Traditional Taekwon-Do in Cyprus
From 1984 – 1989 Mr. Andreas Shaelis studied sport science in Thessaloniki. During the period he trained under Master Vasilis and Master Alecos Alexandris Traditional Taekwon-Do, Kwon Jae-Hwa.
Upon his return Paphos, his home town, he established in September 1989 the first Traditional Taekwon-Do school in Cyprus.
One of his first students is today the Traditional Taekwon-Do Grand Master in Cyprus Mr Petros Petrou Agamemnonos.
In November 1993 the first students of Traditional Taekwon-Do received their Black Belt in Paphos.
Since 1989 Traditional Taekwon-Do, Cyprus, can show a history of events such as the three visits in Cyprus of the legendary Grand Master Kwon, Jae–Hwa, the organizing of big events and galas with international guests, new school openings, and the participation by our students and masters in events in Europe and in U.S.A. representing Cyprus.
From 1989 to 2015 Traditional Taekwon-Do in Cyprus was under a foreign Grand Master. In 2015 the schools in Cyprus became independent and the incorporation of the federation took place.The Federation’s goal is to follow the principles and the philosophy as they are taught by Grand Master Kwon, Jae-Hwa. Today our Federation has about 400 members.
Our Federation is very proud of our Taekwon-Do Family. It is a warm place where dedication, enthusiasm and hard work are in focus. Our schools are a place where people wish to learn Traditional Taekwon-Do, not only as a sport but as a way of life.
The oldest Korean martial arts were an amalgamation of unarmed combat styles developed by the three rival Korean Kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje,  where young men were trained in unarmed combat techniques to develop strength, speed, and survival skills. The most popular of these techniques was ssireum and subak, with taekkyeon being the most popular of the components of subak. The Northern Goguryeo kingdom was a dominant force in Northern Korea and North Eastern China prior to the 1st century CE, and again from the 3rd century to the 6th century. Before the fall of the Goguryeo Dynasty in the 6th century, the Shilla Kingdom asked for help in training its people for defense against pirate invasions. During this time a few select Silla warriors were given training in taekkyeon by the early masters from Goguryeo. These Shilla warriors then became known as the Hwarang. The Hwarang set up a military academy for the sons of royalty in Silla called Hwarang-do, which means “the way of flowering manhood.” The Hwarang studied taekkyeon, history, Confucianphilosophy, ethics, Buddhist morality, social skills, and military tactics. The guiding principles of the Hwarang warriors were based on Won Gwang’s five codes of human conduct and included loyalty, filial duty, trustworthiness, valor, and justice. 
In spite of Korea’s rich history of ancient and martial arts, Korean martial arts faded during the late Joseon Dynasty. Korean society became highly centralized under Korean Confucianism, and martial arts were poorly regarded in a society whose ideals were epitomized by its scholar-kings.  Formal practices of traditional martial arts such as subak and taekkyeon were reserved for sanctioned military uses. However, taekkyeon persisted into the 19th century as a folk game during the May-Dano festival, and was still taught as the formal military martial art throughout the Joseon Dynasty.
Early progenitors of taekwondo – the founders of the nine original kwans – who were able to study in Japan were exposed toJapanese martial arts, including karate, judo, and kendo, while others were exposed to the martial arts of China and Manchuria, as well as to the indigenous Korean martial art of taekkyeon.    Hwang Kee founder of Moo Duk Kwan, further incorporated elements of Korean Gwonbeop from the Muye Dobo Tongji into the style that eventually became Tang Soo Do.
Definition of TaeKwonDo
“Tae” means “foot” or “to strike with the feet”. “Kwon” means “hand”, or “to strike with the hand”. “Do” means discipline, art, or way. HenceTaeKwonDo (foot-hand-way) means literally “the art of the feet and the hands” or “the art of kicking and punching”. Different schools and/or styles may impose different variations on the formal definition however. For example, some styles add the words “self defense” to the literal definition and/or throw in some form of the phrase “physical and mental training”.
