Taekwondo is a martial art that in "todays" form of self defence has evolved by combining many different styles of martial arts that existed in Korea over the last 2,000 years and some martial arts styles from countries that surround Korea.
Taekwondo incorporates the abrupt linear movements of Karate and the flowing, circular patterns of Kung-fu with native kicking techniques. Over 50 typically Chinese circular hand movements can be identified in modern Taekwondo.
A few of the earlier martial arts styles that contributed to Taekwondo are: T'ang-su, Taek Kyon, also known as Subak, Tae Kwon, Kwonpup and Tae Kwonpup. There are also influences from Judo, Karate, and Kung-fu.
Taekwondo made its debut as a demonstration sport at the Seoul 1988 Games and the Barcelona 1992 Games, but was not officially added to the Olympic programme until the Sydney 2000 Games. It is one of only two Asian martial arts (the other being judo) included in the Olympic Games.Modern Taekwondo was formulated in 1955.
Now more than 60 million people in 190 countries take part. At the Olympics, competitors fight according to the code laid down by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF).