According to General Choi, the literal translation of
the individual components of the term Taekwon-Do are:
Tae - stands for jumping or flying, to kick or smash with the foot,
Kwon - denotes
the fist ‑ chiefly to punch or destroy with the hand or fist, and
Do - means an art or way.
Taken collectively, the term Taekwon‑Do
indicates the mental training and techniques of unarmed combat used for self‑defense, as well as health.
It involves the skilled application of punches, kicks, blocks and dodges with bare hands and feet for the rapid destruction
of a moving opponent or opponents. Put simply, Taekwon‑Do is a method of unarmed combat designed for self‑defense.
It is, however, more than just that. It is the scientific training of the body to develop powerful
techniques with the hands and feet to be used as an effective method of self‑defense. Through intensive
physical and mental training the body will gain the ultimate use of its capabilities for this purpose. Though it is a combat martial art, its discipline, techniques and mental training are the mortar for building a strong
moral character. This includes many of the personal qualities contained in the Tenets of Taekwon-Do; Courtesy,
Integrity, Perseverance, Self Control, and Indomitable Spirit. It is this mental conditioning that separates
the true practitioner of a traditional martial art from the sport enthusiast, usually content with mastering only the fighting
aspects taught in a class.
This is one of the reasons that traditional Taekwon‑Do is considered the ART of self‑defense. It also
implies that the practitioner is pursuing a way of thinking and life, particularly in the development of strict self‑imposed
discipline and improved personal character. For the true martial artist, Taekwon-Do is a way of life.