Taekwondo originated in the days of tribal communities on the Korean Peninsula. Three Kingdoms came into existence rivaling for domination. Koguryo was surrounded by the hostile Han tribes in the north and in order to unite and strengthen their nation, a warrior corps called Sonbae was created. The kingdom of Silla was founded on the southeastern tip of the Korean peninsula. Surrounded on all sides by water, this kingdom had no immediate threat from the outside leaving internal unrest and threat to emanate from the Paekje and Koguryo tribes. A similar group of young warriors emerged in the Silla kingdom. They were called Hwarangdo. Both parties of warriors lived in groups where their education and study was not limited to knowledge of swordsmanship and archery, but also included learning history, literary arts, and serving the community in times of peace by constructing roads and building fortresses, thus demonstrating their devotion to their nation.
The art of Taekkyon (the predecessor to present day TaeKwonDo) was conveyed as an inheritance from one generation of masters and students to another and, from the fourth century forwards a systemized martial art in learning houses that were the precursor to the present day dojang.
Techniques developed over time and the power of martial arts grew with hand and foot techniques becoming effective weapons and those who learned these skills were capable of defending themselves. Silla, the smallest kingdom, used these skills to reunify the Korean Peninsula beginning the Koryo Dynasty (918-1392 CE)
In 1971, Taekwondo was nominated to be the national martial art of Korea. Kukkiwon was founded in 1972 coalescing the teaching of many masters and styles of Taekyon and creating a framework with a specific format for the teaching of techniques and poomse (traditional forms) to students. May 28th 1973 marked the birth of the World Taekwondo Federation with a current membership of 179 countries worldwide. The goal of taking the martial art of Taekwondo to the level of Olympic competition was attained in the year 2000 in Australia and thus far remains the only martial art elevated to this level.