Tae Kwon Do
as it was spelled in the mid 50's by the Korean Kwan (martial
art school system)
leaders has separated into several large bodies over time with
varying priorities and method. Despite these differences the family root
cannot be denied and the original value system has persevered in common with
all. It should be stated these values may be worded in slightly different
fashion, but universal concepts such as Respect, Integrity and Indomitable Spirit are the
It is the responsibility of each school head to ensure these
values remain in focus.
Tae Kwon Do is a martial art form that
evolved over many decades starting in Korea. It's method is primarily
kicking, although various blows by hand, head, foot, knee, and elbow may
also be applied. It has four main components of practice and demonstration:
Form (Poomse), Free Sparring (Kyorugi),
Self-Defense (Ho Shin Sool),
Tae Kwon Do has developed into
both a traditional Martial art and Olympic medal sport. Olympic sport rules
limit blows by closed fore-fist and feet only. No punching above the throat
base is allowed, although kicks to the face are legal. Today only sparring
is demonstrated at the Olympic level.
Christened in 1955 as a new martial art, Tae Kwon Do eventually developed
into an Olympic medal sport. The ITF (International Taekwon-Do Federation)
had considerable success in bringing it to the world through the 60's and
early 70's. They currently maintain millions of members in 120+
countries worldwide. Beginning in 1972-73, Kukkiwon and the World
Taekwondo Federation (WTF) became the first (1980) Tae Kwon Do organization
recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).In 1987 Taekwondo was included as an official sport at
the Pan Am Games and quickly became the first event to be sold out.
In 1987 the first Women's World Taekwondo Championships
were held. In 1988 and 1992
Taekwondo appeared at the Olympics as a demonstration sport. Taekwondo was
adopted as an official medal sport of the Sydney 2000 Olympics and is a
confirmed participant in
the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
At present Olympic rules for Taekwondo are derived from the WTF,
headquartered in Seoul Korea.
Although WTF currently recognizes only
Kukkiwon certification, events sanctioned by the BC Tae
Kwon Do Association do not discriminate nor restrict based on TKD style,
focusing on access for all, introducing the Olympic rules to a larger
audience. This concept is a
constant in Olympic games and global sports in today's world.
Martial Arts ~ A definitive description, courtesy
(a word of caution, data at Wikipedia
is not subject to verification as a condition of posting and some errors in
fact are significant, please cross reference)
"Also known as
fighting systems, are bodies of
codified practices or traditions of unarmed and armed
combat, often with the goal of developing both the character of the
practitioner as well as the mindful, appropriate, controlled use of bodily
The martial arts, due to a century of exaggerated,
exoticized portrayals in popular media (see
orientalism), have been inextricably bound in the Western imagination to
East Asian cultures and people, but it would be incorrect to say the martial
arts are unique to Asia. Humans have always had to develop ways to defend
themselves from attack, often without weapons, so it would not be correct to
unarmed combat originated from East Asia. But what differentiates the
martial arts from mere unarmed brawling is largely this codification or
standardization of practices and traditions, many times in routines called
forms (also called kata, kuen, tao lu, or
hyung), and above all, the controlled, mindful application of force and
empirical effectiveness. In this sense,
wrestling can also be considered martial arts.
Why is Taekwondo so popular?
Perhaps because it is so much more than self-defense
skills. Joy in executing the motions, belonging and security in it's
structure. It is a life-style of physical and mental training proven to develop the complete
being - physical and mental, joined by an indomitable spirit.
In today's world, the values taught in Martial Arts are a cherished weapon
against the negative influences our children face each day.
It is the individual Instructors and Students at the
classroom level which have given
it life above and beyond the promises the style holds.
