Probably the single most important piece of equipment that helped make Taekwondo popular around the world was the foam equipment implemented in the early 1970's. Before them, accidental contact while sparring often resulted in some type of injury. The equipment has now allowed everyone to spar in relative safety.
Safety equipment is any padded, stuffed, or solid sportswear that protects a person from incurring injury and it also protects the person from inflicting injury. The degree of physical contact desired or the fighting style determines the amount and type of protective wear used. Master Jhoon Rhee, considered the father of American Taekwondo, is the man most people credit with introducing safety equipment (Safe-T-Punch/Kick) to martial arts tournaments in the 1970's. Although its use is now worldwide, there is still controversy about its use.
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