The beginning of the Meiji era (1868 AD) marked the end of Edo, the Feudal Age. Samurai warriors had to lay down their arms and cut their "chon mage" (their long hair, the symbol of their status). The kimono style of dress was abandoned for western-style clothing. Japan opened itself to foreigners and the popularity of Jujitsu and Kendo (ritual sword fighting) declined. Judo superseded Jujitsu as the martial art of choice after its decisive victory against Jujitsu in an 1886 competition held at the Tokyo Police Department. By the time karate was introduced into Japan, in the 1920s, Judo had such a foothold that karate was shut out until the end of World War II.
It is obvious that empty-hand fighting did not originate wholly in only one country, but it developed naturally in every place humans settled. In each country, people adapted their fighting techniques to deal with the dangers in their local environments. As trade and politics brought these countries into contact with each other, their various fighting styles influenced each other, sometimes leading to the development of entirely different fighting systems.
Now, let us investigate the development of Taekwondo in Korea and how the fighting arts of other countries affected its formation. However, before exploring the history of Taekwondo, let us look at the geography of Korea, since it had much influence on Korean history and thus on the history of Taekwondo.
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