History and Background

Ideology and Technical Information


Power Breaking


Codes of Conduct and Behaviour

History and Background

Chief Instructor Tom Foggo began his martial arts journey as a 22-year-old in Adelaide in 2003.

‘’I remember going to my very first lesson. I arrived early as I knew that TKD was all about discipline so I didn’t want to be late. Instructor Andy was an old family friend that I had not seen for over 10 years. I was wearing football shorts and a singlet and he shook my hand and said come back next lesson when you are dressed appropriately’’

Having never attended a single martial arts class, Tom was hooked from the very first time he was able to take part in a class. After his attempt the week before he was immediately impressed with the atmosphere and professionalism in the beautiful old church that was being used as the dojo.

‘’That first lesson I was not asked to do much. I was an eager young man and I am sure that the Instructor knew this. Nearly 20 years later I still remember watching the Blue belts in particular. In the class there may have been 20 students, ranging from beginner to black belt but for some reason it was the Blue belts that caught my eye.

There were higher belts in the class that day but what amazed me was watching the 5 blue belts performing their techniques and patterns together. They were all in sync and moved together as one…I just thought to myself at that point that I would like to be able to move like them and be a part of what I was watching’’

Tom worked his way through the ranks and earnt his red belt. It was at this stage his Instructor and Chief Instructor started to talk about becoming an instructor. Tom would attend class early, 3 nights a week to assist and learn. With no past dream of teaching in any form, he quickly started to enjoy the responsibility and respect that he was shown as an assistant instructor.

After achieving his 1st Degree black belt, Tom was made an instructor of his own gym.

‘’Wow was I scared. I had been an assistant instructor for 1 year but running my own class was terrifying. My Instructors would always tell me that I need to trust my hard work and that I have earnt the right and am qualified to pass on my TKD knowledge.

My first student was a little 5 year old girl named Poppy. She sparked up my passion for teaching Children as she was so cute and talked so much. One day her father told me that I was her idol and that she would walk around the house saying that she only follows Instructor Toms advice…from that moment I just knew that my life could have more purpose.

Tom attained his 2nd degree black belt in 2008.

Shortly after this, Tom relocated to Brisbane to establish his own club under the banner National Taekwondo Brisbane and become Chief Instructor of Brisbane.

‘’ Once a year our club would have a special instructor training camps at the gold coast. It was on my 3rd. year of attending these that I decided I wanted to live in QLD and teach TKD. I had never even been to Brisbane, didn’t know anyone in Qld, didn’t have a job, only had a room to stay in for 2 weeks and only had $2000 in my wallet…for some reason I just knew that it would all work out!

I will never forget the first days, weeks, months and year. I was told by everyone including my family that I was crazy for moving. I got a job the day after I arrived, found a place to live after 2 weeks and then opened up my first class after 1 month. After 6 months of hard work I had 3 students and I was the happiest man on the planet. The following 8 years was a bit of a blur as I kept working hard and the club kept building to what you see today.

I will never forget the first days, weeks, months and year. I was told by everyone including my family that I was crazy for moving. I got a job the day after I arrived, found a place to live after 2 weeks and then opened up my first class after 1 month. After 6 months of hard work I had 3 students and I was the happiest man on the planet. The following 8 years was a bit of a blur as I kept working hard and the club kept building to what you see today.

In 2018 it was time for a change, Tom achieved his 4th degree and created the Australian School of Taekwondo.

‘’ Leaving my old organization was as tough as decision I have had to make in my entire life but on the other hand was also the easiest. I just couldn’t see the future playing out how I envisioned it and wanted more from what TKD could offer.

2019 to 2022 was a whirlwind of new opportunities. I was like a little kid in a candy store learning about the competition style of TKD and re-inventing myself as a 4th degree black belt Chief instructor.

From 2019 to current we had to work around the COVID pandemic but made huge leaps as a club. We found a new Grand Master, officially joined the International Taekwondo Federation and ITF Taekwondo Australia, started attending competitions and seminars and made friends with our rival clubs and competitors.

“’heading into 2022 I am proud of my achievements to be able to provide a brand of TKD to my students that is respected world wide, with endless opportunities. My TKD feels fresh and exciting and I just love putting my uniform on and continuing my vision to create the best TKD school in Australia.

