The World TaeKwonDo Federation (WTF) , through political influence (ie., Kim Un Yong, the president of the WTF, is also vice-president of the IOC), has been able to successfully bring it's "poor imitation" of True and Original Taekwon-Do to the world, via the 2000 Olympic Games in Australia. It saddens me to see that the general public has been misled into thinking that the True and Original Taekwon-Do, as created by General Choi Hong Hi, from 1946-1955, is nothing more than "cock fighting", where competitors wear a suit of armor and engage in mainly kicking to the chest protector with angle kicks and embracing each other while at close range. If Taekwon-Do is the art of kicking "and" punching, where is the punching? Olympic TaekwonDo prohibits punching to the head and points awarded for punching to the "chest protector" are not likely to be scored by the judges, nor are they exciting for the audience to see, since it seems silly to punch someone to the "chest protector".
Olympic TaeKwonDo is also mostly devoid of any of the more exciting and entertaining techniques of True Taekwon-Do, such as jumping, flying, and dodging kicks and punches, to the head and body. It also is devoid of the many other exciting and entertaining aspects of True and Original Taekwon-Do, such as individual and team pattern (Tul) competition, and individual and team special technique breaking and power breaking. All these aspects of True and Original Taekwon-Do were unfortunately not displayed to the general public during the Olympics. Fortunately, although the name Taekwon-Do was frequently used in the media , it received very little television coverage and when it did come on it was so late at night that it is likely that very few people had a chance to see it. In addition, viewership was also down by 40% from the last Olympics. A good thing for True and Original Taekwon-Do schools, because it would have shown a very boring and inaccurate representation of our wonderful and entertaining Martial Art, and this would have likely had a negative impact on those who were considering joining a Taekwon-Do school.
If it were the ITF and not the WTF who were promoting True and Original Taekwon-Do through the Olympics, Taekwon-Do would have had an explosion in interest, similar to the introduction of Triathlon, and synchronized diving. Team patterns (Tuls) with it's standardized and synchronized movements, showing the beauty and power of True Taekwon-Do, would appeal to a much larger viewing audience. This would have been great for increasing enrollment in Taekwon-Do schools, increasing the number of spectators at Taekwon-Do events, and improve revenues from advertising, since the viewing audience would be greatly increased. Team Sparring would create an electric excitement in the audience, which is often seen at major ITF championships. Special Technique Breaking Competition (showing agility), and Power Breaking Competition (showing why Taekwon-Do is considered the most powerful martial art in the world!) would result in a much more exciting and entertaining competition for the general public. In addition, similar to Gymnastics, there would also be a "best overall" male and female competitior award, based on their individual results in the various competition categories as described above, again increasing interest and viewership.
Unfortunately, the WTF and it's "Olympic TaeKwonDo" is giving the general public a highly distorted image of True and Original Taekwon-Do, and one that is much less entertaining and exciting to watch. However, through the persevering efforts of it's founder, General Choi Hong Hi, and the many thousands of dedicated ITF Taekwon-Do instructors throughout the world, True and Original Taekwon-Do will continue to thrive and grow into the 21st Century. Olympic TaeKwonDo is nothing more than a borrowed name, and as General Choi states in his encyclopedia of Taekwon-Do, "I console myself with this thought: Like a counterfeit diamond that cannot cut glass, fraudulent Taekwon-Do is appearance without substance and like a summer shower that quickly dries from the earth or a hurricane that rapidly passes from the sky, phony Taekwon-Do practitioners and imitators cannot endure. It exists solely on the strength of political influence and is totally devoid of fundamental philosophy or technique based on logic. As such, it is destined for an early exit. The issue lies in our ability to differentiate between the true and the false."
As a practitioner of True and Original Taekwon-Do I feel it is my duty to educate the general public about what is True and Original Taekwon-Do. This letter is one of my humble attempts to accomplish that goal. Myself, and millions of True and Original Taekwon-Do practitioners throughout the world, sincerely thank Taekwon-Do Times for publishing this letter and for helping to break down the barriers to TRUTH. As ITF practitioners we will continue to survive and flourish, not because of any association with the Olympics or political influence, but because we are dedicated to preserving the teaching's of the "creator" of True and Original Taekwon-Do, General Choi Hong Hi.
Scott Downey, 5th Dan (C-5-33) President, ITF Newfoundland, Canada