Taekwon-Do is the Korean art of self defence and the world’s most popular martial art. It was first developed by a Korean Army General, Gen. Choi Hong Hi, in the 1950s and 1960s. “Tae” means to jump or kick with the foot; “Kwon” means to punch with the hand or fist; and “Do” means art or way.

Taekwon-Do is also an exciting sport with many spectacular events such as sparring, patterns, power breaking and the high flying special techniques competition. But it is also a martial art suitable for all ages and abilities. Classes are run for everyone from beginning to advanced levels, including special classes for children. Taekwon-Do was designed for self defence, and there is a strong emphasis on the moral aspects of the art, such as discipline, humility and self control. These non-physical aspects are known as the “Do”. Members of International Taekwon-Do are taught aspects of “Do” as a part of the grading syllabus and are encouraged to live by the tenets of Taekwon-Do, which are: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control and Indomitable Spirit.

Taekwon-Do has emerged as an international martial art in a relatively short period of time, only being named in 1955 by General Choi Hong Hi. In January of 1946, General Choi was a company commander in the Korean army and 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 martial art, and with this in mind that he began to develop new techniques.

In 1952, at the height of the Korean War, there was a martial arts exhibition where Choi Hong Hi’s senior student Mr Nam Tae Hi smashed 13 roof tiles with a punch. Following this demonstration, South Korean President Syngman Rhee instructed General Choi to officially introduce the martial arts to the Korean army. Since early 1970s Taekwon-Do suffered from political interference and has been split into two main organisations or styles, called the International Taekwon-Do Fedeartion (ITF) and the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).

In New Zealand we are affiliated to the ITF, which was formed by General Choi Hong Hi in 1966.