In Korean, tae means "foot", kwon means "fist" and do means "way", so taekwondo can be translated as meaning "the way of the foot and fist".
Taekwondo is known for its emphasis on kicking techniques, which distinguishes it from martial arts such as karate or southern styles of kung fu. The rationale is that the leg is the longest and strongest weapon a martial artist has, and kicks thus have the greatest potential to execute powerful strikes without successful retaliation.
Taekwondo as a sport and exercise is popular with people of both sexes and of many ages. Physically, taekwondo develops strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. An example of the union of mental and physical discipline is the breaking of boards, which requires both physical mastery of the technique and the concentration to focus one's strength.
A taekwondo student typically wears a uniform (dobok), often white but sometimes black or other colors, with a belt tied around the waist. The belt indicates the student's rank. The school or place where instruction is given is called the dojang.
Great Grandmaster Byung In Yoon (1920 - 1983) learned Chuan Fa in Manchuria, China in the 1930's. In 1937 he went to Japan to be educated at Nihon University and there trained with Toyama Kanken, the founder of Shudokan. After World War II, Mr. Yoon taught Kwon Bup in Seoul, South Korea until the Korean War, when his older brother took him to North Korea. He was not allowed to return to South Korea after the war and remained in North Korea until his death in 1983.
Great Grandmaster Chul Hee Park (1933 - 2016) began training with Byung In Yoon in Korea in 1946. After Mr. Yoon disappeared during the Korean War, Mr. Park continued to teach Kwon Bup along with Jung Pyo Hong. About 1954, Mr. Park and Mr. Hong founded a new Kwan, which Mr. Park named Kang Duk Won (School of Virtue). Chull He Park passed away on April 4, 2016.
Great Grandmaster Hwa Chong (1939 - present) trained under Mr. Park in the mid 1950’s. Through Mr. Park’s correspondence with Mr. Stolberg, Mr. Chong was able to come to the United States in 1967. Mr. Chong was educated at Michigan State University and began teaching taekwondo at the University of Michigan and in the Detroit area. Mr. Chong is a past president of the United States Taekwondo Union and is influential in taekwondo throughout the world. He currently serves as a consultant to the World Taekwondo Federation.
Grandmaster Carl Stolberg (1941 - 2007) became a student of Mr. Park soon after corresponding with him in 1962. After Mr. Chong came to the United States Mr. Stolberg began training with him. In the 1960’s Mr. Stolberg began teaching taekwondo and taught continuously in Muskegon for more than 40 years. Over the years Mr. Stolberg received national recognition for his contributions to taekwondo. He was an advisor to the Michigan State Taekwondo Association and an advisory member of the Legislative Committee of the World Taekwondo Federation. He passed away April 28, 2007.
Since 2015, Master Baker has been training under Grandmaster Kim Pyung-Soo of Houston, Texas.
Grandmaster Kim was born in Seoul, and attended the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) where he received a B.A. in Russian language and literature. He began studying gwonbeop Kong Soo Do at an early age under the guidance of Nam Sok Lee, president of the Chang Moo Kwan Association in Seoul. In November 1994, Kim was promoted to 10th degree black belt by his Senior Grandmaster, Hong Jong-Pyo, Taekwon Kwon Bop, in the Central YMCA, Seoul, establishing Kim as one of the highest ranking taekwondo instructors in the world.
Kim arrived in the United States in January 1968 and has maintained a central school in Houston, Texas since September of that year. In September 1970, he inaugurated his martial arts system entitled Chayon-ryu (Natural Way). He has dedicated his life to preserving the teachings of Byung In-Yoon and the Kang Duk Won style.