How is Taekwondo, or any other martial art, passed from one generation to the next? In the past, written words and diagrams were used somewhat to codify the art but Taekwondo was primarily passed from master to students, some of whom went on to become masters and passed it on to their students. This method of passing on the art led to claims of "secret" techniques that were known only to a chosen few. This method also meant that any Taekwondo information that was passed down was tainted by the memory, intelligence, and bias of each master in the chain. Nowadays, with television, movies, videos, and the Internet, there are no secret techniques.
Even though Taekwondo information may be easily found, it is still being tainted by the memory, intelligence, and bias of the persons passing the information. There are still claims of having been passed the "real" or "secret" Taekwondo knowledge. Often, when a great, acknowledged master dies, one of his or her top students will claim, or fights amongst others to claim, that he or she is the rightful successor to the master's art. Many of these claims are motivated by greed, petty rivalry, or shameless self-promotion. As many of the learned masters of the older generation are dying off, how do we know who are the legitimate successors the art of Taekwondo?
As with other martial arts, Taekwondo is passed by several means. Each one has its own way of "tainting" the art.
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