From the Office of the President
Dear Taekwon-Do Practitioners and Friends,
September is a very special month for Koreans as we celebrate Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving Day), one of the most important and festive holidays of the year. Traditionally, many Koreans return to their ancestral hometowns to celebrate the holiday with family and pay their respects to parents and grandparents. It is an excellent time for me to reflect on the pioneers of Taekwon-Do and members around the world. I find it incredible how one man, the founder of Taekwon-Do, has made Korea so popular and well-respected by millions of Taekwon-Do disciples. You are all my Taekwon-Do family, and it is my privilege and pleasure to send you my Chuseok wishes, even if many of you do not celebrate it the way we do here in Korea.
Please stay safe and healthy wherever you are. Always take care of your family and loved ones, and never give up on Taekown-Do despite difficult times that test your dedication. I am looking forward to meeting you in Korea as a part of your traditional pilgrimage to your Taekwon-Do homeland.
Take care of Taekwon-Do! 태권 Oh Chang Jin – ITF HQ President
New ITF HQ Appointments
This month, ITF HQ appointed the following members to take up managerial positions in the following capacities:
Members of the Council of Masters: Master Thompson [Scotland] and Master Pittuis [South Africa].
Master Thompson started training in 1976 while serving in the Royal Air Force. He trained at the Elgin TKD School in Scotland under the guidance of Mr J.C.Scott (2 Dan, now deceased) and graded under FGM Rhee from 10th Kup to 3rd Degree. He graded 4th & 5th, Dan, under General Choi himself, and 6th Dan with GM Choi Jung Hwa. He received his master’s Degree from GM Tran Trieu Quan in 2005 and finally was awarded his 8th Degree from GM Peter Sanders in 2018.
In 1987, together with GM Sutherland and other instructors, Master Thompson established the UKTF, where he was the technical director and National & International grading examiner. From 2007 to 2012, he served on the Ethics and Disciplinary Committee for the ITF. He has represented Scotland as both a competitor and an umpire/referee at National and International events, where he was also the Scottish coach. As a senior instructor in ITF HQ Scotland, Master Thompson makes crucial decisions and events for the organization and other senior instructors, ranging from gradings, Sabum Forums, various training and instruction courses, and helping coaches improve their marketing and personal coaching skills.
Master Bert Pittius was born in May 1972 in Sasolburg, a small town in South Africa. His fascination with martial arts started long before he started his Taekwon-Do journey in 1986, a Taekwon-Do studio opened in his hometown. He knew the moment he walked into the Dojang for the first time that this journey would be an amazing one, and it has been precisely that.
Master Bert was promoted to 1st Degree in October 1988 by Mr James Brooks (IV), who was the president of ITF in South Africa at the time. He opened his first ITF studio at the age of 17, which is still going strong today. His emphasis as an instructor has always been teaching Martial Arts primarily as a means of self-defence, second as a tool to empower the human spirit, and finally as a sport.
The first World Championship he attended was in Argentina in 1999. He has attended several international events after that, including World Championships, IICs, IUCs etc.
Master Bert was promoted to 7th Degree on June 3 2021 and is very excited about what the future holds with ITF HQ Korea.
Chairman of the Technical Committee: Grand Master Vasilis Alexandris [Grece]
Grand Master Alexandris started Taekwon-Do to 1972 under the guidance of Stefanos Gaidartzakis. In May 1975, he participated in the first Pan-European ITF Tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, organized by Master Kim Kwang Il. In the same year, he took his 1st Dan exam in Rome, Italy, under Master Park San Jae (7th Dan). Very soon after, he founded his first club with his brother Alexandros Alexandris (1st Dan).
In 1978 he was awarded his 2nd Dan by Masters Kim Kwang Il, Song Sang Ho, Kwan Kum Sik and Chang Kwang Miung. He also served at the Parachute Special Forces as a Taekwon-Do Chief Instructor, where he taught the special forces the Art of TKD to high-ranking officers of the Greek and foreign army.
Over the years of his involvement in Taekwon-Do, he won numerous competitions, winning the Pan-European Championship (1980) and the European Championship (1982). He coached Hellas National team between 1995-2003.
Through the years, he progressed in rank, being awarded by both Grand Master Kwon Chae Hwa and General Choi Hong Hi. He has also held many managerial positions, including General Secretary and Chairman of the Technical Committee and President of ITF coaching association. In 2006, he was elected General Secretary and Chairman of the Technical Committee of Hellenic Taekwon-Do Federation.
