The Birth of Taekwondo and Taekwondo in the Era of the
In ancient Korea, a development
of military arts was a matter of course. In the ancient
period of Tribe-State, primitive faith and folk belief
of worshiping the gods of heaven, sun, mountains was prevalent.
As was the case, there were customs of performing sacrificial
rites for gods after Hajong in May and Chusu in October.
Such customs varied from tribe to tribe and they dubbed
it Donmang in Buyuo, Siwolje in Mahan, Gayui in Shilla.
During those ritual periods they had matches of fighting
skill. Traces of these time can be found in traditional
play such as Nongak, Sirum in present.
On the other hand, it is thought that the entering
Era of the Three States military arts in repective states had become
sophisticated and systematized as the military conflicts had become
more fierce and military power had become a more crucial role in states'
life or death. Mural paintings that suggested development of fighting
skills at that time were found in Kakjochong and Muyongchong of Kogureae(etablished
in B.C. 37) in Manju area. The wall painting at Kakjochong depicts two
men wrestling, that is, playing Sirum and on the ceiling of Muyongchong
two men are painted standing face to face and struggling with each other,
whose posture seems very similar to that of Taekwondo.
Originally Kogurea developed in a horse-riding
culture, with wide territory, and placed great emphasis on its military
thus Kogurea was a warlike state. The circumstances which required powerful
military strength made Kogurea 'Sunbae', the strong warrior circle,
which served for the state's prosperity and strengthening of a centralized
authoritarian ruling system. Both Yongaesomun
and his son Namsang who ruled the late Kogurea were known to have been
members of this circle, 'Sunbae'. Except
for Sunbae, we can find some materials that suggest Kogurea's militariastic
spirit in the documents concerning heaven-worship ceremony of Kogurea.
Ancient History of Chosun says that in the ruling period of Taejo, on
every March 10th of the lunar calendar in each year, the crowds congregated,
dancing with swords, shooting arrows, hopping on one leg, playing Subak
and fighting with water, breaking through ice on the surface of rivers.
In addition Kyoungdang, a private academic
institution in Kogurea, is noticeable. Kyungdang were schools where
sons of common people and powerful families were educated in civil and
military arts, which were located in provinces compared to Taehak, the
state education institution. A historical record of China says, "There
was culture of loving books. And the humble people from meat-selling
butchers to horse-feeding fodder constructed big house at the streets
and dubbed it Kyoungdang. Their sons learned to read books and shoot
arrows day and night until they got married."
But we can find few documents regarding military
arts in historical materials about Baekje. Therefore scholars just assume
that since Baekje had much cultural intercourse with China and Japan,
military arts of Baekje also developed foreign influence. At the same
time, it is presumed that Baekje instructed their youths in the Five
Classics and military arts as important subjects just like Shilla and
Kogurea, its adjacent rival state s.
On the other hand, in Shilla there existed
its typical military and educational institution, called 'Hwarang'.
This Hwarang system of Shilla can be understood as means to survive
in territorial conflicts with Kogurea and Baekje, which was developed
along with the military arts. The flower of youth in Silla dynasty(Hwarang)
seemed to established by King of Chinhung from rearrangement and strenthening
of civilian youth circles, called Pungrudo or Pungwoldo, imitating Sunbae
from Kogurea. The Ancient History of Chosun
says, "King of Chinhung copied Sunbae of Kogurea to found Kuksunhwarang.
Youths selected from the competitions like Shinsudo and Danjon learned
and studied hard. They played various sports such as Subak, Kyokgum,
Kima(riding horse), Dukgyoni, Kaegumgil, Sirum, explored mountains and
rivers far and near, learned poetry and music, boarded and lodged together.
In peace they dedicatedly put a lot of effort into relieving the poor
and constructing castles and roads, in war they felt it an honor to
fight and die on a battlefield. They sacrified their lives for public
profits just the same way as Sunbae."
Generally speaking, the development of Taekwondo
in each nation at the Era of Three States seemed to have effects on
one another, but it is difficult to find out in detail and concrete
due to lack of materials.