‘’Learning is a journey; and it takes time and dedication to achieve a goal. As a student of Taekwon-Do you have started on your own journey towards Black Belt.

This handbook outlines the techniques and theory for each level  (gup) that you will learn as a student of Australian School of Taekwondo.  It is designed to be your reference source, and a guideline for the grading requirements for all ranks.

It should not take the place of an instructor, a class, or any further study.

Australian School of Taekwondo is founded on the principle of excellence. Students should be familiar with all the techniques and terminology outlined for each grade up to and including their own rank..

As fellow students of Taekwon-Do we wish you all the best in your studies in becoming a well-rounded, ethical, skilled, accomplished student of the art of Taekwon-Do.

Enjoy the journey!

Tom Foggo - Chief Instructor and Founder of the Australian School of Taekwondo.

Condensed history

The art of Taekwondo was officially named by General Choi Hong Hi on the 11th of April, 1955 and was originated in Korea.

Taekwondo was developed from elements of ancient Korean martial arts and is a version of unarmed combat designed for the purpose of self-defense.

The ITF (International Taekwon-Do Federation) was formed in 1966 and is regarded as the self defence or art form of Taekwond-Do. The other style of TKD is the WTF(World Taekwondo federation) that was formed in 1973. WTF style is the sport style that you will see at the Olympics.

In 1983, general Choi released the encyclopedia of TKD. 15 volumes of content that details the 24 ITF patterns he created.

In 2002 general Choi passed away leaving TKD as one of most popular martial arts practiced in the world. Since then many claim to be the ITF.

Australian School of Taekwondo teaches the ITF style of Taekwon-Do and is aligned with national and international bodies however we are politically neutral.

We do not teach anything but authentic Taekwon-Do as described by General Choi in the Encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do.




Extended history

The Life of General Choi

General Choi Hong Hi    Founder of Taekwon-Do (1918-2002)

General Choi Hong Hi was born on November 9th, 1918 in the rugged and harsh area of Hwa Dae, Myong Chun District in what is now North Korea but what was then a unified Korea. In his youth, he was frail and quite sickly, a constant source of worry for his parents.

General Choi's father sent him to study calligraphy under one of the most famous teachers in Korea, Mr. Han II Dong. Han, in addition to his skills as a calligrapher, was also a master of Taek Kyon, the ancient Korean art of foot fighting. The teacher, concerned over the frail condition of his new student, began teaching him the rigorous exercises of Taek Kyon to help build up his body.

In Kyoto, Choi met a fellow Korean, Mr. Him, who was engaged in teaching the Japanese martial art, Karate. With two years of concentrated training, Choi attained the rank of first degree black belt. These techniques, together with Taek Kyon (foot techniques), were the forerunners of modern Taekwon-Do.

With the outbreak of World War II, the author was forced to enlist in the Japanese army through no volition of his own. While at his post in Pyongyang, North Korea, the author was implicated as the planner of the Korean Independence Movement and interned at a Japanese prison during his eight-month pretrial examination.

While in prison, to alleviate the boredom and keep physically fit, Choi began practicing this art in the solitude of his cell. In a short time, his cellmate and jailer became students of his. Eventually, the whole prison courtyard became one gigantic gymnasium.

1947 was a year of fast promotion. Choi was promoted to captain and then major. In 1948, he was posted to Seoul as the head of logistics and became Taekwon-Do instructor for the American Military Police School there. In late 1948, Choi became a lieutenant colonel.

The year 1953 was an eventful one for the General, in both his military career and in the progress of the new martial art. He became the author of the first authoritative book on military intelligence in Korea. He organized and activated the crack 29th Infantry Division at Cheju Island, which eventually became the spearhead of Taekwon-Do in the military and established the Oh Do Kwan (Gym of My Way) where he succeeded not only in training the cadre instructors for the entire military but also developing the Taek Kyon and Karate techniques into a modern system of Taekwon-Do.

