Taekwondo is a Korean martial art. It combines combat and self-defense techniques with sport and exercise. Gyeorugi a type of sparring, has been anOlympic event since 2000. Taekwondo was developed by a variety of Korean masters during the 1940s as combination of Okinawankarate, Chinese martial arts, and the ancient Korean traditions taekkyeon and gwonbeop.
During the Japanese occupation of Korea the practice of traditional Korean martial arts was prohibited. Beginning in 1946, shortly after the conclusion of the occupation, new martial arts schools called kwans were opened in Seoul. These schools were established by Korean martial artists who had studied primarily in Okinawa and China during the Japanese occupation. Accordingly, the martial arts practiced in the kwans was heavily influenced by shotokan karate and Chinese martial arts, though elements of taekkyeon andgwonbeop were also incorporated. The umbrella term traditional taekwondo typically refers to the martial arts practiced by the kwans during the 1940s and 1950s, though in reality the term "taekwondo" had not yet been coined at that time, and indeed each kwan was practicing its own unique style of martial art. During this timeframe taekwondo was also adopted for use by the South Korean military, which only served to increase its popularity among civilian martial arts schools.