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Steve Lopez's interest in tae kwon do began at the tender age of five when he started lessons. He did so well that when he was older he was able to compete in the 2000 Olympic Games and win a gold medal. It wasn't necessary for him to be a large person. In fact, he won the competition in the "lightweight division." Tae kwon do was a family affair because his brother and sister, Steven and Diana, were also medal winners in later Olympic Games. Tae kwon do, or "way of the hand and foot, is a martial ar sport that blends both karate and "taekkyon," an "ancient Korean fighting style."
Many young people train in tae kwon do to keep fit as they learn the sport, but many also use it as method of self-defense. Historically, the sport began in South Korea when Choi Hong Hi blended two forms of martial arts to create his own. Tae kwon do was adopted by the military when President Rhee insisted that "all South Korean soldiers got martial arts training" in the 1950s. Eventually the sport became popular and was introduced to Americans by Nam Tae Hi. Perhaps you belong to the American Taekwondo Association (ATA) if you have been taking lessons for a while.
Tae Kwon do is all around us in movies, computer games, and on television. Once you decide to take lessons you'll need some standard equipment such as the uniform or "dobok." You will start out with a white belt, but as you improve your techniques you will earn belts of different colors. The highest belt, as many know, is the black belt.Read more ›
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