Guest Editorial: KUK Kl WON NATIONAL SPORTS (TAE KWON DO) CENTER SEOUL KOREA By S. Henry Cho (Issue 4 April 1982)
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Kuk Kl Won is a household term to Tae Kwon Do Black Belts, for it is printed on every Black Belt diploma. It literally means the “Home of a National Sport.” The first two world Tae Kwon Do championships took place at Kuk Ki Won and helped to publicize It throughout the world. Kuk Ki Won Is the name of the two story building, situated on top of a hill, which contains a training hall, the size of a basketball court, and half a dozen offices and locker rooms.
To those concerned with Tae Kwon Do, Kuk Ki Won should be more than a mere office building or tournament site. The World Tae Kwon Do Federation which is presently located in the Kuk Ki Won must not be synonymous with it. For example, if German Tae Kwon Do leader was elected president of the World Federation, it would not be practical for him to move into the Kuk Ki Won. He would have his own headquarters in Germany with his own staff.
Whatever the original purposes might have been of the Tae kwon Do leaders who first built the Kuk Ki Won, it should now belong to Tae kwon Do practitioners throughout the world. It definitely does not belong to any individual or organization. It is the Home where the tradition of Tae Kwon Do as a Korean national sport and as a Martial Art is preserved. The Home, the only one in the world, should represent Tae Kwon Do’s History, future and it’s true meaning, giving Korea the prestige of being the sovereign state of Tae Kwon Do.
Nobody denies the successful development of Tae Kwon Do as a modern sport. However, in the near future it will be necessary to distinguish between the Kuk Ki Won and the World Tae Kwon Do Federation, as the Kuk Ki Won becomes the repository of Tae Kwon Do techniques and philosophy, and the World Tae Kwon Do Federation becomes the international body of individual Tae Kwon Do organizations, concerned largely with the sport aspects. From the beginning Tae Kwon Do was rooted in spiritual discipline as taught to all Tae Kwon Do followers. Sport Tae Kwon Do can never be completely effective without the discipline of both mind and body, whereas Tae Kwon Do as a Martial Art can never be mastered without the spiritual principles of its past.
Thus the administration of the World Tae Kwon Do Federation must not be the Kuk Ki Won’s primary function. It is hoped that the continuing series of studies be conducted under the leadership of the great tae Kwon Do masters on both the sport and philosophical aspects. The Kuk Ki Won must serve as the Home of those masters who devotion and contribution ensure that the art of Tae Kwon Do will continue to flourish.
S. Henry Cho
About the Author:
Sihak Henry Cho (1934-2012) was a 9th degree Grandmaster in Tae Kwon Do and widely recognized as one of a “handful” of originators who introduced martial arts into the United States. Grandmaster Cho was awarded the 2011 Lifetime Achievement award by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition in recognition for his contribution to the advancement and promotion of physical activity, fitness, sports and nutrition-related programs nationwide through Tae Kwon Do.
- 9th Degree Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster.
- Member of Ji Do Kwan since 1953.
- Captain of the Korea University Tae Kwon Do (Kong Soo Do) team, 1956-1957.
- Came to the United States in 1958.
- Bachelor of Science in Commerce & Marketing , Korea University, Seoul , Korea , 1957.
- Master of Science in Business Management, University of Illinois , Urbana , Ill. , 1961.
- Graduate Studies in Statistics, Baruch College , CUNY, NY, 1962-1964.
- Operated the first commercially viable martial arts studio in Manhattan for 40 years, from 1961 to 2001.
- Organized and presented the annual All American Open Tae Kwon Do/ Karate/Kung-Fu Championship Tournament for 47 years, from 1965 to 2012, which was held in Madison Square Garden Center for 23 years.
- Tae Kwon Do Coach at St. John’s University, Jamaica , NY, from 1967-2012.
- Assistant Professor and full-time faculty member of the Physical Education Department at Queensborough Community College, 1974-1977.
- Martial Arts instructor at Baruch College , the City University of New York , New York, NY, 1968-1974.
- Martial Arts instructor at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, 1966-1968.