Technically, 1955 signaled the beginning of Taekwon-Do as a formally recognized art in Korea. During that year, a special board was formed which included leading master instructors, historians, and prominent leaders of society. A number of names for the new martial art were submitted. On the11th of April, the board summoned by Gen. Choi, decided on the name of Taekwon-Do which had been submitted by him.

In 1959, Taekwon-Do spread beyond its national boundaries. The father of Taekwon-Do and nineteen of his top black belt holders toured the Far East. The tour was a major success, astounding all spectators with the excellence of the Taekwon-Do techniques.

Taekwon-Do spread like wildfire, not only to the Korean civilian and military population but to the U.S. soldiers of the 7th Infantry Division which was under his operational control. Through his students, Taekwon-Do was even introduced to the greatest military academy in the world. West Point, In the same year, he also made Taekwon-Do a compulsory subject for the entire armed and police forces in south Korea.

In 1966, the dream of the sickly young student of calligraphy, who rose to Ambassador and the Association President of the most respected martial art in the world came true. On the 22nd of March, the International Taekwon-Do Federation was formed with associations in Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, West Germany, the United States, Turkey, Italy, Arab Republic of Egypt and Korea.

August 1970, the author left for a tour of twenty countries throughout Southeast Asia, Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Choi, of course, held seminars for international instructors every place he went and helped spread and weld the International Taekwon-Do Federation into a cohesive force.

General Choi moved the headquarters of International Taekwon-Do Federation, with the unanimous consent of member countries, to Toronto, Canada, envisaging spreading this art eventually to the countries of Eastern Europe, according to the milestone he set up years before.

During these travels, the author has been especially interested in promoting Taekwon-Do among the youth of the world. The President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation has been instrumental in introducing the art to numerous universities in Europe, America, the Middle East and the Far East.

In 1975, Taekwon-Do alone had the privilege to demonstrate at the Sydney opera house for the first time since its opening. The year 1980 was indeed an unforgettable one for the father of Taekwon-Do, both for himself and the future of his art. He and 15 of his students, including his son Choi Jung Hwa, made a monumental trip to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. This was the first time Taekwon-Do was introduced to the people of North Korea, Choi's birth place.

In November of this same year, the first All Europe Taekwon-Do Championships was held in London with 18 countries participating.

In January of 1981, Gen. Choi made a visit to Queensland, Australia, accompanied by Choi Chang Keun, to declare, open the first Pacific Area Taekwon-Do Championships. At this time, he helped to form the South Pacific Taekwon-Do Federation as well as the Australian Taekwon-Do Federation.

In September the author invited key instructors such as Lee Suk Hi, Rhee Ki Ha, Park Jung Tae and Choi Joong Hwa to Pyongyang to finalize the publication of the Encyclopedia.

Finish of history…….1980 to his death

Translation of Taekwon-Do

Taekwondo is an empty-hand combat form that entails the use of the whole body. Tae means "to Kick" or "Smash with the feet," Kwon implies "punching" or "destroying with the hand or fist," and Do means "way" or "method." Taekwondo thus, is the technique of unarmed combat for self defense that involves the skillful application of techniques that include punching, jumping kicks, blocks, dodges, parrying actions with hands and feet. It is more than a mere physical fighting skill, representing as it does a way of thinking and a pattern of life requiring strict discipline. It is a system of training both the mind and the body in which great emphasis is placed on the development of the trainee's moral character."

Taekwondo is a martial art that in "todays" form of self defense has evolved by combining many different styles of martial arts that existed in Korea over the last 2,000 years and some martial arts styles from countries that surround Korea. Taekwondo incorporates the abrupt linear movements of Karate and the flowing, circular patterns of Kung-fu with native kicking techniques. Over fifty typically Chinese circular hand movements can be identified in modern Taekwondo. A few of the earlier martial arts styles that contributed to Taekwondo are: T'ang-su, Taek Kyon, also known as Subak, Tae Kwon, Kwonpup and Tae Kwonpup. There are also influences from Judo, Karate, and Kung-fu.


