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World Class Tae Kwon Do is currently holding in-person classes. Safety procedures for sessions at our facility include enhanced cleaning & disinfecting, social distancing, and the use of protective apparel, including masks.

We will continue to make updates based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tae Kwon Do?

Tae  Kwon  Do (also known as Taekwondo) is the art of self defense that originated in Korea. It is recognized as one of the oldest forms of martial arts in the world, reaching back over 2,000 years. The name was selected for its appropriate description of the art: Tae  (foot), Kwon  (hand), Do  (art).

Tae Kwon Do in the United States

The introduction of Tae  Kwon  Do in the United States began during the 1950’s when a handful of pioneering master instructors travelled to America to spread the art. Throughout the next few decades Tae  Kwon  Do grew in popularity, not only as a martial art, but as an international sport.

In 1973, Korea hosted the first  Tae  Kwon  Do  World Championships. In that same year, the  World Tae Kwon Do Federation was established as the international governing body for  the sport aspects of Tae  Kwon  Do. Today the WTF counts 120 separate countries as its members, representing 20 million practitioners. These numbers earn Tae  Kwon  Do the distinction of being the most practiced martial art in the world.

Tae Kwon Do first gained acceptance as an Olympic sport when it appeared as a demonstration event in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Tae Kwon Do became a full medal sport competition beginning in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics.

History of Tae Kwon Do

One of the earliest clues of Tae Kwon Do’s existence is a mural painted on the wall of a tomb that was built in the Korean kingdom of Koguryo, between 37 BC and 66 AD. The drawing shows two unarmed figures facing each other in a Tae  Kwon  Do style stance. Additional drawings in the tomb show figures performing blocks and wearing uniforms similar to those used in modern day Tae  Kwon  Do training.

The advancement of Tae  Kwon  Do and its techniques developed as the country of Korea developed. There are examples and history of Tae Kwon Do training in virtually all the records of the different kingdoms that existed within the country throughout the centuries.

The highest form of the ancient art was achieved in the kingdom of Silla. This tiny kingdom constantly faced attacks and opposition from larger and stronger areas. As a result the ruler of the kingdom, King Jin Heung, established an elite group of warriors called the “Hwarang” or “Flower of Youth”.

The Hwarang consisted of the sons of nobles within the kingdom. They were carefully selected and formally trained in all aspects of military skills including unarmed combat, which at the time was known as Tae Kyon. It is significant that the Hwarang were taught not only the importance of developing their bodies, but their minds and spirits as well. In addition to fighting techniques, the young warriors were instructed in history, poetry, and philosophy. The entire body of study was known as Hwarang Do. The Hwarang gained skills not only for battle, but for daily life. This relates directly to modern Tae  Kwon  Do training, which provides self defense skills as well as improved character, self-discipline, and confidence that can be applied to any task.

Following the Silla dynasty came the Koryo dynasty (935 AD – 1352 AD) from which Korea takes its name. Martial arts practice, known as Subak Do, became popular as an organized sport with detailed rules. The royal family sponsored competitions and demonstrations, and martial arts became deeply rooted in Korean culture.

What is Tae Kwon Do?

Tae  Kwon  Do (also known as Taekwondo) is the art of self defense that originated in Korea. It is recognized as one of the oldest forms of martial arts in the world, reaching back over 2,000 years. The name was selected for its appropriate description of the art: Tae  (foot), Kwon  (hand), Do  (art).

Tae Kwon Do in the United States

The introduction of Tae  Kwon  Do in the United States began during the 1950’s when a handful of pioneering master instructors travelled to America to spread the art. Throughout the next few decades Tae  Kwon  Do grew in popularity, not only as a martial art, but as an international sport.

In 1973, Korea hosted the first  Tae  Kwon  Do  World Championships. In that same year, the  World Tae Kwon Do Federation was established as the international governing body for  the sport aspects of Tae  Kwon  Do. Today the WTF counts 120 separate countries as its members, representing 20 million practitioners. These numbers earn Tae  Kwon  Do the distinction of being the most practiced martial art in the world.

Tae Kwon Do first gained acceptance as an Olympic sport when it appeared as a demonstration event in the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Tae Kwon Do became a full medal sport competition beginning in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics.

History of Tae Kwon Do

One of the earliest clues of Tae Kwon Do’s existence is a mural painted on the wall of a tomb that was built in the Korean kingdom of Koguryo, between 37 BC and 66 AD. The drawing shows two unarmed figures facing each other in a Tae  Kwon  Do style stance. Additional drawings in the tomb show figures performing blocks and wearing uniforms similar to those used in modern day Tae  Kwon  Do training.

