Tonight, August 13th, 2004, the Olympics officially start in Athens, Greece. The final leg of the torch will be run and the flame lit in Acropolis.
This year happens to be somewhat a historical year, having the country that started the concept of the Olympics host it once again. In a time of so much turmoil and war, the significance of these games take on a greater importance. A message of peace that we can resolve our conflicts and partake in the global community.
Martial Arts plays role as being part of the Olympics. Normally not getting the greatest coverage on television and media, there are several Martial Arts events that happen over the next sixteen day.
While Martial Arts does have a combative component, most of the styles teach defense, making it a perfect addition to the Games.
Judo: This form of Japanese Martial Arts focuses on many grappling techniques and using your opponent’s strength and energy to dislodge the enemy. An ideal art for women and men, it doesn’t require a person be physically strong or particularly tall to get the advantage. Much like wrestling, the lower your center of gravity is, the better off you’ll be. Judo events will take place over seven days during the Olympics, from August 14th thru the 20th.
Judo appeared in the Olympics for the first time in 1964, but was dropped from the 1968 Games. It reappeared in 1972. Women’s Judo was introduced to the Olympics in 1992.
Taekwondo: A relative newcomer to the Olympics, the Taekwondo event is very similar to what many in Martial Arts term “point sparring.” This is normally only part of a martial artist’s regiment of learning. Taekwondo itself, a Martial Arts originating from Korea, also has many forms and other aspects that complete this art form. Using their Martial Arts experience, competitors try to hit target zones on their opponent’s body. The first to hit within that zone scores a point. The intent of the practice isn’t to hurt but rather demonstrate your control at directing your attacks at vital locations. Taekwondo events will take place over August 26th through August 29th.
Taekwondo was originally featured for demonstration purposes only in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics. Only in the 2000 Olympics did participants receive a medal for the event.