable prices. Starting with small-scale projects, our success will attract the attention and support of international development agencies and governments around the world. In Canada we have had excellent results with this type of program, and we will assist you to implant pilot projects in your countries.
There is a lot of work to be done in this area, but there is also an enormous potential for improvement.
By striving to develop all four facets of Taekwon-do to the maximum, we can realize our full potential as individuals and as an organization.
WORKING TOGETHER, WE CAN DO GREAT THINGS!