Tae Kwon Do (also known as Taekwondo) is the art of self defense that originated in Korea. It is recognized as one of the oldest forms of martial arts in the world, reaching back over 2,000 years. The name was selected for its appropriate description of the art: Tae (foot), Kwon (hand), Do (the way).
“Tae” refers to the legs and lower torso, which provide the force necessary to do the hopping, jumping, and flying kicks that Taekwondo is famous for. The lower torso is also where the center of balance for the body is located.
“Kwon,” as with “Tae”, means more than just “striking with hands.” It refers to the upper body and arms as well. Finger tips, wrists, fists and elbows are also used to strike with. An inherent part of the term “Kwon” also means defense. It is the complement of attack or strike and must be explored in order to learn balance of form and technique.
The Korean Tae Kwon Do Association, formed in 1961, led the way by sending its masters all over the world to spread the martial art. In 1973, the World Taekwondo Federation was formed to become the central governing body responsibleforgrowth of the art. In 1988, Taekwondo was introduced as a demonstration sports in the Olympic games. In 2000, it became an official Olympic sport.