Japan's occupation of Korea lasted from 1910 until 1945. Economic and social hardships of colonial Korea caused waves of migration of Koreans to mainland Japan and the few Koreans who were able to receive education in Japan were often exposed to Japanese martial arts. After independence from Japanese occupation, many of the martial arts schools in Korea were started by masters with varying degrees of training in Japanese (including karate), Chinese and Korean martial arts. In 1955, at the behest of President Syngman Rhee, the dozens of Korean martial arts schools were standardized and the resulting construction became Taekwondo.

Although major techniques of taekwondo differ from Japanese Karate and reflect influence from indigenous Korean martial arts such as taekyon, karate provided an important comparative model for the early founders of taekwondo in their formalization of a standard Korean martial art. Taekwondo also inherited from karate the concept of linear striking to generate power as well as early karate 'kata' and the belt and degree system.

Global Expansion

Since the 1950s, karate has exploded in popularity worldwide. By the end of the 20th century, karate was one of the most pervasive cultural exports from Asia to the Western world. It is impossible to enumerate the various schools and styles worldwide that are identifiably 'karate'. Nowadays one can learn karate (or one of its offshoots) almost anywhere. It is no longer something practiced in just certain countries: karate is universal.

There were two main avenues for the propagation of karate to the rest of the world. First, Allied servicemen, stationed in Japan and Okinawa after 1945, who studied karate and returned to their home countries. Second, the emigration of karate masters from Japan or Okinawa to other parts of the world, where they taught their art.

Taekwondo and its dirivetive Kwan’s has aslo spread throughout the world and developed with two differing focuses. The more traditional forms such as Chun Do Kwan still have strong links to their origin and the influence of Shotokan Karate remains.The other focus is on sport and can be seen performed at the Olympic Games.

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