A demonstration sport in 1988 and 1992, taekwondo became a medal sport in 2000 and will be making its fourth full appearance at the Games.
The aim is to accumulate points by landing kicks and punches on your opponent's scoring zones, with one point for a valid kick or punch to the torso, two for a valid spinning kick and four for a turning kick to the head.
Contestants do battle over three rounds of two minutes each in a combat zone known as 'the court' and measuring eight metres square.
The white uniform, known as a 'dobok', is worn with coloured equipment which aids with identification — and protection. The competitor wearing blue is known as 'chung' and their red opponent is 'hong'.
There will be four weight categories each for men and women in London, and all will be contested in a knockout format. All competitors who lose to one of the finalists will enter a repechage contest, which will decide the bronze medals.
The first competition in 2000 produced gold medals for six different nations, but South Korea, who won three of them, proceeded to dominate the event.
The most successful individuals are American Steven Lopez and Iranian Hadi Saei, who have picked up medals at each Games since the sport was added to the full programme.
Lopez triumphed in 2000 at featherweight and in 2004 at welterweight, adding a bronze in that class in 2008, while Saei progressed from featherweight bronze in 2000 to gold in 2004 and added gold at welterweight in 2008. His achievement marks him out as Iran's most successful performer at the Olympics.