Taekwondo – What Is It?

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Taekwondo, the “Way of the Hand and the Foot”, is a Korean martial art which traces its roots through the centuries to the ancient fighting arts of the Korean peninsula. Today, Taekwondo is the world’s most widely practiced martial art, with over 20 million practitioners worldwide.

Taekwondo is practiced for the power, grace and beauty of its numerous techniques, whether it be in the practice of the individual techniques or in the practice of synchronized techniques called “poom sae” or “hyung” (forms).
Taekwondo was founded on an ancient code of model citizenship espoused by the earliest practitioners of Taekwondo: loyalty to country; filial piety, honor and integrity, courage in battle and justice in the use of force. Practitioners of taekwondo today strive for these same ideals. Through rigorous physical exertion, the practitioner strives to achieve harmony of mind and body, and indomitable strength of spirit.
Taekwondo has gained recognition as a full-fledged international sport as evidenced by its inclusion as a full medal sport in the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Taekwondo has also long been included in the Pan Am Games, Goodwill Games, Asian Games, Pan African Games and numerous other international and regional competitions.
Taekwondo training incorporates extensive stretching and constant aerobic exertion. The results are increased aerobic capacity, strength and awareness of one’s body.
Taekwondo is a complete system of unarmed combat for self-defense. Taekwondo is especially recognized as the martial art with the most highly developed arsenal of kicking techniques, techniques which range from the simple to the spectacular.