The beginnings of Taekwon-Do

"The earliest records of Taekwondo practice date back to about 50 B.C. During this time, Korea was divided into three kingdoms: Silla, which was founded on the Kyongju plain in 57 B.C.; Koguryo, founded in the Yalu River Valley in 37 B.C.; and Paekche, founded in the southwestern area of the Korean peninsula in 18 B.C.."(2) Tae Kyon ( also called Subak) is considered the earliest known form of Taekwondo. Paintings from this time period have been found on the ceiling of the Muyong-chong, a royal tomb from the Koguryo dynasty. The paintings show unarmed people using techniques that are very similar to the ones used by Taekwondo today.

Although Taekwondo first appeared in the Koguryo kingdom, it is the Silla's Hwarang warriors that are credited with the growth and spread of Taekwondo throughout Korea. Silla was the smallest of the three kingdoms and was always under attack by Japanese Pirates. Silla got help from King Gwanggaeto and his soldiers from the Koguryo kingdom to drive out the pirates. During this time a few select Sillan warriors were given training in Taek Kyon by the early masters from Koguryo. The Taek Kyon trained warriors then became known as the Hwarang. The Hwarang set up a military academy for the sons of royalty in Silla called Hwarang-do, which means "The way of flowering manhood." The Hwarang studied Taek Kyon, history, Confucian Philosophy, ethics, Buddhist Morality, and military tactics. The guiding principles of the Hwarang warriors were loyalty, filial duty, trustworthiness, valor, and justice. The makeup of the Hwarang-do education was based on the Five Codes of Human Conduct written by a Buddhist scholar, fundamental education, Taek Kyon and social skills. Taek Kyon was spread throughout Korea because the Hwarang traveled all around the peninsula to learn about the other regions and people.

Today, The original Five Codes of Human Conduct have been correlated into the so-called Eleven Commandments of modern day Taekwondo, which are:

Loyalty to your countryRespect your parents
Faithfulness to your spouseLoyalty to your friends
Respect your brothers and sistersRespect your elders
Respect your teachersNever take life unjustly
Indomitable spiritLoyalty to your school
Finish what you begin

During the Silla dynasty (A.D. 668 to A.D. 935) Taek Kyon was mostly used as a sport and recreational activity. Taek Kyon's name was changed to Subak and the focus of the art was changed during the Koryo dynasty (A.D. 935 to A.D. 1392). When King Uijong was on the throne from 1147 through 1170, he changed Subak from a system that promotes fitness to primarily a fighting art.

The first widely distributed book on Taekwondo was during the Yi dynasty (1397 to 1907). This was the first time that Subak was intended to be taught to the general public, in previous years the knowledge was limited to the military. During the second half of the Yi dynasty, political conflicts and the choice to use debate instead of military action almost lead to the extinction of Subak. The emphasis of the art was changed back to that of recreational and physical fitness. The lack of interest caused Subak as an art, to become fragmented and scarcely practiced throughout the country.

In 1909 the Japanese invaded Korea and occupied the country for 36 years. To control Korea's patriotism, the Japanese banned the practice of all military arts, Korean language and even burned all books written in Korea. This ban was responsible for renewed interest in Subak. Many Koreans organized themselves into underground groups and practiced the martial arts in remote Buddhist temples. Other people left Korea to study the martial arts in other countries like China and Japan. In 1943 Judo, Karate and Kung-fu were officially introduced to the Korean residents and the martial arts regained popularity. In 1945 Korea was liberated. In the last few years before liberation, there were many different variations of Subak/Taek Kyon in Korea. This was due to all of the other martial arts influence on it.

The first Taekwondo school (Kwan) was started in Yong Chun, Seoul, Korea in 1945. Many different school were opened from 1945 through 1960. Each school claimed to teach the traditional Korean martial art, but each school emphasized a different aspect of Taek Kyon/Subak. This caused different names to emerge from each system, some of them were: Soo Bahk Do, Kwon Bop, Kong Soo Do, Tae Soo Do and Kang Soo Do.

The Korean Armed Forces were also formed in 1945 and in 1946 Second lieutenant Hong Hi Choi began teaching Taek Kyon at a Korean military base called Kwang Ju. Americans were first introduced to Taek Kyon when Choi instructed Korean Army troops and some American soldiers stationed with the 2nd Infantry Regiment. Later in 1949 Hong Hi Choi attended Ground General School at Ft. Riely near Topeka, Kansas in the United States. While in the U.S., Choi gave public Taek Kyon demonstrations for the troops. This was the first display of Taek Kyon in America.

