Tae Kwon Do
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the Olympic sport which helps people to protect themselves and attack the opponent by means of hands and feet. Taekwondo trains not only the body but also temper. In order to understand the sense of this martial art and estimate all its advantages, it is necessary to study the history and philosophy of taekwondo in more detail.
In the struggle for existence, Korean ancestors had to develop their strength and agility, intuitively creating a system of physical exercises strengthening an organism and perfecting the mind. After the invention of weapon, by means of which it was possible to get food and defeat the attack of wild animals, people continued to improve the technique of self-defense in various games and shaman rituals. Constantly, imitating protective and attacking behavior of animals, ancient people learned to use hands in the fight, creating, thereby, the most ancient form of taekwondo (Gillis, 2011).
Historians assume that the history of Korean martial arts began about two thousand years ago. Approximately at the end of the 1st century BC, some tribes united into three states. “Fighting galoshes”, heavy iron platforms with the thorns that were fastening to boots, were an interesting feature of the army of one of the states. In order to use such weapon, it was required to pay special attention to feet blows that in consequence made one of the main distinctive features of taekwondo (Gillis, 2011).
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Up to the 8th century, close connections of Korea with imperial China promoted assimilation of Chinese achievements in the field of martial arts. Then, the relations with China were broken off, and the period of independent development, when the identity and uniqueness of Korean schools were defined, began. At that particular time, there appeared a distinctive feature of the Korean unarmed combat, i.e. a complex system of jumps and bumps in flight (Gillis, 2011).
In 1910-1945, Korea was a colony of Japan. Colonial regime suppressed the identity of Korean culture, including the martial arts. After the Korean War of 1950-1953, the government of the Republic of Korea espoused the idea on unification of schools and creation of national martial art. The young lieutenant general Choi Hong Hi headed the work on codification of new style. In 1955, at the Congress of Fight School Leaders, the name for a new kind of martial arts, taekwondo, was accepted. The new set of complexes of the formal exercises, which have been specially developed by the general Choi, was also approved at the congress (Gillis, 2011).
The philosophy of taekwondo represents the set of vital values formed on the basis of east philosophy. They are applied in taekwondo in order to maximize the use of human capabilities. The most important values of taekwondo are essential for the formation of a strong consciousness and body, which are necessary components of success., The duality concept in the nature, which represents the interaction of opposite forces, lies at the heart of the taekwondo philosophy. When the opposite forces are equal, the equilibrium state, which leads to harmony, is reached. Thus, what was rigid (aggressive energy of the attack) becomes soft (harmless), and what was soft (perceiving energy) becomes rigid (protection against the dangerous opponent). As a result, the balance and harmony are restored. Besides, the philosophy of taekwondo is significant for maintaining a healthy body and deep mind. What is more, it inspires to interact with nature, while following the highest moral standards (Pawlett & Pawlett, 2008).
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To sum up, it should be noted that studying of taekwondo develops the unique spiritual abilities, such as concentration of attention and reaction development. People training taekwondo are self-confident not only physically, but also intellectually, because development of the highest abilities for personal protection using the body demands a big mental work. Self-confidence makes people noble and able to stand against any opponent. Additionally, taekwondo develops self-respect, restraint, modesty, and generosity and helps people to find the inner balance and concentrate their energy.