Art of TKD

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The Meaning of Taekwondo

Taekwondo (태권도; 跆拳道; Korean pronunciation: [tʰɛkwʌndo]) is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae (태, 跆) means “to strike or break with foot”; kwon (권, 拳) means “to strike or break with fist”; and do (도, 道) means “way”, “method”, or “path”. Thus, taekwondo may be loosely translated as “the way of the hand and the foot.” [1] The name taekwondo is also written as taekwon-do, tae kwon-do, or tae kwon do by various organizations, based on historical, philosophical, or political[citation needed] reasons.

It combines combat techniques, self-defense, sport, exercise, and in some cases meditation and philosophy. In 1989, Taekwondo was the world’s most popular martial art in terms of number of practitioners.[2] Gyeorugi (pronounced [ɡjʌɾuɡi]), a type of sparring, has been an Olympic event since 2000.

There are two main branches of taekwondo development, which are not necessarily mutually exclusive:

“Traditional taekwondo” typically refers to the martial art as it was established in the 1950s and 1960s in the South Korean military, and in various civilian organizations, including schools and universities. In particular, the names and symbolism of the traditional patterns often refer to elements of Korean history, culture and religious philosophy. Today, the Kukkiwon, or World Taekwondo Headquarters is the traditional center for Taekwondo in Korea.

“Sport taekwondo” has developed in the decades since the 1950s and may have a somewhat different focus, especially in terms of its emphasis on speed and competition (as in Olympic sparring). Sport taekwondo is in turn subdivided into two main styles; one derives from Kukkiwon, the source of the sparring system sihap gyeorugi which is now an event at the summer Olympic Games and which is governed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). The other comes from the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF).

Join us as we offer resources for studying and meditation on your journey.

Korean Words

Special thanks to Mr. Kidd for providing this scan of Korean words that are used in our class. Many of these words you hear every day – some you may only hear in a tournament or elsewhere.

Due to the possibility that not everyone will have the Korean language packs installed on their computer, we’re providing this reference page as an attached PDF. Please click the link below to open the PDF. You may save it to your computer for reference.

TKD-Korean Words.pdf

This is a PDF (portable document format) file and therefore requires Adobe Reader software to open it if you do not have PDF reader software built into your operating system natively. If you need help opening the file, please don’t hesitate to write us a note and we’ll help you out.

Here’s some of the words directly if you don’t want to take the trouble to open up the file.

Korean command and English translation.

  • Cha-ryeot 차렷 Attention
  • Gyeong-rye 경례 Bow
  • Ba-ro 바로 Return
  • Shwi-uh 쉬어 At ease (relax)
  • Hyoo-shik 휴식 Rest period (break)
  • Gi-hap 기합 Yell (shout)
  • Jwoon-bi 준비 Ready
  • Shi-jak 시작 Begin (start)
  • Gal-lyeo 갈려 Break (separate)
  • Gyeh-sok 계속 Continue
  • Geu-man 그만 Finish (stop)
  • Dwiro-dora 뒤로 돌아 Turn around (180 degrees)
  • Hae-san 해산 Dismiss

Belt Colors


White light gives the appearance of purity and brilliance but when directed through a prism, we see that it is composed of all the colors of the spectrup. So it is that the beginner, whose vision is pure and pristine, when directed through the prism of training with sincerity and effort, we can see that his/her essence is potential.

He/she is the seed hidden beneath the winer snow.


Represents the warmth of the winter sun that melts the winter snow and allows the seed to germinate. This is the birth of conscious and purposeful action.


Is the color of the sprout and represents the spring when grow and activity abound.


Is the color of youth, ambition, and rapid growth. The seedling is reaching for the blue sky.


Represents the summer sun that swelters with intensity of the flowering art.


This is the color of mastery. No color added to this color can change or improve it. This completes a cycle that is now begun again.