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Recently, a Taekwondo organization has stated that it represents the interests of Kukkiwon in the United States. These, along with the events that have been held under its sponsorship, have created concern and confusion in the Taekwondo community.
The result of this has been the precipitation of responses from Kukkiwon registered schools and associations in the United States. All of these are questioning the validity of the arrangement that Kukkiwon has apparently made. Our Grandmaster, Kyongwon Ahn, and our association have specifically responded to Kukkiwon and the Minister of Culture, Tourism & Sport (of South Korea), to which Kukkiwon reports.
A copy of the letter from Grandmaster Ahn and the UTA has been provided for public information.
We hope that those schools interested in and concerned with the integrity of the Art of Taekwondo will also express their opinion concerning this issue.
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism Government Complex - Sejong, 388
Republic of Korea 30119
Attn: Mr. Kim, Jong Duk
Minister of Culture, Sports & Tourism
RE: Kukkiwon Concerns
Dear Mr. Kim,
Before moving into the reason for writing to you, I want to present my credentials and those of my association of schools. Please note the
Kyongwon Ahn - 9th Dan (Kukkiwon Certificate 03-500019)
Kyongwon Ahn - International Master Instructor's Certificate(# 627)
Ahn Taekwondo Institute - Kukkiwon Certificate of Membership (# ROl-6750)
A complete copy of my resume and qualifications is attached for your
I am aware ofKukkiwon's issuance of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Kukkiwon America, an organization in the United States. This agreement is of great concern to me as it is a threat to the relationship that I have with my Instructors, students, and Kukkiwon itself.
My reasons for disagreement with the arrangement through the MOU are:
Kukkiwon regulations state that "in the event of a problem", Kukkiwon has the right to issue an MOU dealing with promotion activities. What was the "problem"? Who was contacted and interviewed? As we are a Kukkiwon school member AND I have been a member of the Kukkiwon Advisory Board, why were we not part of the process?
The new procedures created by the MOU threaten the relationship that I have as a Grandmaster with my Instructors and students. I have spent nearly 50 years teaching, mentoring, and promoting Taekwondo. And nearly 1000 Black Belts have been promoted as the result. With the MOU, these Black Belts would no longer approach their Grandmaster for guidance and promotion - but would go to the new holders of the license from "Kukkiwon America.”
From a philosophical perspective, the MOU disrespects me and the relationship with students and the ranking system that is the foundation of Taekwondo in the United States. I am a Kukkiwon certified 9th Dan, a Certified International master Instructor, a cofounder of the AAU (now USAT) organization- and this MOU restricts me from signing Kukkiwon applications. My Black Belts have loyalty to me and their own association. They do not look to Kukkiwon for validation of their Taekwondo rank. Instead, they look to Kukkiwon for international recognition of their rank. And it is the local schools and associations such as mine that recommend and direct our Black Belts to Kukkiwon.
There is no "problem" with the applications that my association sends to Kukkiwon. All of the applications are reviewed and approved by me personally. There should be no question as to the qualifications of the Black Belts for whom the applications are submitted.
My final comments concern the "special tests" that have been conducted in Las Vegas, NV and Chicago, IL. As you may be aware, these "special tests" were contrived to address individuals who had fallen behind on their Kukkiwon rank.
These "special tests" may have addressed some inadequacies in rank. However, there were many individuals who took advantage of these tests -and managed to promote to rank for which they were not eligible. Rumor has it that there were individuals who were not even Taekwondo practitioners who managed to secure Kukkiwon Dan rank.
These events have severely damaged Kukkiwon's reputation in the United States. And, they have damaged the relationship that many Grandmasters have with their students - as students have secured rank for which they were not eligible. And, for those Black Belts that have Kukkiwon rank and have obeyed the Kukkiwon rules and regulations for training and time in grade, what does this say to them? They certainly have no respect for the position that Kukkiwon has taken.
I would sincerely appreciate consideration of my comments. And I would make myself available at any time to discuss these issues.
Very truly yours,
cc Mr. Kim, Chang, Deputy Minister
Korean Sports, Culture & Tourism
cc Mr. Jeong, Man Soon, President
cc Mr. Hong, Moo Jong, Chairman of the Board
cc Mr. Jong Hyun Choi, Secretary General
U.S. Taekwondo Grandmasters Society
cc Mr. Yong Chin Pak, Secretary General
U.S. Taekwondo Committee
cc Mr. Bruce Harris, Secretary General
cc. Grandmaster Sang Chul Lee
U.S. Taekwondo Center
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