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  • Taekwondo Competition

    Taekwondo competition typically involves sparring, breaking, patterns, and self-defense (hosinsul). In Olympic taekwondo competition, however, only sparring (using WTF competition rules) is performed.

    There are two kinds of competition sparring: point sparring, in which all strikes are light contact and the clock is stopped when a point is scored; and Olympic sparring, where all strikes are full contact and the clock continues when points are scored. Sparring involves a Hogu, or a chest protector, which muffles any kick's damage to avoid serious injuries. Helmets and other gear is provided as well. Though other systems may vary, a common point system works like this: One point for a regular kick to the Hogu, two for a turning behind kick, three for a back kick, and four for a spinning kick to the head.


    World Taekwondo Federation

    Under World Taekwondo Federation and Olympic rules, sparring is a full-contact event and takes place between two competitors in an area measuring 8 meters square. A win can occur by points, or if one competitor is unable to continue (knockout). Each match consists of three semi-continuous rounds of contact, with one minute rest between rounds. Competitors must wear a hogu, head protector, shin pads, foot socks, forearm guards, hand gloves, a mouthpiece, and a groin cup (males only). Many large tournaments sanctioned by national governing bodies or the WTF, including the Olympics, use electronic hogus, electronic foot socks, and electronic head protectors.

    Points are awarded for permitted, accurate, and powerful techniques delivered to the legal scoring areas; light contact does not score any points. The only techniques allowed are kicks (delivering a strike using an area of the foot below the ankle) and punches (delivering a strike using the closed fist). In most competitions, points are awarded by three corner judges using electronic scoring tallies. Several A-Class tournaments, however, are now experimenting with electronic scoring equipment contained within the competitors' body protectors. This limits corner judges to scoring only attacks to the head. Some believe that the new electronic scoring system will help to reduce controversy concerning judging decisions, but this technology is still not universally accepted.

    Beginning in 2009, a kick or punch that makes contact with the opponent's hogu (the body guard that functions as a scoring target) scores one point. (The trunk protector is referred to as a momtong pohodae 몸통 보호대 or trunk guard in the WTF rules.) If a kick to the hogu involves a technique that includes fully turning the attacking competitor's body, so that the back is fully exposed to the targeted competitor during execution of the technique (spinning kick), three points are awarded. A kick to the head scores three points; as of October 2010 an additional point is awarded if a turning kick was used to execute this attack. Punches to the head are not allowed. As of March 2010, no additional points are awarded for knocking down an opponent (beyond the normal points awarded for legal strikes).

    The referee can give penalties at any time for rule-breaking, such as hitting an area not recognized as a target, usually the legs or neck. Penalties are divided into "Kyong-go" (warning penalty) and "Gam-jeom" (deduction penalty). Two "Kyong-go" are counted as an addition of one point for the opposing contestant. However, the final odd-numbered "Kyong-go" is not counted in the grand total.

    At the end of three rounds, the competitor with most points wins the match. In the event of a tie, a fourth "sudden death" overtime round, sometimes called a "Golden Point", is held to determine the winner after a one-minute rest period. In this round, the first competitor to score a point wins the match. If there is no score in the additional round, the winner is decided by superiority, as determined by the refereeing officials. or number of fouls committed during that round.

    Until 2008, if one competitor gained a 7-point lead over the other, or if one competitor reached a total of 12 points, then that competitor was immediately declared the winner and the match ended. These rules were abolished by the WTF at the start of 2009. In October 2010 the WTF reintroduced a point-gap rule, stating that if a competitor has a 12-point lead at the end of the second round or achieves a 12-point lead at any point in the third round, then the match is over and that competitor is declared the winner.

    USA Taekwondo is the officially recognized National Governing Body for Taekwondo for the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), and the official Member National Association of the World Taekwondo Federation.

    The World Taekwondo Federation directly sanctions the following competitions:

    WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships
    WTF World Taekwondo Championships
    WTF World Taekwondo Cadet Championships
    WTF World Taekwondo Junior Championships
    WTF World Taekwondo Team Championships
    WTF World Taekwondo Para Championships
    WTF World Taekwondo Grand-Prix
    WTF World Taekwondo Beach Championships
    Olympic Games


    International Taekwon-Do Federation

    The International Taekwon-Do Federation's sparring rules are similar to the WTF's rules, but differ in several aspects.

