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International Taekwondo Federation

After over a decade of talks and manysetbacks now there are signs suggesting that the two main rivals of the past –World Taekwondo from South Korea and International Taekwondo Federation fromNorth Korea – are getting closer to finding common grounds for a probableunification.

Discussions, maybe better putnegotiations between the two organizations have been going on since early 2006with the now retired President of Asian Taekwondo Union, Dr. Lee Dai Soon leading the way.

Despite knowing what a difficult taskwas at hand the old politician and staunch believer of peace and harmony hopedto find mutual grounds that would interest both sides.

So naturally in 2006 negotiationsbetween WT and ITF started with closer reflection on technical issues whichseemed to be one of the more important issues needed to be worked on.

Needless to say that since itsinduction into the Olympics in 88, WT found it necessary to change its imagefrom a Martial Art to a Sport to stay as a part of the summer Olympic Games butthe change was confronted by a discontentment by some of the old TaekwondoGrand Masters in Korea.

The changestook on a faster pace with the coming of the new President, Dr. Chungwon Choue,in 2006.

Introductionof Personal Scoring System (PSS) by Dr. Choue was one of the most importantsteps trying to break the Korean monopoly on taekwondo and giving a “Fairer”image of the sport.

In the meantime while  “World Taekwondo” had gone through an almostcomplete “face lift” trying to improve its image and survive as an Olympicsport, it seemed that International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) had stayed loyalto the old style of taekwondo in trying to keep its image as a Martial Art.

Even though the idea of unifying WTand ITF has long been thought of by the President of the World Taekwondo, butin reality the gaps between the two organizations - sometimes dictated by thepolitical events - appeared too big to overcome and it looked as if acompromise with the “boys from the north” would need a great deal of effort.

Everything was at a stalemate until inan unexpected turn of events; North Korea showed an enthusiastic inclination tojoin the international community and that opened the door for closer talks withITF.

The events that followed led to astatement by WT and ITF on March 27th giving news of a jointtaekwondo demonstration to mark the 25th anniversary of taekwondo’s inclusion inthe Olympic program.

The announcement stated that WorldTaekwondo (WT) and the International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) will jointlyorganize taekwondo demonstration performances three times in April in Vienna, theOlympic capital of Lausanne and Geneva as the two federations showcase the influenceof sport to unite humanity.

The events were proposed by WTPresident Chungwon Choue and agreed on by ITF President Yong Son Ri at the endof 2018 and will be held under the theme of “One World, One Taekwondo.”

“I am delighted that the ITF hasagreed to join WT in celebrating the power of taekwondo to unite people aroundthe world. The three, high-profile events in Switzerland and Austria willcoincide with the anniversary of taekwondo’s inclusion on the Olympic program,which has helped spread the message of taekwondo around the world,” said WTPresident Chungwon Choue.

In November of 2018 President Choueproposed to IOC President, Thomas Bach, to hold these events to commemorate the“Silver” anniversary of taekwondo’s inclusion in the summer Olympic Games andsubsequently Mr. Bach agreed to support this proposal.

The first demonstration will be inVienna on April 5th, where ITF’s headquarters are located at andthen they will move to Lausanne where President Bach has agreed to hold thetaekwondo demonstration at the Olympic museum on April 11th in ajoint effort with the WT.

IOC President will attend theLausanne event along with ex-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder as a show ofsupport.

The two federations will complete theirtrio of joint-demonstrations with an event in Geneva at the United Nationsoffices on 12 April.