South Korea is the Homeland of Taekwon-Do and as such, is a very important place to all who follow the art and teachings of General Choi Hong Hi. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that many groups who practice Taekwon-Do try to claim some legitimacy in this country that is a “Mecca” for Taekwon-Do disciples. The International Taekwon-Do Federation, Headquarters Korea (ITF-HQ Korea) has the registered sole rights to represent ITF Taekwon-Do in its homeland. This recognition was secured by Mr Oh Chang Jin in a Supreme Court decision in 2006/2007 after being challenged by the two main ITF organizations. This registration (사단 법인국 국제태권도 연맹) has the same status as the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) and has the stated objective to serve all ITF practitioners around the World.Given this recognition cannot now be legally challenged it would appear that some organizations are using unethical means to undermine the legitimacy and the good name of ITF-HQ Korea and some of its executive members.
Recently an article published in a small Korean media outlet has made untrue and what may be defamatory statements and has misrepresented the findings of a court case between Mr Choi Jung Hwa and Mr Oh Chang Jin. The article make statements that are not found anywhere in the ruling of the judge and grossly exaggerates the alleged infraction by Mr Oh Chang Jin. The article focuses solely on the findings of one aspect of the entire court case when in fact the case involved 4 allegations against Mr Oh Chang Jin of which 3 were found to have no basis in fact and have already been dismissed by the judge. This final aspect which relates to the production of Dan certificates is now subject to an appeal by Mr Oh Chang Jin and he will shortly be presenting new evidence in support of his case.The President of ITF HQ Korea, Mr Oh Chang Jin, has been involved in Taekwondo for most of his life and was personally requested by the late General Choi, the Founder of Taekwon-Do to re-establish his style of Taekwon-Do in South Korea. This placed Mr Oh in a very hazardous situation since many of his former colleagues and senior members of the WTF were very unhappy with the re-introduction of the Chan Hon style of Taekwon-Do. Nonetheless he persisted through difficult times and worked tirelessly to make it a success. Only as a result of his efforts and his network of connections was it possible for Mr Choi Jung Hwa to return to his birth place despite Mr Choi Jung Hwa’s criminal conviction for his actions against the South Korean Government. Mr Oh Chang Jin is seen in South Korea as a highly respected individual both in his business and Taekwondo achievements.
Mr Oh Chang Jin will be lodging a defamation case against the journalist who published the article since much of what is stated is inaccurate and misleading. The suggestion that Mr Oh Chang Jin embezzled funds for over 600 certificates at a value of 160 million Won (approximately $136,000USD) was dismissed at a previous hearing in the case. It should be noted that Mr Oh Chang Jin was not asked for comment prior the publication of the article.
Social media is a very powerful tool to provide information however, it can also often be misused to promote a point of view that is not based on fact and objective reasoning and people post too quickly without consideration of the effect that it may have. As practitioners of Taekwon-Do some people extol the value of the tenets but do not actively live by them. It is incumbent for Taekwondoists to show some courtesy towards each other and try to remove the hatred and disunity and perhaps before commenting on social media they should inform themselves of the complete story and not just accept a single viewpoint.
This issue will be resolved by the court in due process and we will provide updates as they occur.
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ITF HQ Korea Administration