    Hand and foot attacks to the head are allowed.
    The scoring system is:
    1 point for: Punch to the body or head.
    2 points for: Jumping kick to the body or kick to the head
    3 points for: Jumping kick to the head
    The competition area may vary between 10×10 meters and 20×20 meters in international championships.

    Competitors do not wear the hogu (although they are required to wear approved foot and hand protection equipment, as well as optional head guards). This scoring system varies between individual organisations within the ITF; for example, in the TAGB, punches to the head or body score 1 point, kicks to the body score 2 points, and kicks to the head score 3 points.

    A continuous point system is utilized in ITF competition, where the fighters are allowed to continue after scoring a technique. Excessive contact are generally not allowed according to the official ruleset, and judges penalize any competitor with disqualification if they injure their opponent and he can no longer continue (although these rules vary between ITF organizations). At the end of two minutes (or some other specified time), the competitor with more scoring techniques wins.

    Fouls in ITF sparring include: attacking a fallen opponent, leg sweeping, holding/grabbing, or intentional attack to a target other than the opponent.

    ITF competitions also feature performances of patterns, breaking, and 'special techniques' (where competitors perform prescribed board breaks at great heights).


    Other organizations

    American Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) competitions are very similar, except that different styles of pads and gear are allowed.

    Apart from WTF and ITF tournaments, major taekwondo competitions (all featuring WTF taekwondo only) include:

    Universiade
    Asian Games
    African Games
    European Games
    Pan American Games
    Pacific Games

    Taekwondo is also an optional sport at the Commonwealth Games.
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  • Taekwondo Philosophy

    Different styles of taekwondo adopt different philosophical underpinnings. Many of these underpinnings however refer back of the Five Commandments of the Hwarang as a historical referent. For example, Choi Hong Hi expressed his philosophical basis for taekwondo as the Five Tenets of Taekwondo:

    you asked for it', courtesy
    Yom-Chi, integrity
    In-Nae, perseverance, patience
    Guk-Gi, self-discipline
    Beakjul-bool-gul, invincibility of spirit

    These tenets are further articulated in a taekwondo oath, also authored by Choi:

    I undertake to comply with the principles of Taekwondo
    I undertake to respect my coaches and all superiors
    I undertake to abuse Taekwondo never
    I pledge to stand up for freedom and justice
    I undertake to cooperate in the creation of a more peaceful world

    Modern ITF organizations have continued to update and expand upon this philosophy.

    The World Taekwondo Federation also refers to the commandments of the Hwarang in the articulation of its taekwondo philosophy. Like the ITF philosophy, it centers on the development of a peaceful society as one of the overarching goals for the practice of taekwondo. The WTF's stated philosophy is that this goal can be furthered by adoption of the Hwarang spirit, by behaving rationally ("education in accordance with the reason of heaven"), and by recognition of the philosophies embodied in the taegeuk (the yin and the yang, i.e., "the unity of opposites") and the sam taegeuk (understanding change in the world as the interactions of the heavens, the Earth, and Man). The philosophical position articulated by the Kukkiwon is likewise based on the Hwarang tradition.
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  • Taekwondo Historical Influences

    The oldest Korean martial arts were an amalgamation of unarmed combat styles developed by the three rival Korean Kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje, where young men were trained in unarmed combat techniques to develop strength, speed, and survival skills. The most popular of these techniques was ssireum and subak, with taekkyeon being the most popular of the components of subak. The Northern Goguryeo kingdom was a dominant force in Northern Korea and North Eastern China prior to the 1st century CE, and again from the 3rd century to the 6th century. Before the fall of the Goguryeo Dynasty in the 6th century, the Shilla Kingdom asked for help in training its people for defense against pirate invasions. During this time a few select Silla warriors were given training in taekkyeon by the early masters from Goguryeo. These Silla warriors then became known as Hwarang or "blossoming knights." The Hwarang set up a military academy for the sons of royalty in Silla called Hwarang-do {花郎徒}, which means "flower-youth corps." The Hwarang studied taekkyeon, history, Confucian philosophy, ethics, Buddhist morality, social skills, and military tactics. The guiding principles of the Hwarang warriors were based on Won Gwang's five codes of human conduct and included loyalty, filial duty, trustworthiness, valor, and justice.

