A Taekwondo Academy for South African soldiers' children is established
The South African Ministry of Defense decided months ago to open a Taekwondo Academy for the children of its soldiers, who are usually left alone after school due to their parents’ busy working life. Now this Taekwondo Academy has been established through the collaboration of three different parties: South African soldiers, Korean soldiers and one Taekwondo Master.
On September 27th, Sung-Hwan Ahn, a military officer dispatched by the Korean Ministry of Defense, accompanied by the person in charge of the sports policies within the South African Armed Forces and Master Jung-Hyun Cho, who is currently teaching Taekwondo in South Africa, gathered at the Pretoria Military Sports Club to visit the installations where Taekwondo will be taught.
Ahn said “Cooperation between South Africa and South Korea is not very active yet, but South African’s abundant natural resources and development potential will make this country an important partner in our international relations. The establishment of this Taekwondo academy will open a new chapter in the diffusion of Taekwondo and Korean culture.”
Master Cho, who is already working hard to diffuse Taekwondo in South Africa, has also played an important role in the establishment of this Taekwondo Academy. Recently, he has been driving 3 hours a day on unpaved roads to teach at a slum area elementary school, a military school and other different places.
The General Secretary of the South African Taekwondo Federation, Won-Seok Choi, commented on Master Cho’s efforts: “Master Cho’s shoes change very often. When he sees one of his students training outdoors barefoot, he cannot help but give him his own shoes”.
“Now that the base has been set for diffusing Taekwondo continuously on an official level through the military men, I will try harder to spread our sport to the South African non-military population until I go back to Korea”, said Master Cho.
The current situation of Taekwondo in South Africa has been known thanks to Geum-Soo Park, a researcher from the Taekwondo Promotion Foundation taking part in the TPF’s “Research of Taekwondo’s Advancement Abroad”.
According to Park, “many people who practice Taekwondo in South Africa cannot afford to buy a dobok yet, but their loud Kiap tells us there is hope for Taekwondo here. A pioneering era for Taekwondo in Southern Africa, with its base in South Africa, is starting to unfold.”