Tae Kwon Do is the Korean term for the generic Martial Art agreed by the Korean Association. It is composed of three Korean characters, "Tae" (foot), "Kwon" (fist) and "Do" (Martial Art). This term replaced other Korean terms such as Tang Soo Do, Kong Soo Do and Tae Soo Do.
The Korean national ancestor of Tae Kwon Do was a system of foot fighting called "Tae Kyun," which originated in Korea over 1,000 years ago. Modern Tae Kwon Do derives from Tae Kyun. Tae Kwon Do and Japanese Karate are closely related.
Free fighting is the main goal of modern Tae Kwon Do. Tae Kwon Do provides a scientific application
of the basic movements to free fighting, with special emphasis on combination kicking techniques.
Karate is the English equivalent of the two Japanese character meaning "empty" (kara)
and "hand" (te). When the Martial Art was transported from China to Okinawa it was superimposed on native
Okinawan fighting techniques with the resulting combination called "Okinawate," which literally means
"Okinawan Hand." From Okinawa, the Martial Art spread to other Far Eastern countries including Japan,
where it was called "Karate."
As nearly as can be determined, the Martial Art originated in India several thousand years ago. About 1500 years ago it was brought to China by the Indian Buddhist Monk, Daruma. Kung Fu refers to the contemporary Chinese styles of the generic Martial Art. Historically, Kung Fu was practiced secretly by many different masters with dissimilar tastes and techniques. As a result, many different versions emerged which, because of the atmosphere of secrecy, were never unified.
Although many Kung Fu techniques are designed to be used with weapons such as the sword, staff, trident and steel chain, modern Kung Fu is most often practiced as unarmed offensive and defensive moves. In practice the movements are performed slowly but fluidly and continuously. The emphasis in Kung Fu classes is on form practice; free fighting is seldom done in class, although some prearranged fighting moves are practiced by advanced students.
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