Taekwondo is a Korean martial art and the national sport of South Korea. Taekwondo means "The Way of the Foot and Fist". Taekwondo is a hard style martial art which emphasizes kicking and punching using linear force. The world's most popular martial art, Taekwondo became an Olympic sport in 2000 and has used that platform to continue its growth.
Taekwondo has evolved over the past century from a traditional martial art to a modern day sport. As a traditional martial art, it teaches a pure self-defense taught through forms. These forms link kicks, punches, strikes and blocking techniques in a pattern which is filled with symbolism and elements of Korean culture. The sport of Taekwondo has developed a newer focus on healthy competition using speed, power, fitness and technique in sparring, or Gyeorugi.
The combination of the traditional and the modern emphasis has created a stronger martial art which is practiced by more people than any other martial art as well as helped to spread the poplularity of martial arts in general.