Taekwondo (lien wikipidia) (Korean : 태권도, pronounced : [tʰɛ.k͈wʌn.do]) is a Korean martial art whose name can be translated as the “way of the foot and the fist” in reference to the absence of weapons needed to practice it.
General Choi Hong Hi, considered the founder of modern Taekwondo proposed the name in 1955 to designate a martial art that had taken over a thousand years to evolve.
Created shortly after WWII and after the end of the Korean War, Taekwondo was intimately linked to the creation of a national identity in Korea. As the country is still split in two parts, so is Taekwondo with two global federations with slightly different rules and patterns: the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo (WT). World Taekwondo’s focus has grown in line with its participation in the Summer Olympics since the year 2000 (Olympic sparring) and doesn’t allow punches to the head whereas ITF Taekwondo sparring does. The poomsae and the execution style in each federation are also quite different.
The distinguishing feature of Taekwondo compared to other martial arts is the emphasis on spectacular kicks. The martial art of Taekwondo is a complete martial art focussed on percussion without weapons.
Korea, derives its names from the Koryo dynasty (10th century CE). The capital of South Korea is Seoul. The flag of South Korea called Taegukki, is composed of a circle in the centre called “Taeguk” with the the Yang (red) and Yin (blue). The Ying/Yan represents opposing elements such as white (yang) / black (yin); good (yang) and evil (yin); day (yang) and night (yin), positive (yang) and negative (yin)… The Taeguk can also be interpreted as the red sun above the blue sea.
The Taeguk is surrounded by four symbols in black, the four elements: air / water / earth / fire
Taekwondo as an Olympic sport
South Korea took the opportunity of the 1988 Seoul Olympics to showcase their national sport: Taekwondo.
After being a demonstration Olympic sport in 1988 in Seoul and in 1992 in Barcelona, it was decided on 4 September 1994 by the 89 members of the International Olympic Committee that Taekwondo would join the growing family of Olympic Sports.
Perhaps because it was the centenary of modern Olympics or for other organisational reasons, Taekwondo didn’t participate in the Atlanta Olympics of 1996 but made its debut as Olympic Sport at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.