From a historical standpoint, it is believed that Taekwondo is derived from native Korean martial arts with influences from neighboring countries or that it was primarily derived from karate learned by Koreans during the Japanese occupation.
Our own Mr. Jerry Casey breaking concrete as part of his 3rd dan taekwondo black belt test.
During the Japanese occupation of Korea, all facets of Korean identity including folk culture, language and history were banned in an attempt to erase Korean culture. But the few Koreans who were able to study in Japan were exposed to Japanese martial arts in some cases receiving black belts.
When the occupation ended in 1945, Korean martial arts schools (kwans) began to open in Korea under various influences. There are differing views on the origins of the arts taught in these schools. Some believe that they taught martial arts that were based primarily upon the traditional Korean martial arts taekkyon and subak, or upon a variety of martial arts such as taekkyon, kungfu and karate. Others believe that these schools taught arts that were almost entirely based upon karate.
While both styles are often referred to as “hard styles” (as opposed to “soft styles” like kungfu and taichi), in tae kwon do, there is also more emphasis on higher kicks to the head level than in karate. Tae kwon do practitioners also utilize more jumping or flying kicks where one is airborne while executing kicking techniques.
The art of Taekwondo in general emphasizes kicks thrown from a mobile stance, employing the leg’s greater reach and power (compared to the arm). Taekwondo training generally includes a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes and may also include various takedowns or sweeps, throws, and joint locks.
American Karate & Self Defense teaches American Taekwondo which is based on Korean Taekwondo with techniques from Shotokan Karate, Kenpo, and Kickboxing.
What is the difference between ITF and WTF?
There are two main styles of Taekwondo. One comes from the Kukkiwon, the source of the sparring system sihap gyeorugi which is now an event at the summer Olympic Games and which is governed by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF). The other comes from the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF). They both use similar techniques, however, tournament scoring and the required katas (chongi) are different.
American Karate & Self Defense follows the ITF standards.