Philosophy of TaeKwonDo
Different styles of taekwondo adopt different philosophical underpinnings. Many of these underpinnings however refer back of the Five Commandments of the Hwarang as a historical referent. For example, Choi Hong Hi expressed his philosophical basis for taekwondo as the Five Tenets of Taekwondo:
In-Nae, perseverance, patience
These tenets are further articulated in a taekwondo oath, also authored by Choi:
I undertake to comply with the principles of Taekwondo
I undertake to respect my coaches and all superiors
I undertake to abuse Taekwondo never
I pledge to stand up for freedom and justice
I undertake to cooperate in the creation of a more peaceful world
The World Taekwondo Federation also refers to the commandments of the Hwarang in the articulation of its taekwondo philosophy. Like the ITF philosophy, it centers on the development of a peaceful society as one of the overarching goals for the practice of taekwondo. The WTF’s stated philosophy is that this goal can be furthered by adoption of the Hwarang spirit, by behaving rationally (“education in accordance with the reason of heaven”), and by recognition of the philosophies embodied in the taegeuk (the yin and the yang, i.e., “the unity of opposites”) and the sam taegeuk (understanding change in the world as the interactions of the heavens, the Earth, and Man). The philosophical position articulated by the Kukkiwon is likewise based on the Hwarang tradition.
The original founding Kwans
The history of Modern Taekwondo began on March 11, 1944 when Dang Soo Do-Song Moo Kwan was founded by Byung Jick Ro in KaeSung City, Korea. Dang Soo Do-Chung Do Kwan, which followed six months later was founded by Won Kook Lee in Seoul, Korea, in September of 1944. Due to the unstable situation in Korea at the time, both schools were forced to close their doors to the public within three to four months after opening. It was the end of World War II and Korea was under Japanese occupation. Japan was taking most of the young adult Korean males under the age of 60 and using them wherever they needed, so understandably, most of the young Korean men were uneasy and fearful during this time and were trying to hide themselves. Training in sports was not a priority in their lives and the martial arts took a back seat to simple survival.
With the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea on August 15, 1946, Taekwondo began to once again flourish and spread to the general Korean public. However, all of the kwans were again forced to close their doors in 1950 due to the onset of the Korean war. Since this time, the original name of the martial art has changed from Dang Soo Do to Kong Soo Do or Soo Bak, Kwun Bup to Tae Soo Do and finally to today’s Taekwondo. Below is a brief overview of the history of the “original founding kwans” who formed modern day Taekwondo:
SONG MOO KWAN (Dang Soo Do)
– Founder: Byung Jick Ro
March 20, 1944: Song Moo Kwan founded at Ja Name Dong (Kwan Duk Jung), KaeSung City, Kyung Ki Providence
May 2, 1946: re-established at Dong Hung Dong, KaeSung City, Kyung Ki Providence
June 25, 1950: closed doors due to the Korean War
September 20, 1953: re-established Ah Hyung Dong, Mapogu, Seoul, Korea
CHUNG DO KWAN (Dang Soo Do)
– Founder: Won Kook Lee -1975
September 1944: Chung Do Kwan funded at Ok Chun Dong (Young Shin School), Suh Dae Moo Gue, Seoul, Korea
April 1946: re-established at Gyun Ji Dong (Si Chun Gyo Dang), Jong Ro Gu, Seoul, Korea
June 25, 1950: closed doors due to the Korean War
October 1953: re-established in Gyun Ji Dong (Si Chun Gyo Dang), Jong Ro Gu, Seoul, Korea. When this group was re-established in 1953, they did not have an instructor. Two students of Mr. Lee’s, Jong Myong Hyun and Wun Shik Min, requested Master Byung Jick Ro to come as an instructor. Master Ro helped them re-establish and teach their students until December 1954. Before leaving, he appointed Duk Sung Sohn as head and Mr. Hyun and Mr. Min as instructors.
