ITF Celebrates 50 Years with Inspiring TKD Seminar! Atlantic City, NJ…Jhe spectacular 50th Anniversary International Instructors Seminar, hosted by USITF Regional Director Mr. Nick Malefyt and Pennsylvania State Director Dr. John Szostek, with ITF President Master Choi Jung Hwa, got underway April 8, 2005, at the luxurious Atlantic City Sheraton Convention Centre Hotel in New Jersey.
Close to 180 participants, including delegations from Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Hungary, Iran, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the USA, to name but a few, attended to celebrate 50 years of Tae Kwon Do and its founder, General Choi Hong Hi.
Initially a part of the training of the 29th infantry at Cheju Island, Tae Kwon Do rapidly spread to military bases and universities throughout
Korea. When a program to send only the finest Tae Kwon Do instructors to foreign countries was developed, Tae Kwon Do grew at an incredible rate throughout the world.
It all began in 1955, the technical birth of Tae Kwon Do. A young Major General named Choi Hong Hi gathered a group of master instructors, historians and leaders of society in order to name a new martial art. Little did theses soldiers and politicians know that in fifty years, Tae
Kwon Do would become a part of the daily lives of tens of thousands worldwide.
The three-day seminar began the evening of April 8th with instruction from Master Robert N. Wheatley, president of the USITF, who was assisted by ITF Technical Committee member, Mr. Parm Rai of Canada. Observing the formalities, Master Wheatley and Mr. Rai promised the participants that before the end of the evening, students will have covered all 24 patterns of Tae Kwon Do. This was met with much enthusiasm by the participants; however, most were skeptical about the possibility of achieving it! Those were people who had never experienced a session led by these two powerful and hardworking instructors. True to their word, Master Wheatley and Mr. Rai led the participants in completing all 24 patterns on the first evening. The participants were then ready to welcome Master Choi, Jung Hwa.
Unsurprisingly, due to the high regard held by the members of the ITF for Master Choi, his entrance was met by deafening applause that continued for some eight minutes. In return, Master Choi, in his humble and professional manner, individually met and shook hands with most of the senior members of the ITF. He briefly addressed the group and gave his gratitude for the efforts they had made to travel to the United
States and join with him in celebrating the 50th anniversary of Tae Kwon Do, the martial art created by his father. Standing in front of a large portrait of the late founder, Master Choi’s words were emotional and moving.
A Message From ITF President Choi Jung Hwa: In memory of General Choi Hong Hi and in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Tae Kwon Do, I designate July, August and September as a time of celebration marked by com-munity service for the charity of your choice and for parties and gatherings commemorating our long history together. While the official anniversary is in April, summer months are more conducive to include the children who have become a large part of our Tae Kwon Do family. Photos from the seminar and testing. Mr. Shota and Mr. Hogan were promoted to ITF masters (bottom two photos). One of the more inspiring moments of the seminar came when Master Choi Jung Hwa asked the senior masters to demonstrate the form Hwa Rang, which they performed flawlessly.
On Saturday morning the 11,500 square foot seminar hall was packed from end to end with black belts anxiously awaiting President Choi Jung Hwa and the second day of rigorous and inspiring training. Day three started at 9am sharp. President Choi entered the room as he did the previous times, ready for action, jogging to the front. Some of the participants were – starting to show signs of fatigue from the long hard days of training but not one quit, showing the true tenets of perseverance and indomitable spirit.
After the physical training, President Choi again called the room to attention and spoke about the importance of giving back to the wider community by performing service or volunteer work and helping to build a strong moral foundation in the community where one resides. He spoke of the importance of family and making Tae Kwon Do a family; helping each other instead of trying to out-do one another. He spoke poignantly of
General Choi and his father’s dreams for the future of Tae Kwon Do as well as what he considers to be his personal role in helping to lead us toward that goal in our Tae Kwon Do journey.
A Message From ITF President Choi Jung Hwa: In memory of General Choi Hong Hi and in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Tae Kwon Do, I designate July, August and September as a time of celebration marked by community service for the charity of your choice and for parties and gatherings commemorating our long history together. While the official anniversary is in April, summer months are more conducive to include the children who have become a large part of our Tae Kwon Do family.