Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. It is a unique martial art in that it expresses the essence of its country of origin. No other martial art has been as influential in the country of its origin as has Taekwondo in Korea. Some believe Taekwondo is Korea's most effective diplomatic tool in spreading Korean culture throughout the world. However, Taekwondo has an identity problem due to confusion and distortion regarding its historical origins and process of development.
Writings on Taekwondo history usually portray Taekwondo as an unique product of Korean culture, developed over the long course of Korean history since the Three Kingdoms Era. However, Taekwondo's primary influence came from Japanese Karate that was introduced into Korea during the Japanese occupation of Korea during the early 1900s.
After WWII, Korean martial artists who would later become the founders of Taekwondo began to "Koreanize" the Japanese Karate they had learned during the Japanese occupation so it would reflect more of the Korean culture. They began to incorporate some of the remnants of Subak and Taekkyon into their previous karate training. This involved selection of a new, non-Japanese name, the creation of a system of techniques and training that was distinctly different from that of karate, and an attempt to show Taekwondo's development throughout Korean history. The new name given the art was "Taekwondo." The development of a new system of techniques and training came about by moving Taekwondo away from karate's nature as a martial art to that of a sport, called the "competitionalization" of Taekwondo. This document attempts show Taekwondo's links to karate and to Korean martial arts, such as to the ancient Korean martial arts of Subak and Taekkyon.