Points

Tae Kwon Do (Korean for "hand-foot way") traces its lineage through several Korean martial arts back to 500 A.D. - or earlier, by some accounts. Its official founding was in 1955, however. While it's descended from combative arts, it's largely a sport form, like modern Karate. Indeed, it borrowed some kata (later removed and replaced with native forms) and the use of colored belts from that art. There are schools that teach Tae Kwon Do for self-defense rather than for competition, though; these feature full-contact matches (with padded armor) and intense training.

Tae Kwon Do emphasizes striking, especially the power, speed, and utility of kicking. Stylists use all manners of kicks - particularly high kicks aimed at the head, since these score the most in competition. They even practice a kick thrown after a 540° spin; treat this as the All-Out Attack version of

Spinning Kick (pp. 79-80). Tae Kwon Do also teaches punches - including spear-hand and ridge-hand strikes - but considers them secondary. Schools that teach self-defense versions of the art put punches on a more equal footing with kicks.

In competitive Tae Kwon Do, punches score only if they strike the chest. Kicks must hit the opponent at waist level or higher. Spectacular high kicks rack up the most points and offer the possibility of a knockout victory. Stylists also show off breaking techniques to demonstrate strength. Instructors and judges expect advanced practitioners to be able to break boards or concrete with all punching and kicking techniques.

Tae Kwon Do is widespread - particularly in the U.S., where it was introduced a year after it was founded - and it's easy to find a teacher. Many "karate" schools actually teach a form of Tae Kwon Do! Tae Kwon Do was a featured demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympic Games and became a full-fledged Olympic sport at the 2000 Games.

Skills: Jumping; Karate; Karate Sport; Savoir-Faire (Dojo).

Techniques: Axe Kick; Back Kick; Elbow Strike; Exotic Hand Strike; Jump Kick; Kicking; Spinning Kick; Spinning Punch; Sweep (Karate).

Cinematic Skills: Breaking Blow; Flying Leap; Power Blow.

Cinematic Techniques: Flying Jump Kick.

Perks: Rapid Retraction (Kicks); Technique Mastery (Any kicking technique); Unusual Training (Breaking Blow, Only vs. well-braced objects out of combat).

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