NEWS: ITF (Chang Un) - WTF Agreement in Works

Discussion in 'General Taekwondo Discussions' started by UK-Student, Sep 27, 2013.

  1. UK-Student

    UK-Student Active Member

    Might as well talk about it here too.

    It seems that the Chang Un version of the ITF is close to coming to an agreement with the WTF over eligability of ITF athletes to compete and enter into WTF competitions under WTF rules (up to and including the Olympics).

    It seems that the major driver is that Mr. Ung is an IOC member and also that his group is the one who has practitioners in NK. Therefore the incentive for the WTF is an entente with NK TKD practitioners.

    It does seem to me that on one hand this means not very much as anyone who is a member of Chang Un's group could also go and join a Kukki gym too, train there infrequently and therefore compete in the Olympics. Former and current Chang Hon competitors in WTF competitions are not rare in the UK up to and including Olympic level (the British team actually encourages this to widen their selection pool).

    It also means nothing to those outside Chang Un's group.

    On the other hand, this is pretty big. ITF-WTF agreements and mergers have long been a dream of the ITF leaderships and Chang Un has secured a real coup for his own group here, which further entrenches their legitimacy. If you were wobbling on the fence between being with Choi or Trajtenberg or being with Un, this could be a good reason to jump ship and sign up with him. In turn, those groups might also try to sign deals with the WTF which would mean that by definition those three groups would then be foreced to acknowledge each others' legitimacy, which in a perfect dream world would lead to a unified ITF world championships too (if they are already competing in WTF anyway).

    It also means that there may be a shift in training methods in ITF gyms. You might spend 20 mins on patterns, 20 mins on ITF sparring then 20 mins on WTF sparring (IMO, this sounds find to me). The idea that ITF guys will completely abandon their own rules or that the WTF rules will change is just not possible.

    Alternatively, maybe nothing changes. Maybe the agreement is made and everythings stays the same.

    It would be ironic if sport, the so-called killer of traditional martial arts values actually leads to a meaningful agreement where the supposedly traditional masters before them have failed to agree.

    Anyone else have any thoughts or additional news on this?
  3. Chris J

    Chris J Active Member

    Will probably end up as the usual power struggle between 'who has the the better fighters?' Nonetheless the outcome will be interesting.
    Thanks for posting
    UK-Student likes this.
  4. Foggy

    Foggy Active Member

    If you are on the fence between "xxx"
    Or "xxx" and have no sense of loyalty to your club, teacher or grand master then it could be a perfect reason to jump ship you mean!
  5. UK-Student

    UK-Student Active Member


    Fair competition has a way of finding out who the best are. It's politics that tends to cloud that issue. If the decision means more fighters are likely to compete in the same pool, then that's probably a good thing.

    I personally don't think moral judgments like this are constructive on the wide scope. Individuals can be criticised for their individual actions based on the specifics of what they did but in abstract, the situation is not black and white. People who have jumped ship are much more common than you might think in Taekwon-do and nearly all of the original masters of TKD are outside the three groups calling themselves the ITF. In fact, I think most of the high ranking instructors in the UK at Master level are no longer with their original instructors.

    I can think of ten or fifteen legitimate reasons why someone might leave a group. Nowadays it's not uncommon for someone to be forced out of some of the groups if they fail to toe the party line closely enough.

    Then there are the examples where it is unclear where your loyalty should lie - for example if you have been a UKTA student for many years, do you stay with the UKTA in loyalty to Chang Un's ITF or do you follow Rhee Ki Ha? Very far from clear cut. If you are Korean Karateka in the 1950s do you show loyalty to your Japanese teachers or loyalty to your oppressed country. Choi Hong Hi chose one kind of loyalty and his namesake and blood brother Choi Yeoung Eui (aka Choi Bae Dal, aka Mas Oyama) chose the other kind of loyalty.

    I think loyalty to individuals is a sticky concept. Yes, we should show loyalty but that's not a 1000 year unbreakable blood pact. If the person you are loyal to changes their principles, I think the brave man follows his principles and not the man. Respect is vitally important but it's not exactly the same thing as loyalty.