STATUS OF KUKKIWON BLACK BELT
DAN HOLDERS ~ 1973 - 2003 ~ 30yrs
Kukkiwon Dan/Poom certificate holders [as
of April 2003]: 5.46 million Worldwide
Holders of Kukkiwon 4th Dan or higher
Dan ~ Black Belt
~ 15 yrs and older
Poom ~ Junior Black
Belt ~ Under 15 years (Belt black on top, red on bottom)
Gup ~ color belt,
odd levels striped ~ Kukkiwon keeps no records, only schools
Required for Promotion
Age Limits for Promotion |
Start from Dan
Start from Poom|
Less than 15 Years Old |
| 1st to 2nd
Less than 15 Years Old|
| 2nd to 3rd Poom
Less than 15 Years Old |
| 3rd to 4th Poom
Less than 18 Years Old |
| 1st Dan
15 years and above
N A |
| 1st to 2nd Dan
16 years and above
15 years and above|
| 2nd to 3rd Dan
18 years and above
15 years and above |
| 3rd to 4th Dan
21 years and above
18 years and above|
| 4th to 5th Dan
25 years and above
22 years and above |
| 5th to 6th Dan
30 years and above
30 years and above|
| 6th to 7th Dan
36 years and above
36 years and above|
| 7th to 8th Dan
44 years and above
44 years and above|
| 8th to 9th Dan
53 years and above
53 years and above |
| 9th to 10th Dan
60 years and above
60 years and above |
More on the KukKiWon
World Taekwondo Federation
The Symbiosis Which Forms Olympic Style Taekwondo
is World Taekwondo Headquarters. It serves
as the sole registry and determination of
for Poom and Dan promotion. It is the Kukkiwon which researches,
designs, develops, and modifies curriculum for the student and
Instructor alike. Kukkiwon conducts and assigns instructor seminars. The Kukkiwon decides what the
requirements for promotion are, and if things such as poomse
interpretation are involved, then the Kukkiwon has the final say. When one is promoted to Dan or Poom rank, one receives a
certificate and number registration from the Kukkiwon, not the WTF.
There was a brief period during the mid 1980's when Dan certificates
were issued with the WTF logo at the top. That practice was quickly
discontinued. It is worthy
to note, the Kukkiwon requires a 4th Dan to recognize
one as an instructor or as a recommender for Poom and Dan rank.
Instructors may promote to one rank below their own current grade.
Kukkiwon has no member countries and beyond issues of registration
and curriculum, typically does not involve itself outside, relying
on the WTF for this.
Article 3 : Rights
Kukkiwon shall be the supreme executive organ to exercise its
exclusive rights over Dan Promotion tests, e.g. approval of
promotion tests, test performance, supervision of promotion tests
including screening of Poom or Dan applications, certificates and
sanctions of Poom or Dan certificates.
Article 5 : Recommendation
1) Submission of Dan promotion test applications should be
made only via the President of the Member National Association (MNA)
of the WTF in nations where the MNA controls at least 70% of
Taekwondo bodies and private instructors. It is not allowed to
be recommended by the individual instructors in those countries.
Individual instructors are not permitted to make personal
2) In those countries which do not fall into this category (herein
after called "the 1st category"), applications can be submitted
by both the Member National Association and independent instructors.
* Canada is not a 1st category member of WTF (nor the USA)
WTF or World Taekwondo Federation on
the other hand serves as the current International Federation (IF) for purposes of the
International Olympic Committee (IOC). As the IF for Taekwondo, the WTF regulates all
aspects of sports competition for Taekwondo. It is the WTF that hosts the World
Taekwondo Championships, and all other World events. It is the WTF that
certifies the people who serve as International Referees and conducts
International Referee training. It is the WTF who institutes the changes, if
any, to the competition rules. It is also worthy
to note, the WTF requires a 4th Dan to recognize one as an
International Referee and only recognizes Taekwondo Dans registered
at the Kukkiwon. Although the WTF has many member countries it
primarily allows individuals enforcement and adjustments in their
domains without interfering. Hence the inconsistency of issues such
as rank for instructor (4th Dan Korea-USA-etc, 5th Dan Canada, 6th
Dan Britain) Problems initiating in a member country, appealed to
the international body are generally referred back to the source
country, at times creating confusion and frustration.
WTF TKD style ?...
The only style of Tae Kwon Do the
WTF recognizes is Kukkiwon. Most people say they are WTF
style, but they are actually Kukkiwon-Taekwondo. WTF style sparring is
truthfully the Kukkiwon-Taekwondo's Yonsup Kyorugi (contact confrontation).
Quoted from the Website of The World Taekwondo Association January 2003...
"DAN GRADING ~ All matters about black belt Poom/Dan
certification are dealt with by the Kukkiwon (World Taekwondo Headquarters).
