In Korea, the martial arts developed as a result of internal conflicts and repeated attacks from neighboring countries like China and Japan. In an attempt to unite and stop foreign invaders, various tribes formed alliances resulting in the development of the Koryo Dynasty (made up of the three kingdoms of Silla, Koguryo and Paekje).
The warrior groups in these kingdoms had strict codes of honor and would discipline their minds and bodies while cultivating their physical strength. The young warrior would learn to think calmly and logically and cope with dangerous situations in an orthodox manner.
Through meditation they would train their minds and improve concentration. Applied through use of the sword, these concepts allowed the Koryo warrior to overcome the challenges of battle. Koryo Gumdo developed over time with influence from a variety of people and regions with some skills passing on and others fading out of practice. The development of Koryo Gumdo remains obscure even in Korea today, but there is historical evidence dating back to 70 BC of sword making techniques similar to what is known as the samurai sword of Japan.
Following the Koryo Dynasty (during the Yi Dynasty from about 1392 to 1907), Korean martial arts lost popularity as the government modernized weapons for national defense instead. By 1910, Japan had invaded Korea and had complete control of the land and people. The practice of Korean martial arts was banned in an effort to destroy the Korean identity and any possible method for revolt. Koryo Gumdo was replaced by Kendo. But, secretly many Koreans continued to pass down the art until the liberation of Korea in 1945.
Immediately there was a movement to unite the various Korean martial arts into unified national styles. New feelings of national pride and a desire to re-establish Korean customs led to an outbreak in the number of people practicing the ancient martial arts (like Taekwondo) and Koryo Gumdo masters began training men, women, and children once again.