Semi-contact spots allow competitors to achieve contact with their opponents during short bursts of time, with precise rules that prohibit elevation of contact that may lead to injury. Semi-contact combat sports usually permit the use of striking moves with hands or feets, with no possibility of relying on prolonged contact with an opponent that is achieved via grappling, tackling, submissions or other full-power combat techniques. The techniques that are allowed are only from the limited-power range, and each sport usually has a list of approved and banned moves that combatants have to follow.
To achieve the victory in semi-contact sport, competitors usually have to acquire enough points to assure the victory. Knocking out an opponent to subconscious state is not allowed, and therefore, several semi-contact sports allow users to wear protective gear that will protect them from injury. While semi-contact sports have a tradition of resetting the playing field after each point won (with combatants taking a predefined and safe starting position), not all semi-contact sports utilize this approach.
Today, the majority of semi-contact sports are not recognized on the Olympic level, but many of them are practiced by millions of people around the world, most notably karate, kickboxing, Kalaripayattu, taekwondo, kendo, and various Chinese martial arts.
Taekwondo (also known as Tae Kwon Do) is a popular combat sport and martial arts that are defined by its focus on fast kicking techniques, spinning kicks, jumping and head-height kicks that make this combat style very attractive for viewing. Modern governing bodies regard taekwondo as a mix of full-contact and light and medium-contact combat style, which requires from participants in professional bouts to wear protective gear on their heads and chests.
Taekwondo is based on speed and agility, with focus on increasing the power of the hit by increasing the speed of the limb that is performing the hit. To achieve that, taekwondo fighters train to perform fast hits which often involve spinning in arcs, which helps them to build up the speed of the fist or foot. To popularize such moves, judges in professional matches award double points to any player who manages to score hit by jumping and hitting the opponent in the head or by doing a spinning hit. While the increased focus on movement and sometimes over-aggressive spinning kicks may lead to the lack of stability, fighters of taekwondo believe that this tradeoff is worthwhile.
After appearing in the 1940s in Korea as a combination karate, traditional Korean and Chinese martial arts, Taekwondo become governed with several organizations who oversaw its development and professional matches. Today’s two largest governing bodies are International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) and World Taekwondo (WT). Taekwondo also became an Olympic sport in 2000.
Martial arts called Taekwondo was born in the years after WWII in South Korea, mixing the influences of South Korean and Chinese combat styles. In the late 1950s and 1960s, all the martial arts schools merged, forming both domestic and international organizations that regulated the development of this popular martial arts style.