The World Taekwondo Federation is the International Federation [IF] governing the sport of Taekwondo and is a member of
the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations [ASOIF]. The WTF recognizes national Taekwondo governing bodies
recognized by the NOC in the pertinent country, one in each country, as its members.
IOC Recognition _ July 17, 1980 [83rd IOC Session in Moscow]
Olympic Games Demonstration Sport _
1988 Seoul Olympic Games & 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games
Official Olympic Sport: Sydney 2000 Olympic Games _
September 4, 1994 [103rd IOC Session in Paris]
Confirmation of Taekwondo as an Official Sport for Athens 2004 Olympic Games _
December 11-13, 2000 [IOC EB Meeting in Lausanne]
Expansion of Taekwondo quota at Athens 2004 Olympic Games to 124 in eight weight categories,
respective four weight classes for men and women _ Sep. 18-20, 2001 [IOC
EB Meeting in Lausanne]
IOC Executive Board decided the number of sports programs of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to be 27,
including Taekwondo. The 114th IOC Session held in Mexico City, Mexico on November 29, 2002 also confirmed inclusion of Taekwondo
in the Bejing 2008 Olympic Games.
IOC reviewed the Olympic programme for 2012 London, Taekwondo was voted to retain in the Olympic Programme
of the London 2012 Olympic Games at its 117th Session in Singapore on July 8, 2005.
Taekwondo is one of the most systematic and scientific Korean traditional martial arts,
that teaches more than physical fighting skills. It is a discipline that shows ways of enhancing our spirit and life through
training our body and mind. Today, it has become a global sport that has gained an international reputation, and stands among
the official games in the Olympics.
Let's take a closer look at the meaning of the word "Tae" "Kwon" "Do." It is composed of three parts as shown in the English
spelling, though it is one word in Korean. "Tae" means "foot," "leg," or "to step on"; "Kwon" means "fist," or "fight"; and
"Do" means the "way" or "discipline." If we put these three parts together, we can see two important concepts behind "Tae
First, Taekwondo is the right way of using Tae and Kwon 'fists and feet,' or all the parts of the
body that are represented by fists and feet. Second, it is a way to control or calm down fights and keep the peace. This concept
comes from the meaning of Tae Kwon 'to put fists under control' [or 'to step on fists']. Thus Taekwondo means "the right way
of using all parts of the body to stop fights and help to build a better and more peaceful world."
Taekwondo has been developing with the 5000-year long history of Korea, being called by several different
names in the course. In Korea, Taekwondo began as a defense martial art called "Subak" or "Taekkyon," and developed as a way
of training body and mind in the ancient kingdom of Koguryo, under the name of "Sunbae." In the Shilla period, it had become
the backbone of Hwarangdo that aimed at producing leaders of the country.
Taekwondo today is similar to the martial arts in other Oriental countries and shares some features with them, because
in the course of its evolution it has gained many different styles that existed in the martial arts of the countries surrounding
Korea, like Japan and China.
But Taekwondo is very different from many such oriental martial arts. First, physically it is very dynamic
with active movements that include a mirage of foot skills. Second, the principle physical movements are in simpatico with
that of the mind and life as a whole. Third, it possesses dynamic poses from another perspective.
Taekwondo can be characterized by unity: the unity of body, mind, and life, and the unity of the pose ["poomsae"]
and confrontation, and cracking down. When you do Taekwondo, you should make your mind peaceful and synchronize your mind
with your movements, and extend this harmony to your life and society. This is how in Taekwondo the principle of physical
movements, the principle of mind training, and the principle of life become one and the same. On the other hand, the right
poomsae lead to the right confrontation, which will eventually produce great destructive power.
How come we reach such a unity in Taekwondo? Taekwondo is a way of life, much like having a job, raising a
family, fighting for a cause, or any one of numerous raison d'etre. What makes Taekwondo different from these is that it is
an activity for survival in extremely antagonistic situations. One must always overcome the enemy that is trying to cause
harm. But simply winning a fight is not enough to guarantee one's safety, because the enemy may recuperate and attack again.
Moreover, there may be many other enemies than the one that was just defeated. One cannot ever feel safe unless one gains
permanent peace. To attain this permanent or lasting peace, one needs unity. This is what Taekwondo aim for. Otherwise Taekwondo
would be no different from any other street-fighting skills.
Taekwondo pursues harmonious growth and improvements of life through its unique activities. This is why one
could say Taekwondo is a way of life. To ultimately enable ourselves to lead more valuable lives, we would do well by finding
the guiding principles deeply hidden in Taekwondo.