by General Choi Hong Hi 09-19-1994
From the December 1994 Issue of TaeKwon-Do Times.
As the President of the International Taekwon-Do Federation, I regret that the World Taekwon-Do Federation has decided to go separately into the Olympics despite our efforts of merger. To be sure, since the name Taekwon-Do is unequivocally in the Olympics, as the founder of this art, it is, indeed, a joyous event not only for myself but for all Korean people. The WTF, however, must realize that entry into the Olympics alone under the present condition will result in permanent division of Taekwon-Do into “sport Taekwon-Do” and “martial art Taekwon-Do.”
To put in proper perspective, Martial art is to simultaneously cultivate one’s morality as well as physical techniques. However, the WTF, heated by Olympic matches whose only aim is to acquire gold medals, is sacrificing the true ideals of Taekwon-Do by devaluing it into ordinary sport. If present WTF rules, which advocate only full-contact sparring, were to be applied without change, the system of Dan or Kup, which reflects one’s personal dignity, techniques and seniority among Taekwon-Do people will become useless. This will result in indiscriminate participation by those lacking thorough knowledge of Taekwon-Do such as soccer players, boxers, kick-boxers, etc. This will bring about the erasure of Taekwon-Do’s identity. If this was to occur, our nation and human history will not forgive this irresponsible action committed by the WTF.
Needless to say, WTF’s solo entry into the Olympics has caused many Taekwon-Do instructors and martial arts veterans to be perplexed and will not be supported by most Taekwon-Do practitioners.
For the past ten years, with willingness to make all necessary concessions, I have tried my best to unify Taekwon-Do. This was to preserve the original concept and techniques even though Taekwon-Do would one day become part of the Olympics.
Since the original Taekwon-Do was made not with Olympics in mind but for more important aims, the lTF will do its best to ensure that it retains its position to maintain the undiluted pure Taekwon-Do so that it may be handed down as a treasure for the coming generation.
Regardless of Olympics, for the past seven years I have fortunately discussed with many prominent martial arts organizations world-wide the idea of forming the International Martial Arts Games Committee. “Martial Arts Olympics,” would allow all martial arts to enjoy participation under the fairest of conditions without political and monetary influence.
Now we have arrived at the fruitful season of its implementation.
Finally, I call on all true Taekwon-Do families to support this endeavor and participate in the IMGC to protect the interest of all martial arts practitioners.
September 19, 1994
General Choi, Hong Hi
International Taekwon-Do Federation