While the "Ninja Boom" lasted well into the 1980's and early 90's, another Martial Art began to really take hole around the world. The Korean Martial Art know as Taekwondo was it. Even today in late 2018 Taekwondo is still the most widespread and most practiced Martial Art on the planet. While the roots of Taewkondo may stretch back centuries, the modern Martial Art has only existed in its current form since the end of the Korean war. Master Jhoon Rhee was the first Taekwondo teacher to immigrate to the United States and is considered the "father of Taekwondo" in America. Why did Taekwondo explode on to the Martial Arts landscape? Simply one word, KICKS! Taekwondo is clearly the most dominant kicking Art ever devised. The style is considered to be 70% kicking techniques. Most of the ultra advanced kicks that you see in in the movies are attributed to the Korean art. On a side note, Master Jhoon Rhee also was a personal friend of Bruce Lee and taught Lee many of the kicking techniques that he used on screen.
Many of the nations top tournament fighters were also Taekwondo stylists. The dominance of Taekwondo on the open tournament circuit was a large contributor to its overall growth and popularity. The single event that catapulted Taekwondo into the Martial stratosphere was it's inclusion in the 1988 Olympic Games in Soul South Korea. The Olympic sport of Taekwondo differs greatly from its traditional roots. The Taekwondo that was brought to the U.S. by Master Rhee was originally taught to the Korean military and was primarily built for self-protection. The Olympic version was created as a ultra powerful sport. the most glaring differences being that Olympic Taekwondo does NOT allow punching to the head, while allowing full contact kicks to the body and head, including the knock out!
Join us next week for our journey into the 1990's when the Martial Arts world would be flipped on its head with the advent of a completely new kind of Martial Sport.