Styles of Taekwondo

There are two great different styles of Taekwondo, each one associated with one of the two great federations that currently exist worldwide: the WTF Taekwondo (associated with the World Taekwondo Federation or the World Taekwondo Federation) and the ITF Taekwondo (International Taekwon-do) Federation or International Taekwon-do Federation). It is worth mentioning that there are also other independent federations, although with much less importance and influence than the two previously mentioned and that are usually detachments from these.

Both styles emerged as one and separated into two large federations for political reasons. After so much time divided, they have evolved differently and you can see differences in the uniform, the forms and the sports regulations. However, in both styles, almost all the techniques are the same, varying only their application, importance and sometimes the nomenclature. It is not difficult for the practitioner of one style to change the other since the points in common are greater than the differences. 

styles of taekwondo
ITF style

The ITF style is the most traditional. It is characterized by a balance between competition and personal defense and gives the same importance to the techniques of the fist as those of kicking. The sporting combat of this style is similar to the semi-contact (version without KO of the Full Contact) and usually, they use gloves and protective shoes. It should be noted that this style has as an icon to Gen. Choi Hong Hi, Founder of Taekwon-Do, who led the ITF until his death, in 2002. 

Everything related to this style is poured into the Encyclopedia of Taekwondo, a book that contains all the details with illustrative photos, as well as the foundations and the philosophy of this martial art.

For political reasons, currently, the ITF is divided into three organizations that do not recognize each other, those that continue to use the same names and practice the same discipline, although they are beginning to vary slightly sports regulations. 

WTF style

The WTF style is much more focused on kicking techniques (although hand techniques are also used). The pumses are different from the original tools that the ITF uses since changes have been introduced over time. The combat in this style is of total contact and is made with helmet, protective breastplate for the torso, protections for forearms and tibiae, buccal accessory, gloves and foot protection, being prohibited the attacks of fist above the neck and the low kicks. It is more focused on competition than the ITF style. 

Currently, the WTF style is an Olympic modality.

History of Taekwondo


It has been speculated that Taekwondo is not Indian of Korea, but a synthesis of martial arts of China and Japan.

The legendary origin of martial arts is attributed to Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk from India. Bodhidharma traveled to China in the sixth century AD and founded the famous Shaolin monastery, and there taught methods to train their bodies and their spirits. Later, these methods were combined with the principles of I-Ching and Taoism, forming the basis for the Chinese martial arts of Kung Fu, Kempo and Tai Chi Chuan.
The first really tangible evidence of martial art in Korea dates back to the period of the “Three Kingdoms”: Koguryo (37 BC – 668 AD), Paekje (18 BC – 660 AD), and Silla (57 BC – 935 AD).

Murals painted in the ruins of two royal tombs (Muyong-chong and Kakchu-chong) built in the Koguryo dynasty between AD 3-427 south of Manchuria, represent two young men in combat positions.

Therefore, the evidence indicates that the Koreans developed a primitive form of native martial art long before Bodhidharma arrived in China and the Kung Fu of the Shaolin Temple (500 AD) was developed and penetrated into Korea.

It is believed that, from the Shaolin temple, a style of Mano China and the standing combat Kwon Bop penetrated later in Korea. During the Sung and Ming Dynasty, it is also believed that it penetrated nei-chua (internal Kung Fu method) and wai-chua (external method).

There are also pieces of evidence of primitive forms of martial arts in the kingdom of Paekje (18 BC – 660 AD), as well as in the Silla kingdom (57 BC – 935 AD). It was in the latter where the martial art of Korea reached its highest level.

KOGURYO (37 BC – AD 668)
But it was in the kingdom of Koguryo, located north of Korea bordering on the hostile Chinese tribes, where the oldest Korean techniques originated, the oldest Tae-kyon being born as a kick-based exercise practiced by a body of warriors called Seonbae (“man of virtue who never shuns a fight”).

