Tae Kwon Do is the name of the martial art turned modern international sport which has been independently developed over about 20 centuries in Korea. The main feature of Tae Kwon Do is that it is a free-fighting combat sport using bare hands and feet to repel an opponent. Tae Kwon Do is not only the sport of an eastern country, Korea but has become one of the world's most prominent sports participated in by some 40 million people in more than 142 countries. The Tae Kwon Do World Championships have been held numerous times to date. Tae Kwon Do was a demonstration sport of the 1988 Olympics held in Seoul, Korea and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Spain. In the end, in 1994, the International Olympic Committee admitted the Tae Kwon Do as an official event of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Australia. As a result, Tae Kwon Do is poised to take another leap in its advance towards new dimensions.
Tae Kwon Do is referred to as a "martial art" or "martial way." However, in today's world it has been developed into a "martial sport" with a global following. Tae Kwon Do is a set of self-defense techniques using the bare hands and feet, as such it is a fighting art. However, the main objective of training is not simply to learn how to fight and maintain one's balance. Tae Kwon Do training focuses on learning hand and feet techniques, bringing the mind and spirit into harmony, and improving one's physical condition. Tae Kwon Do also emphasize on respect to the others, stresses the struggle to cultivate the self. Patience and self-discipline are won through tough, repeated physical training. The practitioner is exposed to a life philosophy, with the first goal being to achieve harmony between mind and body; then harmony with other people, nature and, ultimately, the universe.