Martial Arts are as old as humankind and have been documented throughout written history. One of the most popular martial arts today is Tae Kwon Do, which evolved from earlier forms in what is modern day Korea. In fact, the phrase "Tae Kwon Do" contains a number of different ideas.
Tae: Strikes or blocks with the foot, but more commonly referring to kicking techniques.
Kwon: Fist or hand strikes, punches, or blocks, but more commonly referring to punching techniques.
Do: "Way" or "Path", referring to a discipline; in common English "Do" is best considered as a path of development for the body and mind.
While dedicated training in Tae Kwon Do greatly strengthens the body, Asian tradition emphasizes strengthening the mind more, which is a significant difference between Eastern and Western approaches. As a discipline, Tae Kwon Do stresses self-control, mental discipline, respect for others, and continuous self-development.
Today, Tae Kwon Do is best known as a competitive sport, with national and international competitions including the Olympics. However, the origins of Tae Kwon Do and its Korean predecessors are as combat forms with little regard for sport applications (part of the reason why current competitors wear protective padding). Consequently, Tae Kwon Do is best understood as a martial art, requiring training, discipline, and control. Many Tae Kwon Do techniques can be incapacitating or lethal when used by a skilled practitioner, which necessitates a number of rules to protect competitors. Because of this concern, our goal is to help you develop the physical and mental benefits of training, including focus, flexibility, endurance, and self-defense.
Many Western observers have the impression that martial arts is simply fighting off attackers or breaking boards and bricks; while these are a part of training, they are not the primary focus or the only reason to practice. While these abilities can be realized after dedicated training, our biggest concern is the development of the student's mind, which provides him or her with skills that can be applied outside of the dojang: discipline and focus produce better study habits, better concentration, self-discipline, and respect, both for oneself and for others.
At its heart, Tae Kwon Do is not just a way to become healthy and fit; it is a philosophy and a way of life. It is a commitment to personal growth and development through training. It is a means of developing oneself and fostering virtues that build strong friendships and a stronger community.