CHAIR (57 BC – 935 AD)
The Tae-kyon was popularized in Koguryo and also reached the kingdom of Silla where it was developed, perfected, and renamed as Soo-Bak by the HWA Rang Do, military, an educational and social organization for the youth of the Silla nobility, influenced for the discipline of Buddhism.

In 668 AD, Silla unified the three kingdoms, thanks in large part to the influence of the Hwarangdo. The Hwarangdo honor code represents the philosophical backbone of Korean martial arts even today:

  • Loyalty to the nation
  • Respect and obedience to parents
  • Loyalty to friends
  • Courage and courage in battle
  • Justice and prudence in the use of violence.

During the Koryo Dynasty (918 AD-1392 AD), which reunited the Korean peninsula after Silla (935 AD), a great fondness for Martial Arts developed and especially for Soo Bak Do, as a martial art and as an organized sport for spectators.

The Choson Dynasty (1392 AD-1910 AD), also named by Japan as the Yi Dynasty during the occupation, was founded on the ideology of Confucianism (replacing Buddhism) that promoted the reading of the classics Chinese, poetry and music, and despised Martial Arts.

However, fortunately for later generations, in 1790 King Chongyo had an interest in Korea’s native martial arts, and ordered masters Lee Dok Mu and Park Jae Ga to collect all martial art forms present in Korea in a classic illustrated book that was called “Muye Dobo Tongii”, which included Soo Bak as one of the most important chapters, and consists of four texts:

  • The art of the spear: Chang Sul
  • The art of the sword: Kum Sul
  • The art of Palo Largo: Bong Sul
  • The techniques without weapons: Kwonbop Sul

In 1910, with the Japanese occupation of Korea, the Korean martial arts that had been declining during the Yi dynasty suffered a death blow. The Japanese government suppressed all cultural activities, including sports equipment and Korean martial arts, in an attempt to destroy the Korean identity. In the Korean schools, the study of Japanese sports forms such as Judo and Kendo was imposed.

Some teachers continued to secretly practice both Soo Bak and the ancient Tae Kyon.

Japanese Karate and various Chinese forms (Shaolin) were introduced into Korea and mixed with Korean forms. A new hybrid form was developed based on the Soo Bak with techniques of Shaolin and Karate and was called Tang Soo Do (or Kong Soo Do).

Taekwondo for Children

Taekwondo is one of the sports that can contribute the most in the formative process of the child, since it develops both his physical and emotional state, considerably enhancing his school performance and his relationship with others. It is recommended that it is from 4 years of age when a boy or girl begins to attend Taekwondo classes.

Taekwondo class for children

The introduction of this sport at this age is a recreational job in which the child is expected to make contact with the activity through play. The main objective is for the child to have a good time in a fun environment and to attract him back.

The recommended clothing for the class is the white suit (Dobok) and a belt (Ti). For the practice of combat, it is necessary to wear protections such as helmet, breastplate, tibial, forearm, and shell.

Taekwondo for Children

How with taekwondo classes for children

TaeKwonDo classes are usually forty-five minutes to one hour, depending on the age of the child. In general, classes are organized as follows:

1. Every day begins with meditation, to continue heating and stretching the body.

2. Physical work. All the physical aptitudes of the child are developed through games.

3. Technical work. It is the part where the child takes contact for the first time with technical exercises (also through games): jumping exercises, contactless fighting, free technique, etc.

At certain times children have to undergo a practical test in which they demonstrate what they have learned by performing leg exercises, arms, jumps and combined exercises.


Benefits of Taekwondo for children

Although a priori you have the concept that taekwondo is a somewhat violent sport and you need strength, none of that. Parents have more than one reason to target their children to taekwondo classes because the benefits of this exercise are very positive for the little ones.

In the physical aspect, taekwondo allows you to fully develop all the body’s own abilities: strength, elasticity, resistance, integration, adaptation, as well as harmonious and functional development of your entire body.

4 advantages of Taekwondo in the formative process of boys and girls

Spiritually, this sport teaches its participants that it is necessary to be persevering with the designed objectives, in addition to instilling the values of education and companionship. Children learn to respect both the coach and their peers.

