1st WTF
Taekwondo Poomsae Championships (team)
 
WTF Membership:
 182 as of end of Feb. 2007
Electronic Protectors: Key to Future of Taekwondo

The reform-minded World Taekwondo Federation has devoted much of its time and energy over the last two years to the development of an electronic protector system to help ensure fairer judging and refereeing at taekwondo competitions.

The WTF has so far lived up to its promises to develop electronic protectors as it recognized a manufacturer as the official supplier of electronic protectors in September 2006 and plans to hold an electronic protector test event on March 4-5 this year in Chuncheon, Korea.

WTF Goes All-Out to Promote Taekwondo Among Taekwondo Practitioners with a Disability
Mr. Jin Suk Yang of U.S. Named as New WTF Secretary General
Mr. Hadi Saei Bonehkohal (Iran)
Mr. William Sullivan (USA)

Electronic Protectors: Key to Future of Taekwondo

The reform-minded World Taekwondo Federation has devoted much of its time and energy over the last two years to the development of an electronic protector system to help ensure fairer judging and refereeing at taekwondo competitions.

The WTF has so far lived up to its promises to develop electronic protectors as it recognized a manufacturer as the official supplier of electronic protectors in September 2006 and plans to hold an electronic protector test event on March 4-5 this year in Chuncheon, Korea.

After making thorough checks on technical and health problems from the use of electronic protectors, the WTF plans to adopt a new electronic protector system at major taekwondo competitions.

The introduction of electronic protectors, the WTF believes, will greatly enhance the image of taekwondo and the WTF, as they could reduce possible controversies arising from judgment and refereeing at taekwondo competitions.

Presently, taekwondo competitions do not use electronic protectors for scoring; judges determine visually whether a contestant's kick has struck the opponent on the trunk or face in such a way and with enough force to qualify as a valid point.

However, experts have raised concerns that humans cannot adequately size up a move due to the speed, the possibility that their view is blocked, and other factors.

For these reasons, the WTF Reform Committee, which was launched in November 2004 and concluded its operations in February 2005, recommended a highly effective and accurate electronic protector to be a valuable addition to the sport of taekwondo by helping make judging more objective.

According to the Reform Committee recommendations, the WTF set up an ad-hoc Committee on Electronic Protectors in July 2005. The committee is chaired by Mr. Soo-nam Park of Germany, vice president of the WTF. Among the committee members is Mr. Eui-min Ko of Germany, chairman of the WTF Technical Committee.

The ad-hoc committee is intended to develop criteria for evaluating the technological aspects of electronic protectors, with regard to the technical needs of taekwondo, as well as to proceed with reviewing the technology currently available to the WTF.

The ad-hoc committee held its first meeting at Kyung Hee University in Seoul on July 20, 2005.On the same day and at the same venue, the WTF held a demonstration of electronic protectors on the day at the same venue, drawing three demonstrators - LaJUST of Korea, ATM of Austria and Impact Measurement, a joint venture between the United States and Korea.

In accordance with the recommendations of the ad-hoc committee after the first demonstration, the WTF commissioned the Korea Institute of Sports and Science (KISS) to produce a report on basic specifications of electronic protectors.
On Dec. 30, 2005, the WTF announced the KISS-produced specifications.

The WTF held another demonstration of electronic protectors on March 25, 2006 in Seoul. The demonstration attracted four companies: LaJUST of Korea; ATM of Austria; True Score, formerly Impact Measurement, a joint venture between the United States and Korea; and Daedo International of Spain.

The one-day demonstration was conducted before WTF President Chungwon Choue and other WTF leaders from at home and abroad, and the member of the ad-hoc WTF Committee on Electronic Protectors.

"The demonstration today is very important for the future of taekwondo and the WTF. We will do our utmost to make judgment and refereeing at taekwondo competitions the most objective and transparent," said WTF President Choue.

On March 28, the ad-hoc Committee on Electronic Protectors announced its evaluation results of the electronic protector demonstration.

Of the four participants in the demonstration, LaJUST was the only company that passed the "acceptable" level of the basic technical requirements in four categories to be applied to taekwondo competitions. The four categories are accuracy of the sense-impact level, differentiation of valid impact and invalid impact, consecutive impacts, and calibration.

