The name Taekwon-Do as a common factor allows them to occupy a place in the Martial Arts’ market.
Each one of these offers is an entity that groups some part of that market and regulate the activity of their members.
The way used to write the word Taekwon-Do will identify its belonging and its objectives.
For a better comprehension, it’s possible to say that there are details in the mentioned offers, that let us arrive to a rapid identification of which entity or group we’re talking about.
The uniforms are similar, but not the same. The commands are equivalent, but different, the history of each entity has something in common with controversial details; the competition rules are dissimilar.
The variation in the competition rules establish that the world champions of each category only can be considered in such top place in the entity where he or she obtained the title. It’s clear that different rules cannot guarantee the same result.
We also have: traditional Taekwon-Do, original Taekwon-Do, Olympic Taekwondo, official Taekwon-Do, unified Taekwon-Do, sport Taekwon-do, Self Defense Taekwon-Do and all a Pleiades that have very few things in common with the version gave by its Founder.
He was personally in charge to unify the criteria in his countless trips around the world, to avoid what finally occurred, the diversity and atomization of his work.
I’ve been part and witness of the obstinate effort of Gral. Choi Hong Hi to avoid the rupture, the distortion.
I had to assist him and translated his seminars and interviews during many years
I know his reiterated speeches about a unique Taekwon-do, a unique uniform, a unique biomechanics, a unique philosophy and a unique entity that include all these factors.
The first step to the feared atomization was done by those who wrote the word all together and said that the activity was only a sport.
Once the objective was reached and already inside the Olympics, they added martial details and records to be considered a martial art too.
The other atomization is from inside, different and with an enterprise’s context.
Here the word is written as it was originally conceived but with additional words to induce the public to adhere to a particular type of Taekwon-Do as the virtuous one.
These identifications permits a rapid conclusion about the objectives of each entity.
Many times these entities denigrate the others to gain students, but this only is a publicity strategy.
Of course there are people who add words to the name Taekwon-Do to justify their existence, their enterprises and with the only intention to conquer a greater part of the potential market.
To apply with it, some people add the word traditional to the name of the Art.
As it is explained in the etymology of the word, this would be only a static legacy without any change since its creation, to be transferred in that state generation to generation. A pertinent question is: which is the old generation and which is the new one?.
This also is against the irreversible fact that Taekwon-Do is an evolutionary Art which exponentially evolved all over the world in his Founder’s hands.
Why teach nowadays the 50’s,60’s or 70’s Taekwon-Do if its Founder was doing all as was necessary to do to improve it.
To answer some occasional arguments about modifications or little changes implemented by him in the biomechanics, he laconically used to say ….I am the Taekwon-Do.
The old practitioners who accompanied that evolution knows that the uniforms, biomechanics and competition rules of the 60’s or 70’s had nothing in common with those used in the nineties.
Can we call it traditional? No, except if you want proclaim that you are teaching the old and primitive Taekwon-Do.
However it’s also necessary highlight that the mentioned evolution was in the Taekwon-Do’s Founder hands only. Then the unique Taekwon-Do must be that, the latest version of Gral. Choi’s research which became as a legacy.
Some people and under personal interests, add the word official to the Taekwon-Do’s name, producing an additional confusion and of course giving to the activity a non existing status.
To consider official some activity, this have to be economically supported with public funds and must be transferred in the name and representation of the Country involved.
Only the activity written as Taekwondo, all together, which actually is an Olympic sport, can be included under this consideration.
All the other are not officials, because none of them have the economic support and acknowledgment of the state involved. They are private enterprises which used to be called Association, Federation, etc., many times without a legal registration of this status and with none appropriate dealing with the federation rules and regulations, just private business which uses this status as an speculative name.
Some people like to use the word unified, an absurd, just another publicity. All and each one of the enterprises that exploit the name Taekwon-Do, have their own interests in all and each one of the mentioned divisions.
It’s impossible to think in a unification that include and accept the other with their individual terms, history, philosophy, competition rules and authorities.
Each of them can be included in the other if each one of them wants to do it, however, who takes that decision is losing his individuality in this act.
What kind of unification are we talking about? biomechanics?, competition rules?, philosophy?, promotion systems?. Nothing about this exist until today. Only Gral. Choi Hong Hi had such a power summarized in only one person. Actually, nobody occupy his place.
MacDonald and Burger King sell hamburgers, however, hamburgers are not enough to merge both enterprises. Both of them fights to conquer the same market. Which of them would accept to disappear to be part of the other?
Until today there has been no merger agreement between Taekwon-Do’s entities, so a unified Taekwon-Do does not exist.
It is said that Taekwon-Do was born in South Korea on April 11th 1955 because Choi Hong Hi was a General of the South Korean Army in those moment, but it’s not a South or North Korean property because so was the written desire of its Founder. Remember the Founder’s words, Taekwon-Do is a universal Art which have not national boundaries and not belonging to any particular country (TKD Encyclopedia Vol.I pag. 10/11).
If somebody told you that the Art is better in Asian hands because in that way it will be transferred with the original spirit, you were kidded.
Gral Choi Hong Hi, Founder of the discipline, was always vigilant to his original purpose. To put the Art’s teaching in each Country national’s Instructor hands, and under this prerogative he gave the Instructor Seminars all over the world.
If being Asian would be a prerequisite to become in an exponent of the Art and you have not this condition, why go through the effort? don’t you think so?
Taekwon-Do is where the knowledge is. Many Asian people are learning Taekwon-Do in Occidental hands.
In conclusion: each Organization has their own official Taekwon-Do and this Taekwon-Do is the traditional one of that institution. Each entity take the necessary steps to unify their internal criteria as the only unification possible.
Taekwon-Do has a unique truth, must be written as a composed word, it’s a martial Art with an sportive area and must be transferred by those who have the capacity and record enough to do it, independent of their race and religion.
Actually there are very good Masters and Organizations all over the world, however in that diversity and as occur in all human activities it’s possible to meet bad instructors or the wrong entity….it is your challenge looking for the right one.
Senior Grand Master Ricardo Desimone
International Taekwon-Do Organization
To be actualized read again the previous notes.