The advancement of Tae  Kwon  Do and its techniques developed as the country of Korea developed. There are examples and history of Tae Kwon Do training in virtually all the records of the different kingdoms that existed within the country throughout the centuries.

The highest form of the ancient art was achieved in the kingdom of Silla. This tiny kingdom constantly faced attacks and opposition from larger and stronger areas. As a result the ruler of the kingdom, King Jin Heung, established an elite group of warriors called the “Hwarang” or “Flower of Youth”.

The Hwarang consisted of the sons of nobles within the kingdom. They were carefully selected and formally trained in all aspects of military skills including unarmed combat, which at the time was known as Tae Kyon. It is significant that the Hwarang were taught not only the importance of developing their bodies, but their minds and spirits as well. In addition to fighting techniques, the young warriors were instructed in history, poetry, and philosophy. The entire body of study was known as Hwarang Do. The Hwarang gained skills not only for battle, but for daily life. This relates directly to modern Tae  Kwon  Do training, which provides self defense skills as well as improved character, self-discipline, and confidence that can be applied to any task.

Following the Silla dynasty came the Koryo dynasty (935 AD – 1352 AD) from which Korea takes its name. Martial arts practice, known as Subak Do, became popular as an organized sport with detailed rules. The royal family sponsored competitions and demonstrations, and martial arts became deeply rooted in Korean culture.

What’s the difference between Taekwondo and Karate?

Whenever someone is considering beginning martial arts classes, they often ask us, “How are tae kwon do and karate different?” Or, “Which is better?”

To answer this, we’ll start by saying that both are excellent forms of martial arts training, with each offering numerous benefits.

The core principles of both Taekwondo (or Tae Kwon Do) and Karate stress self-discipline and a high code of personal conduct. Both have a sport competition aspect, however this makes up only part of the entire curriculum.

So, how are they different?

  • Taekwondo emphasizes kicking techniques, while Karate focuses on hand strikes.
  • Taekwondo = Korea.
    Karate = Okinawa, Japan (with roots from hand fighting in China).
  • Prearranged sequences of techniques, generally known as forms, are referred to as poomsae in Taekwondo, and kata in Karate
  • Tae Kwon Do is an Olympic sport.
  • The specific postures, stances, and movements differ significantly between Taekwondo and Karate.

It should be noted that although taekwondo (also known as tae kwon do) tends to favor fast kicking, taekwondo training is well-rounded and involves learning blocks, punches, open-handed strikes, take-downs, throws, and joint locks.

Conversely, while karate is known for hand techniques, it frequently includes knee and elbow strikes, and does use kicking techniques to a certain extent.

How to choose?

If you are trying to decide between a Tae Kwon Do or a Karate school, the decision to train in one versus the other may come down to a personal preference of style (as described above), however other conditions should play in part in your decision:

  • What is the quality of the instruction?
  • What does the facility look like?
  • What is the atmosphere like?
  • How does the class schedule work?
  • Where are they located?
  • Other factors?

The answers to these questions may (and sometimes should) be more important in deciding which martial art to study. You may find an aspect of a particular martial art appealing, but if the instructors are inexperienced, the atmosphere is intimidating, or the location is out of the way, your overall enjoyment and the benefits you receive will be diminished.

In addition to the above factors, it’s always a good idea to personally visit the schools you are considering. Although websites and phone conversations can provide plenty of useful information, your decision should be strongly influenced by the direct experience of visiting the martial arts school.

What’s the difference between Taekwondo and Karate?

Whenever someone is considering beginning martial arts classes, they often ask us, “How are tae kwon do and karate different?” Or, “Which is better?”

To answer this, we’ll start by saying that both are excellent forms of martial arts training, with each offering numerous benefits.

The core principles of both Taekwondo (or Tae Kwon Do) and Karate stress self-discipline and a high code of personal conduct. Both have a sport competition aspect, however this makes up only part of the entire curriculum.

So, how are they different?

  • Taekwondo emphasizes kicking techniques, while Karate focuses on hand strikes.
  • Taekwondo = Korea.
    Karate = Okinawa, Japan (with roots from hand fighting in China).
  • Prearranged sequences of techniques, generally known as forms, are referred to as poomsae in Taekwondo, and kata in Karate
  • Tae Kwon Do is an Olympic sport.
  • The specific postures, stances, and movements differ significantly between Taekwondo and Karate.

It should be noted that although taekwondo (also known as tae kwon do) tends to favor fast kicking, taekwondo training is well-rounded and involves learning blocks, punches, open-handed strikes, take-downs, throws, and joint locks.

