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The nature of the specific characteristics of the sport of Taekwondo is rooted in the Asian philosophy of balance between mind, body, and spirit. Rules of Taekwondo competition are geared toward promoting safety, fair play, and a display of positive Taekwondoistic attitude. The nature of the strategy and tactics of the sport are intended to promote the notion that the legs are the longest, and strongest weapon of the body, and while the rest of skills which can be useful in self defense should not be ignored, striking takes precedence, and kicking becomes the primary tool. The athlete must demonstrate good match management to show that they are in control of the fight. They must be aware of their surroundings to avoid being manipulated into a vulnerable position. The student must train to be in good physical condition so that they do not become fatigued, and lose because of poor health, rather than a lack of skill.

The primary strategy is to avoid being struck by a blow that would render you unable to defend yourself, while at the same time, attempting to deliver such a blow to your opponent that would likely disable an attacker in real-life self defense. Since the kicks and hand strikes of Taekwondo are potentially deadly, they must be restrained to some degree in sports, therefore it is futile to continue a match into throws and grappling (like judo, jujitsu, and Wrestling), because the goal is to destroy your opponent by dislocating joints, breaking bones, and striking deadly vital spots before you even get to the point of close contact. While self defense training in Taekwondo class can cover these additional elements, the sport does not need to proceed beyond what is considered the desired results.

In general terms, the nature of Taekwondo as a sport is three-fold: Entertainment, Education, and Promoting popularity.

As a form of Entertainment, sports gives us the unique opportunity to enjoy fun and games with a skill that we have learned. Most of Taekwondo training is serious, and requires years of dedication and hard work. Some levels of Taekwondo competition can be hard work and demanding in preparation as well as performance, but many tournaments are geared more for the average student to have fun, and play a game based on martial skills, under rules of safety and fair play. Tournaments are also a form of entertainment for the spectators who are watching, but do not participate in the sport.

As a method of education, the sport of Taekwondo helps to teach things that are not available in daily class. We are placed in an unfamiliar environment, meeting unknown opponents, and being challenged to perform at our best within a specific time frame with many distractions going on. All of this can stimulate the adrenaline, and induce a number of mental processes and emotions similar to real-life combat. Students learn to stay focused, control adrenaline responses, quickly analyze new opponents, and adapt to the opponent's skills and strategies. Athletes learn the value of a coach or Instructor who has years of experience that the student should heed. They also learn the importance of training, and being prepared for the moment BEFORE you actually come face-to-face with an attacker. In competition, we learn where we are lacking in some of our skills, and when we return to the classroom we can address those issues with better clarity and understanding. Students should also learn that competition, under a specific set of rules, is not the same as real-life self defense, and it is important to balance your training with sports and reality training.

Finally, sports have always been a way of increasing the popularity of an activity, and can have a wide range of supplemental affects. Besides making both the sport, and the art of Taekwondo more popular, which helps increase the enrollment of Taekwondo businesses, there are financial gains to entire communities where tournaments are held. As athletes and spectators travel to events, gas is sold for cars, hotel rooms are rented, local restaurants and other shops are visited. With larger events, millions of dollars are poured into the local economy. In the case of Taekwondo, an entire country has its popularity, image, and economy enhanced because South Korea sponsors Taekwondo as its national Martial Art, and national sport. With the inclusion of Taekwondo in the Olympic Games (since 1988 as demonstration, and 2000 as full medal sport) Taekwondo has changed the lives of many people, and promoted the entire country of South Korea in a positive light.

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Q: What is the nature of Tae Kwon Do sports?
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