With over half of the populations of both Korea and Japan practicing Tae Kwon Do, the martial art may be the most popular sport in the world. The World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) boasts 144 member nations and estimates that as many as 30 million people from around the world practice Tae Kwon Do. However, the martial art may be practiced in as many as 150 nations. Tae Kwon Do became an Olympic event in 1988 and since then its popularity has burgeoned. But even before then, millions of people incorporated the principles of Tae Kwon Do into their lives, especially in Korea and Japan. Tae Kwon Do’s value as a system of mental and physical discipline became noticed by persons of all cultures and all ages: Karate-do is the only other martial art practiced widely. The United States Taekwondo Union estimates 2-3 million practitioners in the US and 22 million worldwide, (“History of Taekwondo and the United States Taekwondo Won,” http://www.ustw.org/index.htm). Unfortunately, the United States Taekwondo Union website does not list any statistics for the sport in the States. Practitioner statistics are difficult to quantify, given that many people take up the discipline for a short period of time.
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