Taekwondo (also known as Tae Kwon Do) is the art of self-defense that originated in Korea. It is recognized as one of the oldest forms of martial arts globally, reaching back over 2,000 years. Selected the name for its appropriate description of the art:
Tae (foot), Kwon (hand), Do (art). The introduction of Taekwondo in the United States began during the 1950s when a handful of pioneering master instructors traveled to America to spread the art. Taekwondo grew in popularity as a martial art and as an international sport. In 1973, Korea hosted the first Taekwondo World Championships. In that same year, the World Taekwondo Federation was established as the international governing body for the sports aspects of Taekwondo. Today the WTF counts 120 separate countries, representing 20 million practitioners. These numbers earn Taekwondo the distinction of being the most practiced martial art in the world. Taekwondo first gained acceptance as an Olympic sport when it appeared as a demonstration event in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Taekwondo became an entire medal sport competition beginning in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics.