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Taekwondo

The term taekwondo was coined in 1955 by South Korean Gen. Choi Hong-hi and thus he was controversially credited as the art’s founder. The art draws from Japanese karate and Korea’s oldest martial art, taekkyon.

Taekwondo was born of power struggles. Along with Nam Tae-hi and Han Cha-kyo, Gen. Choi Hong-hi adopted the Ch’ang Ho School (Kwan) of Taekwondo patterns from their original Oh Do Kwan. To unify the new martial kwans under a single banner, the Korea Taekwondo Association was formalized in 1959/1961. Then in 1966, KTA member Gen. Choi Hong-hi formed a splinter group called the International Taekwon-Do Federation, while others created the World Taekwondo Federation. The formation of taekwondo has arguably led to more disunity than unity.

Because taekwondo has its footing in the Korean military, where the hands are considered too valuable to be used in combat, taekwondo emphasizes kicking skills.

The spirit of taekwondo is secretly hidden in the written calligraphy of the words. The motion of the strikes and blocks are revealed by the brush strokes’ order and in the direction in which the word is written.

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  1. Taekwondo Kicks Clinic: Hee Il Cho on How to Fix Your Ax Kick

    Taekwondo Kicks Clinic: Hee Il Cho on How to Fix Your Ax Kick

    Taekwondo legend Hee Il Cho’s kicks hearken back to an era when they were pure self-defense. They pack power, they penetrate and they punish. He shows you how to adjust yours for such results in this exclusive video!
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  2. From Hapkido to Kuk Sool: Exploring Korea’s Martial Arts

    From Hapkido to Kuk Sool: Exploring Korea’s Martial Arts

    “Adults from abroad may have trouble keeping up with Korean martial artists, especially those who started training when they were kids — which pretty much includes everybody,” says our correspondent regarding training in Korea.
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  3. Hee Il Cho Talks About His Early Years Practicing Taekwondo in South Korea

    Hee Il Cho Talks About His Early Years Practicing Taekwondo in South Korea

    Hee Il Cho was 10 when he started taekwondo. That was back in the 1950s when South Korea was in chaos because the Korean War had just ended. In this story, he recalls the good and the bad from his white-belt days.
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  4. American Taekwondo Association Chief Master G.K. Lee Featured on March 2013 Issue of Black Belt Magazine — On Sale Today!

    American Taekwondo Association Chief Master G.K. Lee Featured on March 2013 Issue of Black Belt Magazine — On Sale Today!

    The March 2013 issue of Black Belt officially goes on sale today. The following is a rundown of the features and columns you’ll find inside.
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  5. Taekwondo Moves Video: Hee-Il Cho Shows You Self-Defense Moves for Escaping Bear Hugs

    Taekwondo Moves Video: Hee-Il Cho Shows You Self-Defense Moves for Escaping Bear Hugs

    For those who aren’t in the taekwondo loop and don’t know why Hee-Il Cho is the person to help you perfect your taekwondo moves, here’s the short version of his martial arts bio. He took up the arts when he was a 10-year-old living with his family in Pohang, South
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  6. Self-Defense Lesson With Taekwondo Master Hee-Il Cho: Front Kick to the Groin

    Self-Defense Lesson With Taekwondo Master Hee-Il Cho: Front Kick to the Groin

    Taekwondo master Hee-Il Cho may be 71 years old, but this Korean-American martial artist can still move! As founder of the Action International Martial Arts Association and a 50-year veteran of the martial arts industry, Cho has been featured in more than 70 martial arts magazine feature stories and holds
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  7. Hwa Rang Do Founder Joo Bang Lee on the History of Korean Martial Arts

    Hwa Rang Do Founder Joo Bang Lee on the History of Korean Martial Arts

    Korean martial arts history has never been a simple matter. Many of its twists and turns resulted from the painful Japanese occupation that lasted from 1910 to 1945, but others stemmed from matters as mundane as the Korean-English language barrier. Meanwhile, practitioners and scholars have argued, struggled and fought about
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  8. Leo Fong: Kung Fu Artist of the Year (2006)

    Leo Fong: Kung Fu Artist of the Year (2006)

    Throughout the decades, Leo Fong has worn many hats—actor, writer, director, producer, minister, social worker and fitness coach—but his most important role has been that of kung fu master.

    Born in Guangzhou (formerly Canton), China, Leo Fong moved to Arkansas at age 4. In his youth, he used his pugilistic skills
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