Despite developing weapons to assist in the gathering of food and for self-defense, the people of ancient Korea continued to develop their minds and bodies through recreational games and competitions. Each tribe participated in warrior martial art contests during the ritual seasons, contests such as "Yongko," in the Puyo State, "Tongmaeng," in the Koguryo state, "Muchon," in the Ye and Mahan states, and "Kabi," in the Silla dynasty. These activities eventually developed into exercises that were used to improve health or fighting abilities.
Ancient Korean warriors trained in the military art "Farando" (which used head, elbow, and foot techniques to fight the enemy). They developed two special systems of training: borrowed strength and shorting of space. Borrowed strength referred to borrowing strength from some great being or thing, such as increasing ones power by having unity with the Great Spirit or using herbs or training devices. Space shorting referred to a special way of walking.
The long experience of ancient people in defending themselves against their enemies and animal attacks, as well as their imitation of the defensive and offensive positions of animals, slowly led them to develop more effective fighting skills of their own. Some believe this is the true beginning of modern Taekwondo.
The earliest influence on Korean martial arts from another country is believed to have been a form of Chinese hand and foot fighting called "kwon-bop" (punching and butting, which was based on kung-fu). Some believe that during China's Sung and Ming Dynasties, "Nei-chia" (internal kung-fu) and "Wai-chia" (external kung-fu) were also introduced into Korea. However, if the statues and murals in ancient Korean temples and tombs do indeed depict ancient martial arts movements (as many believe), then they predate any kung-fu influence.