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Between tradition and top performance sport

 

Taekwondo has developed independently in Korea over the last 2,000 years into a modern and international competitive sport, without at the same time losing its independence as part of Korean popular tradition. With it being accepted into the Olympic programme, this Asian martial art has received worldwide recognition as a competitive sport.

 

When in 1935 the royal grave of Muyong-Chung was uncovered, various wall depictions and ceiling paintings were discovered depicting martial arts exponents. These pictures, which were between 1,600 and 2,000 years old, now count as the first references to the origins of taekwondo. The Japanese historian, Tatashi Saito, even suspects that the poses and fight scenes depicted belong to the oldest known references to martial arts. The presence of such images in a grave complex indicates in his opinion that the King and those close to him had practised taekwondo.

 

Quite a few historical documents and artefacts reveal that taekwondo was known and practised throughout the various dynasties and played a significant role in the political structures of the society of the time. The Symguk Yusa, the oldest document on Korean history, states that taekwondo is not just training in unarmed combat, but also constitutes education in self-discipline and a proper mental attitude. This makes it clear that the taekwondo tradition also consisted of training in the deeper aspects of personality development, and did not just serve simply as a pure tool for warfare to maintain the power of the Korean feudal administration.

 

In modern taekwondo competitions, legs are prominently employed in both attack and counter-attack techniques. For decades, research was carried out into an optimization of training methods and this was further developed with regard to timing and speed. Andy recognized the value of these training methods and acquired significant aspects from them. The improvement of his legwork was very important to him from early on, which is why he always tried to extend his diversity of moves.

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