Taekwondo: What Kind of Sport is it?
Taekwondo is a form of martial art native to Korea. It is a Korea’s national sport, and a cultural inheritance that has long years of history and profound tradition. The term “taekwondo” was coined in the early 1950’s by founding fathers of modern taekwnodo. It was initially called as “Taek Gyeon,” and later with theoretical and technical research and development as a martial sport it was became know as taekwondo.
In the early 20th century, Japan annexed Korea. Throughout the annexation period, the Japanese prohibited the Koreans from practicing any form of martial art lest it can be used as a means to revolt against the Japanese. After the liberation of Korea from the Japanese annexation on 15 August 1945, taekwnodo was revived and propagated.
Taekwondo emphasizes the harmonization of mind body, and attach great importance to self-defense. As more of an internal self-defense than external, taekwondo is an idealistic sport to train one’s mind and body that emphasizes a great deal of courtesy. It is an economical sport with the characteristics of martial art, and provides visual amusement to spectators. What is more, it can be practiced without regards to place or equipment.
The standardized competition area is 12 m ´ 12 m, and contest area is 8 m ´ 8 m. There are detailed competition rules, which govern all matters pertaining to taekwnodo competition. A match consists of three rounds of three minutes with one minute of rest between rounds. There are two legal scoring areas, face and body. Contestants can score points by delivering kicking techniques to valid face and body target areas. Delivering punching or striking techniques with hands to the face is not permitted. However, contestants can score points by delivering punching technique to the valid body target area. Contestants are not permitted to attack the lower part of the body. There are 8 weight divisions each for male and female categories. Additionally, in order to prevent injuries and to ensure the safety, contestants are required to ware head, body, and groin protectors along with forearm and shin guards.
In the taekwondo competition, points are immediately recorded and publicized by each judge via an electronic scoring instrument. Contestansts can win a match by application of technical dominance on an opponent, and, therefore, simply jout scoring the opponent.
Taekwondo is a sport that requires both mental and physical toughness. It is a sport that requires contestants to display superior techniques with power and speed to win victory over an opponent; it is a martial art that has developed into a modern international sport, and is increasingly becoming more popular in the world.
Overcoming racial, religious and cultural barriers, presently, there are nearly 160 countries registered as active national associations under the World Taekwondo Federation. Taekwondo is an official sport event of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Taekwondo, through various competitions, has contributed immensely toward International Olympic Committee’s pursuit of harmony and peace of the human race.