The greatest turning point for Korean martial arts started in 1952. During the height of the Korean War, President Syngman Rhee watched a 30 minute performance by Korean martial arts masters. He was especially impressed when Tae Hi Nam broke 13 roof tiles with a single punch. After the demonstration Rhee talked with Hong Hi Choi about the martial arts, he then ordered his military chiefs of staff to require all Korean soldiers to receive training in the martial arts. This caused a tremendous surge in Taek Kyon schools and students.

During this same time period in Korea, special commando groups of martial arts-trained soldiers were formed to fight against the communist forces of North Korea. One of the most famous special forces was known as the Black Tigers. The Korean war ended in 1953. In 1954, General Hong Hi Choi organized the 29th Infantry on Che Ju Island, off the Korean Coast, as a spearhead and center for Taek Kyon training in the military.

On April 11, 1955 at a conference of kwan masters, historians, and Taek Kyon promoters, most of the kwan masters decided to merge their various styles for mutual benefit of all schools. The name "Tae Soo Do" was accepted by a majority of the kwan masters. Two years later the name was changed again, this time to "Taekwondo" The name was suggested by General Hong Hi Choi (who is considered the father of Taekwondo). "Taekwondo" was suggested by Choi because of its resemblance to Taek Kyon, and so provides continuity and maintains tradition. Further, it describes both hand and foot techniques.

Dissension among the various kwans that did not unify carried on until September 14, 1961. Then by official decree of the new military government, the kwans were ordered to unify into one organization called the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), with General Hong Hi Choi elected as its first president. Under the leadership of Choi, demonstration teams were able to spread taekwondo to almost every part of the world. A key member of these teams was the South Korean grandmaster Rhee Ki-ha, who spread it to the United Kingdom and he is also known as the “Founder of Taekwon-Do in Great Britain and Ireland”. Other taekwondo masters include grandmaster Rhee Jhoon Goo, also known as the “Father of American Taekwondo” and grandmaster Rhee Chong Chul, also known as the “Father of Australian Taekwondo

In Korea, the study of Taekwondo spread rapidly from the army into high schools and colleges. In march of 1966 Choi founded the International Taekwon-do Federation (ITF), which he also served as president. Choi later resigned as the KTA president and moved his ITF headquarters to Montreal, Canada, from where he concentrated on organizing Taekwondo internationally. His emphasis is on self-defense methodology, not particularly on the sport. By 1974, Choi reported that some 600 qualified ITF instructors were distributed throughout the world.

Young-wun Kim was elected the new KTA president. Feeling that Korea was the mother country of Taekwondo and that the world headquarters should be located there, he dissolved the ITF's connection with the KTA and on May 28, 1973 created a new international governing body called the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)

In 1972 the Kukkiwon was built and is widely regarded as the official headquarters of Taekwon-Do, located in Seoul, South Korea. In 1973 it hosted the first World Taekwondo Championships with 200 competitors form 17 different countries competing. The WTF is the only official organization recognized by the Korean government as an international regulating body for Taekwondo. The Kukkiwon has been the permanent home to the Taekwondo demonstration team since 1974.

After the 2nd World TKD Championship in Seoul, the WTF became an affiliate of the General Assembly of International Sports Federation (GAISF), which has ties to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The IOC recognized and admitted the WTF in July 1980. In 1982 the General Session of the IOC designated Taekwondo as an official Demonstration Sport for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea and became a medal sport at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

In 1983 General Choi published the “Encyclopedia of Taekwondo”. This 15 volume set is the generals life work and includes all 24 pattern details and descriptions…to this date this encyclopedia is viewed as the bible of TKD.

With the two styles split between the ITF and WTF the art and sport grew throughout the globe to become one of the most popular and practiced martial arts in the world to this day.

After general Choi’s passing in 2002, the art of Taekwon-Do is as strong as ever and his legacy lives on through the ITF and the loyal practitioners he introduced to the art of TKD.

Ideology and Technical Information