GM Alexandris has conducted seminars in Greece and Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Albania, Algeria, Serbia, Austria, Russia, Ireland, and Bulgaria. As a chair of the Technical Committee, he strives to share his skills and knowledge to improve the technical standards of all genuine Taekwon-Doists Grand Master Alexandris conducts an annual International Taekwon-Do Summer Camp in Greece, which is open to Taekwon-Do practitioners from all over the world and all federations.
Chairman of the Special Needs committee: Mr Anthony Li [Hong Kong]
Mr Anthony Li began his Taekwondo journey in 1995 and is currently 6th Dan. He has established the SAM IL Traditional Taekwondo-Do Kwan dojang, teaching taekwondo to children and adults. During a trip to South Korea, a sign language performance inspired him to teach Taekwon-Do to people with disabilities. In 2004, the Hong Kong PHAB Martial Arts Association was launched, providing people with disabilities the opportunity to practice martial arts.
Anthony took this endeavour a step further by promoting education, health, and career opportunity for his students with disabilities. He promotes inclusion for disability through social media, local television and radio broadcasts and has founded the Hong Kong Development Foundation for Disabled
Stay tuned for further additions to ITF-HQ, and success will be announced on our Federation website and the October newsletter.
The Newsletter Editorial Team
It gives us great pleasure to announce the new ITF HQ Newsletter, editorial team. We believe that the new editors will bring our readers more exciting content, which will also be available in Spanish. We would like to thank Master Steve Weston for his exceptionally professional and prompt work on the past seven editions of our newsletter. We would like to encourage every ITF HQ member to contribute news, updates, or events that would be important for our readers. Please send us a brief submission (1-2 paragraphs) with photos to email@example.com. Please note that while your club news should stay within your club, we would love to share information of interest with our Taekwon-Do community. You have worked hard to build your club and your students. Let ITF HQ help recognize your outstanding accomplishments along with your.
Zibby Kruk (PhD, 8th Degree, Korea). Editor-in-chief. Zibby is the author of over 60 research publications in the area of Genetics, Epigenetics, Meat and Animal Sciences and has refereed for four international research journals. He has authored many articles about Taekwon-Do in various magazines, is currently the editor-in-chief of Moosin online magazine, and was the editor of Master Kang’s recent book “The Way To Learn Taekwon-Do”.
Sheba Agarwal (PhD, 1st Degree, The Netherlands). Editor. Sheba has a PhD in Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology and is a scientific editor for iScience, a multi-disciplinary journal at Cell Press. She trains with Master Colin Bakker at Jung-Shin, and is working towards her second Dan. In her free time, she runs a science communications blog at wetalkscience.com.
Luke Danskin (4th Degree, Scotland). Editor. Luke is the Chairman of the Marketing and Promotions Committee of the International Taekwon-Do Federation HQ. He has a BSc (Hons) in psychology and is currently studying MSc in Psychology, and aims to receive a PhD in this field. He has written many online Taekwon-Do articles and worked very closely with GM Sutherland in many projects.
Michael Munyon (7th Degree, USA). Editor. Michael is a retired Air Force Security Forces veteran with over 22 years of honourable service. He is well-known throughout North America for his experience in martial arts and security services. He has written many articles for “Totally Taekwon-Do” magazine. Master Munyon is also a 6-time martial arts Hall of Famer and is included in the Who’s Who in the Martial Arts Pioneers and Legends.
Johny Del la Rosa (7th Degree, Mexico). Editor-Spanish. Johny has worked as a translator of documents of HQ Korea for the Council of Masters of HQ Argentina. He has been working closely with G.M. Sergio Sciascia, the South America ITF HQ Regional representative, and has written articles for the Mexican Taekwon-Do Confederation.
Grand Master Kang’s Membership with ITF HQ
Recently, there has been some confusion regarding the resignation of Grand Master Kang from ITF HQ Managerial positions of COM member and Chairman of Technical Committee. Many assumed that by doing so, GM Kang had also left ITF HQ. Therefore, to be crystal clear, Grand Master Kang is still a member of ITF HQ with the headquarters in South Korea. His resignation form ITF HQ managerial positions was triggered by the potential conflict of interest between his duties at ITF HQ, and at the same time, running his own business of conducting technical courses in biomechanics and issuing his own business certificates. He stated on social media the following:
“I’m informed that some people may think that as a result of my resignation from my roles in ITF HQ, that I have left the body. This is not correct; I and the organization I lead, the Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) of Russia, continue to be a member of ITF HQ and will provide the certification of my black belts through this organization”.
