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What makes Tae Kwon Do unique?

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December 05, 2010 10:34AM

The main thing that make Taekwondo unique is that it was developed in Korea with influences dating back more than two thousand years in a culture that was primarily isolated from its neighbors. Taekwondo teaches the philosophies, and character development that is aligned with the Korean way of life, which was heavily influenced by their mother country of China from where the early Korean inhabitants migrated, and with whom later Kingdoms interacted. Technique wise, Taekwondo is unique in the vast number of kicks employed, but more importantly is the tactical strategy that places the leg as the primary weapon. In addition, Taekwondo teaches a balance of unarmed combat skills, making authentic training a well-rounded method of using strikes, throws, and grappling.

From an outsiders perspective Taekwondo is easily identified with the high jumping and spinning kicks - most martial artists recognize taekwondo because of the many high kicks. The kicks are so important that in a competition matches the hands are usually carried very low.

Taekwondo is also unique in its historical development. It was created as a source of national pride for the Korean people, following their long and brutal occupation by the Japanese. The nation of South Korea has promoted and sponsored the spread of taekwondo schools around the world and campaigned for its inclusion as an Olympic sport. Japanese Judo is the only other Asian martial art in the Olympics. Karate and Kung Fu (Wu Shu) have petitioned for inclusion, but they have not yet been successful.

The dobok (uniform) is unique in that it is a v-neck pulled over the head, rather than a cross-lapel karate style being tied in the front.