    For this reason, I say judge the individual and not the action. What is the right choice for one person may not be right for another. As most of us never learn what happens behind closed doors, we are often poorly placed to judge anyway.
  6. TechnicalTaekwondo

    TechnicalTaekwondo New Member

    I talked to a friend and 7th dan Master in WTF 10 years ago about these talks of ITF in the Olympics and he said basically the following:
    • WTF will never change their rules for ITF members to join.
    • If and when patterns are added to the Olympics, it will be WTF patterns.
    • A fractionated ITF has no power over the size of WTF & Kukkiwon numbers.
    • If ITF members are allowed to join the Olympics, they would need to rank in WTF competition in order to get points to be on the team of his country.
    • Basically, if ITF members want to join, they must convert to WTF.

    I will add that if an ITF member wants to join in the Olympics: They are WTF, resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    World champion athletes usually train 20-40 hours a week. How much time would you "waste" on ITF training if you want to go to the Olympics? Or would ITF only be a side activity?

    Anyways, if the so called talks were legit, you would see news about it on WTF websites such as and
  7. UK-Student

    UK-Student Active Member

    Ten years is a long time ago though. I mean, political struggles and the march of time changes who in in charge over this time (however, read on, I don't disagree much with you on anything). A key factor seems to be the relationships between North and South Korea. If ITF wasn't in North Korea, then these talks would almost certainly not be being had. Scoring political friendship points between North and South groups could be very popular in South Korea and internationally and that alone may justify some kind of thing coming out of this.
    True. Though there is no chance of adding patterns of either type. IOC controls the number of medals awarded and the chance of TKD getting more medal categories to hand out is zero. The idea that ITF patterns would be added ("alongside") is ridiculous, though some people still put these kind of ideas in print sometimes against all sense.
    Even a united ITF would frankly be too small to matter much.
    Yes and no. The countries are allowed to enter a number of athletes according to points won in ranking WTF competitions, however the countries are not obliged to pick those athletes. This is why the UK was able to select Mohammed ahead of Cook (and let's not start a discussion about that because it's a topic that can go on for days). In practise however, the athletes that win the points for the country will almost always be picked. Either way, you are right 100% that any competitors will have to compete and win WTF approved competitions. I doubt anyone would have a shadow of a hope of competing in the Olympics without that experience and the countries are unlikely to carry unproven atheletes that haven't.
    It's essentially true that ITF athletes that compete in the Olympics will essentially be WTF athletes and none of them will continue on ITF lines except in a friendly relationship or side activity sense. The only benefit would be not having to attain any kind of Kukkikwon approved rank. I think the main thing is that the WTF opens themselves up for potential medal winners to "shout out" to their original instructors. I doubt the WTF will allow ITF doboks to be worn. There seems to be zero chance of that. The main effect on this will not be that ITF groups have any kind of power with WTF. The main effect is that one of the ITFs will have this as a powerful PR tool to use against the other ITFs.
    Yes and No. No agreement has been actually made so there's nothing to announce, especially not talks with a tiny splinter TKD group. If the news sites were saying an agreement had been made and the WTF made no announcements, then I think you would have a stronger point. These kind of news points (especially rumours and "proposed" agreements) will always be more celebrated by ITF types as it really means nothing to WTF members. Nevertheless these kind of news stories have arisen before with no positive outcomes....
  8. Chris J

    Chris J Active Member

    Sorry guys but all I see is a 'dick measuring' exercise in all this if you will pardon the expression, but all it means is that if ITF wish to compete at the Olympics they need to respect the WTF rules and basically 'convert' to WTF with no consideration for the modification of the IOC rules to include the way ITF trains. I understand the IOC wish to side with the 'friendly' south and distance themselves from the 'aggressive' north, but TKD transcends race, religion and politics. As I said power struggle, and WTF are going to use their claim over the Olympics to drag people from ITF. NO DEAL!! I won't encourage any student of mine that wishes to learn an ARTFORM, to go to the Olympics and play foot tag.
  9. UK-Student

    UK-Student Active Member

    I don't think that's the case at all.

    The WTF simply has more members than ITF groups so they get to be an olympic sport. I think it would have happened if TKD was from any country, not just divided Korea.

    The IOC wants the north and south martial artists to make an agreement. If they wanted to distance themselves from the North, they would hardly accept Chang Un as a member.

