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UFC’s Cris ‘Cyborg’: Why She’s Forced to Lose Weight to Win
The history of Taekwondo is generally assumed to be short, merely back to World War Two. This, in fact, is not the fact. The history of Taekwondo stretches not just through the millenniums, but through the various martial arts imported into Korea.
A couple of thousand years ago, when Korea was still divided into three kingdoms, young men were selected for special training in warfare. This training consisted of all aspects of military training, including archery, equestrian sports, combat strategy, and so on. These men were the cream of the crop, selected because of their high athletic and mental abilities.
These young warriors were called the Hwarang, and they specialized in a martial art called Subak. The various styles of Subak were combined to give high training in footwork and fistwork. The most popular of the Subak arts was called taekkyeon.
During the middle ages martial arts training moved into the background. This was because of Chinese Confucianism. Society became more concerned with manners, learning how to be polite and get along, and the practice of the martial arts was more confined to backyards.
Then World War Two arrived, along with the Japanese influence. The Japanese stamped out anything resembling Korean culture, and any traces of Taekyyeon or Subak were ruthlessly suppressed. While this was cruel and oppressive, there was a bright side, for the Japanese introduced their own martial arts to Korea.
Koreans embraced the hard core principles of Karate joyously. The martial arts flowered, and were represented by nine Kwans, or houses. Eventually, after the war, the nine kwans were brought together under the Taekwondo name.
Still, the Koreans strived for their own cultural identity, and the Japanese forms, and even the accompanying Chinese influences, were neglected for new forms. These new forms, though sometimes lacking in power, were easier to learn, and taekwondo began to be taught to the world. Currently, Taekwondo is one of the most popular martial arts on the globe, being learned in over 123 countries, and having over 30 million practitioners.
The final step in this history of Taekwondo is beginning. Koreans are beginning to search for the power and beauty of their original arts, and even appraising the heavy duty influences of the Japanese inspired kwans. Ultimately, the Korean martial art of taekwondo will reabsorb the power of the Japanese forms, the unique concepts of the Chinese arts, and create a link with the original Subak arts that were taught so long ago.
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