Taekwondo is a Korean martial art developed during the 1940s and 1950s by various Korean martial artists combining and incorporating the elements of Karate and Chinese Martial Arts along with the indigenous Korean martial arts traditions of Taekkyeon, Subak, and Gwonbeop.
Taekwondo is characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques. In fact, World Taekwondo Federation sparring competitions award additional points for strikes that incorporate spinning kicks.
To facilitate fast, turning kicks, taekwondo generally adopts stances that are narrower and hence less-stable than the broader, wide stances used by martial arts such as karate. The tradeoff of decreased stability is believed to be worth the commensurate increase in agility, particularly in Kukkiwon-style taekwondo.
Since 2000, taekwondo has been one of only two Asian martial arts (the other being judo) that are included in the Olympic Games. It became a demonstration event at the 1988 games in Seoul, and became an official medal event at the 2000 games in Sydney. In 2010, taekwondo was accepted as a Commonwealth Games sport