I am honoured to be one of the 10 members of Island Taekwon-Do Centre that participated in the 10th World Taekwondo Festival & Korea Classic Open 2008 held on the 1st of July 2008 to the 6th of July 2008.
We left Singapore early 30th of June 2008 and arrived at Incheon International Airport at about 3.30 p.m. The location of the Festival and our residence in Korea was Chungcheongbuk-do, a province in the centre of Korea. As such, we had to travel 2 hours by bus to Chung Cheong University, which was to be our residence for the next 8 days.
The Festival was of a great scale with 3,000 people from 60 countries participating. The event was historic as it marked the collaboration between members from the 2 Taekwon-Do Federations – the World Taekwondo Federation (‘WTF’) and the International Taekwon-Do Federation (‘ITF’). It was a great privilege to grace the event – where our presence was clearly acknowledged with our participation in the flag raising ceremony and the Welcoming Gala Night on the 1st of July 2008, the opening ceremony with a march past on 2nd July 2008, and the dedicated and kind attention from our guides, MJ and Max.
We observed WTF practitioners spar with their opponents in a ring alongside ITF practitioners sparring. It was a great opportunity to compare the 2 and observe the difference and similarities between the 2 Federations. Also, we could see the standard of ITF practitioners from other countries. I glad that there were ITF practitioners and competitors of great calibre, but were humble enough to take a picture with us.
Our participation in the Festival would be incomplete without our own training sessions. We trained at a space outside our dormitory with a beautiful view of a small rice field under the instruction of Sir, and Jeremy Sir (our Team Manager for the trip). It was excellent to be able to do our patterns in the country where Taekwon-Do was founded. During one of our trainings, a WTF practitioner was curious enough to approach Jeremy Sir to learn an ITF pattern as she felt that it was beautiful. In the spirit of the slogan “WI are one”, “WI” referring to WTF and ITF, Jeremy Sir taught her Dan Gun.
With much time for interaction between the participating members, we got to know each other. It was great fun taking group photographs during our free time in the mornings, as everyone was extremely enthusiastic about thinking out different poses highly relevant to Taekwon-Do. Despite our busy schedule of attending events, shuttling between the Gymnasium and the University, and training, we managed to attend a short tour organised by the University to Songnisan National Park, Beopjusa Temple and the National Museum.
We returned victorious with 2 silver medals and 3 bronze medals. The victory was everyone’s – as no participant would have done well without the support and encouragement of the others and the dedicated guidance of Sir.
Written by Ms. Chen Weiling, 2nd Gup, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2008