The Korea Taekwondo Association (한국 태권도 협회; 韓國 跆拳道 協會; KTA; sometimes called the Korean Taekwondo Association, and for a while known as the Korea Tae-Soo-Do Assocation) was founded originally in 1959. Historically its function was to unify the nine martial arts styles then practiced in Korea by the Nine Kwans. Currently it serves as the National Governing Body (NGB) for Olympic-style taekwondo in Korea.
With the establishmen of the Kukkiwon in the early 1970s, many of the style-defining functions of the KTA were taken-over by the Kukkiwon. The KTA continued to work, however, on kwan consolidation.
From 1945 to 1960, there were 40 kwan throughout Korea which were competing with one another, and this prevented Taekwondo from developing into a unified martial art. The KTA consolidated those 40 kwan into 9 kwan by 1974. At that time, there were about 3000 dojang (schools) under those 9 kwan, with more than 100,000 dan holders (yudanja).
The KTA attempted to eliminate the old concept of the Kwan in order to unify Taekwondo. Although there were objections to the elimination of the Kwan system, the KTA earnestly began seriously working towards that goal in beginning in 1974. On May 20, 1976, the KTA eliminated the names of the Kwans and replaced them with numbers. The following are the Kwan name and their number:
- Kwan #1: Song Moo Kwan
- Kwan #2: Han Moo Kwan
- Kwan #3: Chang Moo Kwan
- Kwan #4: Moo Duk Kwan
- Kwan #5: Oh Do Kwan
- Kwan #6: Kang Duk Won
- Kwan #7: Jung Do Kwan
- Kwan #8: Ji Do Kwan
- Kwan #9: Chung Do Kwan
Note that the Moo Duk Kwan had members who were separated from their original group, and so different Moo Duk Kwan members could be found under either Kwan #4 (Moo Duk Kwan) or Kwan #10, which was designated as the Administrative Managing Kwan (Kwan Ri Kwan).
The real efforts towards Kwan Unification began in 1977. The KTA hosted several meetings in 1976 and 1978 to unify the Kwans, and it was decided that the ten Kwans would be united by the end of July, 1978.
Kim Chul Hui stated: "Let's unify all the Kwan in order to be one." However, other members objected to the suggestion, stating that unification at the present time was premature. However, it was decided which Kwan would participate with the unification and the list was submitted to Kim Un Yong.
In addition, the Kwan Unification Committee (Choo Jin Eui Won Hwe) was created on February 23, 1977, composed of five members. The Committee members agreed in principle to give up the concept of Kwan in order to unify. In addition, the Chong Bon Kwan was created to eliminate all of the negative aspects of Taekwondo. The following people were members of the Chong Bon Kwan:
- Kim Un Yong (Chong Bon Kwan Jang)
- Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu (Bu Kwan Jang)
- Lee Nam Suk (Samu Chong Jang)
- Lee Byung Ro, Kang Won Sik (Kam Sa)
- Lee Chong Woo, Uhm Woon Kyu, Lee Nam Suk, Kang Won Sik
- Kwak Byung Oh, (Se Chik Shim Eui Won Hwe)
Kim Un Yong and Lee Chong Woo initiated the efforts to unify the Kwans right after the creation of the Chong Bon Kwan, but little was done. An office was set up at Eulchiro 6 Ga in Seoul, but the Committee did nothing since everyone thought that Kwan Unification was impossible.
After six months the Chong Bon Kwan did recommend some Taekwondo students for dan promotion and also expanded the Committee's focus nationwide. However, the Chong Bon Kwan's efforts were not going well and it was difficult for the Committee to gather positive suggestions and ideas on this difficult subject.
In July 1978, the Chong Bon Kwan announced that unification would take place in the southern provinces and rural areas first, to be followed by unification in the urban areas of Seoul and Kyungki Do. The Chong Bon Kwan also announced that Kwan Unification is not a problem. In addition, all Kwan Jang (Kwan Presidents) would be informed beforehand so that they could minimize the complications involved in unification. The Chong Bon Kwan's actions confirmed that the unification efforts would go forward.
August 7, 1978, can be considered a historical date for Taekwondo because it was on this day that the Kwans finally compromised and closed the Kwan system with a Proclamation signed finalizing Kwan Unification. The following people signed the Proclamation on behalf of their Kwan:
- Kwan #1: Chun Jung Woong (Song Moo Kwan)
- Kwan #2: Lee Kyo Yoon (Han Moo Kwan)
- Kwan #3: Lee Nam Suk (Chang Moo Kwan)
- Kwan #4: Choi Nam Do (Moo Duk Kwan)
- Kwan #5: Kwak Byung Oh (Oh Do Kwan)
- Kwan #6: Lee Kum Hong (Kang Duk Won)
- Kwan #7: Lee Yong Woo (Jung Do Kwan)
- Kwan #8: Lee Chong Woo (Ji Do Kwan)
- Kwan #9: Uhm Woon Kyu (Chung Do Kwan)
- Kwan #10: Kim In Suk (Kwan Ri Kwan)
Lee Byung Ro and Kang Won Sik (both members of the Chong Bon Kwan) signed the Proclamation as well.
The following is what the Proclamation stated:
- "Taekwondo will strive hard to unify and will eliminate the different Kwan of the last 30 years. Since 1972, we unified the Taekwondo terminology and poomsae in order to minimize the differences which existed between the different Kwan. With respect to Dan Promotion Tests, the Sabum in the individual dojang will recommend the candidates for rank advancement. We will do our duty to treat everyone as equals and to work towards a clean administrative procedural system. Because Taekwondo is our National Sport we promise to be good leaders and unify all Taekwondo-in throughout the nation. We will close all Kwan offices and the Chong Bon Kwan will instead coordinate with the Kukkiwon so that we can keep our administration clean. We promise to do our part to unify Taekwondo."