    In spite of Korea's rich history of ancient and martial arts, Korean martial arts faded during the late Joseon Dynasty. Korean society became highly centralized under Korean Confucianism, and martial arts were poorly regarded in a society whose ideals were epitomized by its scholar-kings. Formal practices of traditional martial arts such as subak and taekkyeon were reserved for sanctioned military uses. However, taekkyeon persisted into the 19th century as a folk game during the May-Dano festival, and was still taught as the formal military martial art throughout the Joseon Dynasty.

    Early progenitors of taekwondo - the founders of the nine original kwans - who were able to study in Japan were exposed to Japanese martial arts, including karate, judo, and kendo, while others were exposed to the martial arts of China and Manchuria, as well as to the indigenous Korean martial art of taekkyeon. Hwang Kee founder of Moo Duk Kwan, further incorporated elements of Korean Gwonbeop from the Muye Dobo Tongji into the style that eventually became Tang Soo Do.
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  • Taekwondo Ranks, Belts, and Promotion

    Taekwondo ranks vary from style to style and are not standardized. Typically, these ranks are separated into "junior" and "senior" sections, colloquially referred to as "color belts" and "black belts". The junior section of ranks - the "color belt" ranks - are indicated by the Korean word geup 급 (also Romanized as gup or kup). Practitioners in these ranks generally wear belts ranging in color from white (the lowest rank) to red or brown (higher ranks, depending on the style of taekwondo). Belt colors may be solid, or may include a colored stripe on a solid background. The number of geup ranks varies depending on the style, typically ranging between 8 and 12 geup ranks. The numbering sequence for geup ranks usually begins at the larger number for white belts, and then counts down to "1st geup" as the highest color-belt rank.

    The senior section of ranks - the "black belt" ranks - is typically made up of nine ranks. Each rank is called a dan 단 or "degree" (as in "third dan" or "third-degree black belt"). The numbering sequence for dan ranks is opposite that of geup ranks: numbering begins at 1st dan (the lowest black-belt rank) and counts upward for higher ranks. A practitioner's degree is sometimes indicated on the belt itself with stripes, Roman numerals, or other methods.

    Some styles incorporate an additional rank between the geup and dan levels, called the "bo-dan" rank -- essentially, a candidate rank for black belt promotion. Additionally, the Kukkiwon/WTF-style of taekwondo recognizes a "poom" rank for practitioners under the age of 15: these practitioners have passed dan-level tests but will not receive dan-level rank until age 15. At age 15, their poom rank is considered to transition to equivalent dan rank automatically. In some schools, holders of the poom rank wear a half-red/half-black belt rather than a solid black belt.

    To advance from one rank to the next, students typically complete promotion tests in which they demonstrate their proficiency in the various aspects of the art before their teacher or a panel of judges. Promotion tests vary from school to school, but may include such elements as the execution of patterns, which combine various techniques in specific sequences; the breaking of boards to demonstrate the ability to use techniques with both power and control; sparring and self-defense to demonstrate the practical application and control of techniques; physical fitness usually with push-ups and sit-ups; and answering questions on terminology, concepts, and history to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the art. For higher dan tests, students are sometimes required to take a written test or submit a research paper in addition to taking the practical test.

    Promotion from one geup to the next can proceed rapidly in some schools, since schools often allow geup promotions every two, three, or four months. Students of geup rank learn the most basic techniques first, and then move on to more advanced techniques as they approach first dan. Many of the older and more traditional schools often take longer to allow students to test for higher ranks than newer, more contemporary schools, as they may not have the required testing intervals. In contrast, promotion from one dan to the next can take years. In fact, some styles impose age or time-in-rank limits on dan promotions. For example, the number of years between one dan promotion to the next may be limited to a minimum of the practitioner's current dan-rank, so that (for example) a 5th dan practitioner must wait 5 years to test for 6th dan.

    Black belt ranks may have titles associated with them, such as "master" and "instructor", but taekwondo organizations vary widely in rules and standards when it comes to ranks and titles. What holds true in one organization may not hold true in another, as is the case in many martial art systems. For example, achieving first dan ( black belt) ranking with three years' training might be typical in one organization, but considered too quick in another organization, and likewise for other ranks. Similarly, the title for a given dan rank in one organization might not be the same as the title for that dan rank in another organization.