The ad-hoc committee recommended the WTF to allow the companies that failed this time to apply for additional evaluations. The committee, however, made it clear that the companies that want to be reevaluated should undergo all the evaluation in the four basic technical categories and laboratory and field tests.

On Jan. 12, 2007, the WTF held a third demonstration, which attracted two companies - adidas of Germany and Daedo. Adidas presented its electronic protector system engineered by ATM.

Laboratory tests involve sense-impact level tests, transmission systems, safety on electricity and electronics, and endurance of materials, while field tests aim to determine the conformity of the system to real-life competition, testing the system in a "live" competition setting.

According to the KISS report to the WTF, LaJUST passed the laboratory tests, which involved transmission system, safety on electricity and electronics, and endurance of materials.

On July 29, 2006, LaJUST demonstrated its electronic protector system during the 2006 WTF World Junior Taekwondo Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, drawing a positive response from spectators.

LaJUST, which signed a recognition contract with the WTF as the official supplier of electronic protectors, on Sept. 11, 2006, prepares for the scheduled field test of its electronic protector system on March 4-5, 2007, in Chuncheon, Korea. The WTF Electronic Protector International Taekwondo Championships are expected to draw some 200 athletes and officials.

 

WTF Goes All-Out to Promote Taekwondo Among Taekwondo Practitioners with a Disability

One of the key programs of the World Taekwondo Federation is to promote taekwondo among taekwondo practitioners with a disability.

To attain the goal, the WTF sent a letter in June 2006 to the president of the International Paralympic Committee asking for his help in

including taekwondo in the official program of the Paralympic Games.

The WTF General Assembly approved the creation of the WTF Paralympic Committee in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on July 25, 2006.
During the opening ceremony of the 1st WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Seoul, Korea on Sept. 4, 2006, there was a demonstration by disabled taekwondo practitioners.

The WTF held its first Paralympic Committee meetings on Nov. 13-14, 2006, at the headquarters of the WTF in Seoul.

As part of its efforts to promote taekwondo among the disabled taekwondo practitioners, the WTF signed a contract with Germany's Schramm Sport GmbH (KWON) at the WTF headquarters on Jan. 3, 2007.

Under the five-year contract, Schramm will join forces with the WTF to carry out support projects in cash and/or in kind for the disabled taekwondo practitioners around the world.

The contract also stipulates Schramm's support projects for countries in which taekwondo is not well established.

Among others, Schramm will support a taekwondo demonstration by athletes with disabilities during the opening ceremonies of the WTF-promoted World Taekwondo Championships in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

The 2007 World Taekwondo Championships are scheduled for May 18-22 in Beijing, China.

The WTF also plans a demonstration by taekwondo practitioners with a disability during the opening ceremony of the WTF Electronic Protector International Taekwondo Championships scheduled for March 4-5, 2007, in Chuncheon, Korea.

The German company, which produces taekwondo and other martial arts products with the brand name of KWON, will also support taekwondo practitioners with disabilities either in cash or in kind over the next five years.
"I am happy to sign this cooperation contract with the WTF and I think Schramm and WTF have much in common. Our combined forces will greatly help make taekwondo be part of the Paralympic Games," said Mr. Schramm, who became the company CEO in late November 2006.

He said, "Schramm is the first and oldest partner of the WTF as we first signed a recognition contract in 1992."

"Our partnership will help enhance the image of taekwondo as a clean sport, which is good for the whole martial arts community," Mr. Schramm said.

The contract, the German CEO said, will also help expand the global taekwondo population as the company pushes support projects for countries in which taekwondo is not established.

WTF President Chungwon Choue said, "he partnership will greatly help promote taekwondo among disabled taekwondo practitioners."
Dr. Choue said that the WTF targets to include taekwondo poomsae in the official program of the 2012 Paralympic Games at the earliest.

"The next IPC General Assembly scheduled for Nov. 17-18, 2007, in Seoul would be a good chance for us to show our willingness to promote taekwondo for the disabled practitioners to the international sports community," said Dr. Choue.

Mr. Jin Suk Yang of U.S. Named as New WTF Secretary General

WTF President Chungwon Choue has named Mr. Jin Suk Yang of the United States as the new secretary general of the world's taekwondo governing body.

President Choue cited as major reasons for his nomination Mr. Yang's extensive experience and knowledge in fields of management and taekwondo.