CHOSON YON MOO KWAN JUDO DO JANG (Kwon Bup Bu)
– President: Kyung Suk Lee 1946-1975
First instructor: Sang Sup Jun
1946: established (Kwon Bup Bu)
June 25, 1950: closed doors due to the Korean War
September 1953: Kwon Bup Bu ceased to exist when Yon Moo Kwan became the central Do Jang of the Korean Judo Association
Mr. Sang Sup Jun disappeared during the Korean War in 1950
YMCA (Kwon Bup Bu)
– First Instructor: Byung In Yoon
September 1947: established (Kwon Bup Bu)
June 25, 1950: closed due to the Korean War
YMCA building was destroyed during the war and Kwon Bup Bu ceased to exist.
Mr. Yoon disappeared during the Korean War
KYO TONG BU WOO ASSOCIATION (Dang Soo Do Bu)
– First Instructor and Founder: Ki Hwang
1947: established (Dang Soo Do Bu)
June 25, 1950: closed due to the Korean War
1955: changed name to Moo Duk Kwan.
Departed from the ‘original founding’ members of Korea Tae Soo Do Association.Dang Soo Do originated with the above kwans. Groups established after this time period are branches of the above groups.
DAE HAN CHE YOOK KWAN (Kong Soo Do Bu)
– First Instructors: Kyo Yoon Lee, Kwae Byung Yoon, Jong Woo Lee
September 1953: established (Kong Soo Do Bu)
The name has since been changed to Ji Do Kwan
CHAE SHIN BU (Kong Soo Do Bu)
– First Instructor: Nam Suk Lee
1954: established (Kong Soo Do Bu)
The name has since changed to Chang Moo Kwan
OH DO KWAN (Army Taekwondo)
– Founder: Hong Hi Choi
1955: began teaching Taekwondo to the Korean Army
July 1959: began to be known to the public
In addition to these kwans, many other groups were started such as: Han Moo Kwan, Jung Do Kwan and Sang Moo Kwan.
The Korea Kong Soo Do Association
On May 25, 1953, while the war was still raging, representatives of the five original kwans (Song Moo Kwan, Chung Do Kwan, Yun Moo Kwan/Ji Do Kwan, Chang Moo Kwan and Moo Duk Kwan) met in Pusan and formed the Korea Kong Soo Do Association. The association did not elect a president. They elected Young-Joo Cho (a Yudo stylist) as Vice-President and Byung Jik Ro (Song Moo Kwan founder) as the Executive Director.
Byung Jik Ro was also established as ‘the master instructor’ and as ‘the chair of the rank promotion committee.’ Eventually dissension set in, and the association dissolved. Chong Do Kwan continued to describe its art as Kong Soo Do until about 1962.
After the war ended, Hong Hi Choi and Tae Hi Nam founded the Oh Do Kwan within the military and for military personnel only, although it had strong links with the civilian Chung Do Kwan which Choi later founded in 1954. Choi claims to be the developer of the Chang Hon set of patterns used by the International Taekwondo Federation, but some believe they came from Tae Hi Nam, who had much more experience and training in the martial arts than Choi, who was his commanding officer.
Taekwondo gets its name
The year 1955 signaled the beginning of Taekwondo as a formally recognized martial art in Korea. As previously mentioned, in the 1950’s, General Hong Hi Choi had developed and was teaching a new style of Taekkyon he called Taekwondo to the Korean army, air force, and police.
On April 11, 1955, a special board composed of many martial arts grand masters. At this meeting, General Choi proposed that the new art should be called Taekwondo. Duk Sung Son says that he passed a piece of paper to Choi suggesting the name and that Choi took credit for it. Since Taek-wondo translates to ‘tae’ meaning a kick or strike with the foot, ‘kwon’ meaning a punch or strike with the fist, and ‘do’ meaning the way of, it described the arts use of strikes using both hands and feet. The name Taekwondo was unanimously adopted by the board. At first, President Rhee re-jected the name, preferring to use the name Taekkyon, but General Choi convinced him that Taek-wondo was a better name for the new art.
