|Taekwon-do, the art of feet and hands dating back to 50 B.C., have been well known as a Korean traditional martial art. It is now being one of the most systematic and scientific martial arts around the world gaining an international reputation among the official games in the Olympics: it was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea and it was adopted as an official Olympic sport at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. It is contributing a great deal to humanity's peace currently with 160 countries as its members. More than physical fighting skills teaching, it is a discipline showing ways of enhancing human's sprit and mind.
In the ancient times of the three kingdoms (Goguryo, Baekje, and Silla), youth warriors' corps were organized for national strength. For example, "Hwarang-do" in Silla and "Chouisonin" in Goguryo both adopted the Taekwon-do training as one of the most important subjects of learning for devastating fighting techniques on the battlefield. According to "Muyedobo Tongji", a renowned martial art book of those days, the art of hand-to-hand fight (Taekwon-do) is the basis of martial arts.
Taekwon-do, now being a great national sport of Korea, has a rich tradition of skill, respect, discipline, and high personal and social morality. Its self-defense skills are based upon devastating kicks, hard strikes, and blocks useful in a variety of situations. Literally, it means the Art of Kicking and Punching: "tae" means to kick or strike with the foot; "kwon" means hand or to strike with hands; and "do" means the discipline or art.
The main feature of Taekwon-do is its inherent free-fighting combat nature emphasizing powerful high kicks and bare hands using to repel an opponent. In past times, its hand and foot techniques were combined to call various names such as Tang Su, Kong Su, Karate, Tae Su, etc. Soon after the country's liberation from Japan in 1945, a meeting was held in 1955 to unify the arts under one name and finally in 1957 the word Tae Kwon Do was designated as the official name for a Korean martial art. Thus, the art of "Korean Karate" became Taekwon-do.