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 Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa
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Taekwon-Do I.T.F. (South Korea)
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The quantity and quality of the I.T.F.s practitioners in South Korea has grown in a surprising way in the last years: over 800 instructors, from fourth degree and above, are today teaching in that country.

It was an utopia to believe this some years ago. Undoubtedly this was the dream that General Choi Hong Hi could not see. However, today, the Secretary of the Korean Taekwon-Do Federation, Ho Chang Jin (C J), I.T.F.s man of South Korea, takes that organization ahead with criterion, professionally, impulse, and without moving a centimeter of Great Masters  Choi Jung Hwa decisions, who directs the organization in the distance.
The results are in view of the world, Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa was in Seoul, South Korea, after 35 years, among 1st and 6th of passed July. The reason of the trip was to deal his own return to Korea; official return, of course. That means government, press coverage, a series of previously agreed events, and this would be carried out during this year.

Grand Master Choi is completely focused in the development and  expansion of Taekwon-do in that country; he carries out that task ahead with the conviction of being fulfilling the command that its father left him, of taking I.T.F. out of North Korea, and to take it to South Korea. A task tremendously complicated from all points of view; fundamentally political, but also from the social and cultural point of view, and of course this also has family connotations, since the first objective is to rewrite his father''''s history. Let us don''''t forget that General Chois history was erased of South Korea, and few people really know what happened among 1955 and 1973 with the authentic Taekwon-Do.

This is a fundamental step for Taekwon-Do, and particularly for our group.
It is impossible to be in Korea without being contagious of this motivation; there is a whole team working in order to carry out this project, and among them there are I.T.F.s and W.T.F.s directors, Korean government''''s members, practitioners and others.

Its necessary to understand that we are speaking about something completely cultural. So, what happens with W.T.F. and I.T.F. at sport level? Nothing. For those other organizations leaders that say that at some time they will be able to share a place in the Olympic competitions, we have to tell them that the mentioned information is completely far away from reality.

On the other hand, we can say with certainty that today, we share with many leaders and the Korean government''''s members the cultural recovery of I.T.F.   
During the last course that I had the opportunity to teach at Cheong Ju University, I pleasurably surprised myself with the technical level and the knowledge incorporated by the Korean instructors in these years; remember that I.T.F. entered in South Korea, official and socially, in 2004, with XIII World Championship; in the beginning everything was very difficult, each stage was complicated, but step by step things have considerably gone changing to the point that today the Korean Taekwon-Do Federation I.T.F. enjoys recognition and prestige inside the national organizations of all martial arts and sports; to this its necessary to add that the organization of the Festival, was of an impressive quality where they combined technology, organizational quality and a strong investment; this without taking into account that around 400 prepared people worked for the organization.

We were the protagonists of the most particular anecdote of the event. While the inaugural ceremony was going on, I was sat down with Master Jos Maidana at a side of the stadium, just in front of the track where it was carried out. It began to get the attention of everybody the way in that the countries delegations greeted us, until a Morocos photographer settled in front of us and began to take an important quantity of pictures, and five minutes later all the photographers of the stadium where in front of us.  It was nothing less than a sensation, we had located on the table a portrait of General Choi Hong Hi.

The Korean could not believe their eyes, all of them wanted a picture with the portrait; it was the first time that his image was in South Korea, at an event of this nature, and among the World Federation directors and the Korean government''''s members. The following day we were on the newspapers.    
 
I have read some articles that say that Korea is a difficult market and that Korean don''''t have learning vocation; I would like to clarify that our experience is completely different. I don''''t want to contradict anybody but I personally was there in many opportunities, and I speak of what I lived. Neither I share the concept that "the General left us with a heap of doubts"; personally I follow the General''''s watchwords and his work, and we know what he exactly wanted, and from the technical point of view -that I suppose its the point to where the article goes- we continue his legacy through his son -that was also what the General wanted- and whom at the present time is the only alive witness of the of Taekwon-Dos foundation.
Instructors are many and of very high level, but Grand Master Choi Jung Hwa is the only one that was there. 

Korea is also, I.T.F.  Taekwon-Dos home.
Without Korea, Taekwon-Do won''''t survive in history.


Taekwon-Do I.T.F.
 