Conversely, while karate is known for hand techniques, it frequently includes knee and elbow strikes, and does use kicking techniques to a certain extent.

How to choose?

If you are trying to decide between a Tae Kwon Do or a Karate school, the decision to train in one versus the other may come down to a personal preference of style (as described above), however other conditions should play in part in your decision:

  • What is the quality of the instruction?
  • What does the facility look like?
  • What is the atmosphere like?
  • How does the class schedule work?
  • Where are they located?
  • Other factors?

The answers to these questions may (and sometimes should) be more important in deciding which martial art to study. You may find an aspect of a particular martial art appealing, but if the instructors are inexperienced, the atmosphere is intimidating, or the location is out of the way, your overall enjoyment and the benefits you receive will be diminished.

In addition to the above factors, it’s always a good idea to personally visit the schools you are considering. Although websites and phone conversations can provide plenty of useful information, your decision should be strongly influenced by the direct experience of visiting the martial arts school.

Types of Martial Arts

There are many different types of martial arts, including taekwondo, karate, and jiu jitsu, as well as MMA (mixed martial arts). Below are definitions of some of the most popular styles.

With this information, the next time someone asks, “What’s the difference between the different types of martial arts?” you’ll have an aswer.

  • Aikido: considered a grappling art, aikido is a Japanese martial art performed by flowing with the motion of the attacker rather than opposing it straight-on. This requires much less physical strength, as the practitioner directs the attacker’s momentum with entering and turning motions, followed by various throws or joint locks.
  • Hapkido: a Korean martial art which uses joint locks, kicks, punches, and other striking attacks. Weapons such as sword, nunchaku, rope, cane, and staff are also used, although their emphasis varies. Hapkido focuses on using circular motions, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent, using footwork and body positioning to gain leverage and avoid strength against strength. Although aikido and hapkido are thought to share a common history, they differ significantly in philosophy, range of responses, and execution of techniques.
  • Judo: a relatively modern Japanese martial art (created in 1882). The goal of judo is to either throw or takedown one’s opponent to the ground and immobilize or subdue them with a grappling maneuver, joint lock, strangle hold, or choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet or weapons are only allowed in pre-arranged forms (kata), and are not allowed in competition or free practice.
  • Jiu Jitsu (Jujitsu, Jujutsu): a Japanese martial art for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon, or only a short weapon. Practitioners neutralize an enemy with pins, joint locks, and throws by using an attacker’s energy against him, rather than directly opposing it (as with other martial arts such as karate). There are five main areas or arts of training: blocking, fulcrum throw, non-fulcrum throw, escaping, and striking.
  • Karate: a martial art developed in Okinawa, Japan that stresses striking techniques, such as punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands (karate chop). In comparison to tae kwon do, karate tends to focus more on hand strikes, whereas tae kwon do emphasizes kicking techniques. The major traditional styles of karate are Shotokan, Shito Ryu, Goju Ryu, and Wado Ryu.
  • Krav Maga: a hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel that involves wrestling, grappling and striking techniques, mostly known for its extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks used to keep the practitioner safe and incapacitate the opponent by any means necessary. Generally, there are no rules in krav maga, and it has no sporting federation. In addition, there is no official uniform, although some organizations recognize progress with rank badges, levels, and belts.
  • Kung Fu (Chinese martial arts): a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. There are common themes to the various styles (which are usually classified by families, schools, or sects). Some styles include physical exercises that mimic animal movements, while others are inspired by Chinese philosophies, religions, and legends. Internal styles focus mainly on harnessing of qi, while external styles concentrate on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness. Some of the more common styles include Eagle Claw, Hung Gar, Five Animals (Shaolin Kung Fu), Monkey, Praying Mantis, and Wing Chun. (The term kung fu is often used in the west to refer to Chinese martial arts, however its original meaning refers to one’s expertise in any skill, not just martial arts.)
  • MMA (Mixed Martial Arts): a full contact sport that allows a variety of fighting styles to be used (including martial and non-martial arts techniques). Striking and grappling techniques, either standing or on the ground, are allowed. The early years of the sport saw a wide variety of traditional styles, but as the sport evolved many styles were shown to be ineffective. It is now common for fighters to train in multiple styles, creating a more balanced skill set.
  • Muay Thai: a martial art from Thailand which uses stand-up striking and clinching techniques. It makes prominent use of punches, kicks, elbow strikes, and knee strikes, using eight points of contact, in contrast to the hands and feet (four contact points) more often relied upon in other martial arts. Numerous techniques associated with Muay Thai can be found in MMA.
  • Tae Kwon Do (Taekwondo): the Korean art of self-defense, one of the oldest forms of martial arts (reaching back over 2,000 years), and the most widely practiced martial art in the world. Training involves learning a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes, as well as varying forms of take-downs, throws, and joint locks, all of which develop strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. Taekwondo is known for its emphasis on kicking techniques, as compared to other martial arts such as karate. In addition to self-defense training, students learn prearranged sequences of techniques known as forms or poomsae (known in other martial arts as kata). Tae kwon do and judo are the only two martial arts included in the Olympic Games.
  • Tai Chi: an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. A multitude of training forms exist, including the westernized, standardized version of tai chi (tai chi chih) which has visual similarities to the Chinese tai chi (tai chi chuan), but no martial arts aspect. Some forms are particularly well known because of their slow movement.

