On the 14th-15th February Dr George Vitale arrived in Daejoen for a meeting with officials from ITF HQ Korea, Master Oh Chan Jin and Dr Zibby Kruk. It was not Dr Vitale’s first visit of to South Korea but it was his first time in Daejoen. Since Dr Vitale has studied Taekwondo history extensively, Daejeon was of special interest as it was in this city that Taekwon-Do started to modernize its techniques. General Choi moved from Jeju Island to Daejoen where he trained solders in the newly named art of Taekwon-Do. zibby
Dr Vitale was also interested in modern Taekwon-Do history, and events that took place following the re-introduction of the ITF to South Korea by Mast. Oh Chan Jin. Master Oh shared stories of how he met General Choi, how he began introducing the ITF in South Korea, the first historic world championship and shared stories of thousands of officials, pioneers, masters, students and instructors who have visited Korea from early 2000 to the current time.
Dr Vitale, accompanied by Dr Kruk and Ms Hera Jin, visited the “Donghaksa Temple” located in the eastern valley of Gyeryongsan Mountain, the first and the oldest existing academic institute for female monks. The temple is home to about 150 monks who study and practice Buddhism. In spite of the very cold weather Dr Vitale was able to admire the elegant structure of the temple that is enhanced by the majestic view of Munpilbong Peak. george
After lunch in a traditional Korean restaurant Dr Vitale visited Daejon national Cemetery, which is the resting place of deceased patriots, men of national merit, generals, officers, soldiers. It was interesting to speculate whether it could have been the resting place of General Choi if the South Korean Government had responded positively to the Generals request to get medical treatment in South Korea and this may have been his life’s final destination instead the North.
Daejeon National Cemetery covers a vast area of land spanning around 330,000㎡ and includes such facilities as the Memorial Tower and the Memorial Gate to pay reverence to patriotic spirits, Patriotic Spirit Exhibition Center displaying photos and articles left by the deceased, and an outdoor exhibition space, where military battle equipment is on display. This provided a great background to take some photographs and reflect on the history of Korea and Taekwon-Do.
The first day of the visit ended with long discussions about Taekwon-Do, plans and history, in the office of HQ Korea with Mast. Oh, and continued later at a beer and chicken restaurant.
The second day started by visiting ITF HQ Korea office where some photos were taken to record Dr Vitale’s visit. Then after lunch we were accompanied by Ms Rachel Kim and taken to the Gaetaesa Temple that was established by King Taejo of the Goryeo Dynasty and was the site of the final battle with the Baekje dynasty where he celebrated victory in 936. Rachel provided helpful information about the temple that gave us some background knowledge about the place prior to our visit.
The Gaetaesa Temple was established by King Taejo of the Goryeo Dynasty at the site of the final battle with the Baekje dynasty where he celebrated victory in 936 in the 19th year of his reign. The temple was built to celebrate the unification of the three kingdoms of Korea. Three statues of Buddha in the temple are regarded as some of the better works of Buddhist art of the early Goryeo Dynasty.
Again, the site was a great place to reflect on Korean history, Taekwon-Do and talk about tul tour programs. Thanks to Rachel Kim, Dr Vitale was able to connect some historical events from history and located the place in Nonsan where General Choi created Gae-Baek tul.
We returned to the office of ITF HQ Korea where Dr Vitale shared his research on Korean history and Taekwon-Do. All Korean participants were amazed with the information they received and were astonished with Dr Vitale’s knowledge and understanding of Korean history.
The visit came to an end and in the evening with Dr Vitale leaving for Seoul where he had other arrangements.
During his 2-day visit the only time we were not talking was when we were sleeping. It was a great Taekwon-Do/history interaction that allowed us to discover new facts and exchange information that helped us understand Taekwon-Do history and General Choi’s patriotic work much better.

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