Dr George Vitale, researcher and historian visited the Korean peninsula last week. It was his 7th trip to North Korea and to ensure balance it was also his 7th visit to South Korea.
Dr Vitale visited the office of ITF HQ Korea in Daejeon
After a traditional Korean lunch in the Taekwondo park cafeteria the guests were taken for a VIP tour around the facilities. Taekwon Park is an excellent location for camps and events and will also accommodate ITF practitioners. The first such event will be the Tul Tour program in August where participants led by Mr Harry van Schaik will be accommodated in the park dormitory and will tour and train in the park facilities.
After the completion of the visit to Muju park that lasted almost 4 hours, Drs Vitale and Kruk traveled to Cheongju to attend the meeting of 2016 Cheongju World Martial Arts Masterships where Dr Vitale assisted the organizing committee with the planning of the event program. The 2016 Cheongju World Martial Arts Masterships will be also held at the beginning of September.Their organizing committee previously extended an invitation for Martial Artists from North Korea to attend, which Master Vitale delivered personally to government officials in Pyongyang. Their kind offer was accepted and the Chosun National ITF Demonstration Team from Pyongyang will perform at their Opening Ceremony on September 2, 2016 if the host can obtain the necessary government approvals from Seoul. This Martial Art festival will have some 17 events and is open to all, including the ITF.
Master Vitale, along with Grandmaster Jung Woo-JIn, the CEO of Tae Kwon Do Times Magazine and last of only 7 to be promoted to 9th Dan by General Choi, are working hard to continue General Choi’s use of Taekwon-Do as a soft diplomatic tool to build relations between the 2 Koreas. On a trip up to Seoul, Dr. Vitale met with officials from the South Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs to further these laudable goals. Afterwards Master Vitale met directly with the President of the WTF, Dr. Choue Chung-Won as part of moving forward ITF talks with the Olympic Federation for Sport Taekwondo.
During the stay in Daejeon Dr Vitale and Dr Kruk trained together, Dr Vitale also experienced Korean spa and sauna, and was interviewed by some members of an English language study group who were very impressed with his knowledge not only about taekwondo but also about Korean history and culture.
It has become almost a tradition that when Dr Vitale comes to South Korea he, together with Dr Kruk visit Taekwon-Do, historical and cultural sites and perform self-defense sequences. During the current trip they visited the monument of the holy Dan Gun located at Daecheong Dam (대청댐) in Daejeon. They performed fundamental movements from Dan Gun in front of the monument that is the site for prayers for the unification of Koreas.
Dr Vitale is planning more trips to South Korea this year.