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Muju and Taekwondo


?? Bird’s Eye View of Taekwondo Park Construction Site in Muju.

Muju, where the Taekwondo Park is under construction, once was the home of patriotic warriors to practice martial arts in the ancient times.

During the Three Kingdoms period about 2,000 years ago, Muju was a contiguous area among Goguryeo, Baekje, and Silla. In those days, 9,000 patriotic warriors lived at Gucheon-dong of Mt. Deogyu in Muju practicing martial arts.

According to Lim Hoon, a classical scholar of Chosun Dynasty, the original pronunciation of ‘dong’ of ‘Gucheon-dong’ came from ‘dun’ which means a military post. This suggests that not private warriors but formal state soldiers stationed at Gucheon-dong.

Even the name ‘Seolchun (Snow Stream)’ at Gucheon-dong was derived from the connotation of a whitely colored stream. At that time, the stream looked like snow-covered one due to the flow of great volume of rice-washed water which occurred in the process of preparing 9,000 warriors’ meals.

Hong Man-jong, another scholar of Chosun Dynasty, wrote in his book that Kwon Jin-in, a grand-master of ‘Soobak ( a Korean traditional bare-hand martial art which has been considered as the origin of taekwondo)’ disciplined his mind and body, and taught other junior martial artists at Mt. Jeoksang in Muju.

According to another historical record, Park Chi-won, a Confucian scholar of Chosun Dynasty, also disciplined himself and taught other juniors at Mt. Deogyu in Muju.

In Muju, there is a mountain top called Samdo-bong. ‘Samdo’ means three provinces like Chungcheong, Gyeongsang and Jeolla in medieval and present Korea, and ‘bong’ means a mountain peak.

During Three Kingdoms period, Samdo-bong was a strategically important point and there were a series of bloody fights among the Kingdoms, in particular between Silla and Baekje, to occupy the top.

King Taejong of Chosun Dynasty in 1414 named Muju as it is today by taking ‘Mu’ from Mupung County and ‘Ju’ from Jugye County. Originally, Mupung belonged to Silla Dynasty while Jugye was a part of Baekje.

From this fact, therefore, we can find Korean ancestors’ wisdom to create reconciliation and harmony between the two politically different regions after unification, and to secure the national safety by encouraging the continuing discipline of patriotic martial arts at the warriors’ hub.

Further, there is a distinctive passage named ‘Llaje Tongmoon’ in Muju. ‘Llaje’ is a combined word of Silla and Baekje, and ‘Tongmoon’ means an open passage. This passage was made by piercing a huge rock to connect two politically different regions. Consequently, Llaje Tongmoon is regarded as a special gateway to promote cultural exchanges between the East and West in Southern Korean Peninsula.

By Seung-ho Kim(Planning and Managing Bureau Director of TPF)

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