Taekwondo is a marital art form which is believed to have been originated from Korea in the 1940s. It emphasises more on head-high kicks, jumping spinning kicks and other fast paced kicking techniques. The person who practices the art of Taekwondo is called a ‘Taekwondoin’ and the uniform worn by them while practicing it is called ‘dobok’.
Though the birth of Taekwondo as a martial art form is attributed to the Korean martial artists of the 1940s and 1950s, its emergence and history in India is relatively unknown and undocumented.
There are contradicting data and information available regarding when and who brought this art form to India. While, certain section of people attribute it to the emigration of Jimmy Jagtiani from Vietnam to India in 1974, others contradict it by crediting the emigration of Seong Dong Chang to India in 1981.
Despite of these confusions, Master Jimmy R. Jagtiani is considered to be the founder and ‘Father of Taekwondo’ in India
Master Jagtiani is said to have immigrated to his family’s homeland of India in 1974 when the Vietnam civil war about to reach its most brutal phase. Along with his family, Jagtiani settled in the northern Indian city of Lucknow and started teaching Taekwondo to police officers of the city in 1975. This is believed to be the beginning of Taekwondo as a martial art form in India.
Master Jimmy Jagtiani also formed India’s first Taekwondo federation – Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) in the year 1976. The TFI still regulates all the Taekwondo related activities in the country.
The Taekwondo Federation of India celebrated its first anniversary at the K.D. Singh Babu Indoor Stadium in the year 1977. The event which had the presence of dignitaries like the Korean ambassador Beom-Suk Lee, Babu Bansai Das, K.D. Singh Babu saw Jagtiani being honoured with a medal and being declared the ‘Founder of Taekwondo in India’ by Lee.
If the first anniversary saw Jagtiani being declared the founder of Taekwondo in India, the second anniversary celebration witnessed the Chief Guest, Don Wu Chu – a minister from Republic of Korea, naming Jagtiani as ‘The father of Taekwondo in India’. Minister Chu also promised to send Jagtiani to Korea for further understanding the art of Taekwondo at the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).
Since then, it was a steady rise for Taekwondo in India as the TFI was recognised by WTF in 1978 while it became a part of the Asian Taekwondo Union (ATU) in 1982.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) recognised TFI as a sports body in 1985, while the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports granted it official recognition in the year 1988. Jagtiani was also elected as an executive member to the IOA and ATU in 1990.
Taekwondo as a sport form is still in its adolescent stage in India and the country and all its Taekwondoin and fans would always be indebted to the tireless efforts of Master Jimmy R. Jagtiani to popularise the sport in India.