Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and combat sport. Taekwondo is the national sport of South Korea and sparring, kyeorugi, is an Olympic sporting event. In Korean hanja, tae (跆) means to destroy with the feet; kwon (拳) means "fist"; and do (道) means "path" or "way". Hence, taekwondo is loosely translated as "the way of the foot and fist".
Taekwondo's popularity has resulted in the divergent evolution of the martial art. As with many other martial arts, taekwondo is a combination of combat techniques, self-defense, sport, exercise, and philosophy.
Although there are great doctrinal and technical differences among taekwondo organizations, the art in general emphasizes kicks thrown from a mobile stance, using the leg's greater reach and power to disable the opponent from a distance. In sparring, turning, front, reverse turning, and side kicks are often used, as well as the backfist and reverse punch; advanced kicks include jumping, spinning, sliding, and skipping kicks, often in combination. Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, punches, and open-handed strikes and may also include various take-downs or sweeps, throws, and joint locks.
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