"Born in 1942, Mr. Yang, an American
citizen, comes in with outstanding credentials; he was a two-time major

of Corte Madera City within Marin County, California, and has held high-ranking positions in the police and law enforcement," Dr. Choue said in his letter to WTF leaders on Feb. 7, 2007.

Dr. Choue continued to say, "I firmly believe that his numerous years of experience in the fields of management, coupled with his vast knowledge of taekwondo, will serve the WTF Secretariat well."

"Over the last 42 years, I have spent my life in the United States, but now I decided to go to Korea to serve my mother land for the rest of my life," Mr. Yang said. "I will do my utmost to further globalize taekwondo and the WTF as a truly international sports federation."

A graduate of the College of Physical Education, Kyung Hee University in Seoul, Korea, Mr. Yang is a 7th Kukkiwon Dan holder. He opened taekwondo gyms in Denver, Colorado and San Pablo, California. He also set up a taekwondo club at the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1968.

Since 1999, he has served as a member of the City Council of Corte Madera, California. The term of City Council members is four years. He was elected mayor of the city of Corte Madera in 2002 and 2006.

Between 1976 and 1987, he worked as director of the Drug and Alcohol Enforcement of the U.S. Army in Busan, Korea.


Difference between Asian and Western Martial Arts Philosophy

For millennia, there has been a clear line separating Eastern and Western philosophies. For example, Asian philosophy is developed through careful observation as a whole, while Western science is generally accepted as a postulation of phenomena.

Recent archaeological findings of rock paintings and burial antiquities have uncovered portions of ancient human civilization areas. These findings seem

to suggest that the fact that we are all human beings and live in the same universe leads us to common knowledge in many areas. In fact, recent research discoveries in physics have led many in the Western scientific world to the same conclusions that Asian philosophers have held for centuries.

The Olympic Movement was conceived and developed as a cultural and sporting movement with a rich heritage. It espouses the values of solidarity, friendship and above all, fair play. Baron Pierre Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, defined the Olympic spirit in its essence: "The important thing in the Olympic Game is not to win but to take part, the important thing in life is not to have conquered but to have fought well. To spread these precepts is to build up a stronger and more valiant, and above all, more scrupulous and generous humanity."

The Korean martial art of taekwondo was introduced as a demonstration sport at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea. It was officially unveiled as an Olympic sport at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Along with its contemporaries like judo, wrestling and boxing, taekwondo emphasizes character building and spiritual training for the majority of practitioners throughout the world.

The taekwondo movement often places a high value on physical education, self-defense, ranking system, meditation, mental and spiritual training, self-discipline, loyalty to country, honor and respect, faithful to family, sincerity to friends, and confidence to overcome the fear and weakness of daily life. As the ranking system clearly indicates, taekwondo is a lifelong learning, enriching endeavor to develop a more productive being and encourage the simple but difficult battles of individual vices such as weight loss, smoking and drugs.

Explanations on Psychosocial Aspects of Martial Arts' Intrinsic motivation is stronger than extrinsic motivation, which is why taekwondo practitioners welcome aches and pains throughout their daily training and enjoy the enlightenment of mind and body.

To elevate the spirit of taekwondo is to maintain a constant struggle of a productive lifestyle for oneself and to contribute to society by turning negative traits into positive characteristics for an individual's own health and social value under the given environment. Taekwondo, in this respect, is an aid to improved concentration and mental performance that appeals to men and women, girls and boys.

My Vision for Taekwondo

Taekwondo earned all the privileges and obligations as an official Olympic program 24 years behind judo, 84 years behind boxing and 104 years after the establishment of the Olympic movement. In other words, 24 years of experience and history in judo plus 84 years of up and down records in boxing and over 100 years of Olympism should be closely evaluated by taekwondo leaders, professionals and grandmasters for the successful organization of the sport of taekwondo in the Olympic Games.

To establish new paradigms of taekwondo in the future, we must first study carefully, clearly and diligently. Prior to the Sydney Olympic Games, a major effort of the taekwondo movement had been focused on official Olympic recognition. In this regard, taekwondo in the 21st Century should focus on establishing the synergy that will provide an opportunity to achieve the noble goals of Olympism through the sport. This includes new issues of substance abuse, terrorism, the life-threatening disease of AIDS, and environmental protection along with awareness of the ability to achieve universal peace and harmony.

