The International Academic Conference for Taekwondo (iACT), along with Stanford’s Center for East Asian Studies and Stanford Athletics, is hosting its third conference on Taekwondo and martial arts on February 16th & 17th, 2019 at Stanford University. The conference is entitled “iACT 2019: Overcoming ‘the Self’ and then Benefiting ‘the World’

The iACT is a non-profit public charity organization, incorporated and registered under section 509(a)(3) with the US Department of the Treasury, so any person or private or public organization that sponsors our activities can get their sponsorship exempted from tax.

The iACT mission statement includes promoting and conducting various activities related to Taekwondo research, academics, and learning. The stated purposes of the iACT are to promote the medical, scientific, and philosophic understandings of the martial art and sport of Taekwondo; to encourage professional development of iACT members through annual meetings, research conferences, tutorials, tournaments, and other special projects related to Taekwondo and martial arts; to nurture academic and professional development of iACT members through research support, achievement awards, and programming at the annual meeting; to facilitate delivery of programs and services of the iACT; to support collaborative efforts among other sports and philosophical societies, institutions, organizations, and special interest groups (e.g., the International Association for Taekwondo Research); and to foster a membership united in a common purpose while respecting each other’s abilities to work toward that purpose.

The conference is entitled “iACT 2019: Overcoming ‘the self’ and then Benefitting ‘the World’ The iACT, its sponsors and its donors, along with Stanford University’s Center for East Asian Studies and Stanford Athletics, celebrate both the contribution of our Taekwondo community to excellence in education and its significant impact on children and families throughout North America. We have assembled perhaps the most accomplished and respected scholar-researchers in the field of martial arts philosophy ever to present on Taekwondo, including those from both WT and ITF, to discuss the current key issues in Taekwondo philosophy and the method and practice of its teaching.

In the context of the recent overtures of peace between the ROK and DPRK that was surely due in no small part to Taekwondo diplomacy, just what direction will the philosophy of Taekwondo in its historical present be? By bringing together scholar-researchers in the fields of Taekwondo as a martial art and combat sport at the world-renowned Stanford University, iACT seeks to begin to set a course going forward for the development of Taekwondo into the 21st century and further enable it as a force for international peace and diplomacy.
In addition iCAT will also be holding a ‘Saving Kyorugi’ Workshop. It is widely recognized that current high-level kyorugi (taekwondo sparring) has had a drastic transformation, which is sometimes characterized as “Old School vs. New School.” iCat proposes that controversial scoring methods in conjunction with electronic equipment is a serious problem and has eroded not only the integrity and viability of this martial sport, but poses a threat to its popularity.

Taekwondo Times along with the Jung Family Charitable Trust and Grandmaster Jung, Woo Jin are some of the mmany nsponsors for this event.

Here is a list of this years presenters with a short bio.

(Alphabetical order by surname.)
Keynote Speakers


(9th dan) is the Founder (in 1981), Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of TaeKwonDo Times magazine. He earned his B.A. from Hanyang University (Republic of Korea [ROK]), and is currently an Honorary Professor of Taekwondo at Kyung Hee University (ROK) and Special Professor in the Taekwondo Department at Geimyeung University (ROK). Grandmaster Jung has led North and South Korea Taekwondo Demonstration Teams as well as the US Taekwondo Demonstration Team. During the North Korean Taekwondo Demonstration Team’s USA Goodwill Tour, he was the chairman. Grandmaster Jung is an accomplished author and director of a number of international charitable foundations. He is a member of the US Taekwondo Grandmasters Society Member as well as a Legends of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame Awardee.


Dr. Franjo Prot is the Chairman of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) Scientific Research Committee and President of the European Taekwondo Union Council. He is a full tenured professor at the University of Zagreb, where he is also the Kinesiology Faculty Chair for Systematic (General) Kinesiology. He teaches graduate-level research methodology in Kinesiology in the European Credits Transfer System (ECTS) and a wide range of topics dedicated to multivariate data analysis at the ECTS post-graduate masters and doctorate degree levels. Dr. Prot’s scientific work can be divided in four main disciplines: kinesiology, quantitative methods for data analysis, psychology, and biological anthropology. Since 1981, he has published 235 papers, 177 scientific papers, and 58 professional papers in the fields of kinesiology, data analysis, psychology, biology, and social anthropology. His special areas of interest are Nicolas Dally and the beginnings of kinesiology in Europe, focusing on evelopments of kinesiology in the Zagreb and Croatia kinesiology circles. He is an active member of various national and international scientific and professional associations. He has been President of the Program Committee of the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th International Conference on Kinesiology, organized by the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Zagreb. He was a member of the Program Committee of the International Scientific and Expert Symposium “Child in Motion,” organized by the Faculty of Education at the University of Ljubljana and Faculty of Education and Applied Kinesiology in the University of Primorska, Koper. He is a regularly invited speaker and lecturer at the Postgraduate Studies of Psychology at the University of Zagreb and the Graduate and Postgraduate Study of Kinesiology in the Faculty of Sport at University of Ljubljana. Dr. Prot is a former national team competitor (2nd WTF World championships in Seoul in 1975, European championships in Stutgart in 1975, and European championships in Rotterdam in 1976), and is an active sports official (4-term Croatian Taekwondo Federation President) and team leader for Taekwondo sport events. Since 1986, Dr. Prot has continuously headed most of the national teams participating in official international Taekwondo events, namely the World Taekwondo Championships, World Taekwondo Cups, European Taekwondo Championships, FISU Universiades, and University World Taekwondo Championships. Under his leadership, the Croatian Taekwondo competitors have won numerous World and European medals and titles,
among them two bronze medals in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, one bronze medal in the
2012 London Olympic Games, and four medals in the 2015 European Games.



