Taekwondo, one of the most popular martial arts and sports in the world, is a Korean martial art which emphasizes kicking. However, that’s the textbook definition. Taekwondo is a lot more.
What more is it?
The word Taekwondo is derived from these Korean words:
There are several variations of the spelling when written in English:
The most common spelling by the World Taekwondo Federation is Taekwondo, and this will be the spelling used in this web site. The International Taekwondo Federation typically uses Tae Kwon Do. (The differences between the two different styles are reviewed here.)
As the definition indicates, Taekwondo focuses on kicking rather than punching or grappling, although those (plus pressure points) are touched upon as students study self-defense. We encourage potential students and parents to read more about "What does Taekwondo Teach?"
Although Taekwondo is several centuries old, the sport (that is, the sort of sparring you may see in the Olympics) has been developed considerably since the 1950s. If you watch world-class competitors, you may be dazzled by high-flying, powerful kicks and acrobatics as the athletes – wearing lightweight, highly protective armor – attempt to score points rather than knockouts. Even at lower levels, competitors, while perhaps not as showy, test their skills against one another. Tournaments encompassing all skill levels and ages are held regularly in venues throughout the world.
Sparring is only a part of Taekwondo. The forms – movement patterns that increase in complexity – teach the student balance, self-defense strikes, blocks and kicks, while also training and disciplining the mental processes.
Taekwondo-guide.com is dedicated to the Taekwondo student. Use it as a reference guide and supplement to your Taekwondo education. This site will not focus on specific techniques, such as detailed information on kicks or forms; the best instruction in techniques cannot be taught by book or web site. But you'll find helpful supporting information about Taekwondo history, choosing a dojang, terminology, and practical issues. We're here to support students and their families.
Taekwondo-guide.com is my third degree black belt thesis, a result of my research into basic theories and information. The artwork is done by my daughter, Kathryn Lichlyter, currently a blue belt in Taekwondo.
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UPDATE: On December 8, 2012, I passed the grueling test for my Third Degree Black Belt. I had to survive a pre-test (in which about half of the class was eliminated), a number of long practices, and a three-hour test with 10 other students. But I can proudly wear my Third Degree Black Belt, 18 years in the achieving.
This site was submitted and accepted as my black belt thesis. I've added a video of my breaking techniques here.