The1st Korea open took place at the Olympic Gymnasium II in the Olympic Park in Seoul, South Korea from the 5th to the 8th September 2005. This event was the first of its kind and it was organised by the Korean Taekwondo Association, who intend to now make it an annual event with hopes of turning it into one of the world’s most prestigious Open International Championships. It basically comprised of 2 competitive disciplines, namely Kyorugi and Poomse and drew 636 athletes and officials from 33 countries.
The first World Poomse Championships are being held next year in September so this event served also as a Pre World Poomse event, be it that it was run by the KTA and not the WTF although it was sanctioned by the WTF. The BTCB sent over a dozen competitors from one of its member groups to compete in Korea in both the Kyorugi and Poomse disciplines. For many of these competitors it was the first time they had competed on a world stage but many of them performed very well. However Master David Bailey, a 6th Dan from Scotland had competed in the same stadium back in 1985, representing Great Britain at the World Championships, so for him, competing there again brought back some special memories.
It was good to have this event seen as a Pre World Poomse Championships event as it gave everyone the opportunity of not only analysing how the judges were scoring the athletes but how Poomse events are run in Korea, which was of particular interest to Mr Nigel Hudson, the BTCB Poomse
Committee Chairman who was in attendance at the event as Head of Team with my assistance. The BTCB also sent 2 other officials as part of this delegation, namely Master Shin as Team Coach and Master Neil Guest from the BTCB Technical Committee.
The Kyorugi event was dominated by the Koreans and Chinese Taipei competitors. However the Koreans excelled in the Poomse competition but with some fine performances from many other European countries. The KTA had gone to great lengths to ensure that this 1st Korea Open was going to be one to remember. The event was full of various displays from Korean dancing, girls dancing to modern pop music and Koreans dancing and gyrating to music using Taekwondo techniques which was a little unusual but was exciting to watch and the crowd loved it.
As is normal now at such prestigious events, the world famous Korean Tigers were also there to display their awesome talents. They never fail to please the spectators and always seem to come out with something new and to watch them is just breathtaking. On occasions they actually seem to be able to fly. The height they reach when performing some of their more acrobatic breaking techniques is just something else, with my favourite being the Korean who broke 3 separate pieces of wood with his feet as he somersaulted through the air.
In his congratulatory remarks during the opening ceremony, Chungwon Choue, president of the World Taekwondo Federation remarked that as the event also featured Poomse it was very meaningful for the first World Championships next year. He also thanked the Taekwondo family, including grandmasters around the world for their efforts in helping Taekwondo be included in the program of the 2012 Olympic Games. He then said that during the next 4 years, the WTF has a target of increasing its members from the current 179 to 202 and is fully confident that these efforts would help to increase the number of worldwide Taekwondo practitioners from the current 60 million to 100 million or more.
Jung-kil Kim, president of the Korean Olympic Committee said in his opening address that the main goal of this first Korean Open International
Championship was to improve the general quality of the Taekwondo competitors and to elevate the technical level of the players.
The Poomse competition took place during the first 2 days of the tournament and as it served as a pre World Poomse Championships event, a
Poomse meeting took place in a conference room at the Olympic Park Hotel on 7th September 2005 to discuss the previous 2 days competition and to make suggestions as to how the event could be improved. This meeting was chaired by Dr Yang Jin Bang who holds the position of Professor at
Yongin University in the Taekwondo department. He is also the deputy secretary general of the KTA. There were a total of 22 officials attending this meeting. Of these 22 officials, 5 were from the BTCB delegation which included Nigel Hudson, the Chairman of the BTCB Poomse Committee, myself as Vice Chairman, Master Neil Guest, a BTCB Technical Committee member and 2 guests at the BTCB’s invitation, which included Master Shin from a BTCB member group, who was recently appointed to the position of Technical Advisor to the BTCB’s Poomse Committee.