1- Exercise concentration and discipline, creating habits that will help the child in their studies and tasks.

2- Fosters respect and education, making the child more understanding, having better personal control and creating positive attitudes towards others.

3- The conquest of confidence and self – assurance will make the child / a feel secure and confident of their chances in different situations in everyday life.

4- Improvement of your physical shape, offering your body endurance, increased energy, stimuli, flexibility, reflexes and motor skills, which will improve your physical condition and encourage your development.

The practice of Taekwondo for children

In order for the child to enjoy and learn taekwondo techniques well, it is necessary to have the understanding and encouragement of their parents. Yolanda Ubero Alcañiz, black belt and professional of this sport, assures that it is essential that parents have peace of mind and that they “do not hurry when it comes to seeing the results”.

Taekwondo learning is very technical and it takes a long time to see a progression. That is why we must motivate our children and not discourage them with possible comparisons since in the activity of taekwondo they will grow up in a healthy and sporting environment.

Taekwondo rules for children at home

Taekwondo is a martial art of Korean origin that dates back to 50 AD At the Olympic Games in Sydney in 2010 it managed to become an Olympic discipline since in previous years it was only an exhibition sport. Taekwondo is a combat sport in which one struggles with feet, hands and other parts of the body. Physical training is important for taekwondo, but also mental and spiritual training.

Parents may feel the rejection of this sport when they think that it may enhance the child’s violent character or develop aggressive behaviors. Far from this, according to experts, taekwondo affects the development of the child’s personality, helps them gain discipline, stimulates social relationships and facilitates their capacity for struggle and self-control.

It is very important that children bring and practice at home some of the rules they learn during taekwondo classes. And more important is that parents help them to fulfill them.

1. They must show respect to their parents and their families at all times.

2. They should greet their parents when they enter the house and say goodbye when they leave.

3. They must be honest at all times.

4. They must maintain a good relationship with their brothers and sisters.

5. They should help with household chores.

6. They must keep their rooms clean, collected and ordered.

7. They should keep their body, hair and teeth clean all the time.

8. They should not interrupt adult conversations.

9. They should study their homework both at school and at home.

10. They must show respect to their instructors and classmates at all times.


What is Taekwondo?

We all have the same question, What is Taekwondo? Taekwondo is an art martial and sport that comes from Korea. It is a sport that involves kung-fu, karate-do and some other ancient disciplines related to the country. The word is composed of three terms: tae involving the use of his feet, kwon refers to the use of arms and fists and do that is a philosophical notion associated with the path of perfection).

What is taekwondo

Taekwondo consists of different self-defense techniques such as grappling, blocking and sweeping. It is one of the most practiced martial arts in the world and consists in giving a series of blows against the opponent, attack and defense techniques to win the battle, movements that demand speed and precision.

History of Taekwondo

Taekwondo is a martial art that can be considered modern and is of Korean origin. It was created by General Choi Hong Hi and managed to become part of Olympic sports in 1988 at the Seoul Olympics.

The Korean Masters, locate the birth of taekwondo in 50 AD, with the practice of the native martial art called taekkyon. The Military of the Koguryo dynasty also developed a style of boxing called Korean Kempo based on various Chinese styles.

Evidence of ancient practice was found in ancient tombs by Japanese archaeologists, where they discovered murals depicting men in fight scenes.


  • The attacks of kicks should always be performed standing above the belt.
  • A kick to the head is worth 3 points or 4 if it is done with a turn.
  • The first attacks should be to the chest protector. A kick to the breast shield scores 1 point or 2 if done with a spin.
  • To make a point valid three of the four judges must validate it.
  • The winner is the one who achieves 12 points or wins by more than 7 points to the opponent.
  • If after a blow, the competitor cannot immediately continue the fight, the referee counts 8 seconds.
  • If the competitor says ” kiap ” before the 8 seconds have passed, the fight continues.
  • When the referee considers that the competitor is not fit to continue the fight, he will be declared KO even if he says “kiap”.


