The stone-throwing techniques of prehistoric Koreans have survived to modern times and are called “too-suk sool” (stone-throwing arts). The awesome effectiveness of stone throwing techniques was displayed in the battles at Hangjin and Chinju mountain fortresses during the Japanese invasions into Korea in the late 15th century under Hideoshi. In addition, it is recorded that members of the royal family and high-ranking scholars of the Silla Dynasty enjoyed a game developed for amusement called doo-ho (an ancient game of pitching arrows into a pot). Other forms, such as sword-throwing and spear tossing developed out of this, and it is not difficult to conjecture that archery also was connected with this kind of activity.
From the Stone Age to the end of the Primitive Era (the Conscious Action Age), humans acted consciously to protect themselves, they began using weapons for the first time. Even after weapons were developed, since most people had only their bare hands to defend themselves, they naturally developed bare-hand fighting techniques from their own experiences in battle and from analyzing the fighting and hunting techniques of animals. Even after bare-hand fighting was not really needed, people continued to use it as a way to build their physical strength and then to demonstrate their prowess in ritual tribal matches.
The Iron Age (early Age of Systemization), 10,000 to 2,000 years ago, marked the systematic development of art, religion, civilizations, and self-defense techniques. The fighting styles that developed in various regions of the world took generations to evolve. From about 26,000 years ago up to the Modern Era (the Age of Flowering of the Arts), self-defense arts developed fully and became widespread.
Due to scant historical records, it is impossible to trace bare-hand fighting to any one point of origin, but ancient records of some countries do mention some early types of empty-hand fighting. Some of the oldest of these records are from ancient Egypt, so the country-to-country exploration of the roots of Taekwondo will begin there.