    If you're not with the Chang Un organisation (and sheer probability suggests that you aren't) then it doesn't affect you. There's not even a deal to object to.

    The idea of the WTF wanting to drag members from the ITF is kind of funny. There are so few of us and we are so utterly ignored by the general public, they literally couldn't care less what we do and whether we join them or not. In fact, I am sure many of them do not want former ITF people to join (there is a precent for this in the UK as some of our WTF athletes are former-non-Kukki stylists anyway) because it gives unnessesary positive PR to Chang Hon folks. Why not train a champion who was Kukki from day one?

    It is Chang Un's ITF who are pushing hard for an agreement. If an agreement falls down, it's probably because the WTF can't be bothered to make a deal.

    ITF people think WTF rules are foot tag. Kickboxers think ITF rules are hand and foot tag.

    Glass houses.


    If I was a WTF person, I would think that it would be mean to call what I do foot tag, so personally I think it's more sensible not to do that. If you can put yourself in the place of someone else and imagine what it is like to be them, I think it helps avoid this whole Style 1 criticises Style 2 stuff which just angries people. The context your statements are in won't mean much to the young teenager who could read what you wrote and be really upset.

    Doesn't mean you have to like or enjoy the WTF rules.
  10. Chris J

    Chris J Active Member

    Just with the last part, I've sat back while WTF and karatecised ITF stylists pour crap on ITF about sine wave, people that have little or no knowledge and have this mistaken belief that they qualify to criticise. Give as good as I get.
    Kickboxers don't call TKD 'hand and foot tag', many of them come from TKD in the first place. If they have, they are poor fighters, even if they don't fight poorly.
  11. I have to agree with UK-Student. It is not for us to insult another persons style. " 2 wrongs do not make a right. People can call me names all day long. It's no skin off my nose, but the second I retaliate then I sink to their level. Be the bigger man, shrug your shoulders and ignore there comments. They don't like sine wave that's their problem.

    WTF practictioners trainb just as hard as ITF praticitioners and try to better themselves. In my book they means they have got my respect regardless of them being a different style.

    I hear alot of talk about unifying Taekwon-do, but alot of those same people are slagging the other style off. The circle needs to be broken. People need to accept that people prefer different styles. That does not make them a bad person and does not justify others insulting what they are doing.

    UK-Student likes this.
  12. UK-Student

    UK-Student Active Member

    So you've declared permenant war. Is that healthy?

    Not all individuals are the same and the idea is that a Kukki guy reads this and is like, right they think it's "foot tag" so I'm definitely going to have a go at their "semi-contact" rubbish and their up-and-down nonsense.

    You don't have to like, enjoy or endorse WTF rules but there's surely a politeness factor that has to come into play, especially on a shared forum.

    I'm not saying all Kickboxers are this or that. I'm saying that the ability to criticise can come from all angles.

    WTF rules may look like tag but ITF rules are not real fighting either so just imagine what its critics could say.

    And if the Kickboxers criticise ITF, they are bad fighters. Criticising WTF though seems to stay on the table for some reason. In what way can this make logical sense?
    Timothy Cooper likes this.
  13. UK-Student

    UK-Student Active Member

    Sorry had to pick up on this too.

    We started with Karate and turned it into TKD. I would wage that there aren't any "karatecised ITF". There are just people who practised the complete ITF style prior to the 1980s. I like the sine wave but if people don't practise it, that's not because they decided to become more like Karate. It's because it's actually a very recent change to the syllabus. Most of the original pioneers of the 1960s and 1970s do not practise sine wave and it's somewhat horrific to disenfranchise them of their art, whatever a couple of individuals have said to you in the past.
  14. Anybody

    Anybody New Member

    Whoa. As a Kukki/wtf guy I see (and feel) all the passive aggressive commentary from other styles re effectiveness, self defense and criticism of sport (even from those that engage in the sport side but under a different rule set). Folks, lets get a little more confidence. If you chose a style that meets your needs own it, and please understand others have done the same. We are all individuals with different goals that may not be the same as yours. If there is a difference in focus, there is no need to be condescending or dismissive. To some extent sport bleeds into self defense and self defense bleeds into sport. We all make our own judgements on the balance between the two, and judgements by nature can't be wrong.
    Timothy Cooper and UK-Student like this.

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