Taekwondo is the Korean martial arts, and an international sport. In Korean, Tae implies foot or kicking, kwon for hand, fist or punching, and Do means art or way.


In 1972, Kuk-Ki-Won (the World Tae Kwon Do Center) was built in Seoul to train advanced students from all over the world. Dr. Un Yong Kim was elected president of Kuk-Ki-Won. Kuk-Ki-Won serves as a research center for the advancement of Tae Kwon Do as a scientific sport, it is a testing center for black belt promotions, and is used to hold national and international Tae Kwon Do Championships.

In May 1973, the First World Tae Kwon Do Championships were held at Kuk-Ki-Won, Seoul, Korea. Thirty countries participated. In team competition, Korea won first place, United States won second place, and Mexico and the Republic of China tied for third place. The world championships are held biannually.

World Tae Kwon Do Federation

Following the 1973 tournament, all of the officials representing their countries at the championship formed the World Tae Kwon Do Federation and elected R. Un Yong Kim as president.

Since the formation of the World Tae Kwon Do Federation and the successful first World Tae Kwon Do Championships, there have been many international championships held annually all over the world, such as the European TKD Championships, the African TKD Championships, the Middle East TKD Championships, the South American TKD Championships, Pan American TKD Championships, the Asian TKD Championships, and many invitational international championships.

Tae Kwon Do has increased in popularity and has contributed to the spirit of competition and sportsmanship internationally. Much of this has been due to the untiring efforts of Dr. Un Yong Kim, whose contribution enabled Tae Kwon Do to be recognized and to grow as a world sport in a very short period of time.

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). The GAISF is comprised of twenty-six Olympic Federation, and twenty-seven non-Olympic Federation.

Dr. Kim was also elected president of the Executive Committee and Council of World Games I, which was held in Santa Clara, California, in August 1981. The pre-World Games Tae Kwon Do Championships were held in June 1978 in Seoul.

Olympic Games

In July 1980, at the Eighty-Third International Olympic Committee Session meeting in Moscow, the World Tae Kwon Do 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 Tae Kwon Do in the 1988 Olympic Games to be held in Korea as a demonstration sport.

Within five short years of Tae Kwon Do becoming a member of the GAISF, it was adopted as an Olympic sport, and the World Tae Kwon Do Federation was recognized by the International Olympic Committee to supervise all Tae Kwon Do activities.

In one of those moments of symmetry so often unplanned, Tae Kwon Do was introduced into the Sydney 2000 Games as one of two new Olympic sports. The Games ending the second millennium "introduced" a sport that is over 2000 years old.