Thread: WTF - ITF Merger
3/21/2007 9:12am, #1
WTF - ITF Merger
I know this has been discussed a bit in the 2008 Olympic thread and the thread on TKD Changes, but I though perhaps it would be good to start a seperate thread just on the merger. Here is the latest news:
N. Korea's taekwondo chief due in Seoul on unification of world taekwondo bodies
Seoul, March 21
The head of the world taekwondo body led by North Korea will come to
Seoul next month to discuss uniting the two world governing bodies of
the traditional Korean martial art run separately by the two Koreas,
officials here said Wednesday.
Chang Ung, the head of the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF),
will be here from April 6 to 9, leading a group of 49 North Korean
taekwondo officials and players, officials of the ITF Korea Corp.
It would be the first visit to South Korea by Chang, who is also the
North Korean member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC),
since August 2003, when he attended the Daegu Summer Universiade.
While in Seoul, Chang will likely reaffirm North Korea's support for
the bid by the city of Pyeongchang in South Korea to host the 2014
Winter Olympics and discuss ways to unify the ITF and the World
Taekwondo Federation (WTF), led by Choue Chung-won of South Korea.
Heads of the two groups signed an agreement in Doha, Qatar in December
to form a coordinating body to discuss the administrative and
technical merger of the two groups. The first meeting of the
coordinating commission is scheduled to be held in Beijing for two
days from March 31.
The North Korean taekwondo players are set to hold demonstrations in
Chuncheon on April 7 and in Seoul the next day.
The WTF was inaugurated in Seoul in 1973 and now has a membership
stretching to 179 national associations, while the ITF was launched
seven years earlier, also in the South Korean capital.
ITF founder Choi Hong-hi was later exiled to Canada and named the
North Korean IOC member as his successor in 2002 prior to his death.
I am a Kukkiwon 3rd Dan and am very excited about the possible merger of the ITF and WTF. One thing that particularly excites me about the merger is the possibility of reforming Taekwondo to get back to its roots as a martial art that is at is core a practical form of self defense and an effective fighting art. I feel that the current rule set for WTF sparring competition moves away from this direction and has promoted Taekwondo more as a game than an effective fighting system. Particularly, the rules that prohibit punches to the head promote an unrealistic form of fighting that leads to bad habits on the part of its practitioners, such as keeping the hands down by one's waist. I strongly urge you to push for the inclusion of punches to the head in the any new rule set in your negotiations with the WTF.
I would also like to see the (re-)inclusion of sweeps to the legs and perhaps even leg kicks, but would be extremely happy just to have punches to the head (re-)introduced.
Another pie in the sky wish would be for the role of the kwan to be elevated. I think that any new international governing board should be focused on developing rules for competition, promoting and sanctioning competitions, and certifying and regulating the kwan. Each kwan would then be responsible for developing its own curriculum and certifying its members according to this curriculum. Competition between kwan would help further refine the art of Taekwondo and yet preserve aspects of Taekwondo that may be unique to particular kwan - such as forms and the interpretation of forms.
Best of luck at your talks with the WTF and I wish you all success.
Joe Cheavens, PhD
firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Last edited by TEA; 3/21/2007 9:42am at .
3/21/2007 9:48am, #2
Sounds more like a North Korea - South Korea good will thing rather than a merger, however, it is still interesting, can you post the link for that article?
3/21/2007 10:38am, #3
I received a copy via the Dojang Digest, so I don't have the original article.
FWIW, there is more than DPRK-ROK good will behind the merger. The DPRK and ROK want to field a united team at the 2008 Olympics. In order to do so, The ITF needs to merge with the WTF so that they can have a single sanctioning body for the Korean athletes. They've been working on this for over a year now, and this trip by Chang Un is just the latest in a series of talks between the two orgs. The IOC is pushing this pretty hard, too.
I'll do a little diging and see if I can post the links to some of the past articles on the progress of the negotiations.
