Some people believe that Korean Taekwondo was originated from Kungfu, the Chinese self-defense art. According to a Chinese document. the Chinese art of self-defense is believed to have been initiated as a sort of physical exercise when the Bodhi Dharma taught the monks of Hsiaolin Temple in Tungpung Country, Honan Provice, China.
Bodihi Dharma, a great Indian Buddhist Zen master, came to China in 520 A. D. and spent nine years at Hsiaolin Temple where he introduced the art of self-defense.
However, if we recall that the mural paintings of Taekwondo in the ancient tombs of Koguryo belong to the period 3 A. D. to 427A. D., it cannot be said that the Korean Taekwondo owes its origin to the Chinese Kungfu.
No detailed record is available when Karate, the Japanese self-defense art equivalent to Taekwondo, was initiated. There are two-fold explanations about it. One explanation is that a Chinese named Chen Yuanpin, who lived in the late Ming dynasty, was naturalized as a Japanese and imparted the Chinese "Kungfu" to the Japanese people. The other explanation says that Karate is a developed form of "Okinawate," a self-defense art indigenous to Okinawa.
However, that time in Korea, "Subak", an old name of Taekwondo, has quained great popularity among the people, and therefore it is not unlikely that the envoys from Okinawa learned that game and introduced to their people.
This speculation is not too absurd when we recall the fact that "Nul", the Korean see-saw, was also adopted by the people of Okinawa from Korea.
It may be concluded that the Japanese Karate, in turn, derives from Taekyon or Subak, the primitive form of Taekwondo.
Taekwondo retained its popularity after the Koguryo and Silla dynasties through the Koryo dynasty, that was founded in 918 A. D., and continued for 475 years, and through the Yi dynasty.