Municipality Radovljica awarded competitors of its region

Major and other municipality representatives congratulated to sportsman in its region that gaine...
01.06.2007 - Mrs Andreja Kosem Dvoršak, Mr Željko Gvozdič and dr. Bojan Potočnik in the ITF Headquarters in Viena

WTF-ITF Makes a Small Step in Unifying Tae Kwon Do
Hye Jin Han, Translation by James Kim (2007/03/16)
ITF an WTF Presidents Face More Than The Integration of Two Tae Kwon Do Bodies...


Although the origins of the marital arts are shrouded in mystery, we consider it an undeniable fact that from time immemorial there have been physical actions involving the use of the hands and feet for purpose of self-protection. If we were to define there physical actions as “Taekwon-Do” and country might claim credit for inventing Taekwon-Do. There is, however, scant resemblance between Taekwon-Do, as it is practiced today, and the crude forms of unarmed combat developed in the past. Modern Taekwon-Do differs greatly from other martial arts. In fact, no other marital art is so advanced with regard to the sophistication and effectiveness of its technique or the over-all physical fitness it imparts to its practitioner. Since the theories, terminology, techniques, systems, methods, rules, practice suit, and spiritual foundation were scientifically developed, systematized, and named by the author, it is an error to think of any physical actions employing the hand and feet for self-defense as Taekwon-Do. Only those who practice the techniques based on the author’s theories, principles and philosophy are considered to be students of genuine Taekwon-Do.

What and where did Taekwon-Do begin?
A combination of circumstances made it possible for me to originate and develop Taekwon-Do. In addition to my prior knowledge of Taek Kyon, I had an opportunity to learn Karate in Japan during the unhappy thirty-six years when my native land was occupied by the Japanese. Soon after Korea was liberated in 1945, I was place in a privileged position as a founding member of the newly formed South Korean Armed Forces. The former provided me with a definite sense of creation, and the latter gave me the power…

The emergence of Taekwon-Do as an international martial art in a relatively short period of time was due to a variety of factors. The evils of contemporary society (moral corruption, materialism, selfishness, etc.) had created a spiritual vacuum. Taekwon-Do was able to compensate for the prevailing sense of emptiness, distrust, decadence and lack of confidence. In addition, these were violent times, when people felt the need for a means of protecting themselves, and the superiority of Taekwon-Do technique came to be widely recognized. My social stature, the advantage of being Taekwon-Do founder and my God-given health also contributed to the rapid growth of Taekwon-Do all over the world. My involvement with martial arts did much to supplement the health that God gave me. I had been born frail and weak and was encouraged to learn Taek Kyon at the age of fifteen by my teacher of calligraphy. In 1938, a few days before I was due to leave Korea to study in Japan I was involved in an unexpected incident that would have made it difficult to return home without risk of reprisals. I resolved to become a black belt holder in Karate while I was in Japan. The skills I required were, I felt, sufficient protection against those who might seek to do me harm. Not only was I able to return to Korea, but I subsequently initiated the national liberation movement known as Pyongyang Student Soldier’s Incident. Like to so many patriots in the long course of human history, my actions aroused the wrath of those in positions of power. I was imprisoned for a time in a Japanese army jail. In January of 1946, I was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the fledgling Republic of Korea army and posted to the 4th infantry regiment in Kwangju, Cholla Namdo Province as a company commander. I began to teach Karate to my soldiers as a means of physical and mental training. It was then that I realized that we needed to develop our own national martial art, superior in both spirit and technique to Japanese Karate. I strongly believed that teaching it through out the country would enable me to fulfill the pledge I had made to three of my comrades, who had shared my imprisonment by the Japanese. “The reason that our people suffer in this way at the hand of the Japanese” I had said “is that our ancestors failed to rule wisely”. “They exploited the people and, in the end, lost the country to foreign domination. If we ever regain our freedom and independence, let us not become the rulers of the people. Instead, let us dedicate ourselves to advising those who rule.” It was with this ambition in mind that I began to develop new techniques, systematically, form March of the same year. By the end of 1954 I had nearly completed the foundation of a new martial art form Korea, and on April 11, 1955, it was given the name “Taekwon-Do”. On the spiritual level, Taekwon-Do is derived from the traditional, ethical and moral principles of the orient and, of course, from my personal philosophy. Even though I am only five feet tall, I pride myself on having lived in strict accordance with my moral convictions. I have tried to fight on the side of justice without fear of any kind. I believe that this was possible for me only because of the formidable power and indomitable spirit instilled by Taekwon-Do. The physical techniques of Taekwon-Do are based on the principles of modern science, in particular, Newtonain physics which teaches us how to generate maximum power. Military tactics of attack and defense have also been incorporated. I wish to make it clear that although Karate and Taek Kyon were used as references in the course of my study, the fundamental theories and principles of Taekwon-Do are totally different from those of any other martial art in the world.

