During the Yi dynasty (1392 – 1910), interest in learning martial arts in Korea faded considerably, partly as a result of a growing emphasis on classical learning on subjects such as music, art, literature and poetry, as opposed to physical pursuits that were favoured in earlier periods.

By 1790, the martial art forms that would later develop into Taekwondo were at risk of dying out so in a bid to retain their knowledge, King Chong Jo ordered Lee Duk Mu, one of his generals and a martial arts expert, to write an illustrated textbook on the subject.

The book was called the Muye Dobo Tongji, and was a masterpiece that clearly and succinctly discussed and defined techniques of both armed and unarmed combat. The work was approximately forty pages long and covered all the major martial arts styles practiced in Korea at the time, including Tae Kyon and Soo Bak.