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Taekwondo in the Middle Ages
The Koryo dynasty, which reunified the Korean peninsula after Shilla
[A.D. 918 to 1392], had the Taekkyon develop more systematically and
made it a compulsory subject in the examinations for selection of
The techniques and power of Taekkyon grew to become effective weapons
even to kill human beings. In the military, a pattern of collective
practice, called "obyong-subak-hui [5 soldier's Taekkyon play],
was introduced so that it might be used in a real war.
In the early days of Koryo dynasty, martial art abilities were the
only required qualifications to become military personnel because
the kingdom utterly needed the national defense capabilities after
conquering the peninsula. A certain plain soldier who mastered Taekkyon
techniques was promoted to a general, and young were invited to Taekkyon
contests where the skilled ones were selected to become military officers.
There were lots of other examples in which many Taekkyon-mastered
youths were picked at contests, which is proof that Taekwondo sports
was originated in that epoch. The chronicles of Koryo dynasty writes:
"at a power contest of Taekkyon techniques, Lee Yi- Min punched
a pillar of the house with his right-hand fist, then some of the props
of the roof were shaken. Another Taekkyon practicer had his fist pierce
through the clay-wall."
Especially the kings of Koryo dynasty were much interested in "subakhui"
[Taekkyon contest], making it a compulsory course of military training.
Therefore, subakhui was also popular out for inspection tours in the
However, the Koryo dynasty in its latest years had gunpowder and new
types of weapons available at hand, thus slowing down its support
of martial as the folk games to be transmitted down to the modern
Korea, Chosun. (taekkyon explained in the Koryo history book)
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