La cantidad y calidad de los practicantes del estilo I.T.F. en Corea del Sur ha crecido de manera sorprendente en los ltimos aos: ms de  800 instructores, de cuarto dan en adelante, se encuentran hoy enseando en ese pas.
Era una utopa pensar esto hace unos aos atrs.
Indudablemente este fue  el sueo que el Gral. Choi Hong Hi no pudo ver.
Sin embargo, hoy, el Secretario General de la Federacin Coreana de Taekwon-Do,  Ho Chang Jin (C J), el hombre I.T.F. de Corea del Sur, lleva adelante esa organizacin con criterio, profesionalidad, mpetu, y sin moverse un centmetro de las decisiones del Maestro Choi Jung Hwa, quien dirige la organizacin a la distancia.
Los resultados estn a la vista del mundo, el Maestro Choi Jung Hwa estuvo en Sel, Corea del Sur, despus de 35 aos, entre los das 1 y 6  de Julio pasado.  El motivo del viaje fue tratar su propio retorno a Corea, retorno oficial, por supuesto. Lo que significa gobierno, prensa, una serie de eventos pactados de ante mano, y esto se concretara en el transcurso del corriente ao.
El Maestro Choi est totalmente enfocado en  el desarrollo y la expansin del Taekwon-do en ese pas; lleva adelante esa tarea con el convencimiento de estar cumpliendo con el mandato que le dej su padre, de sacar la I.T.F. de Corea del Norte, y llevarla a Corea del Sur. Una tarea tremendamente complicada desde todo punto de vista; de lo poltico fundamentalmente, pero tambin desde el punto de vista social y cultural, y por supuesto que esto tiene tremendas connotaciones familiares, ya que el primer objetivo es reescribir la historia de su padre. No  olvidemos que la historia del General Choi fue borrada de Corea del Sur y poca gente  conoce a ciencia cierta, qu es lo que pas entre los aos 1955 y 1973 con el autntico Taekwon-Do.
Este es un paso fundamental para el Taekwon-Do todo, y particularmente para nuestro grupo.
Es imposible estar en Corea sin  contagiarse de esta motivacin; hay todo un equipo de gente trabajando  para que  este proyecto enorme se concrete, y entre ellos se encuentran directivos de la I.T.F., de la W.T.F., miembros del gobierno coreano, practicantes y particulares.
Hay que entender que estamos hablando de algo totalmente cultural. Ahora bien, qu ocurre con la W.T.F. y la I.T.F. a nivel deportivo? Nada. Para aquellos dirigentes de otras organizaciones que dicen que alguna vez van a poder compartir un lugar en las competencias olmpicas, tenemos que decirles que dicha informacin est totalmente alejada de la realidad.
En cambio, nosotros podemos decir con certeza que hoy, compartimos con muchos dirigentes y miembros del gobierno coreano  la recuperacin  cultural de la I.T.F. 
Durante el ltimo curso que tuve la oportunidad de dictar en la Universidad Cheong Ju, me sorprend gratamente por el nivel tcnico y el conocimiento incorporado por los instructores coreanos en estos aos; recordemos que la I.T.F. entr en Corea del Sur,  oficial y socialmente, en el ao 2004, con motivo de la realizacin del XIII campeonato mundial; al principio todo fue muy difcil, cada etapa fue complicada, pero paso a paso las cosas han ido cambiando considerablemente al punto que hoy la Federacin Coreana de Taekwon-Do I.T.F. goza de reconocimiento y prestigio dentro de las organizaciones nacionales de todas las artes marciales y deportivas; a esto hay que agregarle que la organizacin del Festival fue de una calidad impresionante donde combinaron tecnologa, calidad organizativa y una fuerte inversin; esto sin contar que para la organizacin trabajaron alrededor de 400 personas preparadas al efecto.
La nota de color del evento la protagonizamos nosotros. Mientras transcurra la ceremonia inaugural, Jos Maidana y yo, nos encontrbamos sentados en un costado del estadio, frente a la pista donde se realizaba. Comenz a llamar la atencin de todos la manera en que nos saludaban las delegaciones de los pases al pasar, hasta que un fotgrafo de la delegacin de Moroco se pos frente a nosotros, y empez a tomar una repetida cantidad de fotos; esto termin de llamar la atencin y a los 5 minutos estaban enfrente nuestro todos  los fotgrafos del estadio.  No era para menos, habamos ubicado en la mesa  un retrato del  General Choi Hong Hi.
Los coreanos no podan creer lo que vean, todos queran una foto con el retrato; era la primera vez que su imagen estaba en Corea del Sur, en un evento de esta naturaleza, y entre directivos de la Federacin Mundial y miembros del gobierno coreano. Al otro da estbamos en los diarios.  
He ledo algunas declaraciones que  dicen que Corea es una plaza difcil, y que los coreanos no tienen vocacin de aprendizaje o algo as; me gustara aclarar que nuestra experiencia es totalmente diferente. No quiero contradecir a nadie, pero yo estuve all personalmente en reiteradas oportunidades, y hablo de lo que viv. Tampoco comparto el concepto  de que el General nos dej a todos con un montn de dudas; personalmente sigo las consignas del General y su obra, y sabemos exactamente lo que l quera y desde el punto de vista tcnico, que supongo que es el punto a donde se dirige la nota, continuamos su legado a travs de su hijo -que era tambin lo que el General quera- y quien en la actualidad es el nico testigo vivo de la fundacin del Taekwon-Do.
Instructores hay muchos y de muy alto nivel, pero el Maestro Choi Jung Hwa es el nico que estuvo ah. 
Corea es adems, la casa del Taekwon-Do I.T.F. 
Sin Corea, el Taekwon-Do no va a sobrevivir en la historia.

Written by: Master Galarraga - 19th August 2008

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