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Taekwondo in Mordern Times
In the modern times of Korea, the Chosun dynasty [1392-1910] the imperial
Korea and the Japanese colonial rule until 1945, Taekwondo was rather
called "subakhui" than "Taekkyon" and it suffered
an eventual loss of official support from the central government as
the weapons were modernized for national defense, although the subkhui
was still popular in the early days of Chosun.
The Chosun dynasty was founded on the ideology of Confucianism, which
resulted in rejecting Buddhism and giving more importance on literary
art than martial art. Nonetheless, the Annals of Chosun Dynasty tells
about the contests of subakhui ordered by local officials for the
purpose of selecting soldiers and others ordered by the kings who
enjoyed watching subakhui contests at the times of feasts. It was
also ruled by the defense department that a soldier should be employed
when he wins three other contestants in the subakhui bouts. However,
as the government progressed, the government officials began to lay
more importance on power struggles than on the interest of defense,
naturally neglecting promotion of martial arts.
Then, it was only in the days of King Jungjo after the disgraceful
invasion of Korea by the Japanese  that the royal government
revived strong defense measures by strengthening military training
and martial art practice. Around this period there was a publication
of the so-called "Muyedobo-Tongji," a book of martial art
illustrations, which 4th volume entitled "hand-fighting techniques"
contained the illustration of 38 motions, exactly resembling today's
Taekwondo poomsae and basic movements, although those motions cannot
be compared with today's Taekwondo poomsae, which has been modernized
through scientific studies.
Even under the Japanese colonial rule, some famous Korean writers,
such as Shin Chae- Ho and Choi Nam-Sun, mentioned about Taekwondo,
saying "present subak prevailing in Seoul came from the sunbae
in the Koguryo dynasty," and "subak is like today's taekkyon
which was originally practiced as martial art but is now played mostly
by children as games."
However, the Japanese colonial government totally prohibited all folkloric
games including taekkyon in the process of suppressing the Korean
people. The martial art Taekkyon [Taekwondo] had been secretly handed
down only by the masters of the art until the liberation of the country
in 1945. Song Duk-Ki, one of the then masters testifies that his master
was Im Ho who was reputed for his excellent skills of Taekkyon, "jumping
over the walls and running through the wood just like a tiger."
(explanation of taekkon techniques in muyedobo-tongji (general illustrations
of techniques) (scene of contest).
At the time, 14 terms of techniques were used representing 5 kicking
patterns, 4 hand techniques, 3 pushing-down-the-heel patterns, 1 turning-over-kick
pattern and 1 technique of downing-the-whole-body. Also noteworthy
is the use the term "poom" which signified a face-to-face
stance preparing for a fight. The masters of Taekkyon were also under
constant threat of imprisonment, which resulted in an eventual of
Taekkyon as popular games.
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