In March of 1959, I led the military Taekwon-Do demonstration team on a tour abroad. We visited South Vietnam and Taiwan. It was the first such visit in the history of Korea. On this occasion, I renewed my resolution to leave my personal legacy to the world, in the form of Taekwon-Do, and I formulated the following basic ideals for the Taekwon-Do practitioners:

1. by developing an upright mind and a strong body, we will acquire the self confidence to stand on the side of justice at all times
2. we shall unite with all men in common brotherhood, without regard to religion, race, national or ideological boundaries
3. we shall dedicate ourselves to building a peaceful human society in which justice, morality, trust and humanism prevail

I also resolved to dedicate myself to the world-wide propagation of Taekwon-Do, in the sincere hope that it would provide the means by which the unification of the divided halves of my fatherland would become possible. My study of Taekwon-Do proceeded in two parts, spiritual discipline and technical perfection. Because the human spirit belongs to the realm of metaphysics, what I mean by spiritual discipline is not easy to describe. One cannot touch, see or hear the spirit of man, it is wider and deeper than anything we can perceive.


Historic Tour of Korean Demo team to North America



The first time Taekwon-Do was demonstrated abroad was 1959, when then, Major General Choi, Hong Hi, founder of Taekwon-Do and the first president of the International Taekwon-Do Federation led his top black belts to Vietnam and Taiwan. Among those pioneers that made this historic trip were, Nam Tae Hi, Chun Ko Jae, Baek Joon Gi, Lim Woo Jong, Han Cha Kyo, Cha Soo Yong and Kim Bok Man. It was reported that some 360,000 Vietnamese spectators were on hand to view, in person, the techniques of this new Martial Art.

Public exhibitions of Taekwon-Do have been very important in the history and development of this Korean Art of Self Defense. In fact, back in 1954, black belt members assigned to the 29th Infantry Division, under the command of General Choi, performed in front of the then President of the Republic of Korea, Seung Man Rhee. After watching Nam Tae Hi break roofing tiles with his fist, President Rhee wanted the military trained in this Art. From there it spread to the police service and civilian gyms throughout the Korea.

As Taekwon-Do goodwill tours reached other nations, it helped to set up centers in those countries as well. This formed the foundation for what established the International Taekwon-Do Federation in 1966, some seven years before the World Taekwon-Do Federation was started.

In 1973 the ITF Demonstration Team toured 23 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle and Far East. During this tour, more than 100,000 spectators watched then VII Dan Masters Kong Yong Il, Park Jong Soo, Rhee Ki Ha, Park Sun Jae and Choi Chang Keun perform. In 1978 the 5th ITF Demonstration Team, comprised of Choi Chang Keun, Rhee Ki Ha, Park Jung Tae and Liong Wai Meng toured Sweden and then the Eastern Bloc countries of Poland, Hungary and Yugoslavia, for the first time.

Two years later the 7th ITF Demonstration Team tour north Korea, marking the first time Taekwon-Do was introduced to the Korean people in the northern part of the peninsular. This Team was made up of nine Koreans living overseas and five Westerners, including Charles E. Sereff. The following year, the late great Grand Master Park Jung Tae, then a VII Dan Master with the ITF and Chairman of the Instruction Committee taught an extensive seven month course which was responsible for the initial group of instructors

The graduates of this course performed in front of 10,000 people and Taekwon-Do took hold in the north of Korea. They have produced some of the finest performers, instructors and world champions. I witnessed first hand the caliber of the ITF Korean Demonstration Team way back in 1988. The Demo Team came onto the international stage at the 6th World Championships held in Budapest, Hungary. They amazed me and all the other spectators at the stadium and the countless others who watched in their homes, via the extensive television coverage.

Many others may have seem them perform flawlessly at other venues around the world. This was the same team that introduced Taekwon-Do to the former Soviet Union, also in 1988. This team put 1,600 black belts on the field of a 150,000 seat stadium, filled to capacity, during the 13th World Festival of Youth and Students. This Festival took place during July of 1989, in Pyongyang, Korea.

I was fortunate to watch that amazing show live and again watch this team demonstrate magnificently in May of this year. That was at the 40th Anniversary celebration of the ITF in Pyongyang. Many of you may have seen them over the years, or watch them on video, when they put on an exhibition in the south of Korea. That took place in November of 2002. This was the first time that Taekwon-Do students from the north performed in the southern part of the peninsular.

This year, during the fall, the ITF Korean Demonstration Team will make a multi city tour of the United States of America. The team will be led by VII Dan Master Son Song Gun. He was the 1988 World Champion in both patterns and sparring. Master Son Song Gun has toured many countries demonstrating Taekwon-Do and has taught in Austria, Mongolia and Czechoslovakia. It is hoped that Taekwon-Do will play a similar role that table tennis (ping pong) did, for the warming up of the relationship between the USA and China, back in the 60s and 70s.


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