These major differences allowed sport Taekwondo to develop its unique kicking system, using such things as instep kicks, which distinguished it from karate. First generation masters thought that Taekwondo was a lethal martial art that should continue its use of non-contact karate style sparring that did not use a body protector, did not allow hard contact, and allowed punching to the face. Although some these early masters, such as General Choi, vehemently opposed the changes, the changes were implemented in 1963 with Taekwondo's inclusion in the Korean National Sports Festival.
Another radical difference between sport Taekwondo and traditional karate based Taekwondo was the change from the traditional attack-block-counterattack method of sparring to that of the attack-counterattack method. The concept of blocking before counterattacking is inherent in traditional Taekwondo and is emphasized in its patterns. As sport Taekwondo evolved through constant experimentation during competition, the block disappeared due to its ineffectiveness in the new system of sparring. Competitors found that, by synchronizing attacks and using intricate footwork, it was possible to kick at the same time as the attacker and counter the attack almost simultaneously without blocking.
Other differences between traditional and sport Taekwondo are:
- The goals of traditional Taekwondo are self-development and spiritual improvement, while the goals of sport Taekwondo are demonstrating one's superiority over an opponent—winning.
- Traditional Taekwondo reflects eastern values, while sport Taekwondo reflects western values.
- Traditional Taekwondo is process-oriented, while sport Taekwondo is result oriented. Traditional Taekwondo is formalized, while sport Taekwondo is not.
Sport Taekwondo stresses that the purpose of performing a technique properly is so you may score more points than your opponent in competition, and thus win. Therefore, it is possible to achieve this purpose during sparring.