Although most of the kwans merged under the common name of Taekwondo, there were a few who did not. It has never been clear which of the original eight did merge but Moo Duk Kwan remained a separate art called Tang Soo Do remains as a recognized separate art in itself. The new Taekwondo name appealed to the newly nationalistic Koreans since it was a totally Korean ex-pression. It also had a close connection with the old name Taekkyon, in both pronunciation and meaning. It indicated that the art employed both hands and feet, unlike terms such as Tang Soo (Chinese hand) or Karate (empty hand), which imply hand techniques only. Since this eventful meeting, Taekwondo has been recognized worldwide as the name for the Korean martial arts.
The sportification of Taekwondo
In an effort to ‘Koreanize’ Taekwondo and evolve it from its Japanese Karate origins, in the early 1960’s some master emphasized the sport aspects of Taekwondo by developing a system of interrelated kicking techniques, intricate footwork, and attacks/counterattacks that were different from Karate. Emphasis was shifted from form/pattern practice to that of contact sparring.
These major differences allowed sport Taekwondo to develop its unique kicking system, using such things as instep kicks that distinguished it from Karate. Although some these early masters vehemently opposed the changes, the changes were implemented in 1963 with Taekwondo’s inclusion in the Korean National Sports Festival.
Another radical difference between sport Taekwondo and traditional Karate based Taekwondo was the change from the traditional attack-block-counterattack method of sparring to that of the attack-counterattack method. The concept of blocking before counterattacking is inherent in traditional Taekwondo and is emphasized in its patterns. As sport Taekwondo evolved through constant experimentation during competition, the block disappeared due to its ineffectiveness in the new system of sparring. Competitors found that, by synchronizing attacks and using intricate footwork, it was possible to kick at the same time as the attacker and counter the attack almost simultaneously without blocking.
The Korean Taekwondo Association
Despite the historic merging, dissension between the kwans did not end at the 1955 meeting. There was still much animosity between the various masters.
In November 1958, the Korea Tang-Soo Do Association applied for membership to the Korea Amateur Sports Association (KASA) but it was denied because there was a rival organization, the Korea Kong-Soo Do Association. The KASA agreed to accept the application only if both organizations united as one. Representatives of the two associations met and agreed to unite under the name Korea Soo-Bahk-Do Association. Finally, on September 3, 1959, representatives of the six Kwans agreed to unite under the name Korea Taekwondo Association and Choi was elected its president, however, this organization would not last very long.
General Choi was elected president because of his position as a general in the Korean Army (under a military regime) and because he promised the heads of the original kwans that he would promote Taekwondo. However, the country was poor and had other more pressing concerns than spending valuable resources on martial arts. Because the government failed to come through with the things Choi had promised, he fell into disfavor with the other kwan heads.
On September 19, 1961, by presidential decree, the newly formed association became the Korea Tae-Soo-Do Association. This is considered the ‘true’ inauguration of the KTA. Mr. Chae Myung Shin (a non-martial artist) was chosen the first KTA president, serving until January 15, 1965 when he was replaced by General Choi (from September 1961 until January 1965, Choi had not served in the Korea Tae-Soo-Do Association as either an officer or president). Choi served as president for one year, during which he convinced the association to change its name back to the Korea Taekwondo Association. The name change was completed on August 5, 1965. On January 30, 1966, Byung Jik Ro, founder of the Song Moo Kwan was elected president of the KTA.
The export of Taekwondo
In Korea, the study of Taekwondo spread rapidly from the army into high schools and colleges. Public dojangs sprang up everywhere. Taekwondo had begun to blossom. The first leaders of the KTA saw the potential for the spread and growth of their art and used their authority to send instructors and demonstration teams around the world. Korea quickly began to export its new martial art.
In 1963, a Taekwondo demonstration was performed at the United Nations headquarters in New York City. On November 26, 1967, the United States Taekwondo Association was formed.
