Many Taekwondo students have learned the physical skills of Taekwondo but they know little of its origin or its spiritual basis. Is it any wonder there are so many Taekwondo practitioners who are immature "showoffs?" They know how to perform Taekwondo techniques, but they know very little about "Taekwondo." Students must learn "about" Taekwondo as well as learning its techniques. Taekwondo is constantly changing, so it is essential that Taekwondo practitioners understand its history, both physical and spiritual, so they may ensure any future changes remain true to the roots of Taekwondo.
In the criminal justice system, the law recognizes that differing witnesses to an incident are not necessarily lying; they are just viewing the same incident from a different viewpoint and with prejudiced eyes. This prejudice is affected by many factors, such the country of origin, economic class, age, etc. of each witness. History is affected in the same way. Any book on history is affected by the religion, race, gender, politics, etc. of the author.
There are few written records on ancient Korean history so factual information on Korean martial arts is scarce and sketchy. Because of this, most Korean martial arts writers find something in Korean history to support their claims, writers on Taekwondo included. So remember, the Korean history discussed in this document is prejudiced toward Taekwondo. The history includes information from many differing, sometimes contradictory, sources. There is no guarantee that all the history presented in this document is factual (although it attempts to be); only that it is comprehensive.
Many modern masters of the Korean martial arts claim they can trace the origins of their systems back to the dawn of Korean civilization. Unfortunately, virtually all records of the actual techniques of the ancient Korean martial arts were destroyed by the Japanese forces which occupied the Korean Peninsula from 1909-1945. Only two documents remain that furnish insight into Korea's martial arts history: the Moo Yeh Jee Bo and the Moo Yeh Do Bok Tong Gi.