Short history of Taekwondo

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The roots of Taekwondo are often said to be found in the ancient weaponless martial arts practiced along the Korean peninsula, Taekyon and Subak. However, modern interpretations place the beginnings of Taekwondo in Karate, practiced in Okinawa and Japan, where Koreans learned it in the beginning of last century and immersed it in their culture.

After the Japanese occupation of Korea ended, the budding martial art diverged from Karate quickly and assumed the name Tae Kwon Do in the 1960s. The spelling settled as Taekwondo later. Eager to rid themselves of any Japanese influence and needless reminders of the occupation, the martial art was quickly developed into a different direction from traditional Karate.

New rules for sport fights were at the centre of the changes. Taekwondo really started to make a name for itself as a full contact sport, introducing protective gear and point scoring system that favours kicks. The first world championships took place in 1973 and had participants from 19 countries. After this, the development of the sport has been swift and kicking techniques have been improved also with the aid of scientific research. In 1988 Taekwondo was introduced to the Olympics in Seoul. Over 950 people representing almost 150 nationalities took part in the World Championship competition of 2011.

Although the influence of Karate is still visible in some techniques and particularly in the style of the old masters, modern Taekwondo is a completely different type of a martial art. Taekwondo first arrived in Finland in 1979 with the Korean Dae Jin Hwang and spread through the country fast. At the end of the 1980s the development of Taekwondo in Finland found a new direction through the teachings of Allan Paulsen from Denmark. His teaching method was based on an especially strong will to fight, emphasised the quality of the techniques and comprehensive Taekwondo. The term "Finnish Taekwondo" was coined from his teachings.

The uniformity of Finnish Taekwondo was supervised by belt promotion committee, which was in charge of awarding all dan-ranks in clubs belonging to the Finnish Taekwondo Federation. This was the norm until 2005 when the practice was disbanded in favour of a club-based teacher system. This also opened up the operation of the Finnish Taekwondo Federation various Taekwondo organizations and it now includes the majority of Finland's Taekwondo clubs.

Helsinki Taekwondo Club was founded in 1982