In 1962-1963, Taekwondo entered Thailand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. In February 1963, a Taekwondo association was formed in Singapore and groundwork was laid for forming associations in the outer reaches of Brunei. In 1964, Chong Lee introduced Taekwondo into Canada. In 1965, Byung Jick Ro, accompanied by General Choi led a goodwill Taekwondo mission to West Germany, Italy, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, and Singapore. In 1965, Jay Hyon introduced Song Moo Kwan Tae Kwon Do to the United States with the founding of his ‘Karate Center’ in Minneapolis, Minnesota and many other Korean masters spread out from Korea, bringing with them the art of Taekwondo
On January 17, 1971, Dr. Un Yong Kim (not a martial artist), who was serving as Deputy Chief of the Presidential Protective Forces, was elected president of the KTA. He had been instrumental in organizing the building of an advanced Taekwondo training establishment in Seoul, Korea. On March 20, 1971, Korean President Park Chung Hee declared Taekwondo the national sport of Korea and allocated funds to build the ‘Kukkiwon,’ which would serve as the central gymnasium and world headquarters for Taekwondo. Construction began in 1971 and it was completed on November 30, 1972. The Kukkiwon became known as the ‘Mecca of world Taekwondo.’
On May 28, 1973, the first biennial World Taekwondo Championship was held at the Kukkiwon, with the participation of 19 countries. The success of this event proved that Taekwondo had been internationally recognized as a valid sport as well as being an extremely effective method of self-defense. The event started Taekwondo toward becoming a world sport.
During the meet, several KTA leaders including Chong Woo Lee, Won Kyu Um, and Nam Suk Lee called for establishment of a worldwide Taekwondo organization to help get Taekwondo into the Olympics. Representatives of the participating countries at the meet formed a new, worldwide organization to promote Taekwondo on an international level, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). They elected Dr. Un Yong Kim as president and the WTF absorbed the KTA.
On January 8, 1977, nine of the largest kwans unified, recognizing the Kukkiwon as the black belt promotional body for Taekwondo. The WTF replaced kwan names with serial numbers. The kwan serial numbers are as follows: (1) Song-Moo-Kwan, (2) Han-Moo-Kwan, (3) Chang-Moo-Kwan, (4) Moo-Du-Kwan, (5) O-Do-Kwan, (6) Kang-Duk-won, (7) Jung-Do-kwan, (8) Ji-Do-Kwan, and (9) Chung-Do-Kwan.
August 7, 1978 can be considered a historical date for Taekwondo, because it was on this day that the Kwans finally compromised and signed a Proclamation finalizing Kwan Unification. The Proclamation stated:
‘Taekwondo will strive hard to unify and will eliminate the different Kwan of the last 30 years. Since 1972, we unified the Taekwondo terminology and poomse in order to minimize the differences which existed between the different Kwan. With respect to Dan Promotion Tests, the Sabum in the individual Dojang will recommend the candidates for rank advancement. We will do our duty to treat everyone as equals and to work towards a clean administrative procedural system. Because Taekwondo is our National Sport, we promise to be good leaders and unify all Taekwondoin throughout the nation. We will close all Kwan offices and the Chong Bon Kwan will instead coordinate with the Kukkiwon so that we can keep our administration clean. We promise to do our part to unify Taekwondo.’
In October 1979, Dr. Un Yong Kim was elected president of the non-Olympic International Sports Federation of the General Assembly of the International Sports Federation (GAISF).
In July 1980, at the Eighty-Third International Olympic Committee Session meeting in Moscow, the World Taekwondo Federation was granted IOC recognition and became a member of the Olympic Games. It hoped to participate in the 1984 Olympic Games.
In May 1981, the IOC approved the inclusion of Taekwondo in the 1988 Olympic Games to be held in Korea as a demonstration sport and finally as an official Olympic sport in the 2000 Olympics held in Australia.
Currently, Taekwondo has over 100 million students in more than 200 countries around the world.