Has it really been four years since I’ve updated this blog? While this is the original blog I have been writing for my small business in counseling and started another one featuring my 1000 papercrane project. Preparing for my Black Belt Test which will be October 7th at 5pm. Here is the paper I submitted as part of the test requirements.
A Way of Life with Great Grand Master Lee: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit by Jasmine Rose Penter
The History of Taekwondo: Taekwondo originated in Korea and is one of the oldest forms of martial arts reaching back over 2000 years. Some estimate it was practiced in its primitive form as far back as 5000 years. It has been suggested by some that it was developed as a defense against wild animals as well as being useful for hunting food and strengthening the body. One of the earliest signs of Taekwondo’s existence is from a mural found on a wall in a tomb built in the Korean kingdom of Koguryo between 37 B.C. and 66 A.D. Back then there were three kingdoms: Koguryo, Paekje, and Silla. Silla unified the kingdoms after winning the wars with Paekje in 668 A.D. and Koguryo in 670 A.D. The Hwarang, an elite group of noble men, were part of this unification and they had a honor code and practiced several martial arts including Taekyou, Soo Bakh Do, and Sabuk. They also learned weaponry such as swords, spears, and bows. Ethical standards were taught by Buddhist monks. The principles of the Hwarang were that they were to be dedicated to more than themselves; they were bound to serve the kingdom, its citizens, and lead an exemplary lifestyle. The old honor code of the Hwarang is the philosophical background of modern Taekwondo.
In 1945 schools called kwans opened up. These kwans were Chung Do Kwan, Moo Duk Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan, Oh Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, Chi Do Kwan, and Song Moo Kwan. They were established by Korean martial artists with backgrounds mostly in Japanese and Chinese martial arts. Indigenous disciplines like Taekkyeon were fading due to the repression of the Japanese colonial government which dominated Korea in 1910 until the end of World War II. At that time, the Korean culture was greatly impacted as the heritage, arts, or other practices were considered illegal.
South Korean President Syngman Rhee saw a demonstration by ROK Army officers Choi Hong-hi and Nam Tae-hi and he mistook Taekwondo as Taekkyeon and asked that it be taught to the military. Taekwondo has gone by many names such as Tae Kyon, Soo Bak Do, Kong Soo Do, Tang Soo Do, and others. Besides the military learning Taekwondo it was also taught to police officers and air force. In 1955 the kwans were united as Tae Soo Do. Choi Hong-hi, who was a general of the Oh Do Kwan, recommended using the term Tae Kwon Do and in 1959 the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) was established to help the unification of Korean martial arts. There were disagreements about this by different kwans and General Choi broke off from the KTA to create the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) in 1966. After General Choi’s retirement ITF split in 2001 and then again in 2002 creating three separate federations.
KTA and the South Korean government established Kukkiwon in 1972 as a new academy for Taekwondo. The World Taekwondo Federation was established in 1973 and the headquarters are at Kukkiwon in Seoul Korea. Taekwondo is not only a traditional martial art but also a modern sport practiced by over 700 million people in 200 countries. Taekwondo has been one of three Asian martial arts that are included in the Olympics. In 1980 it was recognized by the International Olympic committee and was a demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympics. In 2000 it debuted as an official olympic sport.
Cal State LA. Brief History of Taekwondo. http://csula.development-preview.com/orgs/mac/class/TKD_donny/tkd_history.html
Korean Martial Arts. Taekwondo History Summarised by Master Bradley: https://www.sunbae.net/about/about-korean-martial-arts/taekwondo-history
Taekwondo-Guide. Taekwondo History. https://www.taekwondo-guide.com/Taekwondo-History.html
Wikipedia. Taekwondo. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taekwondo
My Training Experience: I started Taekwondo October 1, 2018 as my women’s indoor soccer team was on hiatus due to several players with injuries. I knew I needed a physical outlet and my spouse encouraged me to consider martial arts as he’s a black belt in Kenpo and has studied several other martial arts. While talking to some co-workers Velana Rinck had told me about Great Grand Master Lee and Jeremy and I checked out his website. I went down to the dojang, met Great Grand Master Lee and signed up! Not long after joining the dojang I found out about the Seoul Korea Trip and signed up for that. I started a GoFundMe fundraiser to help raise the money which also allowed me to introduce Taekwondo to family and friends. By the time I went to Seoul Korea I was a green belt. My first belt test was a double belt test going from white belt to yellow instructor on December 1, 2018.
Seoul Korea was an amazing trip during spring break March 2019. We had the opportunity to watch the Kukkiwon team practice, we practiced with the Kyunghee University dojang, and at the Golgusa Temple where we learned about Sunmudo martial arts and practiced archery. I was able to learn more Korean language, enjoy Korean food, and had a great time getting to know my fellow classmates even better.
Gayle Traux was my roommate and this became very special as I got to know her and her son Connor. Tragically Connor died in a car accident in April 2021. It was on this trip to Korea that I watched and learned from him, a 15 year old who had amazing Taekwondo talent.
I participated in the Eugene Parade, my first demo team experience on September 22, 2019. This was a lot of fun running outside, practicing with the children, and inviting my mom to watch. The Washington Governor’s Cup was 10/12/2019 and I got a silver medal in breaking boards and a bronze for individual Poom saw Tae Gook Oh Jang. Here my cousin Jesse, aunt Edie, and family friend Emily attended to cheer me on as they all live in Washington. My second and third demo team experiences were at the Matthew Knight Arena November 16, 2019 and at the Asian Celebration February 16, 2020.
I participated at the World Championships in Portland March 7, 2020 just before the pandemic stay at home orders came into effect. Here I brought home a gold medal for breaking board jumping front kick and bronze for individual Poom Sae Pal Jang. The individual poom sae was difficult because I got so nervous I froze in the middle of this. Great Grand Master Lee told me not to worry, because with more experience, the better I will get. Private lessons with Great Grand Master Lee have been helpful along the way as I learn to grind and polish the skills I’ve learned.
This year I have participated in the Mt. Pisgah New Years hike and the Self Defense Seminar June 12th where I learned to use nunchucks and a sword as well as self defense with handguns.
Taekwondo has meant a lot to me because my mother is Chinese and I feel connected to my heritage when I practice. It has helped me relieve a lot of stress and anxiety as I prepared to leave my job at the hospital and opened my private counseling practice full time January 2020. Not to mention the effects of COVID-19 worldwide. I believe Taekwondo has helped me stay centered, more healthy, and has introduced me to wonderful experiences and so many amazing people. In addition my indoor soccer skills have improved and I continue to try new things at the age of 42; like scoring my first goal via header and preparing for my first black belt test!
“The practice of a martial art should be a practice of love – for the preservation of life, for the preservation of body, and for the preservation of family and friends.”
— Dan Inosanto.