Also in attendance were such promi-nent Taekwondo masters as our own BTCB President, Grandmaster Park Soo Nam, who is now Vice President of the
WTF. He had chaired the meeting initially but appointed Dr Bang to take over as he had to be present at another high level meeting elsewhere.
It is very fortunate that the BTCB has this link with Master Park because without doubt, he is one of the worlds most respected and influential
Masters, evident by the attention he received at the event and the frequency he was called upon to present trophies etc.
It is also worth mentioning that prior to this meeting, Mr Hudson, Master Shin and Master Guest had the honour of being invited out for a meal with Master Park and other senior WTF officials where a number of issues concerning Poomse were discussed at a World level.
Of particular note was the presence at this meeting of former Korean National coach Master Ko Eui-Min who now holds the position of Chairman of the WTF Technical Committee. Also in attendance was Grandmaster Kim Young Chul who holds the position of Management Chairman of the KTA and
Grandmaster Kyoung-Chan Kim, president of Korean Taekwondo Education Association.
Dr Yang opened the meeting by stating that he had wanted to see many other countries receive medals and asked everyone present to talk openly together like a family so that simpler Poomse rules could be agreed for next years event.
Everybody at the meeting was keen to see next years World Poomse Championships run smoothly and suc-cessfully but there were still a number of unresolved issues such as how many catogories to have, the positioning of the referees, which Poomse will be per-formed by the competitors to make it fair to them across the board, standardisation of techniques and putting timescales in place to get everything resolved as soon as possible so that competitors would have time to prepare. Many of these issues were in fact raised by the repre-sentatives from the BTCB who played a major role in these discussions.
There were differences of opinion between the WTF who are holding next years World Championships and the KTA who were not completely in agreement with some of the planned rules and regulations for next years event but assurances were made by the chairman of the meeting that an agreement would be made soon and all countries would be informed of any progress. He concluded the meeting by again stating his wish to see many other countries amongst the medals next year and said he believed next years event would see many other competitors from other countries and that he would deliver many of the points raised to the WTF and his own committee and asked everyone present to continue to communicate together in the meantime and that he would deliver information to everyone as soon as possible.
He also stated that although there were a few issues still to resolve that most of the discussions during this meeting, though necessary now, will be meaning-less within a few short years because once they are resolved, discussions at future meetings will no doubt be concentrated on the judging of more High level techniques as the Championships evolve.
Lessons learned at this event and during the discussions at the meeting were well received and proved very interesting to the officials in attendance there from the BTCB.
Nigel Hudson in particular felt the trip was very worthwhile and will help him to begin organising domestic tournaments back here in the UK using the most up to date rules and regulations and will go a long way to help our domestic competi-tors prepare to challenge for a place on the British team for next years first ever World Poomse Championships, due to be held in September 2006, in Seoul, South Korea. The selection process for next years World Championships will begin in January 2006 with the BTCB National Poomse Championships.
During their stay in Korea, Mr Hudson and Master Guest also visited the Kukkiwon during a high Dan promotion test to evaluate their grading system and made personal visits to
Grandmaster Lee Kyu-Hyun’s private dojang, along with other BTCB officials and students from a member group, to receive the latest up to date training in Poomse.
Master Lee, along with our own president, Master Park, are leading figures in the standardisation of Poomse Worldwide, with Master Park now overseeing the preparations for next years World Championships. Master Lee also features in the Kukkiwon Taekwondo Textbook where he displays the moves of Poomse llyeo. This textbook has just been revised and expanded after 18 years and is part of the Kukkiwon’s continued efforts for the development of Taekwondo. This new edition was published on September 5th 2005, both in Korean and English and contains Taekwondo’s basic movements and Poomse explained in detail together with many other aspects of Taekwondo training
and education. It is a book I would highly recommend to anyone serious about expanding their Taekwondo knowledge. Anybody interested in Poomse or the selection procedure onto the
National team should feel free to contact any member of our Poomse Committee or visit our webb site at