A professor of Philosophy at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. He received his B.A. in philosophy (Phi Beta Kappa) from Reed College, and his Ph.D. in Philosophy is from the University of Texas at Austin. He has studied Taekwondo and Hapkido for many years. He has written many articles and three books with the late Dr. Daeshik Kim on the martial arts and now continues to do so by himself. He has also published widely in such areas as the history and philosophy of logic, ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, comparative philosophy, and philosophy of sport. His first book received a prize from VG-Wort. In 1999, he was awarded a Forschungspreis from the Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung (Senior Humboldt Research Prize) for his research Senior Humboldt Research Prize), and has been occasionally in residence at the University of Freiburg. Professor Bäck has also taken an American Philosophical Association Fellowship for the Institute for Advanced Studies at Edinburgh University in Scotland in recognition of his scholarly work. Kutztown University has given him the Chambliss Research Lifetime Achievement Award for his research and the Wiesenberger Award for Excellence in Teaching.


An associate professor of Korean Literature at Seoul Women’s University in the Republic of Korea (ROK). He earned his B.A. from the University of Montana in Sport Science, and his M.A. and first Ph.D. in Sport Philosophy from Seoul National University. He went on to complete another Ph.D. in modern Korean literature from Yonsei University (ROK). He has been living in the ROK since the late 1980s. He worked for the International Division of the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) from 1989-1992. Professor Capener was a member of the U.S. National Taekwondo Team in 1986 and 1987. He won bronze medals in the 1986 1st World University Taekwondo Championships and the 8th World Taekwondo Championships as well as a gold medal in 1987 at the 10th Pan American Games. At his current position, he teaches Korean literature, English literature, and literary translation. He is a Kukkiwon 8th degree.


Was born in Peißenberg, which is near Munich, Germany. As a young man, he studied various martial arts and began Taekwondo in 1979. During the 1980s, he was a member of the German national Taekwondo team and trained professionally for four years as a
member of the German national military team, headquartered at the Sportschule in Sonthofen. In 1988, after finishing his military service, he traveled extensively in Asia and, in 1990, settled for further studies and training in Korea. After earning his B.A. in Asian Studies from the
University of Maryland, he engaged in three terms of North Korean Studies from the Graduate School for North Korean Studies. He then earned his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Physical Education from Keimyung University (ROK) with concentrations in Taekwondo, History, and Philosophy. In 2005, Professor Moenig was appointed by the Youngsan University Department of Taekwondo in Yangsan as the first foreigner in Korea to teach Taekwondo at the university level. He has researched, lectured, and published extensively in the field of Asian Studies, martial arts, and sports. He has authored (or co-authored) a variety articles about Taekwondo and martial arts that have been published in various journals. His latest publication is a groundbreaking work titled Taekwondo: From a Martial Art to a Martial Sport (London: Routledge, 2015).


(Kukkiwon 4th dan) has been a Professor at the Department of Taekwondo, Keimyung University in Daegu (ROK) since 1999. He earned his Ph.D. in 1995 at the Deutsche Sporthochschule zu in Koeln, Germany. He is Vice-President of the Society of Korean Sport Philosophy. His research interests are in historical and philosophical problems of Taekwondo and sport from a humanistic perspective, and he has published extensively in these fields. Professor Song has contributed to several articles to international journals and presented at numerous academic conferences worldwide on Taekwondo.


(International Taekwon-Do Federation [ITF] 8th dan) started training in Taekwon-Do as a martial art in the early 1970s. Currently, he is only the seventh American-born practitioner to achieve
the level of 8th dan in ITF Taekwon-Do. He spent 24 years with the New York State Police and now draws upon that investigative training and experience to aid in researching the history of Taekwon-Do. Among his four undergraduate degrees is a B.A. in History, and he has earned an M.A. from the City University of New York (CUNY). After attending CUNY’s Graduate School and University Center’s Doctoral Program for two years, he enrolled in a new international program administered in part through the Pyongyang government in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In 2011, he earned his doctorate from their State Commission on Academic Degrees and Titles, becoming the first American to do so. His training, studies, and research have led him to over 70 countries around their world, often teaching during his extensive travels. Dr. Vitale’s utilization of Taekwon-Do as a tool of soft diplomacy has resulted in a long-term active engagement with the people of the DPRK to establish peace between the ROK and DPRK. His various activities toward this goal
lead to his membership in the National Committee on North Korea in Washington, D.C. He
continues to present and publish research articles on Taekwon-Do. His work has earned him
recognition from numerous organizations, as well as appreciation not only from the US
government but also from the governments of both the ROK and the DPRK.