    In the International Taekwon-Do Federation, instructors holding 1st to 3rd dan are called Boosabum (assistant instructor), those holding 4th to 6th dan are called Sabum (instructor), those holding 7th to 8th dan are called Sahyun (master), and those holding 9th dan are called Saseong (grandmaster). This system does not, however, necessarily apply to other taekwondo organizations.

    In the American Taekwondo Association, instructor designations are separate from rank. Black belts may be designated as an instructor trainee (red collar), specialty trainer (red and black collar), certified trainer (black-red-black collar) and certified instructor (black collar). After a one-year waiting period, instructors who hold a sixth dan are eligible for the title of Master. Seventh dan black belts are eligible for the title Senior Master and eighth dan black belts are eligible for the title Chief Master.

    In the Kukkiwon/WTF-style students holding 1st-3rd dan are considered an Instructor, but generally have much to learn. Students who hold a 4th - 6th dan are considered Masters. Masters who hold a 7th - 9th dan are considered a Grand-Master. This rank also holds an age requirement of 40+. In this style, a 10th dan rank is sometimes awarded posthumously for practitioners with a lifetime of demonstrable contributions to the practice of taekwondo.
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  • Taekwondo Forms (patterns)

    The Korean terms hyeong, poomsae and teul are all used to refer to taekwondo forms or "patterns." These are equivalent to kata in karate.

    The word ''hyeong'' is often romanized as ''hyung'' - hyeong is the term usually used in traditional taekwondo (i.e., 1950s-1960s styles of Korean martial arts).

    ''Poomsae'' is sometimes romanized as ''pumsae'' or ''poomse'' - poomsae is the term officially used by Kukkiwon/WTF-style and ATA-style taekwondo.

    ''Teul'' is often romanized as ''tul'' - teul is the term usually used in ITF/Chang Hon-style taekwondo.

    A hyeong is a systematic, prearranged sequence of martial techniques that is performed either with or without the use of a weapon. In dojangs (taekwondo training gymnasiums) hyeong are used primarily as a form of interval training that is useful in developing mushin, proper kinetics and mental and physical fortitude. Hyeong may resemble combat, but are artistically non-combative and woven together so as to be an effective conditioning tool. One's aptitude for a particular hyeong may be evaluated in competition. In such competitions, hyeong are evaluated by a panel of judges who base the score on many factors including energy, precision, speed, and control. In Western competitions, there are two general classes of hyeong: creative and standard. Creative hyeong are created by the performer and are generally acrobatic in nature and do not necessarily reflect the kinetic principles intrinsic in any martial system.

    Different taekwondo styles and associations (ATA, ITF, GTF, WTF, etc.) use different taekwondo forms. Even within a single association, different schools in the association may use slightly different variations on the forms, or use different names for the same form (especially in older styles of taekwondo). This is especially true for beginner forms, which tend to be less standardized than mainstream forms.
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  • Taekwondo Styles and Organizations

    There are a number of major taekwondo styles as well as a few niche styles. Most styles are associated with a governing body or federation that defines the style. The major technical differences among taekwondo styles and organizations generally revolve around:

    the patterns practiced by each style (called hyeong 형, pumsae 품새, or teul 틀, depending on the style); these are sets of prescribed formal sequences of movements that demonstrate mastery of posture, positioning, and technique
    differences in the sparring rules for competition; specifically, WTF-style competition (the style used in the Olympics) is generally more sport-oriented and less combat-oriented than other styles
    martial arts philosophy.


    1946: Traditional taekwondo

    The term traditional taekwon typically refers to martial arts practiced in Korea during the 1940s and 1950s by the nine original kwans after the conclusion of the Japanese occupation of Korea at the end of World War II. The term taekwondo had not yet been coined. In reality, each of the nine kwans practiced its own style of martial arts, so the term traditional taekwondo serves as an umbrella term for these various styles. Traditional taekwondo is still studied today in addition to traditional Korean martial arts styles such as Tang Soo Do and Soo Bahk Do.

    The original schools (kwans) that formed the organization that would eventually become Kukkiwon continue to exist as independent fraternal membership organizations that support the World Taekwondo Federation and Kukkiwon. The official curriculum of the kwans is that of Kukkiwon. The kwans also function as a channel for the issuing of Kukkiwon dan and poom certification (black belt ranks) for their members.


