Taekwondo (also spelled Tae Kwon Do, Taekwon-Do, or Taegwondo) is the most popular of the Korean Martial Arts and is the Korean National Sport. It is also the world’s most commonly practiced Martial Art and an Olympic sporting event.
In Korean, derived from hanja, Tae means “to kick or destroy with the foot”; Kwon means “fist”; and Do means “way” or “art”.
Hence, Taekwondo is loosely translated as “the art of hand and foot” or “the way of the foot and the fist.” Taekwondo’s popularity has resulted in the divergent evolution of the art. As with many other martial arts, Taekwondo is a combination of combat technique, self-defense, sport, exercise, entertainment, and philosophy.
Although there are great doctrinal and technical differences among private Taekwondo organizations, the art in general emphasizes kicks thrown from a mobile stance, using the leg’s greater reach and power to disable the opponent from a distance.
In sparring, turning (roundhouse), front, axe, and side kicks are most often used; advanced kicks include jump, spin, skip, and drop kicks, often in combination.
Taekwondo training also includes a comprehensive system of hand strikes and blocks, but generally does not emphasize grappling.