Taekwondo Korean Style
Wednesday, 20 September, 2017
The name Taekwondo is derived from the Korean word "Tae" meaning foot, "Kwon" meaning fist, and "Do" meaning way of. So, literally Taekwondo means "the way of the foot and fist." Martial arts have existed in Korea since the earliest ages, although they were lost for a time during the 20th century. Much of Korea's martial heritage disappeared during the 1910-45 Japanese occupation of Korea, during which time the Japanese forbade the practice of Korean martial arts. After the Japanese occupation, new Korean martial arts like hapkido and taekwondo blossomed, and interest in Korea's own ancient martial arts traditions grew. Today, taekwondo is the national sport of South Korea.
Taekwondo is one of the most widely practiced martial arts in the world. It is one of two martial arts represented at the Olympics (judo is the other one). As with many other martial arts, taekwondo is a combination of combat technique, self-defense, sport, exercise, entertainment, and philosophy. It developed after the end of the Japanese occupation of Korea in 1945 and quickly spread throughout the world after the Korean War, which ended in 1953.
Taekwondo distinguishes itself from martial arts such as karate by its emphasis on kicking instead of the reliance on hand techniques of other martial arts. Taekwondo practitioners believe that the leg is the longest and strongest weapon a martial artist has, and kicks thus have the greatest potential to execute powerful strikes without successful retaliation. Taekwondo as a sport and exercise is popular with people of both sexes and of many ages. Physically, taekwondo develops strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. An example of the union of mental and physical discipline is the breaking of boards, which requires both physical mastery of the technique and the concentration to focus one's strength.
Kang Dong Won, a 9th degree grandmaster in taekwondo, began teaching martial arts in Tulsa in 1971. A native of South Korea, from the town of Mokpo in Jeollanamdo Province, he arrived in the U.S. with a degree in movie directing from Han Yang University in Korea and as a graduate of the International Taekwondo Federation's Instructor Trainees. Master Kang quickly wowed the Oklahomans with demonstrations of sheer mental and physical willpower, breaking ordinary stones and boulders with his bare hands and large stacks of bricks with edge of his heel. Demonstrations of fundamental taekwondo techniques such as the "knife-hand," the "side kick," and "fore fist punch" are trademark specialties of his demonstrations.