To achieve this mission, we must endeavor to become an active member of all positive international sports-related organizations for greater development of inter-cultural and philosophical knowledge through the Olympic Movement especially in sports marketing and the media.

Taekwondo Academic Program in Korea and U.S.

In addition, there are very rich, abundant energy and resources of professors and students majoring in taekwondo capable of achieving successful taekwondo study and research.

If we combine the best of Eastern and Western philosophies and cultures, I am convinced that the educational value and potential positive nature of taekwondo would be greater than any other Olympic sport.

As Sun Tzu said in his book on the Art of War, "know the opponent (enemy), know yourself, and respect your opponent (enemy); then in a hundred battles, you will never be in peril. When you are ignorant of the opponent (enemy) but know yourself, your chance of winning or losing is equal."

Conclusion

As taekwondo is facing a reformation stage in connection with the Olympic Movement, I would like to close by summing up the mission of taekwondo: To fiercely preserve the tradition and philosophy of taekwondo and continue to develop and enhance its techniques through scientific up-to-date developments of physical, mental, and spiritual implications of human physical performance.

I would like to add one additional word from Dr. Jacques-Yves Cousteau who, at the age of 84, spoke of the Olympic Movement at the IOC Centennial Congress in 1994,

"The Olympic Games is a celebration of constant improvement and is therefore a dash by man toward the future. For me, the purpose of an event is not to beat others but rather to improve the performance of our fellow creatures."

About Dr. Ken Min

Dr. Ken Min is a member of the WTF Council and is the chairman of the Legislative Committee of the WTF. He founded the U.S. national taekwondo governing body in 1974 with the support of the WTF. The national governing body was later renamed to the present name "USA Taekwondo."

Other than Korea, Dr. Min feels that the United States has the "Greatest potential for the future taekwondo movement," due to the countless number of tournaments, demonstrations, symposiums and workshops conducted on a weekly basis. In addition, the United States has organized two world university taekwondo championships, two world taekwondo championships, and numerous continental and international taekwondo championships.

Dr. Min is also the Taekwondo Technical Commissioner for the World University Sports Federation (FISU) since 1987.

"Under the leadership of President George Killian and Secretary General Roch Campana, the FISU has been growing steadily in recent years and there are now four combative sports - taekwondo, wrestling, karate and boxing - waiting to achieve compulsory status since judo successfully joined as an official FISU program in recent years. Today's university students are the future leaders, not only in sport but also in all aspects of national leadership. Therefore, the taekwondo leadership should provide maximum support for the success of the Taekwondo Movement in the FISU."

Mr. Hadi Saei Bonehkohal (Iran)

Q: When did you start practicing taekwondo?
A: I was born in 1976 on the outskirts of Tehran, the capital of Iran. I took up taekwondo when I was six years old.

Q: What kept you practicing taekwondo?
A: When I was 16 years old, my father passed

away in a car accident and my elder brother also died in another car accident one year later. I spent most of my time practicing taekwondo in a desperate effort to get over the shock from the losses of my beloved family members. I had to earn money for my family. Three years later, my younger brother, a national taekwondo player then, died of a hear attack. I joined the Iranian national taekwondo team for harder training.

Q: What was your career as a taekwondo athlete?
A: In 1995, I was selected as a member of the national taekwondo team in Iran and received a harsh training from Korean Master Shin-chul Kang. Over the past 10 years, I earned so many medals, including the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. I also won the bronze medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

Q: How many hours do you practice taekwondo nowadays?
A: I have been married for one and a half years. I am a senior at Iran Physical Education University and I spend most of my time on taekwondo training and competitions.

Q: What is your hobby?
A: Nowadays I do horseback riding to build up my physical strength. To me, riding is my utmost concern after taekwondo and I own three horses.

Q: What are your wishes for 2007 and afterwards?
A: I strongly want to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. After then, I want to be the head coach for our national taekwondo team. I plan to earn a master degree in physical education and a doctorate degree in business administration. After years of service as a national team coach, I want to go abroad for another coach life.

Q: What is your advice to your juniors?
A: I strongly advice my juniors to think of taekwondo as a good tool to build up their characters, not as a sport to win medals. As the moment of victory lasts only five minutes at the awarding ceremony, it is really foolish to regard the five minutes as the whole life. A real martial artist should be a man of character with techniques. It is more true to taekwondo as it highly values manners.