Types of Martial Arts

There are many different types of martial arts, including taekwondo, karate, and jiu jitsu, as well as MMA (mixed martial arts). Below are definitions of some of the most popular styles.

With this information, the next time someone asks, “What’s the difference between the different types of martial arts?” you’ll have an aswer.

  • Aikido: considered a grappling art, aikido is a Japanese martial art performed by flowing with the motion of the attacker rather than opposing it straight-on. This requires much less physical strength, as the practitioner directs the attacker’s momentum with entering and turning motions, followed by various throws or joint locks.
  • Hapkido: a Korean martial art which uses joint locks, kicks, punches, and other striking attacks. Weapons such as sword, nunchaku, rope, cane, and staff are also used, although their emphasis varies. Hapkido focuses on using circular motions, non-resisting movements, and control of the opponent, using footwork and body positioning to gain leverage and avoid strength against strength. Although aikido and hapkido are thought to share a common history, they differ significantly in philosophy, range of responses, and execution of techniques.
  • Judo: a relatively modern Japanese martial art (created in 1882). The goal of judo is to either throw or takedown one’s opponent to the ground and immobilize or subdue them with a grappling maneuver, joint lock, strangle hold, or choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet or weapons are only allowed in pre-arranged forms (kata), and are not allowed in competition or free practice.
  • Jiu Jitsu (Jujitsu, Jujutsu): a Japanese martial art for defeating an armed and armored opponent in which one uses no weapon, or only a short weapon. Practitioners neutralize an enemy with pins, joint locks, and throws by using an attacker’s energy against him, rather than directly opposing it (as with other martial arts such as karate). There are five main areas or arts of training: blocking, fulcrum throw, non-fulcrum throw, escaping, and striking.
  • Karate: a martial art developed in Okinawa, Japan that stresses striking techniques, such as punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open-handed techniques such as knife-hands (karate chop). In comparison to tae kwon do, karate tends to focus more on hand strikes, whereas tae kwon do emphasizes kicking techniques. The major traditional styles of karate are Shotokan, Shito Ryu, Goju Ryu, and Wado Ryu.
  • Krav Maga: a hand-to-hand combat system developed in Israel that involves wrestling, grappling and striking techniques, mostly known for its extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks used to keep the practitioner safe and incapacitate the opponent by any means necessary. Generally, there are no rules in krav maga, and it has no sporting federation. In addition, there is no official uniform, although some organizations recognize progress with rank badges, levels, and belts.
  • Kung Fu (Chinese martial arts): a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China. There are common themes to the various styles (which are usually classified by families, schools, or sects). Some styles include physical exercises that mimic animal movements, while others are inspired by Chinese philosophies, religions, and legends. Internal styles focus mainly on harnessing of qi, while external styles concentrate on improving muscle and cardiovascular fitness. Some of the more common styles include Eagle Claw, Hung Gar, Five Animals (Shaolin Kung Fu), Monkey, Praying Mantis, and Wing Chun. (The term kung fu is often used in the west to refer to Chinese martial arts, however its original meaning refers to one’s expertise in any skill, not just martial arts.)
  • MMA (Mixed Martial Arts): a full contact sport that allows a variety of fighting styles to be used (including martial and non-martial arts techniques). Striking and grappling techniques, either standing or on the ground, are allowed. The early years of the sport saw a wide variety of traditional styles, but as the sport evolved many styles were shown to be ineffective. It is now common for fighters to train in multiple styles, creating a more balanced skill set.
  • Muay Thai: a martial art from Thailand which uses stand-up striking and clinching techniques. It makes prominent use of punches, kicks, elbow strikes, and knee strikes, using eight points of contact, in contrast to the hands and feet (four contact points) more often relied upon in other martial arts. Numerous techniques associated with Muay Thai can be found in MMA.
  • Tae Kwon Do (Taekwondo): the Korean art of self-defense, one of the oldest forms of martial arts (reaching back over 2,000 years), and the most widely practiced martial art in the world. Training involves learning a system of blocks, kicks, punches, and open-handed strikes, as well as varying forms of take-downs, throws, and joint locks, all of which develop strength, speed, balance, flexibility, and stamina. Taekwondo is known for its emphasis on kicking techniques, as compared to other martial arts such as karate. In addition to self-defense training, students learn prearranged sequences of techniques known as forms or poomsae (known in other martial arts as kata). Tae kwon do and judo are the only two martial arts included in the Olympic Games.
  • Tai Chi: an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. A multitude of training forms exist, including the westernized, standardized version of tai chi (tai chi chih) which has visual similarities to the Chinese tai chi (tai chi chuan), but no martial arts aspect. Some forms are particularly well known because of their slow movement.

