Tae Kwon Do
The Korean martial art of tae kwon do literally means art of kicking and punching. Modern tae kwon do is a combination of the hyung (patterns) of its ancestral combative arts, taekyon and subak, and the kata of the Okinawan Shuri and Naha schools of karate.
Tae kwon Do incorporates the abrupt linear movements of karate and the flowing, circular patterns of kung fu with Korean kicking techniques.
Stressing the use of the feet as a weapon is one of the primary characteristics of tae kwon do. Tae kwon do kicking techniques are divided into direct and circular attacks. The direct kick travels in a straight line (front kick, sidekick, and back kick) from the kicker to the target area. The circular kick (wheel kick, crescent kick, and roundhouse kick) travels in any direction other than a straight line.
Tae kwon do is famous for its flying kicks, a spectacular assortment of techniques which when executed by an expert, are devastating. Most commonly, tae kwon do kicks are delivered from the back stance with the bodys weight distributed anywhere from 60 to 80% on the back leg. The front foot points toward the target; the toes of the rear foot angle outward from 45 to 90 degrees. Unlike Okinawan and Japanese karate systems, tae kwon do advocates a broader array of kicks with an emphasis on spinning kicks. Many tae kwon do kicks are aimed at head level, which is relatively rare in other martial arts.
General Choi Hong Hi is considered the father of tae kwon do. He began teaching taekyon to the Korean military and American troops stationed in Korea in1946. In 1955 General Choi submitted the name tae kwon do to a conference of chung do kwan masters to unite the fighting styles art under one name. It was accepted and as such tae kwon do was officially recognized as the national martial art of Korea. In 1961 General Choi Hi was elected the first president of the Korean Taekwondo Association (KTA). In 1966 General Choi Hi founded the International Taekwon-do Federation and moved the headquarters to Montreal, Canada. His emphasis was on Taekwon-do as a self-defense not a sport.
Conversely in 1973 another fraction of Taekwon-do practitioners under the leadership of Young-wun organized the World Taekwon-do Federation which focused on the sport aspect of the art. The WTF is associated with Taekwon-do as an Olympic sport with its headquarters based in Korea.