The History of Taekwondo

What is Taekwondo?

Taekwondo is a Korean matial art and the national sport of South Korea. Tae means “to strike or break with foot”, Kwon means “to strike or break with hand”, and Do means “way” or “method”.  Thus, Taekwondo may be translated as “the way of the hand and the foot.”

Taekwondo combines contact techniques, self-defense, sport and exercise togther to create a fantastic overall workout. Taekwondo is great for those who want to get in shape, learn self -defense techniques, or for the serious athlete that wants to improve their reflexes for other sports, or to compete in the actual olympic sport of Taekwondo.

There are two main branches of Taekwondo development:

“Traditional Taekwondo” typically refers to the martial art as it was established in the 1950’s and 1960’s in the South Korean Military, and in various civilian organizations, including schools and universities. In particular, the names and symbolisms of the traditional patterns often refers to elements of Korean history, culture and philosophy.

Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches and open-handed strikes,  and may also include various take-downs or sweeps, throws and joint locks. Some instructors also incorporate the use of pressure points, as well as grabbing self-defense techniques borrowed from other martial arts, such as Judo and Jiu Jitsu.

Today, the sport has blossomed and is now an Olympic event.

“Sport Taekwondo” has developed over the last 3 decades since it’s inclusion in the 1988 Olympics and may have a somewhat different focus, especially in terms of the emphasis on speed, competition and winning (as in Olympic sparring). Olympic Sparring is governed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) who oversees Taekwondo world wide, and sets the requirements for Taekwondo competition. Sport/Olympic Taekwondo is very fast, and has a formal international circuit of competition.  In the sport trainers are called “coaches”, unlike in traditional where they have a much different role as a Sabunim or Instructor. 

Kukkiwon – The Differentiator

A major difference between Folsom Taekwondo and other Dojangs in the area is that our Taekwondo center and our instructors are certified by the Kukkiwon.  What does this mean?  Quality is delivered based on standards and policies that are adhered to at Folsom Taekwondo.  The Kukkiwon is recognized world-wide as the only official “Rank” issuing body.  A black belt certificate from the Kukkiwon is the equivalent of a “Harvard degree”.  All legitimate and official Taekwondo Dojangs have the ability to issue Kukkiwon certificates.  If you are not being issued this certification, you are in the wrong place.  Many Americans use the American business culture as an excuse for being able to issue their own rank certificate; but, it’s only recognized at their school.  So, if you are  looking for legitimacy… make sure they issue a Kukkiwon Certificate.

The Kukkiwon also certifies Dojangs-Taekwondo Schools.  This certification ensures all Instructors at the Dojang have teaching credentials issued from the Kukkiwon.  Only students taught by a credentialed instructor can be issued rank in Taekwondo.  At our center, the instruction staff are required to both earn their UWTA Instructor certification, which teaches them “how” to teach using the UWTA Structured Teaching System (and) to attain their Kukkiwon Credential which ensures they know exactly what to teach at each belt level.  These certifications and organizational memberships provide oversite on our facility that ensures “you” get taught the industry recognized standardized knowledge, skills and material in a highly professional manner.  There is mandated material designed for each individual belt level that must be taught in sequence in a building block manner for retention, skill and individual growth.  Examinations are mandated to ensure you not only know the material but can also perform it against an industry recognized standard.  Schools that don’t conduct exams or tests are leaving out one of the most critical aspects of the training.

The Kukkiwon provides credentials and ongoing training for Instructors, Masters and Grand Masters.  The Kukkiwon ensures, instructors are kept current on Taekwondo improvements and also trains them in how to create a culturally rich environment dedicated to passing on the “Art” as it was originally envisioned.  Ongoing training and certification is mandated for instructors to continue to promote to a higher rank.  Certifications include Instructor, Master and Grand Master training courses in all aspects of Taekwondo geared toward the individuals rank.   Training also includes examiners certification, tournament judging certification, teaching of all aspects of Taekwondo and personal development course are mandated at each rank level for senior black belts.

Why?  Because, a traditional Taekwondo journey should be provided for our students.   A journey that includes training the body, mind and spirit.  Our goal is to produce strong independent students who learn values they can carry into their everyday life.  The ability to protect and defend those values, their choices and decisions is also important.  Taekwondo is an art and the product of the art is a strong independent person who can be successful in all things they put their mind to achieving.  Taekwondo provides the inner strength to be that person.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a highly trained and credentialed instructor, make sure they have Kukkiwon Rank and Licensing.  At Folsom Taekwondo, our commitment is to provide you with the highest quality traditional Taekwondo training environment available anywhere in the market.

