Tae Kwon Do is a martial art developed over 20 centuries ago in Korea. The earliest records of Tae Kwon Do practice date back to about 50 BC. During that time, Korea was divided into three kingdoms: Silla (57 BC-936 AD), Koguryo (37 BC-668 AD) and Paekche (18 BC-600 AD). Paintings from that time period have been found and they show unarmed people using techniques that are very similar to the ones used by Tae Kwon Do today.
Today, Tae Kwon Do is the most recognized Korean Martial Art. Tae Kwon Do first came to be recognized as a system of self-defense in the 1950's when a group of leading Korean martial artists came together and unified their various art forms under a single style of hand and feet fighting. They named their style Tae Kwon Do, and in the last 30 years have developed it into one of the most effective styles of unarmed self-defense in the world.