Taekwondo (/ˌtaɪkwɒnˈdoʊ/ TY-kwon-DOH, UK: /ˌtaɪˈkwɒndoʊ/ ty-KWON-doh; from Korean 태권도 [tʰɛ.k͈wʌn.do] (About this sound listen)) is a Korean martial art, characterized by its emphasis on head-height kicks, jumping and spinning kicks, and fast kicking techniques.
Taekwondo was developed during the 1940s and 1950s by various martial artists who combined elements of karate and Chinese martial arts with traditional Korean martial arts traditions such as Taekkyeon, Subak, and Gwonbeop. The oldest governing body for taekwondo is the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA), formed in 1959 through a collaborative effort by representatives from the nine original kwans, or martial arts schools, in Korea. The main international organizational bodies for taekwondo today are the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), founded by Choi Hong Hi in 1966, and the partnership of the Kukkiwon and World Taekwondo (WT, formerly WTF), founded in 1972 and 1973 respectively by the Korea Taekwondo Association. Gyeorugi ([kjʌɾuɡi]), a type of full-contact sparring, has been an Olympic event since 2000. The governing body for taekwondo in the Olympics and Paralympics is World Taekwondo.