    1966: ITF/Chang Hon-style taekwondo

    International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF)-style taekwondo, more accurately known as Chang Hon-style taekwondo, is defined by Choi Hong Hi's Encyclopedia of Taekwon-do published in 1987.

    In 1990, the Global Taekwondo Federation (GTF) split from the ITF due to the political controversies surrounding the ITF; the GTF continues to practice ITF-style taekwondo, however, with additional elements incorporated into the style. Likewise, the ITF itself split in 2001 and again in 2002 into three separate federations, headquartered in Austria, the United Kingdom, and Spain respectively.

    The GTF and all three ITFs practice Choi's ITF-style taekwondo. In ITF-style taekwondo, the word used for "forms" is teul; the specific set of teul used by the ITF is called Chang Hon. Choi defined 24 Chang Hon teul. The names and symbolism of the Chang Hon teul refer to elements of Korean history, culture and religious philosophy. The GTF-variant of ITF practices an additional six teul.

    Within the ITF taekwon-do tradition there are two sub-styles:

    The style of taekwon-do practiced by the ITF before its 1973 split with the KTA is sometimes called by ITF practitioners "traditional taekwon-do", though a more accurate term would be traditional ITF taekwon-do.

    After the 1973 split, Choi Hong Hi continued to develop and refine the style, ultimately publishing his work in his 1987 Encyclopedia of Taekwondo. Among the refinements incorporated into this new sub-style is the "sine wave"; one of Choi Hong Hi's later principles of taekwondo is that the body's center of gravity should be raised-and-lowered throughout a movement.

    Some ITF schools adopt the sine wave style, while others do not. Essentially all ITF schools do, however, use the patterns (teul) defined in the Encyclopedia, with some exceptions related to the forms Juche and Ko-Dang.


    1969: ATA/Songahm-style taekwondo

    In 1969, Haeng Ung Lee, a former taekwondo instructor in the South Korean military, relocated to Omaha, Nebraska and established a chain of martial arts schools in the United States under the banner of the American Taekwondo Association (ATA). Like Jhoon Rhee taekwondo, ATA taekwondo has its roots in traditional taekwondo. The style of taekwondo practiced by the ATA is called Songahm taekwondo. The ATA went on to become one of the largest chains of taekwondo schools in the United States.

    The ATA has established international spin-offs called the Songahm Taekwondo Federation (STF) and the World Traditional Taekwondo Union (WTTU) to promote the practice of Songahm taekwondo internationally.


    1970s: Jhoon Rhee-style taekwondo

    In 1962 Jhoon Rhee relocated to the United States and established a chain of martial arts schools primarily in the Washington, D.C. area that practiced traditional taekwondo. In the 1970s, at the urging of Choi Hong Hi, Rhee adopted ITF-style taekwondo within his chain of schools, but like the GTF later departed from the ITF due to the political controversies surrounding Choi and the ITF. Rhee went on to develop his own style of taekwondo called Jhoon Rhee-style taekwondo, incorporating elements of both traditional and ITF-style taekwondo as well as original elements. (Note that Jhoon Rhee-style taekwondo is distinct from the similarly named Rhee Taekwon-Do.)

    Jhoon Rhee-style taekwondo is still practiced primarily in the United States and eastern Europe.


    1972: Kukkiwon/WTF-style taekwondo

    In 1972 the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) Central Dojang opened in Seoul in 1972; in 1973 the name was changed to Kukkiwon. Under the sponsorship of the South Korean government's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism the Kukkiwon became the new national academy for taekwondo, thereby establishing a new "unified" style of taekwondo. In 1973 the KTA established the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) to promote taekwondo as a sport. The International Olympic Committee recognized the WTF and taekwondo sparring in 1980. For this reason, Kukkiwon-style taekwondo is sometimes referred to as Sport-style taekwondo, Olympic-style taekwondo, or WTF-style taekwondo, though technically the style itself is defined by the Kukkiwon, not the WTF.

