Taekwondo (Korean 태권도/)is a Korean martial art, characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques. Taekwondo was developed during the 1940s and 1950s by Korean martial artists with experience in martial arts such as karate, Chinese martial arts, and indigenous Korean martial arts traditions such as Taekkyeon, Subak, and Gwonbeop. The oldest governing body for taekwondo is the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), formed in 1959 through a collaborative effort by representatives from the nine original kwans, or martial arts schools, in Korea. The main international organisational bodies for taekwondo today are the Kukkiwon and World Taekwondo (WT, formerly WTF), founded in 1972 and 1973 respectively by the Korea Taekwondo Association. The governing body for taekwondo in the Olympics and Paralympics is World Taekwondo.
Shotokan is a style of karate, developed from various martial arts by Gichin Funakoshi and his son Gigo Funakoshi. Gichin was born in Okinawa and is widely credited with popularizing "karate do" through a series of public demonstrations, and by promoting the development of university karate clubs, including those at Keio, Waseda, Hitotsubashi, Takushoku, Chuo, Gakushuin, and Hosei.
Hapkido is a form of self-defense that employs joint locks, grappling and throwing techniques of other martial arts, as well as kicks, punches, and other striking attacks. There is also the use of traditional weapons, including knife, sword, rope, jool bong (nunchaku), cane, short stick (dan bong), and middle-length staff (joongbong, gun, bō (Japanese)) which vary in emphasis depending on the particular tradition examined. Hapkido contains both long- and close-range fighting techniques, utilizing jumping kicks and percussive hand strikes at longer ranges and pressure point strikes, joint locks, or throws at closer fighting distances. Hapkido emphasizes circular motion, redirection of force, and control of the opponent. Practitioners seek to gain advantage through footwork and body positioning to incorporate the use of leverage, avoiding the use of strength against strength.
Gumdo translates as the Korean art of the sword. It is a martial art practiced with one or two swords, and it's inspired by ancient and modern Korean sword-fighting styles. While learning to use a sword in a safe way, this sport consists mostly of individual training without the hits and kicks traditionally associated with martial arts, although in Gumdo also do pair techniques. Gumdo can be practiced for competition or to pursue personal well-being - in all cases you’ll be rewarded with visible progress.
Judo (柔道 jūdō, meaning "gentle way") was created as a physical, mental and moral pedagogy in Japan, in 1882, by Jigoro Kano (嘉納治五郎). It is generally categorized as a modern martial art which later evolved into a combat and Olympic sport. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin, or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defenses are a part of judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (kata, 形) and are not allowed in judo competition or free practice (randori, 乱取り). A judo practitioner is called a judoka.
Tang Soo Do (당수도) is the Korean pronunciation of the Hanja 唐手道 (pronounced Táng shǒu dào in Chinese), and translates literally to "The Way of the Tang Hand." The same characters can be pronounced "karate-dō" in Japanese. In the early 1930s, approximately 55 years after Japan's annexation of Okinawa, Gichin Funakoshi in coordination with others changed the first character, 唐, which referred to the Chinese Tang Dynasty, to 空, signifying "empty"; both characters can be pronounced "kara" in Japanese, though 唐 is more commonly rendered as "Tou". Funakoshi ostensibly wanted to avoid confusion with Chinese Kenpō. Funakoshi claimed Okinawan Karate could "now be considered a Japanese martial art" and found the China reference "inappropriate" and "in a sense degrading". The Chinese pronunciation of 空手道 is kōng-shǒu-dào, and the Korean is pronounced [koŋsʰudo](공수도).
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