Currently, Grand Master Kang is involved in projects related to his book about Taekwon-Do and Biomechanics and has various ventures with his grandson David and more. For example, he created the “International Association of Professional (ITF) Taekwon-Do Clubs”. Through these endeavors, he strives to standardize the Art of Taekwon-Do and its techniques, using science as a basis as researched in his book.
ITF HQ Organizational structure – different than other ITFs
As much as we would wish to have one single ITF body per country, history has proven that the old NGB system, where each country is governed by one single entity, is unrealistic and has created problems. Such a pyramid structure ensures that one entity makes all pertinent decisions, ruling over everyone and ignoring the collective voices of its members. In cases of dispute, members who do not comply with the group in charge have often been expelled or left Taekwon-Do altogether. Historically, these governing bodies have grown into solid fortresses with a choice few dictating the rules. Entering such a group was difficult and leaving even harder, simply because there were no alternatives. Many members have been unhappy with this treatment. Many have been overcharged by a “middle man” when dealing with applications for certificates, memberships, or sanctioned events.
After General Choi Hong Hi’s passing in 2002, many ITF groups emerged that provided alternatives to those who were dissatisfied with the status quo. This situation created another quandary, where members started a so-called “nomad” ITF membership, changing their affiliation periodically by jumping from one ITF to another. Therefore, the survival of these new ITF organizations depended on members joining and leaving their group and could not concentrate instead on new recruitment of members who wish to try the recent activity.
This was why from the beginning of its existence, ITF HQ Korea chose to leave this NGB system. We give Dojangs, Clubs, Schools, and Associations possibility and the rights to apply for membership, and, significantly, to govern their groups as they saw fit, most suitably and efficiently.
Within our ITF HQ Korea family, we have several Associations from various countries that consist of members who used to be a part of one ITF. After implementing a flat structure and removing the NGB system, these different entities grew together, working hard to promote themselves, the Federation, and the Art.
How does this system work?
Let’s assume that there is one association in a country affiliated with ITF HQ. If another group in the same country sends a message to ITF HQ applying for affiliation, our first response would be to inform the applicant that there is already an ITF HQ representative in their country and encourage them to discuss cooperation. If an agreement cannot be reached and the applicants do not have any legal issues, they are free to apply to the HQ and set up their direct affiliation with us. The ITF HQ will support both entities, creating an environment so both groups can successfully coexist. ITF HQ will coordinate both groups’ participation in events that require the assembly of one national team, participation in national seminars, or other events. ITF HQ Korea requires high standards from its members when it comes to propagating the Tenets as laid down by our beloved Founder General Choi Hong Hi. ITF HQ does not aim to become the biggest, strongest or richest ITF organization. We simply wish to provide the best, fairest, and most economical service for our members worldwide. Our long-term goal is to be a uniting body that would bring all ITF practitioners and supporters under one theme: “One Spirit, One Force, One ITF in the Homeland of Taekwon-Do”, recognizing the steep challenges of this dream.
ITF HQ Digitalization in Progress
The world pandemic has affected everybody immensely, and Taekwon-Do clubs and practitioners are not an exception. The decreased number of members, closure of many clubs and the costs of training have affected the incomes of instructors and the operation of dojangs. In Korea, the postal fee has risen dramatically. As an example, the postage of a 3-year membership card that would typically cost US$17 now costs between US$38.6-47.7 depending on the country to which it is posted. ITF HQ is currently pursuing alternatives, using advanced technological platforms around the globe to provide fast access to the data and therefore removing a steep postage fee. We feel that this would help economically-disadvantaged countries immensely and assist our members monetarily. We expect that the digital ITF HQ will benefit all members with its convenience, accessibility to information, and ease of communication.
The process of digitalizing ITF HQ is well underway. The new member management system and online certificate issuance are in full swing, while other project areas are still in progress. Applications submitted during this transitional period may expect some delays. However, we assure you that the database will be updated as soon as applications arrive, and there will be no delays in the dates of tests or memberships. Some new applicants will be provided with temporary commencement digital membership cards (similar to that presented in the picture). These will be automatically updated when the digitalization process has been completed. If there are any questions, requests, or concerns, please contact our administration via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
International Instructor Course (IIC) in person
The International Taekwon-do Federation of the Americas and the International Taekwon-do Federation Head Quarter South Korea are proud to announce the first open, in-person International Instructor Course (IIC) held on the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico. The IIC is available for red belts and above. The course includes the IIC certificate, shoulder patch for 1st Dan and above, and the curriculum for all participants. Save the dates!