The Proclamation was seen as a turning point because Taekwondo could now work earnestly towards a meaningful unification.
The KTA Today
Currently, as an affiliate of the Korean Sports Council, the KTA's function now is to promote taekwondo as a national sport within South Korea:
- Serve as the National Govering Body (NGB) for South Korea for the World Taekwondo Federation.
- Serve the Korean Sports Council (which is merged with the Korean Olympic Committee) by fielding inquiries regarding taekwondo competitions.
- Sponsor domestic (in South Korea) taekwondo competitions.
- Promote participation in international taekwondo competitions.
- Develop training materials and improve training for taekwondo practitioners.
- Educate the general population of South Korea on topics relating to taekwondo.
- Publish taekwondo periodicals and educational materials.
- Promote cultural exchanges between taekwondo associations and schools.
- 1953, May 25: Still in the middle of the Korean War, martial arts leaders who were refugees in the temporary South Korean capital of Pusan (specifically, leaders of Chang Moo Kwan, Song Moo Kwan, Chung Do Kwan, Ji Do Kwan, and Han Moo Kwan) establish the Korea Kong Soo Do Association. The role of the Korea Kong Soo Do Association was to test and qualify promotions and issue official recognition of Dan rank. To unify all the Dan ranks, the seniors were set to 4th Dan.
- 1958: The Korea Tang So Do Association (KTA) is initially formed formed by Hwang Kee.
- 1958, November: The Korea Tang So Do Association (KTA) applies for membership to the Korea Amateur Sports Association (KASA) but is denied because of the existence of a rival organization, the Korean Kong-Soo Do Association. The KASA agrees to accept the application only if both organizations unite. Representatives of the two associations later meet and agree to unite under the name Korea Soo-Bahk-Do Association. Finally, on September 3, 1959, representatives agree to unite under the name Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) with Choi Hong Hi as president. The new KTA is chartered with unifying the various kwans into a single martial arts style, and promoting the new style as a national sport.
- 1959: The KTA charters the Original Masters to begin demonstrating taekwondo on tours around-the world, and to help open taekwondo schools in other countries. Many of the Original Masters - and other taekwondo pioneers from the 1960s and 1970s - eventually emigrate to countries outside South Korea to start Traditional Taekwondo schools, thereby preserving Traditional Taekwondo outside Korea. According to some sources though, this emigration also allowed the Korean CIA (KCIA) to pressure these overseas school to serve the interests of the KCIA during the Cold War.
- 1960: By 1960, there were 40 kwans throughout Korea, lead by students of the original five kwans. One of the first functions of the KTA was to consolidate these kwans; by 1974 the KTA had succeeded in consolidating the 40 kwans into what we now call the Nine Kwans.
- 1961, September: Driven in part by the outrage over Choi's relationship with North Korea, the Korea Taekwondo Association (KTA) is renamed once-again to the Korea Tae Soo Do Association (still KTA). Some historians mark this as the "true" beginning of the KTA. Though there is still notional agreement that the kwans should be consolidated, the next few years see much strife over exactly what that means, in terms of style definition, authority to promote students, etc.
- 1962 - General Choi appointed South Korean ambassador to Malaysia; Choi Myung Shin appointed second president of the KTA.
- 1965, January: Now returned from Malaysia, General Choi Hong Hi is once again named the head of the KTA. Due to his conflicts with other kwan leaders, however, he is unable to govern effectively; a year later he resigns from the KTA and establishes the ITF (see below). Despite all his work on the Chang Hon forms while in Malaysia, upon returning to South Korea Choi finds little audience in the KTA for his new forms.
- 1965: August: General Choi succeeds in convincing the KTA to once-again rename itself as the Korea Taekwondo Association.
- 1966: General Choi founds the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) with support from Vietnam, West Germany, Malaysia, Turkey, Italy, United Arab Republic, Taiwan, and United States. The ITF is a separate organization from the Korea Taekwondo Association, and marks the final split of Choi from the KTA.
- 1966 - Byung Jick Ro appointed fourth president of KTA
- 1967 - Yong Chae Kim appointed fifth president of KTA
- 1967 - KTA defines new taekwondo forms: the Palgwae forms, (Old) Koryo, Keumgang, Taebaek, Pyongwon, Shipjin, Jitae, Cheongwon, Hansoo, and Ilyeo. Notably, Moo Duk Kwan and Jidokwan are not yet represented on the committee that establishes the forms, which leads to the replacement of the Palgwae in 1971 with the Taegeuk forms.
- 1971, January - Un Yong Kim becomes sixth president of KTA
- 1971: The KTA continues to work on kwan consolidation; by 1971 it has consolidated 1960's forty kwans down to just 14 kwans. Though Kukki-style taekwondo is strong at this point (with 1.3 million practitioners in Korea) there remains issues such as how promotions are handled, and how to handle student transfers from one kwan to another. It isn't until 1978's Unification Proclamation (see below) that these types of issues are finally resolved.
- 1972 - Kukkiwon established
- 1973, May - World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) established
- 2002, March - Cheon Seo Koo appointed president of KTA
- 2008 - Jung Gil Kim appointed president of the KTA
- 2008 - Joon Pyo Hong appointed president of the KTA
- Korean Taekwondo Association on Wikipedia
- Korean Taekwondo Association on the Korean version of Wikipedia http://ko.wikipedia.org/wiki/대한태권도협회 (use Chrome browser or Google Translate to read in English)