    In Kukkiwon/WTF-style taekwondo, the word used for "forms" is poomsae. In 1967 the KTA established a new set of forms called the Palgwae poomse, named after the eight trigrams of the I Ching. In 1971 however (after additional kwans had joined the KTA), the KTA and Kukkiwon adopted a new set of color-belt forms instead, called the Taegeuk poomsae. Black belt forms are called yudanja poomsae. While ITF-style forms refer to key elements of Korean history, Kukkwon/WTF-style forms refer instead to elements of sino-Korean philosophy such as the I Ching and the taegeuk.

    WTF-sanctioned tournaments allow any person, regardless of school affiliation or martial arts style, to compete in WTF events as long as he or she is a member of the WTF Member National Association in his or her nation; this allows essentially anyone to compete in WTF-sanctioned competitions.


    Other styles and hybrids

    As previously mentioned, in 1990 the Global Taekwondo Federation (GTF) split from the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) to form its own style of taekwondo based on ITF-style. Essentially this can be considered a variation of ITF-style.

    Also in 1990, martial artist and actor Chuck Norris, an alumnus of Hwang Kee's Moo Duk Kwan organization, established a hybrid martial art system called Chun Kuk Do. Chun Kuk Do shares many techniques, forms and names with Tang Soo Do and Taekwondo, and so can be considered a variation of traditional taekwondo. Similarly, Lim Ching Sing's Hup Kwon Do and Kwang-jo Choi's Choi Kwang Do also derive from taekwondo.

    Additionally, there are hybrid martial arts that combine taekwondo with other styles. These include:

    Gwon Gyokdo - combines taekwondo and muay thai.
    Han Moo Do - Scandinavian martial art that combines taekwondo, hapkido, and hoi jeon moo sool.
    Han Mu Do - Korean martial art that combines taekwondo and hapkido.
    Teukgong Moosool - Korean martial art that combines elements of taekwondo, hapkido, judo, kyuk too ki, and Chinese martial arts.
    Yongmudo - developed at Korea's Yong-In University, combines taekwondo, hapkido, judo, and ssireum.
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  • Taekwondo Equipment and Facilities

    A taekwondo student typically wears a uniform, often white but sometimes black (or other colors), with a belt tied around the waist. White uniforms are considered the traditional color and are encouraged for use at formal ceremonies such as belt tests and promotions. Colored uniforms are often reserved for special teams (such as demonstration teams or leadership teams) or higher-level instructors. There are at least two major styles of dobok, with the most obvious differences being in the style of jacket: (1) the cross-over front jacket (ITF style), (2) the V-neck or Y-neck jackets (no cross-over) typically worn by Kukkiwon/WTF practitioners. White uniforms in the Kukkiwon/WTF tradition will typically be white throughout the jacket (black along the collars for dan grades), while ITF-style uniforms are trimmed with a black border along the bottom of the jacket (for dan grades).

    The belt color and any insignia thereon indicate the student's rank. Different clubs and schools use different color schemes for belts. In general, the darker the color, the higher the rank. Taekwondo is traditionally performed in bare feet, although martial arts training shoes may sometimes be worn.

    When sparring, padded equipment is worn. In the ITF tradition, typically only the hands and feet are padded. For this reason, ITF sparring often employs only light-contact sparring. In the Kukkiwon/WTF tradition, full-contact sparring is facilitated by the employment of more extensive equipment: padded helmets called homyun are always worn, as are padded torso protectors called hogu; feet, shins, groins, hands, and forearms protectors are also worn.

    The school or place where instruction is given is called the dojang (도장, doh'-jang). Specifically, the term dojang refers to the area within the school in which martial arts instruction takes place; the word dojang is sometimes translated as gymnasium. In common usage the term dojang is often used to refer to the school as a whole. Modern dojangs often incorporate padded flooring, often incorporating red-and-blue patterns in the flooring to reflect the colors of the taegeuk symbol. Some dojangs have wooden flooring instead. The dojang is usually decorated with items such as flags, banners, belts, instructional materials, and traditional Korean calligraphy.