Friday October 22: 6:00 P.M. – 9:00 P.M.
Saturday October 23: 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. (12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M. lunch) Sunday, October 24: 9:00 A.M. – 12: P.M. (black belts stay on Sunday)
Full Impact Taekwon-Do Joins ITF HQ for the Most Impact
On the 11th and 12th of September, Master Steve Weston of ITF HQ Korea travelled 1650km from Hobart (Tasmania) to Port Pirie (South Australia). He did this to introduce the style of Taekwon-Do, as taught by its founder General Choi Hong Hi, to the members of “Full Impact Taekwon-Do” in Port Pirie and welcome them into the ITF HQ family. Saturday afternoon was spent working alongside the very experienced chief instructor Mr Louie Dimou, assisting him in developing the techniques needed for his next, long overdue grading. On Sunday, Master Weston met the students of Fill Impact Taekwon-Do. He introduced them to fundamental ITF techniques, step sparring, self-defense, and a range of philosophical and theoretical methods developed in General Choi’s Taekwon-Do. After 7 hours of intensive training, Master Weston was presented with a beautiful gift by some of the youngest members of the Full Impact squad. The senior members went off to enjoy a terrific meal at the local Risdon Hotel, located in the appropriately named Risdon suburb, Hobart, also the name of Master Weston’s home town. Thanks mainly go to Theodora Sullivan (Roula Maria) for all her efforts to bring this event to fruition.
ITF HQ Events in Uruguay
On September 19, in Montevideo, Uruguay, a meeting was held for all Taekwon-Do practitioners to welcome spring and leave the pandemic behind. Together with the participation of the families, we enjoyed a day of recreation and learning. With the support of our ITF, we continue working to better ourselves in our Art.
We have many plans for the rest of the year. In October, we have organized a class for black belts, training for the national team, and a meeting of referees and future referees. In November, we are planning the 1st national tournament of the year, black belt exams, and the “Tour de TUL-Uruguay”. This is a one-weekend activity, where the participants will also have exclusive talks with ITF representatives.
ITF HQ Ring
Rings have been used throughout history and seem to be a universally understood and exclusive symbol that carries respect, and high esteem, whether wealth or power. In some cultures, rings are the symbol of belonging to a group or fraternity. To honour the founder of Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi, ITF HQ Korea has introduced rings analogous to the one worn by the founder as an optional part of the ITF Dan certification system. Four individually designed ring types will be available for ITF practitioners, Instructors, Masters and Grandmasters (I – IX Dan) who are ITF HQ Korea members or mentors. Rings are also available for non-ITF HQ members. The recent “Ring” promotion has resulted in a flurry of applications, and since the rings are hand made by a small merchant, the waiting time may be up to a month. Therefore, we ask for your patience, and we will update every single applicant with a time frame for production and delivery. For those who would like to order an ITF HQ ring, please do it online following the link: https://www.itfofficial.org/ring-form/. The price is $250 USD for ITF HQ members + postage and $350 USD + postage for non-members.
Job Opportunity in Korea after COVID-19 Recovery – Expression of Interest.
Teaching Taekwon-Do in English in South Korea.
The International Taekwon-Do Federation Headquarters in Korea is looking for young, energetic and experienced Taekwon-Do instructors (males or females), who are native English speakers and would like to come to Korea and test their teaching skills utilizing a Taekwon-Do curriculum and a specially designed English language program. The essential criteria are:
- 1: Being a native English speaker
- 2: A minimum 1 Dan in Taekwon-Do ITF
- 3: Experience in conducting classes for children and teenagers. For more information, please contact via email: email@example.com. The position(s) will be available as soon as the government regulation allows group activities to be conducted and COVID-19 restrictions eased.
Get Yourself and Your Members in Print
If you’re an ITF HQ member and have news, updates or events you would like to have published in our newsletter; please send us a brief (1-2 paragraph) submission with photos to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that your club news should stay within your club, but we would love to share it with the Taekwon-Do community for anything else. You have worked hard to build your club and your students. Let ITF HQ help recognize your outstanding accomplishments along with your members.