Tae kwon do (the way of kicking and punching) is characterized by the extensive use of high standing and jump kicks as well as punches and is practiced for sport, self-defense, and spiritual development. Training in tae kwon do is carried out by learning individual techniques of kicking, punching, and blocking, which are practiced in combined series of techniques in traditional sets known as hyung.
Tae Kwon Do is a Korean millitary martial art that was recognised in its current form on 11th April 1955. The man recognised as its leading force is General Choi Hong Hi, who taught the art to his soldiers after his release from a Japanese prison camp around 1945.
General Choi refined the techniques from the traditional Korean martial art of Tae Kyon and aided them with more modern techniques. Tae Kyon itself can be traced back to the Silla Dynasty (6th century A.D.) where a band of warriors called the Hwa Rangdo practised hand and foot fighting.
After Tae Kwon Do's recognition in 1955 General Choi established the International Tae Kwon Do Federation (ITF) and proceded to bring it to the world's attention. In 1974 the first World Tae Kwon Do Championship was held in Montreal. Tae Kwon Do is now practised in over 60 countries and has millions of students.
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