The encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, written by the founder General Choi Hong Hi, states:
“Taekwon-Do is a version of unarmed combat designed for the purpose of self-defence. It is more than just that, however.
It is the scientific use of the body in the method of self-defence; a body that has gained the ultimate use of its facilities through intensive physical and mental training.
It is a martial art that has no equal in either power or technique. Though it is a martial art, its discipline, technique and mental training are the mortar for building a strong sense of justice, fortitude, humility and resolve. It is this mental conditioning that separates the true practitioner from the sensationalist, content with mastering only the fighting aspects of the art.”
This quote highlights two important features of International Taekwon-Do. First, how it differs from other martial arts, and secondly, the importance of moral development in International Taekwon-Do.
It is its scientific foundation that separates International Taekwon-Do from other martial arts. Its techniques are founded in an understanding of human anatomy and Newtonian physics. Power is generated by relaxing muscles during movements to maximise acceleration, and tensed suddenly at the conclusion of movements to maximise the concentration of force.
It’s not about fighting.
General Choi emphasised the importance of mental conditioning, and he defined a moral code for Taekwon-Do students with the Tenets of Taekwon-Do and the Student Oath.