Tae Kwon Do Study Guides - Black Belt Kids

What is Tae Kwon Do?

Since ancient times, people have always wanted to keep themselves healthy and safe. Sometimes people get themselves into dangerous situations and need to defend themselves from criminals. The easiest way to defend yourself is to use a weapon. But weapons are not always available to be used. So, people need to learn how to defend themselves by using their hands and feet. Tae Kwon Do is a way of using hands and feet for self-defense. But that is not all! Tae Kwon Do is also a way of life — a way of thinking and behaving.

The Sonbae, the Hwa Rang, and the Soo Sa

A long time ago, Tae Kwon Do began in Korea. At that time, Korea was made up of three kingdoms, called Koguryo, Silla, and Baekjae. In each of the three kingdoms was a special group of people who were experts in Tae Kwon Do. In the Koguryo kingdom, these people were called the Sonbae. In Silla, they were called the Hwa Rang. In Baekjae, they were called the Soo Sa.

The Sonbae, Hwa Rang, and Soo Sa were groups of people who studied Tae Kwon Do really hard. When their countries would have to fight in a war, the Sonbae, Hwa Rang, and Soo Sa were the first people to volunteer to help. These people loved their countries very much. When the countries were not fighting and everything was peaceful, the Sonbae, Hwa Rang, and Soo Sa all dedicated themselves to helping the community. They built roads and bridges for people, and they also helped farmers harvest their crops.

The Sonbae, Hwa Rang, and Soo Sa were not just fierce Tae Kwon Do warriors. They were also humble Tae Kwon Do servants who were always ready and willing to help anyone. The Sonbae, Hwa Rang, and Soo Sa showed us what Tae Kwon Do really is — it is not just a way of kicking and punching, but it is also a way of helping and serving others in humility.

The Koryo and Yi Kingdoms

Many years later, the kingdoms of Koguryo, Silla, and Baekjae came together as a new kingdom called Koryo. Tae Kwon Do was very popular during the Koryo kingdom. The kings of this time liked to have Tae Kwon Do tournaments held in the palaces so that they could watch.

After over 400 years, the Koryo kingdom came to an end, and the Yi kingdom took its place. During the Yi kingdom, the very first martial arts textbook was written. It had pictures of Tae Kwon Do poomses and basic movements in it.

The Japanese Invasion

In 1910, the Japanese army invaded Korea. The Japanese did not want the Koreans to practice Tae Kwon Do anymore, so they made it against the law. Anyone who got caught practicing Tae Kwon Do was thrown in jail. But people loved Tae Kwon Do so much that they could not give it up. So, everyone practiced Tae Kwon Do in secret to keep from getting caught.

In 1945 Japan lost World War II and had to leave Korea.

Tae Kwon Do Today

Now that Korea is free again, Tae Kwon Do can be practiced freely — without anyone getting in trouble for it. Tae Kwon Do has spread to countries all over the world. It has become an official sport in the Olympics, and it is the fastest-growing martial art in the world.

How does Tae Kwon Do history have anything to do with you?

You are a very special part of Tae Kwon Do. When people look at you, they not only see a great kid, but they also see a Tae Kwon Do student. You are a representative of Tae Kwon Do. So, impress people when they see how you act and behave. Thousands of years ago, the Sonbae, Hwa Rang, and Soo Sa were excellent Tae Kwon Do students, and they impressed everybody with their kindness and discipline. In a way, you are today's Sonbae, Hwa Rang, and Soo Sa. You are carrying on the tradition of excellence in Tae Kwon Do character. Always conduct yourself in a way that will bring honor to Tae Kwon Do. If you do this, you will also bring honor to yourself.