Dan/Poom promotion tests are conducted according to the Regulations for
Promotion Tests of the Kukkiwon."
Individuals cannot be WTF members...
So what we have then is that the WTF
is an organization which governs all international
sport aspects of Kukkiwon-Taekwondo’s Yonsup Kyorugi (contact confrontation, or the method of full
contact sparring). As such, only National Associations may be members of the WTF. Individuals are not members. For example, the New Zealand Taekwondo
Federation Inc is the Member National Association for Taekwondo in New Zealand,
and as such the New Zealand Taekwondo Federation Inc is a member of the WTF.
Students who train in our Taekwondo school in New Zealand are members of the New Zealand
Taekwondo Federation Inc, and not members of the WTF.
Now just to make things even more
confusing, the headquarters of the World Taekwondo Federation was actually
located in the Kukkiwon building until February 19, 2002. But as we have seen, it is definitely separate
from World Taekwondo Headquarters (Kukkiwon).
* Credit for the primary excellent compilation
"More on the KukKiWon -
World Taekwondo Federation" goes to:
Mr. Mike Heeney, Chief Instructor,
Waikato Taekwondo Club Hamilton, New Zealand
FAQ WTF World Headquarters... the source...www.wtf.org
Q: Can International
Referees and Individual Dojans use the WTF logo?
The WTF is an International Sports Federation
consisting of 179 member National Associations that govern Taekwondo in
their respective countries. The WTF recognizes only one governing body per
The WTF name and logo are properties of the WTF; thus, the WTF is the sole
proprietor of the copyrights to its name and logo.
According to Rules and Regulations, the WTF logo can be rendered only to the
national member associations.
It is not allowed even to the
International Referees and Individual Dojangs and clubs.
Rules & Regulations ...
Article 3. Headquarters and Official Language
1. The headquarters of the WTF
shall be located permanently in Seoul, Korea.
2. The official languages of the WTF shall be English, French, German,
Spanish and Korean.
3. In case of disagreement over interpretation or translation, the English
version shall prevail.
In case of disagreement over interpretation of technical matters of
Taekwondo, the Koreanoriginal version shall prevail.
4. Any member National Association shall have the right to speak in its
but the speech shall be translated into the five official languages.
Canadians & British
Although you may be ranked by the Kukkiwon,
well trained and dedicated to the style, this will not ensure your admittance,
acceptance, nor recognition at WTF competitions or organizations, aside from the
few events labeled simply as "Open". When the word "Invitational" is used in a
tournament title we recommend you call ahead.
Opportunity denied, promises broken, different
rules for different people ...
Depending on the source, it is generally agreed Taekwondo was introduced to
Canada 40-45 years ago. WTF/Kukkiwon has been here over 30 years. To this day we
know of no Canadian citizen born and raised in this country, let alone in BC,
that has been promoted to and/or universally recognized as "Grandmaster" (above
7th Dan). In fact the few Canadians who now hold 4th Dan or above only achieved
this in the past 5-10 years. Time lines for rank are posted clearly in manuals
and on the internet. There have literally been tens of thousands of Taekwondo
students trained in Canada, many dedicated Taekwondo career professionals with
long standing schools. The few Canadian born sons and daughters achieving
legitimate Dan ranking where entitled by Provincial or National societal
bylaws to be addressed as "Master" are often not recognized by the local old
guard, who instead substitute titles such as Mr., Ms., Mrs., etc. However as
mentioned above, here in BC you must be at least 6th Dan or be sponsored (?).
Moving up to 6th Dan may be a real challenge, so what happens in the mean time?
If you could actually accomplish recognized school membership, questioning
authority in any productive, democratic sense may have you facing severe
punitive measures or excommunication.
"Our lives begin to end the day we become
silent about things that matter."
Martin Luther King Jr.
We have "something", but there could be so
All Sport bodies in Canada who enjoy government recognition and support must
accept government scrutiny and public accountability. They must serve the
population objectively and broadly, to include and not to exclude legitimate
interested parties. For all of us, this truly is in the best interest of
Taekwondo as a Sport and as an enduring Martial Art. It must be done
through the participation of all or at least, by many. Contribute. It's your
Taekwondo, your BC, your Canada
How ? ...speak, meet, phone, email, write,
educate others, send your thoughts, give some time.
Ask a question... then ask another...