Taekwon-Do is a Korean martial art. It was founded by the late Grandmaster General Choi Hong Hi on 11 April 1955. Taekwon-Do, which literally translates to “Foot, Hand, The Way”, was formed by combining elements of Taekkyeon and Karate.
There are 2 main international governing bodies for Taekwon-Do – The International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF), which was founded by the late Grandmaster General Choi Hong Hi in 1966 and the partnership of the Kukkiwon and the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), founded in 1972 and 1973 respectively by the Korea Taekwondo Association. The World Taekwondo Federation is the organisation involved in the Olympics for Taekwondo.
Some differences between ITF & WTF:
1. Patterns/Forms – ITF patterns are called 틀 tul while WTF forms are known as 품새 pumsae. These patterns/forms are a sequence of movements that demonstrates balance, power, and technique.
2. Sparring – WTF sparring style is more sport-oriented, meaning they focus more on points. ITF sparring style is more combat-oriented, meaning you are more focused on taking down the opponent. However, with that being said, ITF practices semi-contact sparring and not full contact.
3. Martial Arts Philosophy – ITF organisations recite the 5 Tenets of Taekwon-Do as well as the Student’s Oath and WTF organisations philosophy is based on the Hwarang tradition.