    The grandmaster of the dojang is called a gwanjangnim (관장님, gwon'-jong-nim); the master (senior instructor or head of dojang) is called sabeomnim (사범님, sah'-bum-nim); the instructor is called gyosannim (교사님, gyoh'-sah-nim); and the assistant instructor is called jogyonim (조교님, joh'-gyoh-nim).
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  • Taekwondo Typical Curriculum

    While organizations such as ITF or Kukkiwon define the general style of taekwondo, individual clubs and schools tend to tailor their taekwondo practices. Although each taekwondo club or school is different, a student typically takes part in most or all of the following:

    Forms (called poomsae 품새/品勢 he-yung or hyung also teul 틀 toul by ITF, poom'-sy or simply the English translations "pattern" or "form" by the WTF) - these serve the same function as kata in the study of karate,

    Sparring (called gyeorugi 겨루기 gyee-oh-roo'-gee, or matseogi 맞서기 mat-see-oh'-gee in the ITF) - sparring includes variations such as free-style sparring (in which competitors spar without interruption for several minutes); 7-, 3-, 2-, and 1-step sparring (in which students practice pre-arranged sparring combinations); and point sparring (in which sparring is interrupted and then resumed after each point is scored)

    Breaking (gyeokpa 격파 gyee-ohk'-pah or weerok) - the breaking of boards is used for testing, training, and martial arts demonstrations. Demonstrations often also incorporate bricks, tiles, and blocks of ice or other materials. These techniques can be separated into three types:
    Power breaking – using straightforward techniques to break as many boards as possible
    Speed breaking – boards are held loosely by one edge, putting special focus on the speed required to perform the break
    Special techniques – breaking fewer boards but using jumping or flying techniques to attain greater height, distance, or to clear obstacles

    Self-defense techniques (hosinsool 호신술, hoh'-sin-sool)

    Learning the fundamental techniques of taekwondo; these generally include kicks, blocks, punches, and strikes, with somewhat less emphasis on grappling and holds

    Throwing and/or falling techniques (deonjigi 던지기 dee-on-jee'-gee and ddeoreojigi 떨어지기 dee-oh-ree-oh-jee'-gee)

    Both anaerobic and aerobic workout, including stretching

    Relaxation and meditation exercises, as well as breathing control

    A focus on mental and ethical discipline, etiquette, justice, respect, and self-confidence

    Examinations to progress to the next rank

    Development of personal success and leadership skills

    Though weapons training is not a formal part of most taekwondo federation curriculums, individual schools will often incorporate additional training with staffs, knives, sticks, etc.
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  • Taekwondo Techniques

    Taekwondo is characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques. In fact, World Taekwondo Federation sparring competitions award additional points for strikes that incorporate spinning kicks. To facilitate fast, turning kicks, taekwondo generally adopts stances that are narrower and hence less-stable than the broader, wide stances used by martial arts such as karate. The tradeoff of decreased stability is believed to be worth the commensurate increase in agility, particularly in Kukkiwon-style taekwondo.


    Theory of Power

    The emphasis on speed and agility is a defining characteristic of taekwondo and has its origins in analyses undertaken by Choi Hong Hi. The results of that analysis are known by ITF practitioners as Choi's Theory of Power. Choi based his understanding of biomechanics and Newtonian physics as well as Chinese martial arts. For example, Choi observed that the power of a strike increases quadratically with the speed of the strike, but increases only linearly with the mass of the striking object. In other words, speed is more important than size in terms of generating power. This principle was incorporated into the early design of taekwondo and is still used.

    Choi also advocated a relax/strike principle for taekwondo; in other words, between blocks, kicks, and strikes the practitioner should relax the body, then tense the muscles only while performing the technique. It is believed that the relax/strike principle also increases the power of the technique, by conserving the body's energy. He expanded on this principle with his advocacy of the sine wave technique. This involves raising one's center of gravity between techniques, then lowering it as the technique is performed, producing the up-and-down movement from which the term "sine wave" is derived. The sine wave is generally practiced, however, only in some schools that follow ITF-style taekwondo. WTF/Kukkiwon-style taekwondo, for example, does not employ the sine wave and advocates a more uniform height during movements.

    The components of the Theory of Power include:

    Reaction Force - the principle that as the striking limb is brought forward, other parts of the body should be brought backward in order to provide more power to the striking limb. As an example, if the right leg is brought forward in a roundhouse kick, the right arm is brought backward to provide the reaction force.

    Concentration - the principle of bringing as many muscles as possible to bear on a strike, concentrating the area of impact into as small an area as possible.

    Equilibrium - maintaining a correct center-of-balance throughout a technique.