There are several techniques that must be learned to practice taekwondo, among them, we mention the following:

  • The kicks or chagui: Main movement of the Taekwondo and are aimed at attacking the trunk or the head.
  • Open hand techniques: they are different depending on the area with which the blow is given.
  • Locks and defenses: can be done with the palm of the hand or arm.
  • Personal defense: sweeps and projections combined with kicks.


The divisions of men and women are made through separate categories, men against men and women against women is a fundamental rule.

Male divisions

  • First, without exceeding 54 kilos.
  • Second, over 54 kilograms without exceeding 58 kilograms.
  • Third, over 58 kilograms without exceeding 63 kilograms.
  • Fourth, over 63 kilograms without exceeding 68 kilograms.
  • Fifth, over 68 kilograms without exceeding 74 kilograms.
  • Sixth, over 74 kilograms without exceeding 80 kilograms.
  • Seventh, over 80 kilograms without exceeding 87 kilograms.
  • Eighth, about 87 kilograms.

Female divisions

  • First, without exceeding 46 kilos.
  • Second, over 46 kilograms without exceeding 49 kilograms.
  • Third, over 49 kilograms without exceeding 53 kilograms.
  • Fourth, over 53 kilograms without exceeding 57 kilograms.
  • Fifth, over 57 kilograms without exceeding 62 kilograms.
  • Sixth, over 62 kilograms without exceeding 67 kilograms.
  • Seventh, over 67 kilograms without exceeding 73 kilograms.
  • Eighth, about 73 kilograms.

Divisions for the Olympic Games

Male divisions

  • First, without exceeding 58 kilograms.
  • Second, over 58 kilograms without exceeding 68 kilograms.
  • Third, over 68 kilograms without exceeding 80 kilograms.
  • Fourth, over 80 kilograms.

Female divisions

  • First, without exceeding 49 kilograms.
  • Second, over 49 kilograms without exceeding 57 kilograms.
  • Third, over 57 kilograms without exceeding 67 kilograms.
  • Fourth, over 67 kilograms.


taekwondo belts

The taekwondo belts are of various colors and each of them has a meaning, these are:

  • White: It symbolizes purity and innocence.
  • Yellows: It means the earth where the sower places the seed and also represents the sun takes the energy for living beings.
  • Green: It represents nature and life, the wisest way to find the best.
  • Blue: It represents the sky that every day has new capabilities. It symbolizes that the practitioner is getting stronger.
  • Red: It is the color of the fruit when it is already mature. It represents the desire of the person who prepares in his art.
  • Black: It’s experience and maturity.


Tatamis are floor mats whose meaning is “folded and stacked”. The tatamis are a classic element and characteristic of Japanese houses. They are used to cover the floor of the main rooms of a Japanese house. Currently, we can find expanded polystyrene tatamis and even straw.

The two forms in which we can find them in martial arts are:

Shügijiki: the tatamis are placed together vertically or horizontally, forming a kind of non-square grids.
Fushügijiki: they are placed in a single sense, using parallel strips.
In karate, the rule of the World Karate Federation says that the mat should be a closed-cell polyethylene plate with a measurement of 10 mm x 1000 mm x 1

Equipment for taekwondo

The necessary equipment to practice taekwondo is the following:

  • Do-Bok: This is the white uniform, consists of two pieces, the jacket and the trousers, which is tied with a colored belt that can be white or black, depending on the level of the player.
  • Peto: It is protection made of foam and it can be red or blue. It gives protection to the trunk completely and is placed on the back.
  • Helmet: It is made of foam and serves to protect the skull, ears and jaw.
  • Forearm protection: Its function is to give protection to the forearms and elbows as well as helping to avoid strong friction.
  • Shin guards: It is an efficient form of protection for the front part of the foot.
  • Chest protector: This protector is designed especially for women as it covers the entire chest.
  • Mouthguard: This protector covers the teeth and gums of the opponents in case of receiving a direct blow in the mouth.