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Tae Kwon Do

Taekwondo (태권도; 跆拳道; Korean pronunciation: [tʰɛkwʌndo]) is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. In Korean, tae (태, 跆) means "to strike or break with foot"; kwon (권, 拳) means "to strike or break with fist"; and do (도, 道) means "way," "method," or "art." Thus, "taekwondo" may be loosely translated as "the way of the foot and fist" or "the way of kicking and punching."

Taekwondo is the world's most popular martial art in terms of the number of practitioners. Its popularity has resulted in the varied development of the martial art into several domains: as with many other arts, it combines combat techniques, self-defense, sport, exercise, meditation and philosophy. Taekwondo is also used by the South Korean military as part of its training. Gyeorugi (pronounced [ɡjʌɾuɡi]), a type of sparring, has been an Olympic event since 2000.

Formally, there are two main styles of taekwondo. One comes from the Kukkiwon, the source of the sparring system sihap gyeorugi which is now an event at the summer Olympic Games and which is governed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). The other comes from the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF). There is also a more recent form called Songham Taekwondo or the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) and other variations of it such as STF (Songham Taekwondo Federation) and WTTU (World Traditional Taekwondo Union).

Separate from the various taekwondo organizations, there have been two general branches of taekwondo development: traditional and sport. The term "traditional taekwondo" typically refers to the martial art as it was established in the 1950s and 1960s; in particular, the names and symbolism of the traditional patterns often refer to elements of Korean history. Sport taekwondo has evolved in the decades since then and has a somewhat different focus, especially in terms of its emphasis on speed and competition (as in Olympic sparring), whereas traditional taekwondo tends to emphasize power and self-defense. The two are not mutually exclusive, and the distinctions between them are often blurred.

Although there are doctrinal and technical differences between the two main styles and among the various organizations, the art in general emphasizes kicks thrown from a mobile stance, employing the leg's greater reach and power (compared to the arm). The greatest difference between various styles, or at least the most obvious, is generally accepted to be the differing styles and rules of sport and competition. Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes and may also include various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and joint locks. Some taekwondo instructors also incorporate the use of pressure points, known as jiapsul, as well as grabbing self-defense techniques borrowed from other martial arts, such as Hapkido and Judo.

Hap Ki Do

Hapkido (also spelled hap ki do or hapki-do) is a dynamic and eclectic Korean martial art. It is a form of self-defense that employs joint locks, techniques of other martial arts, as well as common unskilled attacks. There is also the of use traditional weapons, including the short stick, cane, rope, nunchucku, sword, and staff which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined.

Hapkido contains both long and close range fighting techniques, utilizing dynamic kicking and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges and pressure point strikes, jointlocks, or throws at closer fighting distances. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to employ leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.

The art evolved from Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu or a closely related jujutsu system taught by Choi Yong Sul who returned to Korea after WWII, having lived in Japan for 30 years. This system was later combined with kicking and striking techniques of indigenous and contemporary arts such as taekkyeon and tang soo do. Its history is obscured by the historical animosity between the Korean and Japanese peoples following the Second World War.

Haedong Kum Do

Haedong Kumdo, also spelled Haidong Gumdo, is a name coined around 1982 and used for several Korean martial arts organizations that use swords. Spelling varies between certain organizations. Most notable are Haidong Gumdo by the original organization (Daehan Haidong Gumdo Federation) under Kim Jeong-Ho, and Haedong Kumdo by the largest offshoot (Hanguk Haedong Gumdo Federation) under Na Han-Il.

Haidong Gumdo is significantly modified in style from standard kumdo, emphasizing a native Korean "battlefield" style of combat over the one-on-one dueling style found in standard or Daehan Kumdo. As such, it is unrelated to modern, standard kumdo. By contrast, the KKA promotes Daehan Kumdo (大韓劍道), with rules virtually identical to kendo, with noted changes to reflect Korean cultural influences and methodology.

Haedong Gumdo derives its name from Haedong Seongguk Balhae (海東盛國渤海), a name for Balhae, a medieval kingdom in the region of northeastern Korea, and southern Manchuria.

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