Asmany other arts, it combines combat techniques, self-defense, sport, exercise, and in some cases meditation and philosophy. In 1989, Taekwondo was claimed as the world's most popular martial art interms of number of practitioners. Gyeorugi (pronounced [ɡjʌɾuɡi]), a type of sparring, has been an Olympic event since 2000.
There are two branches of taekwondo development:
* "Traditionaltaekwondo" typically refers to the martial art as it was established in the 1950s and 1960s in the South Korean military; in particular, the names and symbolism of the traditional patterns oftenrefer 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 (asin Olympic sparring). Sport taekwondo is in turn subdivided into two main styles; One derives from Kukkiwon, the source of the sparring system sihap gyeorugi which is now an event at the summer OlympicGames and which is governed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). The other comes from the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF).
Although there are doctrinal and technical differencesbetween 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).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...