Q: What are the strong points of taekwondo?
A: Taekwondo is a martial art-turned Olympic sport, which attaches high values to manners and respect for each other. The spirit of taekwondo is to attain peace and harmony and has much in common with Olympism. Through strict taekwondo training, one can learn how to respect each other and benefit the society.

Q: What is your opinion of the WTF's ongoing reform programs?
A: I have a high expectation of the WTF's reform programs and I think a successful implementation of the reform programs is the key to the future of the WTF and taekwondo. The most noticeable change could be the WTF's efforts to ensure fairer judgment and refereeing at taekwondo competitions. An impartial judgment and refereeing would make taekwondo a truly global sport beloved by the whole world.

Q: How popular is taekwondo in your country?
A: Taekwondo is the second most popular sport in Iran after soccer. We have about 3,500 taekwondo clubs with 1.5 million taekwondo practitioners. Reflecting the high popularity of taekwondo in our country, taekwondo had the honor of winning all the best awards in 2004 in the categories of the Best National Sport Federation, the Best Federation President and the Best Athlete. I was also chosen at the Best Athlete of the Year in 2006.

Q: What is the main reason for such a high popularity of taekwondo in Iran?
A: The launch of a business taekwondo team league in 1994 is mainly attributable to the rapid growth of taekwondo in our country. Athletes belonging to business taekwondo teams are paid enough to focus on their own training. Athletes have to sharpen their skills daily as they have to compete in the league every week. In 2004, another leagues for athletes under 14 and those between 14 and 17 were newly created. Those active leagues have helped expand the base of elite taekwondo practitioners in Iran.

Q: What was your impression of being selected as the World Fair Player of the Year 2005?
A: I think the World Fair Player Award by the International Committee for Fair Play in 2005 was the most precious award in my life. I felt the real value of the taekwondo medals when I auctioned them to raise funds for the victims of an earthquake in my hometown on Dec. 26, 2003.

 

Mr. William Sullivan (USA)

Q: How long have you been an international referee and why did you choose to become it?
A: I was certified as an international referee after completing the 19th WTF IR seminar in Colorado Springs, the United States in 1989. I wanted to become a competent referee in order to contribute to fair taekwondo competition. As I worked my way through the referee ranks in the United States, I felt it was only natural to continue to hone my refereeing skills by becoming an IR. I am still honing those skills.

The places you go, the people you meet, and the things you do while you are there are the most attractive aspects of being an international referee. Most especially, I enjoy meeting, working, and socializing with old friends and making new friends within the IR corps. As the dominant species on this planet, if we are ever to have peace with justice in this world, we (as ordinary people) must break down the political, cultural, religious, linguistic, and economic barriers among the peoples of the world. I like to think that most IRs strive to do just that (especially at technical meetings).

Q: What is your evaluation of the 6th WTF World Junior Taekwondo Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam?
A: Taekwondo leaders from several countries commented to me that this event had the most impartial officiating they had experienced at a WTF championship event. Several referees stated that, for the first time at a WTF event, they felt no pressure to show favoritism. Also, the Vietnamese Organizing Committee did an excellent job. I left Vietnam feeling that it was the best WTF event to date and that the WTF reform movement is progressing in a very positive direction.

As a very naive young man, I was a soldier in the U.S. war against Vietnam and I have been an advocate for peace ever since that time. Personally, it was wonderful to finally return to Vietnam in the spirit of peace and friendship.

Q: At the 6th World Junior Taekwondo Championships, which match do you think was the best one?
A: The best match at the Vietnam World Junior Taekwondo Championships was the final match in the male lightweight division. The winner, Jeon Jin-su of Korea, captivated the attention of the crowd as he continuously attacked throughout the entire contest. He certainly demonstrated the indomitable spirit of taekwondo.

Q: What is your opinion of the new WTF competition rules?
A: When the structure changed from three to four corner judges, it increased the viewing angles covered by the judges. However, the number of judges needed to confirm a point was increased from two to three, which makes it very difficult to confirm each point scored. Under the current rules, when electronic trunk protectors are in use, only two corner judges would be assigned to each contest. I recommend that this rule be revisited; we don't want only one judge to be able to confirm a point to the head.

Concerning the new competition rules, I think that the seven-point gap and sudden-death rules are positive. But, we need to continue to think about the rules from the point of view of increasing spectator appeal.