What is Taekwondo?
This isn't an easy question as Taekwondo is many things to many people. Firstly, it is a Korean martial art. Developed by General Choi Hong Hi and others in the 1940s-60s, Taekwondo was born out of older martial arts from Korea and other parts of Asia. Taekwondo was a pillar of hope to the Korean people after and during historical times of oppression, many of which left civilians feeling defenseless and vulnerable. Martial arts gave them the protection that they needed in a form that no one could steal away: their feet and hands.
The values of Taekwondo and the community it builds unite people of all shapes and sizes. From children in preschool to parents of children off to college, Taekwondo instills respect for others, confidence, and control of self while allowing a productive release of energy, aka a good sweaty workout. Ever since its founding, Taekwondo has always been a safe place and second home for the spirit.
On the physical side, Taekwondo is a hard martial art, done while standing with lots of kicking and punching. At West Coast Taekwondo, we practice traditional Chang-Hun style, which might look like a cross between Karate and Kukkiwon style Taekwondo, seen at the Olympics. The word Taekwondo is comprised of three Korean words: "Tae" meaning foot, "Kwon" meaning hand or fist, and "do" meaning way. So TaeKwonDo literally means "the foot-fist way." It is a blending of the upper and lower body to defend oneself.