Martial arts in Korea have a long history beginning in ancient times. Traditional Korean martial arts were originated during the period of the Ly Dynasty in 37 BC. It was discovered at the ruins of the Muyongchong royal tomb and Kakchu-chong that were built with many wall paintings featuring men practicing. These may be original documents describing the initial countervailing techniques called Subakhi.
The early stage
Taekwondo was traditional Korean martial arts’ techniques were also practiced in Sil La. Chinese martial arts’ techniques were introduced and included in the Hwarangdo propaganda training called Dang Soo (Tang), Gong Soo (Tong Si).
Many documents show that this organization considered the practice of martial arts as an essential part of military training and physical enhancement. It also developed them as an entertainment activity. People discover many documents reflecting techniques and shapes which were very similar to the forms and shapes of Taekwondo today.
During the Ly Dynasty (918-1392), Korean martial arts, then known as Subakhi, were trained as a way to enhance health. There are at least two documents recorded during that time indicating that Subakhi has become so popular that it was performed for the king to see.
Under the Korean era, there was a released book about teaching the system of combat skills, which was similar to training martial arts today. It became more popular with the public, in contrast to the previous Koryo dynasty, martial arts were exclusive to the military. A historical document written by the people of Chungchong and Cholla provinces gathered in a village that held Subakhi competition. This document shows that Subakhi plays an important role in developing Taekwondo.
In particular, the King of Korea Government (1777-1800) released a set of textbooks on Korean customs and practices called Chaemulbo, which stated that Subakhi is called Taekkyon, a very similar name with the name Taekwondo today.