Articles - Taekwondo: Two schools of the art

B S Huan

20 September 2009 - ST Forum

I REFER to the letters, 'Taekwondo tragedy: Smooth differences and bring non-STF affiliates into fold' by Mr Benny Tan (Forum Online, Sept 7), and 'Federation just wants more transparency for informed choices' by the Singapore Taekwondo Federation (Sept 7).

Allow me to clarify some misconceptions about taekwondo. There are two primary styles of taekwondo in the world today: traditional taekwondo and martial art sport taekwondo.

Allow me to quote from the history of taekwondo and its introduction to Singapore to explain these differences.

'In 1955, a special board of many taekwondo masters, historians and prominent leaders was formed...On April 11, the board decided on the name of taekwondo.' (Taekwondo by Choi Hong Hi, published 1965 and 1972).

Taekwondo was born, and thereafter Korean taekwondo black belts were sent throughout the world to teach what is today called traditional taekwondo. There are many traditional taekwondo practitioners in the world today.

The traditional taekwondo style is very different from the martial art sport taekwondo style. Training, patterns, grading syllabus and so on differ from each other. Even in Singapore, these two styles exist.

'From Malaysia, Kim (Bok Man) led a team of six Korean black belts into Singapore in October 1963.' (Practical Taekwondo by Kim Bok Man). Kim Bok Man and another Korean black belt, Woo Jae Lim, were the first taekwondo masters who taught traditional taekwondo in Singapore.

Our organisation, the Singapore Taekwondo Academy (STA), practises traditional taekwondo. It is the same style of taekwondo STA's founder, Grandmaster B.S. Huan, first learnt from the pioneer taekwondo batch in Singapore.

The STA teaches the martial art self-defence form. This includes knife and stick patterns, as well as breaking planks and roof tiles, all of which are part of our grading requirements. We take great pride in explaining our style to all our new students and we distribute fliers and advisory notes to them. All new STA students and parents are well informed when they join.

As a martial arts organisation, the STA will contribute to the safety and well-being of all participants, training not only in taekwondo but in all martial arts.

It is also our heartfelt wish that Singapore is inclusive in the promotion of various styles of martial arts.

Aaron Huan
Director, Operations
Singapore Taekwon-Do Academy


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