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Articles: Taekwondo


Taekwondo is a Korean combat sport between 2 participants with a heavy emphasis on kicks. The ethos of the sport is to develop superior skills and technique, and use them to defeat the opponent.

Taekwondo was developed in the 1940’s and 1950’s in Korea by martial art masters; these masters had mainly studied Japanese martial arts and wanted to develop a Korean martial art. It is a hybrid of Shotokan karate, Shito-ryukarate, Chinese martial arts, and the native Korean martial arts of taekkyeon, gwonbeop, and subak.

When it was first developed, it was originally called Taesoodo, but later on the name was changed to taekwondo, with ‘kwon’ meaning fist, as opposed to ‘soo’ which means hand. In 1959, the Korean taekwondo association was established; then the international Taekwondo association was established in 1966. The world taekwondo federation was established in 1973 to promote taekwondo as an international sport.

The sport of taekwondo has been an Olympic sport since 2000, and has been included in the Commonwealth Games since 2010. Taekwondo is very popular in Canada, UK, Australia, Iran, Korea, Iran, Mexico, and the United States. Taekwondo is practiced by both men and women at all levels from juniors to seniors.

A Teakwondo contest

To start a fight Taekwondo participants face each other and bow with the referee standing between them to one side. The referee starts the bout and battle commences until the round ends with a buzzer.

A Taekwondo arena is an 8 meter by 8 meter square mat. The participants wear loose fitting uniforms made of trousers, a jacket, and a belt indicating the rank of the player by its color. The uniform jackets come in 2 styles; either a cross-over traditional pajama style, or a V-neck jumper style jacket. Players are obliged to wear a head guard, as well as a large padded chest protector. Additional forearm and shin guards are also worn by players when sparring.

Rules of taekwondo

Taekwondo has 2 sets of very similar rules set by the WTF and ITF and the points scoring system is similar for both organizations. The systems award one point for a standard kick to the chest area, two for a turning behind kick, three for a back kick, and four for a spinning kick to the head. Taekwondo matches consist of three rounds of 2 minutes each.

WTF rules

WTF rules allow for a match to be won by either point’s basis or knock outs. Punches to the head are prohibited, and blows can only be delivered to legal target areas. As a general rule, the legs and neck are not legitimate target areas.

ITF rules

Unlike the WTF, the ITF does allow for punches to the head. The arena used in competition is larger, being 10X10 or 20X20 meters. In terms of player protection, no chest protection is worn, although heavy hand and foot padding is worn by the competitors. Scoring is somewhat different, with 1 point given for a kick or punch to the head, and 2 points being awarded for a jumping kick to the head or chest. 3 points are given for a jumping kick to the head. ITF matches are continuous, and there is no pause after a point is scored. However, if a competitor injures his opponent and the opponent cannot continue, then the competitor causing the injury is disqualified.

Flow and tactics during a fight

Taekwondo matches always have a winner - there are no draws in taekwondo. Fighters aim to outpoint or knock out there opponents by using superior mastery of the art of taekwondo. This means that at the top end of the sport, due to the skilled nature of the players, games can be cagey, with opponents continuously looking to out-maneuver and out-position their opponent to find a scoring opportunity. Conversely, at the lower end of the sport, there can be discrepancies in skills and experiences, which can lead to an all-out blitz affair that is over very quickly. Players are allowed to consult their coaches in between rounds, but not during the rounds.

Professional taekwondo

Professional taekwondo is still in its infancy, and we have to wait and see whether it reaches the heights of boxing and MMA, or whether it stays as a niche combat sport like Judo and Karate. Most of the best fighters are amateurs or mixed martial arts practitioners. At the top of the game, fighters can earn a living through coaching and sponsorship.

The biggest tournaments in the taekwondo world are the Olympics, the World Championships and the European Championships. Additionally, there are some other regional championships. Taekwondo tournaments are organized as a head to head knockout competition.

Betting on taekwondo

There are many taekwondo events worldwide that can be bet on, as well the blue ribbon events. Generally, betting on taekwondo bouts is a straight up bet on the winner of the bout.