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" Taekwondo 태권도 - 跆拳道 is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea.
Thus, taekwondo may be loosely translated as "the art of the foot and fist" or "the art of kicking and punching."
Taekwondo was the world's most popular martial art in terms of the number of practitioners, in 1989. Its popularity has resulted in the varied development of the martial art into several domains: as with many other arts, it combines:
Taekwondo is also used by the South Korean military as part of its training.
Gyeorugi (pronounced [ɡj ɾuɡi]), a type of sparring, has been an Olympic event since 2000.
Formally, there are two main styles of taekwondo. One comes from the Kukkiwon, the source of the sparring system sihap gyeorugi which is now an event at the summer Olympic Games and which is governed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). The other comes from the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF).
Separate from the various taekwondo organizations, there have been two general branches of taekwondo development:
The term "traditional taekwondo" typically refers to the martial art as it was established in the 1950s and 1960s in the South Korean military forces; in particular, the names and symbolism of the traditional patterns often refer to elements of Korean history.
Sport taekwondo has evolved in the decades since then and has a somewhat different focus, especially in terms of its emphasis on speed and competition (as in Olympic sparring), whereas traditional taekwondo tends to emphasize power and self-defense. The two are not mutually exclusive, and the distinctions between them are often blurred.
Although there are doctrinal and technical differences between the two main styles and among the various organizations, the art in general emphasizes kicks thrown from a mobile stance, employing the leg's greater reach and power (compared to the arm). The greatest difference between various styles, or at least the most obvious, is generally accepted to be the differing styles and rules of sport and competition. Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes and may also include various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and joint locks. Some taekwondo instructors also incorporate the use of pressure points, known as jiapsul, as well as grabbing self-defense techniques borrowed from other martial arts, such as hapkido and judo.
Extract from Wikipedia
Taekwondo as a martial art offers: