Visiting the Birth Place of Taekwon-Do
The ITF Singapore team left the motel in Daejong very early on 20 October to catch the short flight to Jeju.
“It was very important for us to make this trip because we wanted to visit the birth place of Taekwon- Do,” said Mr. Daniel Sng, who insisted that the first stop in Jeju after checking into the hotel to be the Fist Tower
We were lucky that our bus driver in Jeju was a Taekwon-Do practitioner himself, as our tour guide had never heard of the Fist Tower before.
After a few phone calls, the bus driver took us to a Taekwon-Do dojang where an instructor got into his own car to lead our bus to the Fist Tower, situated next to Nongdam pond in Sangmori. The surrounding area is an open space amidst agricultural lots.
There are no major buildings in the area, and without the Fist Tower, the founding place of the 29th Infantry Division, where General Choi Hong Hi first taught Taekwon-Do, would have escaped even an enthusiast’s eyes. For this, we have Mr. Kang Ho Nam to thank, who persevered for 14 years to restore the monument on 2 November 2000.
We also take this opportunity to once again thank our driver and the Taekwon-Do instructor of Jeju Island. Though both the driver and the said instructor are not of our ITF group, it was a wonderful experience for us to overcome politics and affiliations albeit for a short while, in the name of our commitment to the same martial art and same founding father.
It so happened that we had two red belts in our group, who had just learned Hwa Rang, where its 29 movements refer to the 29th Infantry Division, making our visit extra special.
“You are lucky to visit the Fist Tower just when you learned Hwa Rang. I am a VI Degree – look how long it took me to visit this place!” said Mr. Daniel Sng to the two red belts.
Disregarding the curious stares of the occasional passers-by, ITF Singapore performed Hwa Rang in front of the Fist Tower to pay homage to General Choi and the birth place of Taekwon-Do.
General Choi’s powerful hand in the calligraphy appearing on all three sides of the tower gave a sense of renewed vigour and encouragement to all of ITF Singapore to continue with their training and discipline in pursuing the art we love, Taekwon-Do.
Written by Jules Takagishi, Team Manager World Championships 2004, ITF Singapore
© Island Taekwon-Do Centre 2004