What are the benefits for kids?

For children, martial arts training offers benefits that extend far beyond learning to kick and punch. Our class curriculum is based on a series of “Life Skills” like Focus, Confidence, Respect, and Self-Control. It is this set of skills that we hope all of our students carry with them throughout their lives, both on and off the Taekwondo mat.


In addition to character building, Taekwondo is a full-body sport that aims to build coordination, strength, flexibility, and endurance through the drills and skills that are taught in class. For young children, this is a great way to build motor skills and learn to be aware of their body and surroundings. For older kids, and even teenagers, Taekwondo training can help to develop a greater sense of fitness and athleticism, no matter if the student is an experienced athlete already or not.

What are the benefits for kids?

For children, martial arts training offers benefits that extend far beyond learning to kick and punch. Our class curriculum is based on a series of “Life Skills” like Focus, Confidence, Respect, and Self-Control. It is this set of skills that we hope all of our students carry with them throughout their lives, both on and off the Taekwondo mat.


In addition to character building, Taekwondo is a full-body sport that aims to build coordination, strength, flexibility, and endurance through the drills and skills that are taught in class. For young children, this is a great way to build motor skills and learn to be aware of their body and surroundings. For older kids, and even teenagers, Taekwondo training can help to develop a greater sense of fitness and athleticism, no matter if the student is an experienced athlete already or not.

What are the benefits for adults?

Our adult students celebrate Taekwondo as an outlet for stress relief in addition to the engaging physical activity that it provides. Training in class with full mental focus and intensity is a welcome break from the daily cares and concerns of home and work. Taekwondo is a great way to release stress and energy, while creating a healthy and fun lifestyle for adults.


Many adult students get started with our program in order to boost their level of fitness. Taekwondo will help adult students build strength, stamina, and flexibility.  For adults who may not have been physically active previously, consistent training will also help with weight loss goals and greater overall health.

What are the benefits for adults?

Our adult students celebrate Taekwondo as an outlet for stress relief in addition to the engaging physical activity that it provides. Training in class with full mental focus and intensity is a welcome break from the daily cares and concerns of home and work. Taekwondo is a great way to release stress and energy, while creating a healthy and fun lifestyle for adults.


Many adult students get started with our program in order to boost their level of fitness. Taekwondo will help adult students build strength, stamina, and flexibility.  For adults who may not have been physically active previously, consistent training will also help with weight loss goals and greater overall health.

Does my child need to have previous experience in martial arts or other sports?

NO, EVERYONE CAN PARTICIPATE!

We have seen thousands of students, of all different backgrounds and abilities, successfully achieve the rank of Black Belt! 

For those with an athletic background, Taekwondo is a great way to continue building the love for physical activity, and provides a fun and exciting new challenge. For children or adults who may be developing their sense of athleticism, our classes are designed to build skills in pieces at a time, and layer basic movements into advanced ones as a student progresses. 

Because this method is extremely “beginner friendly”, Taekwondo classes can be a great way to build a foundation of strength, endurance, and flexibility that a student can carry forward for years to come, especially for students that may be looking for their "niche" activity.

Does my child need to have previous experience in martial arts or other sports?

NO, EVERYONE CAN PARTICIPATE!

We have seen thousands of students, of all different backgrounds and abilities, successfully achieve the rank of Black Belt! 

For those with an athletic background, Taekwondo is a great way to continue building the love for physical activity, and provides a fun and exciting new challenge. For children or adults who may be developing their sense of athleticism, our classes are designed to build skills in pieces at a time, and layer basic movements into advanced ones as a student progresses. 

Because this method is extremely “beginner friendly”, Taekwondo classes can be a great way to build a foundation of strength, endurance, and flexibility that a student can carry forward for years to come, especially for students that may be looking for their "niche" activity.


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