Taekwondo is a martial art and a sport that teaches practitioners techniques for defense and offense without using weapons. Regardless of age or sex, Taekwondo teaches practitioners to use their hands and feet in any defensive situation. The development of Taekwondo can be traced back 2,000 years ago in Korea. Taekwondo literally means the “hand,” “foot,” and “way of life.” Through rigorous training, Taekwondo enables the student to defend himself and build self-confidence. A self-confident person is honest and generous. The development of physical and mental self-confidence is beneficial not only to the individual, but to their family, community, and the country.

Taekwondo training consists of Poomse (forms), Gyoroogi (sparring), and Kyukpa, the technique of breaking a solid object, like a board or brick. Taekwondo is a modern, international sport that remains steeped in its Korean traditions. All modern world championships are supported and conducted under the auspices of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), which has its headquarters at the Kukkiwon in Seoul, Korea.

The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) was founded in May, 1873, by Dr. Un Yong Kim for the purpose of spreading and standardizing Taekwondo instruction. The WTF was officially admitted into the General Association of the International Sports Federation in October, 1975. The WTF was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the 83rd General session held in Moscow on July 17, 1980. Taekwondo was approved as a demonstration sport by the IOC in June, 1985, and included in the 24th Olympiad, held in Seoul, Korea, in 1988, and at the 25th Olympiad held in Barcelona, Spain, in August, 1992. In September, 1994, Taekwondo was accepted as a Full Medal Sport in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. Today, more than 140 countries (consisting of about 50 million practitioners) are members of the World Taekwondo Federation.

The United States brought home two Olympic Medals in the 2012 Olympics. In our eagerness to become Olympians, we must not lose sight of the true meaning of Taekwondo. The tenets of Taekwondo teach us courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit. The Olympic spirit seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of accomplishment, the value of a good example, and respect for ethical principals.

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