In the mean time, here's an article I got in the Dojang Digest a while back and posted over on Budoseek.net:
WTF, ITF Agree on Formation of Taekwondo Integration Coordination Committee
The Seoul Times
DOHA, Qatar —- The World Taekwondo Federation and the International
Taekwondo Federation agreed on the establishment of a coordination
committee to discuss integration matters of the two taekwondo bodies
here on Dec. 2, 2006.
The agreement was signed between WTF President Chungwon Choue and ITF
President Ung Chang, the North Korean member of the International
Under the pact, the two parties will set up the Coordination Committee
for Taekwondo Integration, which will start on simultaneous
discussions regarding the integration of technical and administrative
aspects of the two taekwondo bodies.
Both parties, however, agreed to first reach an agreement on the
integration of technical matters before any decision can be taken on
administrative integration, in respect of their initial agreement on
June 28, 2005.
The committee will consist of one co-chairman at the vice-presidential
level and three to five members, including the chairman of the
Technical Committee, from each party.
The two sides also agreed that the operations of the committee will be
decided through consultations between the two sides.
The two sides met on four occasions in Beijing, China for the
formation of the coordination committee. The first round of
working-level talks took place on June 28, 2005, with the second and
third rounds of talks on Aug. 30, 2005 and Feb. 24, 2006,
respectively. The fourth and final meeting was held on Nov. 24-25,
The integration talks between the two taekwondo organizations
restarted after the meeting among the presidents of the IOC, the WTF
and the ITF, at the IOC headquarters on June 3, 2005.
On Sept. 20, 2006, the three met again at the headquarters of the IOC,
where the IOC president coordinated the ongoing WTF-ITF talks. The IOC
President proposed that the coordination committee start
simultaneously discussions on technical and administrative aspects of
the two bodies "under the condition that an agreement should first be
reached on the subject of integration of technical rules before any
decision can be taken on administrative merger integration."
The talks on integration matters between the two taekwondo
organizations date back to January 1982, when the two sides held their
first round of talks in Vancouver, Canada. In 1980, the IOC recognized
the WTF as the sole international body governing the world's
On Aug. 20, 2003, the WTF and the ITF announced a mutual agreement on
the integration matters of the two bodies during the 2003 Universiade
in Daegu, Korea, but failed to materialize because of former WTF
President Un-yong Kim's scandal.
You can also voice your opinions on the Seoul Times message board. Maybe if enough of us leave messages and e-mail the ITF pushing for the reintroduction of punches to the head we could help push some changes.
Last edited by TEA; 3/21/2007 11:00am at .
3/21/2007 3:43pm, #4
Well, seems like it's doing much better than the Moo Duk Kwan unification, which apparently is a guise for lawsuit city...
3/21/2007 3:55pm, #5
I'll believe it after I see the ITF-C/ITF-V/ITF-NK merger. *g*
But seriously, what's the "merger"? They going to change the rules for Olympic TKD fighting? I doubt it. And ITF competition is still (officially) light contact point sparring anyway. How is that any better? Seems more like this is just a way for the WTF to subsume the ITF and for ITF guys to suddenly be sanctioned to fight in WTF events. Of course, that's only as far as the MA aspect of the merger goes. We all know that otherwise this is really about SK/NK unification.
3/22/2007 10:42am, #6
This is nothing new and has been discussed many times before. There really isn't any real reason to have this happen. ITF people who wish to compete in Olympic TKD can do so. Without being KKW black belts. I do believe they have to be members of the USAT though. They simply have to go and compete at the qualifying competitions and make their way through the ranks.
3/22/2007 11:54am, #7
As with so much, it's just a matter of wait and see. Almost everything that North Korean & South Korea do together is nothing more than a show of good will. Times are changing, slowly, but like I said, I'll wait and see.
3/26/2007 4:50am, #8
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
- under the moonlight
i dunno......it's not like the merging is bad,but hoping it to succed is just like hoping for n & s korea to merge too(it is next yo impossible,just like n & s dakota issue)
3/26/2007 7:06am, #9Originally Posted by kid_1412
4/13/2007 8:16am, #10
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
- Liverpool, England
I think it would be fantastic to see an ITF/WTF merger. Olympics with punching please!