The Chinese Influence
In the early years
of Korean martial arts development (first century BC), Korea was split into three kingdoms. The largest kingdoms, Koguryo, lay in the North by the Chinese border. The remaining two kingdom, Paekche and Shilla took equal share of the land below Koguryo in the
South. At this time, martial art was still in the primitive stages of development.
As always, when three kingdoms with developing fighting capabilities were in such close proximity, battles were inevitable. The Shilla kingdom was home
to the Hwa Rang warriors, known throughout the country as a formidable force and therefore, a threat. In recognition of this threat, Koguryo and Paekche formed and alliance with each other (and also with some parts of Japan).
recognised the threat and in an effort to defend their territory, turned to China for assistance. At that time, China was ruled by the Tang Dynasty and martial arts were flourishing. Shilla joined forces with the Tang Dynasty with the aspiration of overthrowing
Paekche and Koguryo. However, as so often happens, the Chinese had their own agenda and, when the battle was won, refused to leave. The Shilla kingdom fought back, alongside Koguryo and Paekche, driving the Chinese out and eventually unifying Korea. However,
influences of Tang martial arts remained behind in the form of Tae Kyon
The unified Shilla Dynasty was overthrown in 918AD by the Koryo Dynasty. The Koryo Dynasty was a much more militaristic society. The strength of their army had
brought peace to the country and they longed for a friendly alliance with China (the Sung Dynasty at this point.). The art we know as Tang Soo Do existed as Soo Bahk Ki at this point and was practised by the Koryo army.