[KS] Taekwondo: rival politics/federations, philosophies/styles; enlightenment sought

Afostercarter at aol.com Afostercarter at aol.com
Thu Apr 2 09:52:46 EDT 2009

Dear friends and colleagues,
As a rare male whose DNA wholly lacks any gene for  sports,
I am woefully ignorant of the sole aspect of Korean  culture
to have put down deep worldwide roots:  Taekwondo.
I now seek enlightenment, specifically on the contours  and
causes of there being so many rival Federations  currently:
the IOC-accredited WTF, plus at least  two ITFs.
1. Politics. I'm aware of the late General Choi  Hong-hi,
- who I think one and all acknowledge as Our Founder  -
and his winding road from Seoul to Pyongyang. (Some  parallels
with the tortured odyssey of the composer Yun Isang,  perhaps?)
At least one ITF is pro-Pyongyang. Another, led I  think
by Choi's son, is apparently seeking reunion with  WTF,
as in this recent item from the ever informative  Nautilus
Daily Report (Napsnet):
2009/03/31) reported that one of the two leading world governing  bodies of the Korean 
martial art taekwondo is seeking to unify with its leading  rival. "Taekwondo 
was originally one. It has been divided for more than 36 years  but now is the 
time to reunite. So I seek integration with the World Taekwondo  Federation," 
said Choi Jung-hwa, chairman of the International Taekwon-Do  Federation. As 
a preliminary step toward consolidation of the two bodies, he  said he will 
relocate his organization's headquarters in Vancouver, Canada, to  the ROK.

2. Philosophy/style. Politics apart, I gather  there are also 
competing conceptions of what taekwondo is, or should be. 
Thus some aficionados oppose its being a competitive  sport,
viewing it rather as a means of self-cultivation. Is this, as  well
as politics, a further reason why there  exist rival federations?
All enlightenment gratefully received.
I hope those who went had a fruitful AAS meeting.
Best wishes
Ai Dan
Aidan  Foster-Carter 
Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Sociology  & Modern Korea, Leeds 
Flat 1, 40  Magdalen Road, Exeter, EX2 4TE, UK 
T: (+44, no  0)    07970 741307  (mobile);   01392 257753   (home) 
E: _afostercarter at aol.com_ (mailto:afostercarter at aol.com)     W: 
_www.aidanfc.net_ (http://www.aidanfc.net/)  

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