By Richard J Law
A dreary eyed, slim built individual enters the arena; his eyes are blinded by the bright lights and his ears pick up the cheering of thousands of spectators that have been waiting in the stands. This isn’t any of the conventional sports seen on TV. This is Taekwondo, a martial art with its roots deep in Korea’s history, beginning with its development by the three rival Korean Kingdoms of Goguryeo, Silla, and Baekje. This unarmed martial art was primarily developed for warriors, and it comes coupled with a code of ethics, history, and a life philosophy. Taekwondo isn’t all about kicking; it’s both an anaerobic and aerobic workout, teaches self defense, patterns, sparring, relaxation and meditation, conditions the body for the breaking of wood, brick, tile, etc, and has a central focus on discipline, etiquette, justice, respect, and self confidence. Many who practice Taekwondo follow a different lifestyle that flows outward and encourages others to do the same.
The martial art distinguishes itself from others by emphasizing on super fast paced kicking, rather than punching and throwing. The basic idea of this is that the legs are the longest and strongest weapon of the body and can be used to throw devastating strikes. Taekwondo made its Olympics debut in 2000, making it the second Asian martial art in the Olympics (the other being Judo). In this year’s Olympics in London, Asia had a fairly decent match-up, with competitors spanning all weight divisions. In the London 2012 Olympics, Taekwondo competitions started on August 8th and a new electronic scoring system was introduced, with the judges only observing headshots, which does not involve electronic equipment. Due to this, many athletes have seen this system for the first time and are not accustomed to using it. However, the general idea remains the same; body shots are 1 point, spinning body shots are 2 points, head shots are 3 points, and spinning head shots are 4 points. Each matchup consists of 3 rounds, 2 minutes each, with a 30 second break in between. This article will cover both the male and female athletes that hail from Asian countries.
This year, Olympics 2012 of England has marked a glory of Asian Taekwando athletes. Jingyu Wu from China land her second gold medal of Olympic in Women’s Flyweight division, with a spectacular result of ten points lead in almost everymatch. Lee Daehoon of Korea in his division of Men’s Flyweight, has obtained his silver medal after striving through several tough match with world reknown players. In Women’s Featherweight division, Li-Cheng of Taipei fought her match with Suvi Mikkonen of Finland in the match of Bronze and wins the medal with a magnificent result of 14-2. On the other hand, Hou Yuzhou of China strived her way into final match but however she lost the match to Jade Jones of Great Britain, left the game with a silver medal. While in Women Welterweight division, a glory victory has marked by Hwang Kyung Sean of Korean; she nailed down her opponent Nur Tatar of Turkey with the result of 15-5 and sealed her place as the Olympic Gold Medalist. And lastly in Men’s Heavyweight division, Liu Xiaobo of China wins his bronze medal from Turkey’s Bahri Tanrikulu in a close and tight match. In brief, 2012 Olympics of Great Britain had provided great opportunity for Asian athletes to thrive the path of glory and winning the pride for their own beloved countries.
The focus of this Olympics was not the traditional fast, strong kicks we are used to seeing since 2004 and 2008. Instead, Taekwondo “players” focused on light taps and fast head shots. Many argue that this softens the sport, that many are missing the main aspect of Taekwondo; that it is a martial art first, and a sport second. Practitioners were expecting to see devastating headshots that leave players sprawled on the floor, and matches won by knockouts that we’ve seen in previous Olympic Games. Perhaps this is a transition that prioritizes safety as a main goal, while trying to keep the game fair and entertaining. Whatever it is, Taekwondo has come a long way since before being an Olympic sport. If you haven’t tried it, find a school near you and check it out!
An Introduction to M. An’s Taekwondo Inc.
Taekwondo is a martial art whose origin is deeply rooted in Korea. The words “Tae”,”Kwon”, and “Do” mean different things that, when put together, mean “the way of the foot and fist”. Taekwondo is not only practiced for sport, but is also used by the Korean military and other armed forces around the world. However, this Olympic sport is not only about fighting- Taekwondo is a lifestyle. Tae Kwon Do strives to develop the positive aspects of an individual’s personality: Respect, Courtesy, Goodness, Trustworthiness, Loyalty, Humility, Courage, Patience, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-control, an Indomitable Spirit and a sense of responsibility to help and respect all forms of life. This takes a great deal of hard training and many do not reach far enough to achieve perfection in all of these aspects. However, it is the physical, mental, and spiritual effort which the individual puts forth that develops the positive attributes and image of both the individual and how he or she perceives others.
M. An’s Taekwondo Inc. was established over 20 years ago in Brooklyn by Grandmaster An. The school is widely known for its excellent programs and positive environment. M. An’s Taekwondo has one of the biggest dojangs in the tri-state area, and their Masters and qualified instructors make learning this exciting sport fun and practical. Every year, their students participate in both local and national tournaments, and a few lucky ones even make it to the Junior Olympics. In addition, their demonstration team regularly performs for both local and international events, exhibiting choreographed fight scenes, board breaking, and self-defense techniques. M. An’s Taekwondo programs know no age limit- they have a wide range of classes that will be sure to fit you and/or your child’s needs. Some of their programs include Olympic training, Acrobatics, Demonstration training, Weapons training, and Zumba. Don’t hesitate to stop by and ask about any of their programs, and join the An’s Taekwondo Family!