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Taekwondo Symposium held in Berkeley Univ.

The Taekwondo Promotion Foundation hosted the 5th International Taekwondo Symposium together with Berkeley University on July 23rd. The main themes were “Women in Taekwondo” and “The Para-Taekwondo Movement”.

The symposium gathered around 150 Taekwondo leaders, professors and overseas instructors.

The TPF Chairman Dai-Soon Lee said during his welcoming speech that “We hope this symposium will allow us to study the impact of realizing equality between both sexes within Taekwondo, find a future direction for women in Taekwondo and to investigate the psychological value and educational effects of overcoming physical disability through Taekwondo”.

In regards to the first topic “Women in Taekwondo”, Physical Education Honorary Professor Roberta Park (Berkeley University) emphasized through her keynote speech that “sports improve physical health and cognitive development, as well as it helps to develop moral and ethical values. Sports are important for both women and men and today’s youngsters must be able to learn those values which are Taekwondo’s creed: Honesty, Loyalty to friends, Respect for country, Respect for parents, Respect for elders and Respect for teacher.

The President of the Northern California Olympic Society, Anne Cribbs, said that “women sports in the Olympics has become a successful role model for women and is extremely important due to the ripple effect that the media creates”. “When women are given to chance to participate and build self-esteem through sports, we must value challenge rather than victory and overcoming rather than conquering, just like the Olympic spirit has taught us”.

The Vice-President of the Iran Taekwondo federation and Physical Education Professor at Teheran University, Elahe Arab Ameri, explained that “Iranian women in Taekwondo started with 8 participants at international events back in 2001 and in 2010 there were already 83 of them. This could be accomplished thanks to the close connection between a systematic skills development system and academic expertise, Taekwondo Championships held for various age groups, the consolidation of scientific capacity of taekwondo leaders (athletes, coaches, referees, etc.) and the full support of the government”. She also emphasized the importance of strengthening anthropometric-focused-capabilities, rising awareness through various activities, acquiring the latest knowledge and statistical data and the creation of a network, where information can be shared, for the development of women in Taekwondo.

Regarding “The Para-Taekwondo Movement”, Chairman of the U.S. Paralympic Committee Charles Huebner explained through his keynote speech that “in order for Taekwondo to become a Paralympic sport, change in awareness towards Para-Taekwondo and a specialized are crucial”. For this to happen, he emphasized that “it is necessary to develop educational programs for leaders and referees, design different programs for various age groups including children and women, develop specialized competition methods for Para-Taekwondo, continuously organize events, expand the participation of disabled people and attract the media’s interest”. 

Director of Yongin University Graduate School and professor of Special Physical Education Hyogu Cho explained that “since the Seoul 1988 Olympics awareness on the Paralympics has increased and the government has made an effort to develop sports for the disabled by creating related laws and policies and launching a Sports Council for the Disabled. However, the active population in para-sports is very low and that is why a development plan for para-sports activities has been created”. “The Sports Council for the Disabled has also produced a Taekwondo multimedia manual for the blind but due to the lack of specialized leaders it is difficult to expand it to athlete-level”.  He emphasized that “for the development of Para-Taekwondo there must be both financial and administrative support, training specialized leaders, investment in the promotion of Para-Taekwondo, further research on the Para-Taekwondo discipline and expansion of Para-Taekwondo athletes”.

Chairman of the Committee for Para-Taekwondo of Taekwondo Canada, Michael Sirota suggested the following strategies for the globalizations of Para-Taekwondo: (1) Switching the awareness of the disabled towards martial arts and sports into a more globalized one (2) support from leaders of all levels (3) development of an appropriate program for both beginners and specialized practitioners (4) expanding Para-Taekwondo activities scope (5) being included in sports competitions for the disabled including Paralympics (6) activating training programs for Taekwondo leaders (coaches, referees, administrative, athletes, club managers, etc) (7) increased marketing activities.

Furthermore, the following issues must be considered for the globalization of Para-Taekwondo: (1) creating a society with values such as equality and no prejudices (2) investing in global Para-Taekwondo (3) developing competition rules for all Para-Taekwondo athletes (4) preparing a support program for each national Taekwondo association to activate Para-Taekwondo (5) change in awareness towards Para-Taekwondo.

Director of the Committee for Para-Taekwondo of the Ontario Taekwondo Association Marcel Lacasse said “the WTF already submitted, through the WTF Paralympics Committee, an application in 2010 to the International Paralympics Committee (IPC) for the inclusion of Taekwondo in the Paralympics and is continuously doing its best to achieve this goal”.

He said that “the WTF Paralympics Committee established standard competition rules for Para-Taekwondo and is creating an atmosphere to organize international sport events for the disabled. In June 2009 the 1st World Para-Taekwondo Championships was successfully held with the participation of 36 competitors from 16 countries of 4 continents, and the number of participants doubled at the 2nd World Para-Taekwondo Championships which was held in May 2010 in Moscow.”

He predicted that “the WTF will build the necessary administrative capacity so that Taekwondo can be successfully included in the Paralympics”.

<World Taekwon Media>

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