Photos of Taekwondo techniques performed by masters and elite athletes
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art which emerged in the mid-twentieth century, and has subsequently become one of the most widely practiced martial arts in the world. The art is characterized by powerful hand strikes and kicks, which are used for unarmed self-defense or combat, or in organized sport competitions such as the Olympic Games.

Like many Asian martial arts, Taekwondo emphasizes the unification of mind, body, and spirit; the perfection of human character; social responsibility; and appropriate use of force. Thus, practicing the art involves both mental and physical training.

From a technical standpoint, Taekwondo primarily focuses on fast, powerful, kicking and punching techniques, which are blended with sophisticated footwork, jumps, blocks, and avoiding actions. In recent years, some Taekwondo styles have begun to incorporate a limited number of joint locks, throws, and ground defenses into their curricula, to keep pace with the needs of modern society and the reality of contemporary self-defense. Internal-energy development is not emphasized to the degree it is in many soft-style martial arts, but is still a fundamental part of training, leading to increased health and greater efficiency in martial techniques. Generally speaking, Taekwondo’s core techniques (particularly kicks) have evolved based on modern scientific principles, and Western anatomical and biomechanical concepts of the human body. Many of the more modern innovations have been driven by lessons learned in sport competition.

In contemporary society, Taekwondo is practiced by men, women, and children of all ages, for reasons encompassing self-defense, physical fitness, sport competition, artistic expression, and character development. It is estimated that there are more than 50 million Taekwondo practitioners worldwide. Since 1988, sport Taekwondo has been included in the Olympic Games, contributing to its phenomenal growth and popularity.

Further Information
Further information on the art of Taekwondo can be found by referencing Marc Tedeschi’s 896-page book Taekwondo: Traditions, Philosophy, Technique. Click below for more information: