Taekwondo: From a Martial Art to a Martial Sport, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


From a Martial Art to a Martial Sport, 1st Edition

By Udo Moenig


230 pages | 37 B/W Illus.

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This book provides a comprehensive overview of the historical, political, and technical evolution of taekwondo. Many of the supposedly ‘traditional’ and ‘ancient’ Korean cultural elements attached to taekwondo are, in fact, remnants of East Asia’s modernization drive, and largely inherited from the Japanese martial arts. The current historical portrayal has created an obstacle to a clear understanding of the history of taekwondo, and presents problems and contradictions in philosophy and training methodology. Using rich empirical data, including interviews with leading figures in the field, this book brings together martial arts philosophy with an analysis of the technical aspects and the development of taekwondo, and provides a detailed comparison of karate and taekwondo techniques. It debunks nationalistic mythology surrounding taekwondo to provide a reinterpretation of taekwondo’s evolution.

Table of Contents

1. Early Korean martial arts and t’aekkyŏn 2. The relationship of taekwondo to karate 3. The significance of forms 4. The origins of full-contact sparring 5. The origins of taekwondo competition rules 6. The evolution of sparring technique 7. The philosophical roots of taekwondo 8. Forms versus sparring 9. Conclusion: the incomplete transformation of taekwondo from a ‘martial art’ to a ‘martial sport’

About the Author

Udo Moenig, Lecturer, Department of Taekwondo, Youngsan University, South Korea.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Sports History

The Routledge Research in Sports History series presents leading research in the development and historical significance of modern sport through a collection of historiographical, regional and thematic studies which span a variety of periods, sports and geographical areas. Showcasing ground-breaking, cross-disciplinary work from established and emerging sport historians, the series provides a crucial contribution to the wider study of sport and society. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SPORTS & RECREATION / Sociology of Sports