to USA Today (7/29/85), Tae Kwon Do is "the sport of
the 90's...the fastest growing sport in the world today."
Although this is true, it is also true that the sport of Tae
Kwon Do is a mere shadow of the art of Tae Kwon
Do. The art exists independently and transcends the
Tae Kwon Do was created in Korea and developed here over the
course of 2,000 years. However, due to the suppression
of Korean culture during the Japanese occupation of Korea
(1910-1945) and then because of Korean War, Tae Kwon Do was
not introduced to the United States and the rest of the world
until the late 1950's. By this time the word "karate"
had become a generic term for the martial arts. This
is why, even though Tae Kwon Do is now practiced by more people
than all of the other martial arts combined, it is still sometimes
referred to as "Korean Karate."
is Tae Kwon Do So Popular?
Tae Kwon Do has endured for centuries and is today
experiencing extremely rapid growth because it offers a multitude
of benefits that can be enjoyed by all people regardless of
age, gender, or culture. Today, Tae Kwon Do is being
taught and practiced in over 150 countries.
Tae Kwon Do is the martial art through which one can develop
proficiency in self-defense in a relatively short period of
time. It is the art of self-defense that has been scientifically
calculated for maximum efficiency of motion, and therefore,
proven to be highly effective for self-defense. With
sufficient practice, the entire body of the practitioner becomes
a weapon. When this level is achieved, quick reaction
becomes second nature and a true sense of self-confidence
Kwon Do - The Ultimate Fitness
However, many, if not most, people practice Tae Kwon
Do primarily because it is the most complete of exercises.
Tae Kwon Do promotes the strength and coordination of the
whole body, as well as providing maximum aerobic fitness and
flexibility. As one article in the New York Times (5/4/96)
stated, "In 1 hour and 15 minutes of Tae Kwon Do class
you will get the equivalent of 45 minutes of aerobics, 45
minutes of calisthenics and the stretch of 45 minutes of Yoga,
plus the most effective means of self-defense.
Fitness of Mind, as well as Body
The tremendous physical training is only part of the
ultimate goal of Tae Kwon Do training. The true focus
is the harnessing of human potential, the power each of us
possesses, but rarely ever taps. If Tae Kwon Do is to
be called an art of self-defense, then its goal is best described
in this manner: The best self-defense is that of a serene,
confident and disciplined person, at peace with himself and
the world around him.
This type of personal development emphasizes, but is not limited
to, the development of mental focus, emotional self-restraint,
and a philosophy of kindness, humility, and strong moral character.
One who has mastered Tae Kwon Do is a powerful yet gentle
"Knowledge in the brain, honesty in the heart, and strength
in the body" is a motto that martial artists around the
world share. Tae Kwon Do's quest is to spread its logic,
goodness, and philosophy for the cause of peace.
Tae Kwon Do - for Everybody!
and anyone will reap rewards from Tae Kwon Do practice.
Children develop concentration and confidence which help them
in school. Teens experience a sense of pride in themselves
to stand up for what is right, even when faced with conflicting
morals, values, temptations, and peer pressures. Adults
find that Tae Kwon Do allows them to advance at their own
pace, handle daily stress, and feel years younger. Everyone
sets his or her own personal goals of achievement in order
to become a sell-developed, graceful, and fulfilled individual.
Sport of Tae Kwon Do
United States Tae Kwon Do Union (USTU), Governing body of
United States Olympic Committee Although the major emphasis
in Tae Kwon Do is on being a champion of life and on internal
competition with oneself, the external competition of sport
Tae Kwon Do can also be beneficial to develop character in
many practitioners. Sport Tae Kwon Do is very exciting to
watch and in recent years has come far.
Tae Kwon Do was admitted into the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)
of the United States in 1974 and recognized by the U.S. Olympic
Committee in 1978. It is now also a Junior Olympic sport and
part of the Pan American Games. The International Olympic
Committee designated Tae Kwon Do as a demonstration sport
in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games and also in the 1992 Barcelona,
Spain, Summer Olympic Games as well as the 1st official summer
Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, September 2000.
Major Areas of Tae Kwon Do Practice
Poomse (pattern of form) is a choreographed demonstration
of the various kicks, blocks, and hand techniques of Tae Kwon
Do which the student utilizes with an imaginary opponent or
opponents. Observing a skilled practitioner is like watching
a ballet, since both are very graceful as well as calculated
and controlled. Froms are used to develop concentration, balance,
precision, reflex action, power, speed, and agility.
Kyorugi (sparring or fighting) is the practical application
of various forms against an actual opponent. In this type
of competition cooperation, self-control, concentration, respect
for yourself and your partner, speed, skilled technique, precision,
and confidence are the deciding factors. (you will learn safely
through a step-by-step systematic method of gradually learned
sparring strategies – this is easy to learn and is a
lot of fun)
Kyukpa (breaking) is done to practice and illustrate the formidable
power, precision, and great mental concentration of the Tae
Kwon Do practitioner. Bricks, rocks, boards, cement blocks,
and such are broken since it is not feasible to use this sort
of power on another person in everyday practice!
Ho Sin Sool (self-defense) is the study of how to use an attacker’s
strength or skill and weapons against him or her. The practitioner
learns when, how, and where to attack an assailant using "pressure
points" (areas of the body that when pressed cause intense
pain), grappling and joint-locking techniques and throws.
Jung Shin Tong Il (often called meditation) is for the purpose
of concentration practice in order to focus the mind and body
to work together for developing precision and maximum strength,
visualizing goals and listening to the conscience for internalizing
important truths and moral standards.