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Taekwondo is considered to be the oldest of all martial art concepts. Recorded evidence of Korean martial arts dates back thousands of years. Ancient wall murals in Korea depict men in typical martial arts stances. Royal tomb drawings from the Korguyo historical era (beginning in 37 BC) are numerous enough to indicate that Taekwondo was a popular activity among Korean people. Temple drawings from the Sill historical era (beginning in 57 BC) depict men with highly developed musculature performing martial arts techniques. in 1706, Yongjo, the 21st King of the Yi Dynasty, ordered the publication of an illustrated book on hand-to-hand combat, the techniques. From this early evidence, there is no doubt that Taekwondo was distinctly different from the Chinese "kung fu" or the Japanese "karate".
At the close of World War II, then the Korean War, the Korean people began the task of mending 50 years of damage to their economic, national and cultural heritage. Traditional martial arts again began to be practiced, but because of the strong Japanese presence for nearly half a century, the techniques were altered by the "karate" influence - and there still was no universally recognized, specific name for the Korean style.
In 1955, a committee was asked to select one name to call the Korean martial art of hand and foot techniques. The term "Taekwondo", which means the "way" or method of the hand and foot technique toward personal development, was officially accepted.
Over the next decade, a series of new forms was created using techniques which were currently in use. Their creation was an important step in re-establishing the spirit of the ancient Korean martial art as a way of defense and personal improvement.
These new forms, however, did not emphasize the development and use of the kick to its best advantage which is to provide longer reach and greater striking strength.