Taekwondo is a hard martial art that originated in Korea. It is an amalgamation of Chinese, Japanese, and traditional Korean fighting styles. With its popularity, taekwondo has become the world's most commonly practiced martial art. It is the national sport of Korea as well as an Olympic sporting event.
Taekwondo is also spelled as "tae kwon do" or "taekwon-do." In Korean, 'tae' means (derived from hanja) "to strike or smash with the foot"; 'kwon' means "to strike or smash with the hand"; and 'do' means "way" or "path". Hence, "taekwondo" is translated as "the way of the foot and the fist".
- Front Kick (ap chagi): In this the practitioner raises their knee to their waist, pulls their toes back and then quickly extends their foot at an opponent. It is also known as the snap kick.
- Side Kick (yop chagi): It is a very powerful kick. In this, first the practitioner raises his knee, rotates their body 90 degrees, extend their leg striking with the side or heel of their foot.
- Roundhouse Kick or Turning Kick (dolyo chagi): In this kick the practitioner raises their knee, turns, pulls their toes back and extends the kick horizontally across his target, usually at a 45 degree angle.
- Hook Kick (hoorye cha kee): It is less popular kick. In this the practitioner raises the knee in a fashion similar to the side kick, then extends the foot in a dorsal arc (clock-wise for the right foot) with the heel as the intended striking weapon.
- Crescent Kick (Bandal Chagi): It is very popular due to sparring competitions. The knee is raised in front, the leg is then extended and pulled down with the heel pointed downward. It is typically targeted toward the head or shoulders.
- Axe Kick (Naeryo Chagi): It has two variations, outer crescent and the inner crescent. In outer crescent the practitioner raises the extended leg as high as they can, and slightly across the body, they then sweep to the side in a circular movement. In the inner crescent, the motions are the same, but the direction of the kick changes, this time originating from the outside of the body, heading towards the inside of the body.
- Spin Kicks (dora chagi): A number of spinning kicks exists that involve the rotation of the entire body before the kick is released. It include the back pivot kick (dweel cha kee), spinning hook kick (dweel hoorye cha kee), spinning axe kick, returning kick, 360 turning kick, and a number of other kicks of varying popularity.
- Jump Kicks (ee dan chagi): A number of kicks involves jumping before their execution. These kicks include jumping front kick (ee dan ap cha kee), jump side kick (ee dan yop cha kee), flying side kick, jump roundhouse (ee dan dol ryu cha kee) jump spinning hook kick, shuffle jump kick, jump (or counter) back kick, and jump spinning side kick.
TAEKWONDO RANKS AND BELT COLORS
- 10th (kup) - White Belt
- 9th (kup) - Yellow Tags
- 8th (kup) - Yellow belt
- 7th (kup) - Green Tags
- 6th (kup) - green belt
- 5th (kup) - Blue Tags
- 4th (kup) - blue belt
- 3rd (kup) - Red Tags
- 2nd (kup) - red belt
- 1st (kup) - Black Tags
- 1st Dan - Black Belt
TAEKWONDO DAN TITLES
For those who have passed the sabum test at the Kukkiwon Academy, these are the official sabum classifications:
- 4th and 5th Dan "Sabum 3rd Class": Graduate of 3rd Class Course
- 6th and 7th Dan "Sabum 2nd Class": Graduate of 2nd Class Course
- 8th and 9th Dan "Sabum 1st Class": Graduate of 1st Class Course
Officially, the Kukkiwon recognizes the following titles for dan ranks:
- 1st Dan/Poom - 5th Dan: "Master"
- 5th Dan - 10th Dan: "Grandmaster"
In America, the following is an example of how schools may assign titles to Dan ranks:
- 1st Dan - 2nd Dan: "Assistant Instructor"
- 3rd Dan - 4th Dan: "Instructor"
- 5th Dan - 7th Dan: "Master"
- 8th Dan - 10th Dan: "Grand Master"
TAEKWONDO ADDRESSING TERMS
- Panjanim - Higher Ranking Student
- Sunbaenim - Senior Student
- Kyosanim - Assistant Instructor
- Sabumnim - Teacher
- Kwanjangnim - Kwan Leader
- Kuk Sa Nim - National Teacher