What is TKD?

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Taekwon-Do is a modern martial art* involving both hand and foot techniques. Experienced TKD practitioners can display impressive aerial manouvres and have great control and accuracy when performing kicks, punches and blocks. (*many people say TKD is based on an ancient art, while this may be true, the Techniques in Taekwon-Do are constantly reviewed scientifically and changed to make the art better, hence why it is referred to as modern).
"We only want to pursue our martial arts goal and will continue to contribute for the benefit of society, not for a handful of athletes, or for the glory of one country" - Grandmaster Choi Jung Hwa
TaeKwon-Do kicking techniques
Every technique taught in TKD is intended to be for self defence. By training physically and mentally, conditioning the body and understanding the "theory of power" TKD students can develop themselves and become effective weapons.
Taekwon-Do literally translates to "The art of hand and foot"
Tae- To kick or smash with the foot
Kwon- To break or destroy with the hand
Do- art

The art is made up of several aspects, to become a good TKD student, you must understand and perfect them:
Patterns - These are sets of predetermined techniques against an imaginary opponent, each move should be performed with as much accuracy and power as possible. Pattern practise becomes the backbone of TKD training, giving students the fundamental movements to develop. 
Sparring - These are sets of undetermined techniques against a real opponent. Students develop speed and faster reflexes whilst becoming more familiar with which blocks and attacks are appropriate in certain situations.
Sparring equipment is required but some is available at the club.
Breaking - To demonstrate their abilities, wooden/plastic boards and bricks are broken by some students in power breaking. Special techniques allow the student to practise aerial manouevres and improve flexibility.
Why are there so many different organisations of Taekwon-Do??
Taekwon-Do was officially recognised in 1955, and the ITF (International TKD Federation) was formed in 1966. As time went by, instructors from the ITF splintered away to form their own groups - they felt their knowledge of Taekwon-Do was great enough to continue their own legacies. These splinter groups raised their own instructors and as time went by, they too splintered from the splinter groups and so the number of organisations increased at a larger rate. 
Some of these groups decided to add their own "style" to Taekwon-Do, without thought to how this may change the effectiveness of each movement when being applied. 
This following piece of writing is taken from General Choi's Taekwon-Do Encyclopedia:
"Today the enormous popularity of Taekwon-Do has created imitators, and whilst at times imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, in the case of TKD this is definitely not true. To imitate without full knowledge of the original form is dangerous. It is somewhat akin to allowing a child to play with a toy gun then giving him a real gun and expecting him to understand the difference, without giving him the knowledge of the function and effect of a real gun.
In most instances of imitation, the imitator simply mimics the original without any change. Usually, this does not cause harm provided the one who imitates does not change the original (in this case TKD) by unproven additional techniques, interpretations, philosophy, terminology, or systems and methods.
It is when authorised changes to the original act of TKD take place that these imitators create a highly dangerous and eroding influence upon the concept of TKD.
Dangerous because it gives to the students of the imitators a sense of mastery of techniques which is completely unfounded in knowledge of the true martial art of TKD.
Dangerous because a student may become a teacher and all unknowingly impart his false techniques to others, thus compounding the error of false knowledge. This will lead to an erosion of confidence by serious students and TKD as a proven martial art...."
 Written by A. Franks
"I hope one day to see all the TKD groups in the world working under one banner instead of bickering and jostling for personal ego and power. A dream? well maybe, but if enough people want something bad enough it can happen. Let’s work together and fulfil General Choi's ultimate dream." - Grandmaster Paul Cutler IX
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