Our Moo Duk Kwan History

Moo Duk Kwan, translated literally means “the Institue of Martial Virtue.” It was founded in Seoul, Korea by Hwang Kee on November 6, 1945 following World War II (Korea was liberated from Japan on August 15, 1945).  In that same year, Hwang Kee became the first President of the Moo Duk Kwan. 

Moo Duk Kwan was able to develop and expand its branch schools and members through Hwang Kee’s endless efforts and contributions.  Hwang Kee formed the Korea Tang Soo Do Association in September, 1958 and Moo Duk Kwan became the Korea Tang Soo Do Association.

In December, 1958 the Korea Tang Soo Do association unsuccessfully tried to join the Korean Athletic Association.  So, in June of 1960 the Korean Soo Bahk Do Association, named after the traditional Korean martial art, was formed by Hwang to replace the Korean Tang Soo Do Association.

In March, 1965 the Soo Bahk Do Association attempted to reunite with the Korea Taekwondo Association but the effort was again unsuccessful.  After the failure, a majority of the Moo Duk Kwan members left the Soo Bahk Do Association and joined the Korea Taekwondo Association.

In April, 1965 Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo group officially became a member of the Korea Taekwondo Association.  On November 20, 1965 Master Kang Ik Lee was elected by the Board of Directors of the Moo Duk Kwan as the president of the Korea Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan Association. Unfortunately, Moo Duk Kwan was now divided into the Taekwondo Association and the Soo Bahk Do Association.

On July 27, 1971 the Board of Directors of the Moo Duk Kwan elected Master Chong Soo Hong as the 3rd President of the Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo Association.  Several attempts were made by Master Chong Soo Hong to unify the two divided Moo Duk Kwans but his efforts were never successful.

In February 1974 however, as a result of Master Hong’s contributions to Taekwondo, he was appointed Vice President of the Taekwondo Central Gymnasium (Ku Ki Won) in Seoul Korea.

As of today, the majority of Moo Duk Kwan members are under the Korea Taekwondo Moo Duk Kwan Association.  At the present time in Korea alone, the association has about 500,000 members actively training. Moo Duk Kwan has branch schools in more than 40 countries and there are over 300,000 Moo Duk Kwan Taekwondo members in the U.S. A.

The UWTA Moo Duk Kwan family tree is as follows:

Current Moo Duk Kwan President
Grand Master Chon, Jae Kyu 
9th Dan, Seoul, Korea
Korea Taekwondo MooDukKwan Hae

Founder of the MooDukKwan
Great Grandmaster Hwang Kee
9th Dan, Seoul, Korea
Soo Bahk Do – MooDukKwan

Dan Bon No. 3
Grandmaster Nam, Sam Hyun
9th Dan, Dae Jun City, Korea

Grandmaster Kang, Myung Kyu
9th Dan, Seoul Korea – Sacramento, CA (U.S.A.)

Grandmaster Shin, Soung Eui
9th Dan, Nashville, TN (U.S.A.)

Grandmaster Lee, Jong Hwan
9th Dan, Sacramento, CA (U.S.A.)
President, PanAmerican branch of
Korea Taekwondo MooDukKwan Association

Grand Master Jin Young Kim         
(Dragon Kim)
9th Dan, Dallas, Texas (U.S.A.)
Secretary General, PanAmerican Taekwondo
MooDukKwan Association

American Born Generation promoted
By President Jae Kyu Chon and
Appointed to operate the PanAm branch
of the MooDukKwan includes:

Grand Master Clinton Robinson, Jr.
9th Dan, Sacramento, CA (U.S.A.)
Vice President, PanAmerican Taekwondo
MooDukKwan Association

Grand Master Tim McHugh
9th Dan, Wood Dale, Illinois (U.S.A)
Vice President, PanAmerican
Taekwondo MooDukKwan Association

Grand Master Jack Pierce
9th Dan, Sacramento, CA (U.S.A)
PanAmerican Taekwondo
MooDukKwan Association

Chief Master Willie Rankin
8th Dan, Sacramento, CA (U.S.A.)
PanAmerican Taekwondo
MooDukKwan Association

Chief Master Jack Corrie
8th Dan, Sacramento, CA (U.S.A.)
Deputy Secretary General, PanAmerican
Taekwondo MooDukKwan Assocation

Chief Master Cedric Robinson
8th Dan, Sacramento, CA (U.S.A.)

Chief Master Daniel Lovas
8th Dan, Sacramento, CA (U.S.A)