Taekwondo as a martial art form is said to have emerged from Korea in the 1940s. It mainly focuses on head-high kicks, jumping spinning kicks and other fast paced spinning techniques. A person who practices Taekwondo is called a ‘Taekwondoin’ and the uniform they wear while performing it is called ‘dobok’.
Shortly after World War II and Japanese occupation of Korea, marital arts schools called ‘kwans’ were opened in 1945 by some Korean martial artists with experience in Chinese and Japanese martial arts. The kwan school of martial arts came up with its own unique fighting style which was later named as Taekwondo.
The first ever Taekwondo association in the world called Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA) was established in the year 1959, whereas in the year 1973 the first world body of Taekwondo called World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) was setup. WTF was then renamed to World Taekwondo (WT) due to the obvious ambiguity with the initials of earlier name.
The emergence of Taekwondo in India is attributed to Master Jimmy Jagtiani who immigrated to India from Vietnam in the year 1974. Jagtiani settled in the city of Lucknow and started teaching Taekwondo to the police officers of the city in 1975. He established the Taekwondo Federation of India (TFI) in 1976 and is known as the ‘Father of Taekwondo in India’.
The sport was first included in Olympics as a demonstration sport during the 1986 Seoul Games. It remained a demonstration sport even in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and became a full medal sport during the 2000 Sydney Olympics Games.
Rules of the sport
The basic aim of Taekwondo is to land as many blows as possible to the opponent in allotted time and the allowed target areas. Any Taekwondo match is always played over a 10m square match. An usual Taekwondo match consists of three rounds with each round lasting two minutes and a one minute break between each round. The winner is declared on the basis of most points scored, disqualification of the opponent or a knock out.
Kicks to the body and head are rewarded with points only if the kick is landed with the parts below the ankle. Hits to the body are considered legitimate if they are given with the front of index and middle finger knuckles of a fist. Punching is strictly prohibited in Taekwondo. In offences such as grabbing, holding, turning your back on opponent etc., penalties are awarded.
A knockdown is awarded to the player is any of the opponent’s body part other than feet touches the ground. The knockdown is considered a knockout if the competitor doesn’t regains his feet by the time the referee completes a ten second count.
The points system in Taekwondo is fairly simple. A Taekwondoin gets one point for each legal strike on the body and two points for each strike to the face of the opponent. Besides, is also awarded extra points for a knockout. A Taekwondo match is usually moderated by one referee and three judges. A point is officially given only if at least two judges award it.
A direct deduction of one point is observed if the Taekwondoin punches the opponent, deliberately steps out of the playing area or hits the opponent in the face with anything other than the lower part of the ankle.
If the match ends at equal points, then the competitor with most points before penalties are deducted is announced the winner. If the points still stay equal after this the referee has the right to award the match to the player who he thought was most willing to attack during the match. But, if it is the final match of any tournament and the points are tied, then the match goes into a ‘sudden death’ round, where the player who scores the first point is declared the winner.
Important Taekwondo Tournaments
The World Taekwondo Championships held by the World Taekwondo is the most prestigious Taekwondo event and is held every two years. Besides, the Olympics is another important event in the Taekwondo calendar.
Other than these many continents based events like Asian Taekwondo Championships and others are also held.
Also read: What are the benefits of learning Taekwondo?