    Breath Control - the idea that during a strike one should exhale, with the exhalation concluding at the moment of impact.

    Mass - the principle of bringing as much of the body to bear on a strike as possible; again using the turning kick as an example, the idea would be to rotate the hip as well as the leg during the kick in order to take advantage of the hip's additional mass in terms of providing power to the kick.

    Speed - as previously noted, the speed of execution of a technique in taekwondo is deemed to be even more important than mass in terms of providing power.
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  • Taekwondo History

    Beginning in 1945, shortly after the end of the occupation of Korea by Imperial Japan, new martial arts schools called kwans were opened in Seoul. These schools were established by Korean martial artists who had studied primarily in Japan during the Japanese rule. The umbrella term traditional taekwondo typically refers to the martial arts practiced by the kwans during the 1940s and 1950s, though in reality the term "taekwondo" had not yet been coined at that time, and indeed each kwan was practicing their own unique style of martial art. During this timeframe taekwondo was also adopted for use by the South Korean military, which increased its popularity among civilian martial arts schools.

    After witnessing a martial arts demonstration by the military in 1952, South Korean President Syngman Rhee urged that the martial arts styles of the kwans be merged. Beginning in 1955 the leaders of the kwans began discussing in earnest the possibility of creating a unified style of Korean martial art. The name Tae Soo Do was used to describe this notional unified style. This name consists of the hanja 跆 tae "to stomp, trample", 手 su "hand" and 道 do "way, discipline".

    Choi Hong Hi advocated the use of the name Tae Kwon Do, i.e. replacing su "hand" by 拳 kwon "fist", the term also used for "martial arts" in Chinese (pinyin quán). The new name was initially slow to catch on among the leaders of the kwans. In 1959 the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) was established to facilitate the unification of Korean martial arts. In 1966, Choi established the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) as a separate governing body devoted to institutionalizing a common style of taekwondo.

    Cold War politics of the 1960s and 1970s complicated the adoption of ITF-style taekwondo as a unified style, however. The South Korean government wished to avoid North Korean influence on the martial art. Conversely, ITF president Choi Hong Hi sought support for the martial art from all quarters, including North Korea. In response, in 1973 South Korea withdrew its support for the ITF. The ITF continued to function as an independent federation, then headquartered in Toronto, Canada; Choi continued to develop the ITF-style, notably with the 1987 publication of his Encyclopedia of Taekwondo. After Choi's retirement the ITF split in 2001 and then again in 2002 to create three separate federations each of which continues to operate today under the same name.

    In 1973 the South Korean government's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism established the Kukkiwon as the new national academy for taekwondo. Kukkiwon now served many of the functions previously served by the KTA, in terms of defining a government-sponsored unified style of taekwondo. In 1973 the KTA supported the establishment of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) to promote taekwondo specifically as an international sport. WTF competitions employ Kukkiwon-style taekwondo. For this reason, Kukkiwon-style taekwondo is often referred to as WTF-style taekwondo, sport-style taekwondo, or Olympic-style taekwondo, though in reality the style is defined by the Kukkiwon, not the WTF.

    Since 2000, taekwondo has been one of only two Asian martial arts (the other being judo) that are included in the Olympic Games. It became a demonstration event at the 1988 games in Seoul, and became an official medal event at the 2000 games in Sydney. In 2010, taekwondo was accepted as a Commonwealth Games sport.
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  • Taekwondo

    Taekwondo (/ˈtɛˈkwɒnˈdoʊ/) is a Korean martial art. Taekwondo was developed during the 1940s and 1950s by various Korean martial artists combining and incorporating the elements of Karate and Chinese Martial Arts along with the indigenous Korean martial arts traditions of Taekkyeon, Subak, and Gwonbeop.

    The oldest governing body for taekwondo is the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), formed in 1959 by a collaborative effort by representatives from the nine original kwans, or martial arts schools, in Korea. The main international organizational bodies for taekwondo today are the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), founded by General Choi Hong Hi in 1966, and the partnership of the Kukkiwon and the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), founded in 1972 and 1973 respectively by the Korea Taekwondo Association. Gyeorugi ([kjʌɾuɡi]), a type of full-contact sparring, has been an Olympic event since 1992. The body known for taekwondo in the Olympics is the World Taekwondo Federation.
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